Author: Oscar Cronquist Article last updated on May 06, 2021

time zones1

This article demonstrates how to build a time zone chart and calculate times different than your time zone.

The worksheet below lets you enter cities and their time difference. Excel calculates the corresponding local times in E5:E8. Press F9 to refresh the time and date in cell E3.

Calculate time between time zones

1. How to calculate time zone differences

Calculate time between time zones

This worksheet lets you enter cities and their time difference. Excel calculates the corresponding local times in E5:E8. Press F9 to refresh the time and date in cell E3.

Formula in cell E3:


Formula in cell E5: =$E$3+C5/24 Copy this cell and paste to E6:E8. There are both absolute and relative cell references in this formula.

Did you know that Excel stores date and time as a number? 16 June 2015 is stored as 42171. 16 June 2015 12:00 is 42171.5. Time is the decimal part of the number (0.5) and the date is 42171.

You can verify that this is true, type a date in a cell. Select the cell and press CTRL + 1. Change the formatting to General.

calculate time difference1

To add 7 hours to a datetime value you need to divide the hours by 24. 7/24 + 42171 = 42171.02916667. That explains the formula in cell E5: =$E$3+C5/24

Another example, 24 hours (1 day) is equal to 1. 42171 + 24 hours is 42171 + 24/24 = 42172.

Back to top

2. Find the time difference

How do you know the time difference between where you live and another city/country? You don't, some countries use daylight saving time (summertime) or have changed their time zone. It can be really confusing.

Go to and search for a city, it is the only way.

Type the time difference in column C, Excel calculates the time for you in column E.

Back to top

3. How to create a time zone chart

This chart shows you the world divided into 24 time zones, in a perfect world this could be useful. Unfortunately, it is pretty much useless.

time zones1

Don't use this chart to find the time difference between the two cities. It is not accurate, some countries have changed their time zone and use daylight saving time.

I have included this chart in this post only to show you how I built it.

Back to top

3.1 How I built the chart

3.1.1 Values and formulas

  1. Go to sheet2
  2. Type these values in columns B and C, see pic below.
  3. Type this formula in cell D2: =IF(B2=Sheet1!$D$12, 1, 0)
  4. Copy cell D2 and paste to D3:D26

time zones - chart3

Back to top

3.1.2 Insert a Drop-down List

  1. Go to sheet1, select cell D12
  2. Go to tab "Data"
  3. Click the "Data Validation" button
  4. Select List
  5. Enter these numbers: -12, -11, -10, -9, -8, -7, -6, -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8, +9, +10, +11, +12, +13, +14
    time zones - chart2
  6. Click OK.

Back to top

3.1.3 Insert a column Chart

  1. Go to sheet2.
  2. Select cell range B2:C26.
  3. Go to tab "Insert" on the ribbon.
  4. Click the "Column chart" button.
    time zones - chart4
  5. Right-click on the chart and click "Select Data...".
  6. Click the "Edit" button below Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels.
  7. Select cell range B2:B26.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Select "Series1".
  10. Click the "Edit" button.
  11. Select cell range C2:C26 as series values.
    time zones - chart5
  12. Click OK.
  13. Select Series2.
  14. Click "Remove" button.
  15. Click OK.

time zones - chart7

Back to top

3.1.4 Adjust and remove vertical axis

  1. Right click on the vertical axis.
  2. Click "Format Axis...".
  3. Change "Maximum Value" to "Fixed" and type 1.
  4. Click "Close" button.
  5. Select "Vertical Axis" and press Delete.

time zones - chart6

Back to top

3.1.5 Remove legend and major horizontal gridlines

  1. Select "Legend".
  2. Delete "Legend".
  3. Select major horizontal gridlines.
  4. Delete.

time zones - chart8

Back to top

3.1.6 Add vertical grid lines

  1. Select chart.
  2. Go to tab "Layout" on the ribbon.
  3. Click "Gridlines" button.
  4. Click "Primary Vertical Gridlines".
  5. Click "Major Gridlines".

Back to top

3.1.7 Add map to chart background

I found a world map at wikimedia commons. Copy picture (Ctrl + C)

  1. Right click on plot area.
  2. Click "Format Plot Area...".
  3. Click "Picture or texture fill".
    time zones - chart9
  4. Click "Clipboard" button.
  5. Click Close button.

time zones - chart10

Back to top

3.1.8 Adjust column gap width and transparency

  1. Right-click on the column.
  2. Click "Format Data Series...".
  3. Change gap width to 0%.
    time zones - chart11
  4. Go to the "Fill" category.
  5. Click "Solid fill".
  6. Change transparency to 50%.
    time zones - chart13
  7. Click the Close button.

time zones - chart14

Back to top

Back to top