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How to display / show negative time properly in Excel?

Some of us may suffer this problem, when you subtract a later time 12:20 from an earlier time 10:15, you will get the result as ###### error as following screenshots shown. In this case, how could you show negative time properly and normally in Excel?

doc-show-negative-time1-2doc-show-negative-time2

Display negative time properly with changing Excel's Default Date System

Display negative time properly with Formulas


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arrow blue right bubbleDisplay negative time properly with changing Excel's Default Date System


Here is an easy and quick way for you to display the negative time normally in Excel by changing the Excel's Default Date System to 1904 date system. Please do as this:

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1. To open the Excel Options dialog box by clicking File > Options in Excel 2010/2013, and clicking Office Button > Excel Options in Excel 2007.

2. Then in the Excel Options dialog box, click Advanced from the left pane, and in the right section, check Use 1904 date system under When calculating this workbook section. See screenshot:

doc-show-negative-time1

3. After finishing the settings, click OK. And the negative time will be displayed correctly at once, see screenshots:

doc-show-negative-time1-2doc-show-negative-time2


arrow blue right bubbleDisplay negative time properly with Formulas

If you don’t want to change the date system, you also can use the following formula to solve this task.

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1. Input your dates that you want to calculate them, and enter this formula =TEXT(MAX($A$1:$A$2)-MIN($A$1:$A$2),"-H::MM") (A1 and A2 indicate the two time cells separately) into a blank cell. See screenshot:

doc-show-negative-time1

2. Then press Enter key, and you will get the correct result as following shown:

doc-show-negative-time1

Tip:

Here is another formula also can help you: =IF(A2-A1<0, "-" & TEXT(ABS(A2-A1),"hh:mm"), A2-A1)

In this formula, A2 indicates the smaller time, and A1 stands for the larger time. You can change them as you need.


Change Sige of Vlaues (quickly change negative to positive values, or vice versa...)

doc change sign

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  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    shalene · 1 years ago
    i have a date from someone elses file showing as "20171229" i need it to look like "12/29/2017".. PLEASE HELP!
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      John M · 1 years ago
      =date(left(A1,4),mid(A1,5,2),right(A1,2)
      Where A1 is the cell containing the date.

      The new cell will contain an excel date value for that day,
      right click the new cell, and select the date format you want.
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    JS · 1 years ago
    I have a negative time value in a cell, say CQ15. [ i got the value using the above mentioned formula =IF(A2-A1<0, "-" & TEXT(ABS(A2-A1),"hh:mm"), A2-A1) ]

    Next, I'm trying to multiply the cell value with 5, ie. CQ15*5.
    But not getting any result.
    I have tried both the following formulas:
    =TEXT(CQ15*5, "[h]:m:ss")
    &
    =IF(CQ15*5<0, "-" & TEXT(ABS(CQ15*5),"[h]:m:ss"),CQ15*5)

    In both cases, i received #VALUE!

    Can anyone please help me with this.
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      KulGery · 1 years ago
      Couse CQ15 is a text cell. For calculate with it, you must format it as time value.
      =IF(LEFT(CQ15,1)="-", -TIMEVALUE(RIGHT(CQ15,LEN(CQ15)-1)), TIMEVALUE(CQ15))
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    bo ek · 2 years ago
    thank you so much! You just saved my day!
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    Meg · 2 years ago
    I am trying to calculate a negative formula for shift time not fully worked. Say data is as follows:
    A1 = 07:30 shift start, minus
    A2 = 1:00 lunch break
    A3 = 16:30 shift ends
    Then A4 = 8:00 hours worked during the day.
    But, should the worker leave earlier, say 17:00, what is the formula in cell A5 that shows how much short the person's shift was?
    • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
      Marc Kupper · 2 years ago
      [quote name="Meg"]I am trying to calculate a negative formula for shift time not fully worked. Say data is as follows:
      A1 = 07:30 shift start, minus
      A2 = 1:00 lunch break
      A3 = 16:30 shift ends
      Then A4 = 8:00 hours worked during the day.
      But, should the worker leave earlier, say 17:00, what is the formula in cell A5 that shows how much short the person's shift was?[/quote]

      You can't directly display a negative time in Excel. However, you can display it using the TEXT() function. For example

      Cell A4 would have =A3-A1-A2 which will display the hours/minutes worked.
      Cell A5 would have 8:00 which is the number of hours you expect this person to work
      Cell A6 would have =IF(A5=A4,"Met expected target",IF(A4
  • To post as a guest, your comment is unpublished.
    MND · 4 years ago
    "Tip:

    Here is another formula also can help you: =IF(A2-A1