0500 to 05:00 – Excel Cell Formatting

If you use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of tasks and time associated with it, it’s cumbersome to constantly type in XX:YY.

Here is a short technique to format the cell so when I enter a time (0500), it will automatically convert it to 05:00.

To format a cell in Excel 2019 so that when you enter “0500”, it automatically converts to “05:00”, you can use a custom format. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select the cell or range of cells where you want to apply this formatting.
  2. Right-click on the selected cell(s) and choose ‘Format Cells’ from the context menu.
  3. In the ‘Format Cells’ dialog box, go to the ‘Number’ tab.
  4. Choose ‘Custom’ from the category list.
  5. In the ‘Type’ field, enter the custom format: 00":"00. This format tells Excel to split the number into two pairs of digits, separated by a colon.
  6. Click ‘OK’ to apply the formatting.

Now, when you enter a number like 0500 in the cell, it will automatically be displayed as 05:00. Note that this is a display format and the underlying value in the cell will still be 0500. This method is best for display purposes and won’t actually change the data into a time value. If you need to perform time calculations, you might need a different approach to convert the input into a proper time format.

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