Convert Military to Standard Time in Google Sheets: 5 Steps

Jason Gong
June 6, 2024

Use the Format menu to convert military to standard time.

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Converting military time to standard time in Google Sheets is a crucial skill for many professionals, especially those working with scheduling, logistics, or global teams. In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through various methods to convert military time to standard time using Google Sheets, from simple formatting options to advanced formulas and scripts. By the end of this guide, you'll be able to efficiently manage and display time data in your preferred format, enhancing your productivity and collaboration within the Google Workspace ecosystem.

Understanding Time Formats in Google Sheets

Google Sheets supports two primary time formats: military (24-hour) and standard (12-hour). By default, Google Sheets interprets and displays time values based on the spreadsheet's locale settings.

  • Military time format uses a 24-hour clock, with hours ranging from 00 to 23 (e.g., 14:30 represents 2:30 PM).
  • Standard time format uses a 12-hour clock with AM/PM indicators (e.g., 2:30 PM).

When you enter a time value in Google Sheets, it is stored as a decimal number representing the fraction of a day since December 30, 1899. For example, 12:00 PM (noon) is stored as 0.5, while 6:00 PM is stored as 0.75.

To ensure accurate time calculations and conversions, it's essential to understand how Google Sheets interprets and displays time values based on the spreadsheet's settings. You can check your spreadsheet's locale by going to File > Spreadsheet settings > Locale. For more advanced uses, consider adding ChatGPT to Google Sheets to streamline your workflows.

Converting Military Time Using Format Menu

To convert military time to standard time in Google Sheets, follow these simple steps:

  1. Select the cells containing the military time values you want to convert.
  2. Navigate to the Format menu at the top of the screen.
  3. Choose "Number" from the dropdown menu, then select "More Formats" and click on "More date and time formats".

      4. In the "Custom date and time format" field, enter a format that includes AM/PM indicators, such as "h:mm AM/PM" or "hh:mm:ss AM/PM".

      5. Click "Apply" to save the changes and see the converted time values in your selected cells.

This method allows you to change the appearance of the time values without altering the underlying data. The original military time values are still stored in the cells, but they are displayed in the standard 12-hour format with AM/PM indicators.

Keep in mind that this approach is best suited for cells that already contain recognized time values. If your data is in a text format or requires more complex conversions, you may need to use formulas or integrate Google Sheets to convert the values before applying the custom time format.

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Using Formulas to Convert Time Formats

Google Sheets offers powerful formula functions that allow you to convert military time to standard time. The most commonly used functions for this purpose are TEXT and TIME.

The TEXT function lets you format a value as text, while the TIME function returns a time value from hour, minute, and second components. By combining these functions, you can create a formula that converts military time to standard AM/PM format.

Here's an example formula that converts military time in cell A1 to standard time:

=TEXT(A1, "hh:mm AM/PM")

This formula takes the value in cell A1, which should be in military time format (e.g., 14:30), and formats it as standard time with AM/PM indicators.

The benefit of using formulas for time conversion is that they dynamically update whenever the source data changes. If you modify the military time value in cell A1, the formula will automatically recalculate and display the updated standard time.

Keep in mind that the source cell (A1 in this example) should contain a recognized time value for the formula to work correctly. If the source data is in a text format or requires additional parsing, you may need to use other functions like TIMEVALUE or REGEXEXTRACT to extract the time components before applying the conversion formula.

Tips for Handling Time Data in Google Sheets

When working with time data in Google Sheets, it's essential to follow best practices to ensure consistency and accuracy. Here are some tips to help you manage your time data effectively:

  • Use a consistent time format throughout your spreadsheet. Decide whether you want to use 12-hour or 24-hour format and stick to it.
  • Double-check your data entry to avoid errors. Even small mistakes can lead to incorrect calculations and analyses.
  • When collaborating with team members across different time zones, make sure to establish a common reference time zone to avoid confusion.
  • Utilize data validation to restrict input to valid time formats. This helps prevent users from entering incorrect or inconsistent data.

If you encounter time format errors in Google Sheets, don't panic. Here are some troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check that your data is entered in a recognized time format. Google Sheets supports various formats, but it's best to use a standard format like "HH:MM:SS" or "HH:MM AM/PM".
  2. Ensure that your cell formatting is set to the correct time format. You can change this by selecting the cells, going to Format > Number, and choosing the appropriate time format.
  3. If you're using formulas, double-check that your references and function arguments are correct. A small error in a formula can cause unexpected results.

By following these best practices and troubleshooting steps, you'll be able to handle time data in Google Sheets with confidence and accuracy. For more advanced data operations, consider using integrations with Google Docs to streamline your workflow.

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Advanced Techniques: Using Scripts and Add-ons

Google Sheets offers powerful scripting capabilities that can automate time conversions and streamline your workflow. By leveraging Google Apps Script, you can create custom functions to handle complex time conversions and automate repetitive tasks.

For example, you can write a script that automatically converts time values in a specified range of cells from one format to another. This is particularly useful when working with large datasets or when you need to perform conversions on a regular basis.

In addition to scripts, there are several reputable add-ons available in the Google Workspace Marketplace that can enhance your time format conversion and data handling capabilities. Some popular add-ons include:

  • Time Zone Converter: This add-on allows you to easily convert times between different zones without the need for manual calculations or complex formulas.
  • Power Tools: A suite of tools that includes advanced time and date formatting options, as well as data manipulation and analysis features.
  • Formatter: An add-on that provides a wide range of formatting options, including custom time and date formats.

These add-ons can save you time and effort by providing pre-built solutions for common time conversion and formatting tasks.

Furthermore, Google Sheets integrates seamlessly with other Google Workspace tools, such as Google Calendar and Google Forms. This integration allows for enhanced productivity and data synchronization across platforms. For instance, you can use Google Forms to collect time-related data and automatically import it into Google Sheets for further analysis and conversion.

By leveraging the power of scripts, add-ons, and Google Workspace integration, you can take your time conversion and data management skills in Google Sheets to the next level, ensuring efficiency and accuracy in your work. For more ways to automate your tasks, consider using Bardeen with Excel to connect your workflows.

Real-world Applications and Case Studies

Converting military time to standard time is crucial in various real-world scenarios, particularly in industries that operate on a 24-hour schedule. Some specific examples include:

  • Scheduling and time management in the transportation sector, such as airlines, railways, and logistics companies, where precision and clarity are essential.
  • Healthcare settings, where medical professionals often use military time to maintain accurate records and coordinate patient care.
  • Military and law enforcement agencies, where 24-hour time is the standard for communication and operations.

Many businesses have streamlined their processes by leveraging Google Sheets' time format features. For instance, a global customer support team can use Google Sheets to convert customer inquiry timestamps from various time zones into a standardized format, enabling them to scrape data from websites and prioritize and respond to queries more efficiently.

Another example is a multinational corporation that uses Google Sheets to create and manage employee shift schedules across different locations. By converting military time to standard time, they can ensure that everyone is on the same page, regardless of their local time zone.

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These conversions play a vital role in enhancing logistical and operational efficiencies. By eliminating confusion and potential errors caused by inconsistent time formats, businesses can streamline communication, optimize resource allocation, and improve overall productivity.

As more organizations adopt cloud-based solutions like Google Sheets, the ability to automate enrichment and qualification becomes increasingly valuable in facilitating collaboration and decision-making processes across geographically dispersed teams.

Automate Time Conversion in Google Sheets with Bardeen

While converting military time to standard time in Google Sheets can be done manually using built-in formatting tools or formulas, automating this process can significantly improve efficiency, especially when dealing with large datasets or recurring data entry tasks. Automation through Bardeen not only streamlines the conversion process but also allows for seamless integration with other applications, enhancing productivity and data accuracy.

Explore some of the powerful automations that can be built with Bardeen's Google Sheets integration:

  1. Copy a list of meetings during a timeframe to a Google Sheet: This automation is perfect for professionals looking to synchronize their meeting schedules from Google Calendar to Google Sheets, making it easier to manage and analyze their appointments.
  2. Copy a table from Airtable to Google Sheets every day: Ideal for teams who utilize Airtable for database management and wish to automate the daily transfer of data to Google Sheets for further analysis or reporting.
  3. Get a daily summary of your emails and save to Google Sheets: A valuable automation for those looking to summarize and log their daily email communications in Google Sheets, enabling better email management and oversight.

Embrace the power of automation by downloading the Bardeen app at and transform how you interact with Google Sheets.

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