The TIMEVALUE function takes a piece of text in the form of a time and converts it into a decimal number representing the Microsoft Excel date-time code. An important function to know for use in dashboard construction and use with lookup problems involving date/times.

The TIMEVALUE function is a computer program that you run from a worksheet cell formula. It converts a time that is stored as text to a decimal number that Excel recognizes as a time. You run the TIMEVALUE function by typing its name in a formula then followed by the information it is suppose to use. The TIMEVALUE worksheet function is used with functions like the VLOOKUP, MATCH and similar functions because when they lookup times they are looking for a decimal number not the a time format. In other words, you cannot simply type 6:00:00 AM as their argument or "6:00:00 AM" either unless you are looking for text. The TIMEVALUE worksheet function is also used along with string concatenation to take pieces of text from an dashboard interface or cell data and flip those values into a date-time serial number that can be used in Microsoft Excel.

Whenever you type a formula in a worksheet cell, this is called syntax or grammar. The general TIMEVALUE function syntax has a format like this when you type it in a worksheet cell:

= TIMEVALUE( time_text )

Where date_text is called the function argument list. Remember, you are running a computer program at this point so the program needs information to operate and that is why there is an argument list. When you see an argument list and you see square brackets [ ] around the argument name, this means the argument is optional and you do not have to include it when typing unless you need it. So for the syntax above, you need to include 1 argument for the TIMEVALUE function when typing it in a worksheet cell formula in order for it to calculate correctly. What argument value can be used is discussed below. Remember functions expect certain things in their argument lists, if you do not put the correct information in the list they will generate an error when run.

- time_text: Required. This is the text that represents a time in an Excel time format like "6:00:00 AM" or "13:34", or a cell reference to a cell that contains text that represents a time in an Excel time format. The information in the cell has to be text, to test to see if it is text just take off all alignment from the cell and if it left justifies in the cell it is a piece of text.

Since the TIMEVALUE function is a computer program, it runs when you press Enter to enter the formula that contains it. If any of its arguments are wrong, the function will return an error.

When typing the TIMEVALUE function in a worksheet cell formula, you need to replace the time_text argument with something that generates time text needed. Some typical arguments you can use are:

Argument Type | Cell Formula | Example Explanation |

Cell Reference | = TIMEVALUE( A1 ) | Returns a decimal number based upon what text is in cell A1. For example if "6:00:00 AM" was in cell A1 then .25 would be returned |

Range Reference | = TIMEVALUE( A1:A10 ) | Returns an array of decimal numbers based upon the time text in cells A1 to A10 |

String Concatenation | = TIMEVALUE( A1 & ":" & A2 & ":" & A3 ) | Returns a decimal number based upon what text is in cell's A1, A2 and A3. The string concatenation puts the time together. Very common argument type for dashboard problems and from data stored in multiple columns |

The worksheet seen below contains some typical worksheet formulas that run the TIMEVALUE and TIME worksheet functions. Pay close attention to the argument list and the syntax used to write the formula.

A | B | C | |

1 | Hours | Minutes | Seconds |

2 | 6 | 15 | 23 |

3 | |||

4 | Formula below uses TIMEVALUE that splices the time together from table above so VLOOKUP can use it to lookup a decimal time number in another table | ||

5 | = VLOOKUP ( TIMEVALUE( A2 & ":" & B2 & ":" & C2 ), $G$1:$K$100, 3, FALSE ) | ||

6 | You can also use the TIME function for the same effect as TIMEVALUE above when dealing with time number parts in seperate columns | ||

7 | = VLOOKUP (TIME( A2, B2, C2 ), $G$1:$K$100, 3, FALSE ) |

- Date information that is part of the text in time_text is ignored
- Time values go between 0 and 0.99999999 so 12:00 PM is represented as 0.5

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