# difference between [h]:mm and h:mm format

#### ssvv

##### New Member
What is the difference between [h]:mm and h:mm format.

When I try to multiply the number of employees (12) by the hours worked per employee (7:30:00, meaning 7.5 hours) using h:mm:ss format excel generates 9:00:00. Which is incorrect because 12 employees working 7.5 hours each equals more than 9 hours.

However, if I run the same calculation using [h]:mm:ss format, I get the correct answer (105:00:00).

I would appreciate if someone can tell me why this is the case and explain the difference between the two formats. Thank you!!

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#### barry houdini

##### MrExcel MVP
h:mm is designed for "clock times"...so it never shows more than 23:59....for "elapsed times" (where hours might be 24+) you can use [h]:mm. the same works for minutes and seconds.....

#### Gerald Higgins

##### Well-known Member
I think you're close to explaining the difference yourself.

[h]:mm:ss shows the total number of hours, even if the number of hours is 24 or more.

hh:mm:ss effectively only shows the excess hours over and above complete multiples of 24.
In your example, 105 hours is 4x24, or 4 whole days, plus 9 more hours, so it just shows the 9.

Remember, this is only a display format - the underlying values are the same in both cases.

Thank you!!

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