What’s the difference between HH:MM and decimal time display?

Your timesheets can be set to display time in either HH:MM (hours:minutes) or Decimal format. This is an account-wide setting and will show for every teammate in the account. If you notice that time entries don't match exactly between reports and your timesheet, the discrepancy may be tied to seeing decimal format in reports while being shown HH:MM format in your timesheet. This article will explain a bit more about the difference between the two timesheet formats.

Another reason timesheet entries may display differently than on reports and invoices is due to time rounding. You can learn more about that setting in Why are the time totals different when viewing different places in my account?

Configuring your account's time display setting

Administrators can configure the time display setting by going to Settings (top right) and clicking Edit preferences to select a Time display. This is an account-wide setting and affects everyone in the account. 

  • HH:MM format will show 2 hours and 15 minutes as 2:15:

  • Decimal format will show 2 hours and 15 minutes as 2.25:

Why doesn't the format of my time entries on my timesheet match what I see in my reports?

You may notice that a time entry on your timesheet shows 2:15, but in a report, it shows as 2.25. 

This is because even if your account's Time display is set to HH:MM, this format is only used on your team's timesheets.

In every other section of Harvest—time reports, detailed time reports, project analysis pages, people's profiles, invoices, and estimates—time is displayed as a decimal. 

Harvest always uses decimals outside of timesheets for a couple of reasons: to show a deeper level of precision in your timekeeping, and so that hours can be easily multiplied by billable rates.

You can convert the decimal portion to minutes by multiplying the decimal amount by 60 minutes. For example, if you multiply .25 hours x 60 minutes, you get 15 minutes—the :15 you see in HH:MM format.

Here's another easy example for recognizing this conversion: 2.50 hours is 2 1/2 hours, or 2 hours and 30 minutes. And if you multiply .5 x 60, you also get 30.

When I multiply my time entry's decimal by 60, the result still doesn't match the number of minutes in my time entry. Why not?

Some amounts don't convert as cleanly from HH:MM to decimal format due to repeating decimals. For example, 10 minutes converts to 0.166666667, which is stored in our database as 0.17 since Harvest only displays two decimal places in reports and timesheets. When 0.17 is converted back to minutes by multiplying it by 60, though, you get 10.2 minutes instead of 10.

As another example, 20 minutes is 0.333333333 of an hour and is stored as 0.33 hours. When Harvest displays a 20-minute timer, we've multiplied 0.33 by 60 minutes to get 19.8 minutes, which is then rounded up to 20 minutes for HH:MM format on the timesheet. If you have three 20-minute entries added together in a day, a HH:MM timesheet will show 1:00 hour, but the stored decimal total is actually 0.99 of an hour—or 59.4 minutes.

If this issue affects your ability to invoice a client for an exact number of contracted hours, we recommend manually editing the number of hours in the Quantity column on a draft invoice to the precise number of hours you need. 

I want everything to be uniform throughout my account. How can I change my timesheet's settings to show decimal time?

If you’re an Administrator and would like to switch your timesheets to display in decimal instead of HH:MM format, you can follow these steps:

  1. Head to Settings > Preferences.
  2. Scroll down to click Edit preferences.
  3. In the Time display section, choose Decimal.
  4. Click Save preferences to save the change.

Note: This will change the timesheet display settings for every teammate in the account.

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