How to Track Employee Time in Excel

how to track employee time in excel

As labor laws and regulations have grown to protect employees, businesses have recognized the importance of accurately tracking employee time. Documenting and tracking time data is essential for those organizations that want to gain legitimacy among a growing competitive base.


It is no longer possible nor ethical to ask workers to stay an extra hour without paying them for it. Workers' rights have expanded and companies all across the United States are finding the best ways to comply.

One time-tested method includes using an Excel time spreadsheet or even google sheets to track total pay. Though technological advancements have produced time tracking software that automates time data collection, some small businesses find a timesheet template to be a preferable option to manage hours for each pay period.

If an organization finds itself to be one of those who prefer Excel, it is still essential to know the various formatting and formulas needed to accurately track each worker's punch-in data.
Read ahead for a step-by-step guide on tracking employee time using a time log in Excel-

Using Excel to Track Employee Time

Because hourly rate employees are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, HR clerks are required to accurately track every staffer's daily/weekly hours worked and any overtime hours or other work time.

These laws can be cumbersome and difficult to comply with, resulting in hours of extra work payroll clerks. Non-compliance and poor time management can result in fines, penalties, and even bankruptcy so it remains essential to find a secure and reliable method to track worker hours and comply with all regulations.

Those who use a time tracking spreadsheet can track billable hours by using formulas, a technique that is preferable to some HR staff. Users can use Microsoft Excel to generate online time cards that document each worker's entire schedule. An individual worksheet can be used to represent each worker's time data.
Here are some tips to accurately track employee time in Excel-

Step 1- Switch Settings

Make sure to download Excel and then open up the program. Click on the View tab of the top ribbon. Next, hit the Freeze Frames feature, which will open up a new drop-down menu.

Then click 'Freeze Top Row' - This will allow the user to see the top row of inputs no matter how far he/she scrolls down. Utilizing the proper settings will make time tracking much more intuitive and prevent inaccurate inputs as the user will no longer have to keep scrolling up to see previous data.

Step 2- Input Column Headings

Now it's time to enter in headings for each column. 'Input Date in cell A1' and continue setting up columns for all of the days the business is open.

The user will need to add more columns if the employees punch in and out for breaks or lunch. A column in the time tracking template is required for the worker's start time/finish time.

Step 3- Choose a Date Format

step 3 choose a date format 1605292465 9677

Select all of the cells in column A by clicking on its header. Hit the 'Home tab' on the ribbon. Next, look for the 'Number Group' with an arrow indicator. Select the 'Dialogue box' launcher which should be at the very bottom of this feature. Once this is open, hit the 'Date' to format the dates. Select O.K. to finalize this formatting.

Step 4- Choose a Time Tracking Format

Now it's time to choose a format for the 'Time tracking column'. Select the 'Time Tracker' header (Column B) and shift select on the last time entry inputted. Perform the same actions from Step 3, except choosing the 'Time' option instead of the 'Date' option under the 'Dialogue box' launcher tab.

Step 5- Configure for Long Time Values

Go to the daily time-entry total column and click on its header. Shift select on the last inputted header of the weekly-total column.

This will highlight all of the various cells within these columns. Choose the Number dialog box again and click on 'Custom'.

Input [h]-mm in the 'Type' feature, exactly as spelled to take time values that exceed 24 hours into consideration. This allows the user to add together all of the hours worked per employee in a total week.

Step 6- Enter Formula to Calculate Hours Worked Per Day

Select the cell that tracks daily hours worked. Type an = sign so the system is aware that the user is inputting a formula.

Choose the 'Punch-Out' cell (the one that tracks punch-out data.) This will let Excel know where the formula needs to be inputted. Select 'Enter' to finalize this formula. The system will be able to subtract the punch-in data from the punch-out data for each day.

Step 7- Enter Formula to Calculate Sum of Hours Worked per Week

Look at cell 6 and choose the Hours Worked in a Week cell. Type =SUM exactly as spelled and select the day totals from row 2.

Drag down until all of the data is highlighted through row 6. Type in an end parenthesis and complete the formula by pressing Enter. This will allow the system to add together the entirety of employee hours worked per week.

Step 8- Autofill a Year's Worth of Rows

Select and drag all of the cells from row 2 until row 6. Put the mouse over the edge of the final cell in the entire display. When the cursor appears as a black addition sign. continue to drag down until row 261. Now the user no longer has to worry about manually inputting in more rows for the rest of the work year.

Step 9- Enter Employee Names

Name the sheet by double-clicking on the sheet's title feature. Input the first hourly worker that needs his/her time tracked. Each employee will have a different sheet.

Step 10- Copy Info to Add a New Sheet

To create a new sheet but maintain the same formulas as this one, find the place where the sheet's number row and letter column intersect.

This will select all of the inputted data. Copy this information by pressing 'Control-C'. Go to the bottom of the sheet and select the '+' indicator. Paste in the new sheet to maintain the formulas of the first.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, here are the key points to remember about tracking employee time by using a weekly timesheet-

  • Many small businesses have opted to use an Excel timesheet or Excel template to manually input punch-in data and track regular hours, hours overtime or lunch breaks.
  • Accurate payroll is essential to prevent non-compliance, streamline work for the HR department, and pay employees accurately and on time.
  • The steps to track time in Excel are to adjust settings, input column headings, choose date formats, choose a time tracking format, configure for long time values, enter a formula to calculate hours worked per day, enter a formula to calculate hours worked per week, autofill a year's worth of rows, enter employee name, and copy and paste to create a new employee sheet.