Time conversion seems to be pretty popular topic for Tableau. I recently worked on a project where the users wanted to display media duration in hh:mm:ss format. I looked around the Tableau forum and saw others have had this issue too. As long as the duration does not exceed 24 hours, this formula works just fine DATETIME(SUM([total dur secs]/86400)). And then use Tableau Date formatting to change to hh:mm:ss. But if duration will exceed 24 hours, this formula will not work. In my case, duration will exceed 24 hours. So here’s how I tackled this problem.

First, I needed to calculate duration in seconds before I could create the required format. Working in media, time codes go down to the frames level. So first I converted frames into aggregated seconds based on the asset frame rate, [total dur secs] = SUM([PROGRAM_DURATION]/29.97)

Now that my [total dur secs] field is in total seconds we can begin. There are probably many ways to perform this but this was the approach I took.

First, I created a [total hours] calculated field.

IF INT([total dur secs]/60/60) >=1 THEN

STR(IIF(INT( [total dur secs]/60/60)> 9, “”, “0”)) + STR(INT( [total dur secs]/60/60))

ELSE “”

END

The first line tests if the duration is greater than or equal to one hour. If that is true, then the second line tests if the duration is greater than 9 hours. If that is true, then create a blank, if false, then pad with a zero. Since I’m concatenating, the duration is converted to strings. If the total duration is not greater than an hour, then blank.

Next, I created a [total minutes : seconds] calculated field.

IF INT([total dur secs]/60) >=60 THEN

STR(IIF((INT([total dur secs]/60)-INT([total hours])*60)> 9, “”, “0”)) + STR(INT([total dur secs]/60)-INT([total hours])*60)

+ “:” +

STR(IIF(ROUND([total dur secs]–INT([total dur secs]/60)*60)> 9, “”, “0”)) +

STR(ROUND([total dur secs]–INT([total dur secs]/60)*60))

ELSEIF INT([total dur secs]/60) >=1 THEN

STR(IIF(INT([total dur secs]/60)> 9, “”, “0”)) + STR(INT([total dur secs]/60))

+ “:” +

STR(IIF(ROUND([total dur secs]–INT([total dur secs]/60)*60)> 9, “”, “0”)) +

STR(ROUND([total dur secs]–INT([total dur secs]/60)*60))

ELSE “00:” + STR(IIF(ROUND([total dur secs])> 9, “”, “0”)) + STR(ROUND([total dur secs]))

END

Let’s break down what is happening in the calculated field. The following portion below checks if [total dur secs] is greater than or equal to 60 minutes. Because I want time formatted as hh:mm:ss and I don’t want the minutes portion to exceed 60. So I subtract out [total hours] as minutes. Again, using the IIF to pad the extra zero as needed.

IF INT([total dur secs]/60) >=60 THEN

STR(IIF((INT([total dur secs]/60)-INT([total hours])*60)> 9, “”, “0”)) + STR(INT([total dur secs]/60)-INT([total hours])*60)

The next section below is calculating the seconds portion of the duration.

STR(IIF(ROUND([total dur secs]–INT([total dur secs]/60)*60)> 9, “”, “0”)) +

STR(ROUND([total dur secs]–INT([total dur secs]/60)*60))

I have to round [total dur secs] because I don’t want decimals. Then similar to the minutes calculation, I want to subtract out minutes that exceed 60. The IIF again pads for zeros as necessary.

The ELSEIF and ELSE basically repeat the same calculation, checking if minutes are greater or equal to 1 or zero respectively.

Lastly, I bring [total hours] and [total minutes : seconds] together in a new calculated field, [Total Duration].

[total hours]+ IIF([total hours]=””,[total minutes : seconds],”:”+ [total minutes : seconds])

So just as I’m about to finish this set of calculations, a new message appears in my inbox. I subscribe to Tableau Zen Master – Jonathan Drummey’s blog, and he just posted a much simpler version of time duration on, Drawing with Numbers. I guess I just prefer the scenic route. Check it out his work though, it is great.

How have you handled time duration formatting in Tableau?

Thanks for the shout-out! I’ve done those kinds of time calculations as well and whenever I see some convoluted calculation like that in the back of my mind there’s a little voice that says, “There *has* to be a simpler/easier way,” and for once that little voice was right.

Great info! One note: you have “84,600” in your calculated field, while it should read “86,400”.

Thank you! And great catch, I’ve corrected it.