Close this search box.

It is show time baby! – better designer clocks to display time in your spreadsheets



My polar clock using donut charts in excel started a conversation and readers have been awesome enough to download the excel and create their own clocks to show time. Even though the idea of this blog is share the little that I know with you, it is amazing how much I have learned from you all. It just emphasizes that what ever you give away will come back to you in better shape.

So here are few ideas the readers have shared with me through mail / comments.


The polar chart with animation effect

Reader darone commented that he created a macro to hit “f9” repetitively thus creating the animation effect. My friend Jon took it a step further created the animation using some nifty VBA and shared the spreadsheet here. Download and play with it to learn how to run a function periodically using VBA. The key part of the code is:

Application.OnTime Now + TimeValue("0:0:1"), Me.CodeName & "." & "doThis"
The above line would tell MS-Office to run doThis after 1 second from NOW. If you include this line in the code of doThis() then every time it runs, it tells windows to relaunch the function after one second. Very neat and effective way to reduce processor overload that darone faced.

Also read Jon’s comments on the original polar clock post at time is on my side.


Swiss designer Chromachron clock using Pie charts in Excel

Robert, another avid reader and an excel guru liked the polar clock idea and thought why not create the famous chromachron clock in excel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, chromachron is a clock that tells time on a color-time-circle.

On a chronometer time is shown by hands and numerals. Differently on Chromachron, the color-time-watch: Its face is not a dial but a color-time-circle, over which a black disk revolves with a piece cut out as large as a color segment. The disk revolves with the speed of one color area per hour. The disk cut-out indicates the time.

[read more]

So Robert took 2 pie charts, one with 12 colors to get the background. Another with 2 colors one black and another transparent to get the rotating disc effect. So when the time 12:00, you can see yellow portion alone, as you move towards 1:00 you will see more orange color. Download and play with Robert’s sheet.

Both these files have VBA on them so you may want to enable it to get the desired results, but they are safe so go crazy 😀

After seeing this two fine examples I had to do one more clock. This time I choose the grid based clock and did it in an excel grid using conditional formatting to fill cells. How did I do it, well that is your home work. Go figure…


Need more clock ideas? Try the procrastinator’s clock or some other idea featured on the 10 creative ways to show time

More on Clocks: Give your time series data a twist, plot around clock

More on Visualization fun: Tag clouds in excel using VBA, Square Pies in Excel, not everything is round, Olympic Medals on a map


Share this tip with your colleagues

Excel and Power BI tips - Chandoo.org Newsletter

Get FREE Excel + Power BI Tips

Simple, fun and useful emails, once per week.

Learn & be awesome.

Welcome to Chandoo.org

Thank you so much for visiting. My aim is to make you awesome in Excel & Power BI. I do this by sharing videos, tips, examples and downloads on this website. There are more than 1,000 pages with all things Excel, Power BI, Dashboards & VBA here. Go ahead and spend few minutes to be AWESOME.

Read my storyFREE Excel tips book

Overall I learned a lot and I thought you did a great job of explaining how to do things. This will definitely elevate my reporting in the future.
Rebekah S
Reporting Analyst
Excel formula list - 100+ examples and howto guide for you

From simple to complex, there is a formula for every occasion. Check out the list now.

Calendars, invoices, trackers and much more. All free, fun and fantastic.

Advanced Pivot Table tricks

Power Query, Data model, DAX, Filters, Slicers, Conditional formats and beautiful charts. It's all here.

Still on fence about Power BI? In this getting started guide, learn what is Power BI, how to get it and how to create your first report from scratch.

2 Responses to “It is show time baby! – better designer clocks to display time in your spreadsheets”

  1. Robert says:

    Chandoo: Thanks for posting the idea. And thanks for the compliment.

    A small correction to your text: In the chromachron version you posted for download, there is no vba included. That is why - unlike Jon's version of the donut clock - it does not update automatically (only manually by pressing F9).

    But you could easily insert Jon's code into the chromachron sheet. All you have to do is changing the cell reference (F4 instead of D3). Furthermore: since it is a clock that does not show seconds, it is probably more than sufficient to update it every minute (or even every 5 minutes?). Your call.

  2. Eranthius says:

    I need that block measurement formula in my life!!

Leave a Reply