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How to calculate time difference in python

January 1, 20246 min read

In the programming world time difference means the difference between two points of time and is usually measured in seconds and milliseconds. Calculating time difference is necessary in various contexts such as data analysis, performance analysis, task scheduling, etc.

Knowing the time difference between the beginning and end of your code helps you evaluate its performance. It plays an important role in performing time-related tasks. Additionally, in-game animations, user interface, and game statistics are common components that work using time differences. If you want to know how to calculate time difference, this tutorial is for you. Here, we will explain various examples to know time difference in Python.

How to calculate time difference in python

The “import datetime” concept in Python imports the datetime as a class. So, when you use datetime in your code, it refers to the Datetime class, not the entire Datetime module. This avoids confusion when accessing the compiler as a class.

Calculate time difference in seconds

This method lets you measure the time elapsed between two points of time.

    1. First, import the DateTime class from the DateTime module. Please read the following note to know more.
    2. Initialize two variables with a starting and ending point of time. Enter the values ​​as “HH:MM:SS” where HH, MM and SS represent hour, minute and second respectively.
    3. Use the strptime() function to represent input time values ​​in any format. Also, use the time() function to convert these values ​​to seconds.
    4. Finally, calculate the time difference using the arithmetic operator “-“.

Here is its simple program:

import datetime from datetime
start_time = “16:10:20”

end_time = “23:20:20”

time1 = datetime.strptime,start_time, “%H:%M:%S”,
printing,'Start time is:'time1.time,,,

time2 = datetime.strptime,Last Time, “%H:%M:%S”,
printing,'time lags:'time2.time,,,

time_difference = time2 – time1
printing,“There is a time difference”time_difference.total_seconds,,, “second”,

Calculate time difference in hours, minutes and seconds

In some cases, you may need to calculate time in different units:

    1. Import DateTime as a class.
    2. Store the initial and final values ​​of time in two variables. After that, use the strptime() function to correct their format.
    3. Use arithmetic operators and logic to determine the required units of time difference.

You can use the following programs for this:

import datetime from datetime
Initial = “16:10:20”
final = “23:20:20”
time_1 = datetime.strptime,Initial, “%H:%M:%S”,
time_2 = datetime.strptime,Last, “%H:%M:%S”,
time_difference = time_2 – time_1
seconds = time_difference.total_seconds,,
printing,'There is a time difference' seconds, 'second',
minutes = seconds , 60
printing,'There is a time difference' minutes, 'minutes',
hour = second , 3600
printing,'There is a time difference' Hour, 'hours',

Running the previous part of the code you will get the following results:

Calculate the difference in execution time of your program

Knowing the execution time of your program is an intuitive process. This section explains it briefly.

Add two variables to your code, one at the beginning and one at the end. Initialize them as to store the value of current time.

Use the total_thirds() function to calculate the time difference. This is the time it takes for your program to execute.

import datetime from datetime
start =,,
# Enter your code here
end =,,
difference = ,end – start,.total_seconds,,
printing,'Taken your program'Difference, 'Seconds to execute.',

Compiling the previous program you will get the following result:

Calculate time difference with divmod() function

The divmod() function in Python takes a pair of numbers as input and returns an array containing their quotients and remainders.

You can use the divmod() function to separate the number of seconds into minutes and seconds. For example, 1520 seconds is converted to 252 minutes and 2 seconds.

Example 1: When you have the date and time.

import date time
start_datetime = datetime.datetime,202, 9, 1, 8, 15, 21,
final_datetime = datetime.datetime,2023, 9, 1, 8, 15, 41,
time_difference = ,end_datetime – start_datetime,.total_seconds,,
printing,'There is a time difference'time difference, 'second',
interval_minutes = divmod,time difference, 60,
printing,'There is a time difference'interval_minutes[0], 'minutes'interval_minutes[1], 'second',

Example 2: Same date but different time.

import datetime from datetime
start_time = “20:12:23”
end_time = “21:43:18”
time_1 = datetime.strptime,start_time, “%H:%M:%S”,
time_2 = datetime.strptime,Last Time, “%H:%M:%S”,
time_difference = ,time_2 – time_1,.total_seconds,,
printing,'There is a time difference'time difference, 'second',
interval_minutes = divmod,time difference, 60,
printing,'The time difference is in minutes'interval_minutes[0], 'Minute more'interval_minutes[1], 'second' ,


Understanding the time difference calculator in Python is essential for many tasks. That is why we have included various examples that will help you understand the time difference concept in Python. Furthermore, we explained how to convert the obtained time difference value into different time units.

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