I have a text file containing flight times, hours and minutes separated by colon sign, one per line:


I am currently using Apple's Numbers application with a simple formula to calculate the total time (result being 4:28 for the example data above).

However, I was wondering if there is an easier way to achieve this. A perl script would work all right, but how about using Unix shell commands and/or scripting? I am basically looking for anything short and simple.

Yes, I can manage with Numbers, but this would be nice to know and learn :).

p.s. Posting perl script to achieve this in case someone else needs it:

#! /usr/bin/perl
while (<>) {
  ($hours, $minutes) = split (/:/, $_);
  $totalhours += $hours;
  $totalminutes += $minutes; 
while ($totalminutes > 59) {
  $totalminutes -= 60;
printf ("%d:%02d\n", $totalhours, $totalminutes);

As you note, there are many possibilities. The following versions with awk are roughly equivalent to the perl you included with your question:

  1. (with GNU awk):

    awk -F : '{acch+=$1;accm+=$2;} ENDFILE { \
    print acch+int(accm/60)  ":" accm%60; }' [inputfile]
  2. (with "POSIX" awk):

    awk -F : '{acch+=$1;accm+=$2;print acch+int(accm/60) \
                 ":" accm%60; }' [inputfile] | tail -1
  • Useful for calculating cumulative times (without the tail pipe). +1 – Simo A. Sep 28 '14 at 21:38

A "one-liner" version in Perl:

perl -F: -lane '$a+=$F[0]*60+$F[1];END{printf "%02d:%02d\n",$a/60,$a%60}' file
  • Added ct () { perl -F: -lane '$a+=$F[0]*60+$F[1];END{printf "%02d:%02d\n",$a/60,$a%60}' "$@"; } to my .bash_profile. Nice! – Simo A. Sep 28 '14 at 21:45
  • perfect! if i get hours:minutes:seconds this will be the code perl -F: -lane '$a+=$F[0]*3600+$F[1]*60+$F[2];END{printf "%02d:%02d:%02d\n",$a/3600,$a/60,$a%60}' file – Ambigus9 Mar 8 at 1:11

This should work in any POSIX-compatible shell:

# usage: time-add.sh < times.txt
while IFS=: read -r hours minutes; do
    sum=$(($sum + $hours * 60 + $minutes))
total=$(($sum / 60)):$(($sum % 60))
echo $total

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