Understanding the 24-hour Time Format on Day Trading Charts

In the U.S. at least, the everyday person does not often encounter the 24-hour time format or “military time” as it’s sometimes called. New traders often encounter the 24-hour format when looking at charts. To assist with understanding, we’ve written this little guide.

Unfortunately, many trading platforms (NinjaTrader included) do not provide charts with regular time. You’re stuck looking at the 24-hour format.

However, with some mental math and a bit of memorization, working with the 24-hour time format can get easier:

• From 1 a.m. to noon regular time, the 24-hour time format is the same, so no conversion is needed.

• From 1 p.m. to midnight regular time, you can subtract 12 from the 24-hour time to get the regular time. For example, 13:00 – 12 = 1:00 p.m. regular time. Another example: 23:30 – 12 = 11:30 p.m. regular time.

• On some 24-hour clocks and perhaps NinjaTrader charts, you may see either 00:00 or 24:00 representing midnight. However, once a second rolls past the midnight hour, the time will start with “00”. For example, 00:00:01 is  12:00:01 a.m. regular time.

• Minutes and seconds behave the same in both time formats. Count up to to 59 seconds, and a new minute begins with the next second.

• If you need to convert a time zone to local time, you will still add or subtract the time zone difference between your time zone to the other geographical region. Not much changes. After your time zone conversion math is done, use the concepts described above to change the format to 24-hour or regular time.

If you want to get used to the 24-hour time faster, consider using a wristwatch that also has 24-hour times listed or adjust your smartphone’s time display.

This conversion website and the following reference pictures may further help your understanding.

NinjaTrader Chart 24-Hour Time Format

24-Hour Charting Clock

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