I have a shapefile line layer with an attribute for time in float format.

This is what 23.21 and 55 seconds looks like:


This is 03.27 and 01 seconds:


I would like to convert this to a proper time format in Field Calculator.

  • What data type for the new field?
    – Bera
    Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 13:03
  • I think Time would be best? Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 13:43
  • Lines Shapefile Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 13:46
  • 2
    As far as I know there is no time data type in shapefiles. Maybe text/string will be best
    – Bera
    Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


This should do the trick:

to_time( to_string( "<float_time_field>" ), 'hmmss.z' )

Since Shapefiles do not support time data types (there is date, but that cannot work without a date...), an easy fix for the above would be to write a string representation of your time:

format_date( to_time( to_string( "<float_time_field>" ), 'hmmss.z' ), 'hh:mm:ss:z' )

Remove :z to not include milliseconds.

While you could achieve the same results with plain regexp logic, using the time detour is somewhat more convenient.

  • Hmm; not working, I'm trying this: to_time( to_string( "HMMSS" ), 'hmmss.z' ) Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 13:48
  • 3
    @Bacon_Sammich Yeah, as @BERA said, Shapefiles do not support time. See my update. You can also wait for someone to add a regexp based solution; I doubt there is much to gain from avoiding the time detour in favor for regexp in the expression, though.
    – geozelot
    Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 14:04
  • I got really close with this: try (format_date( to_time( to_string( "Time_Float" ), 'hhmmss.z' ), 'hh:mm' ), (format_date( to_time( to_string( "Time_Float" ), 'hmmss.z' ), 'hh:mm' ))) But there are still some values that don't compute, like '1157.85'. Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 15:28
  • 4
    Well, TBH, that's probably the end of it; without any fixed rules to the float representation, you can't make sense of them. I.e. what does 1157.85 mean? 01:01:57? Or 01:15:07? Or 00:11:57 even?
    – geozelot
    Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 15:32
  • When you put it like that... you have an excellent point! Time to go back to the drawing board, thanks for all your help. Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 15:42

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