How to Convert Time to UTC Using Hour Offset Numbers (+1, -5, etc.)

You have probably seen those + and – signs next to UTC times and wondered what they are. Well, they are there to help you convert the time back to UTC, or to find your own local time in another time zone. 

Learn: What is UTC?

It’s easy to convert any time to UTC using hour offset numbers in the time and date stamp. These are the + and – signs next to the symbol, UTC, for instance 2:00 PM UTC +2, or 1400 UTC +2.

By doing this you can figure out the exact time in UTC or GMT and coordinate meetings, appointments, or any other timed event around the world. You can also find the time in your own time zone using UTC offset numbers.

Here’s how to convert to UTC time using hour offset numbers

  1. Start by noting the time and offset number. It is expressed as a time like 1:00 PM and then UTC with + or – and another number (i.e. 1:00 PM UTC +2)
  2. To get the time in the UTC, reverse the symbol next to the hour offset in the time. I.E. if it is a +, change it to minus. If it is a – change it to a plus.  (It will always be either + or – symbol and a number next to UTC for an offset.)
  3. Perform the calculation using your new symbol and the time in the time stamp. Example: if it is UTC + 2, subtract 2 from the time. UTC -5, add five hours to the time. Example: 1:00 PM UTC + 2. The time listed was 2 hours ahead of UTC. Change the + to a – and calculate. You subtract 2 hours from the time to get UTC time. 1:00 PM – 2 hours = 11:00 AM.
  4. To change to military time, simply convert the hours to the 24-hour format.  Example: 1:00 PM UTC -2 would be 1:00 PM + 2 hours = 3:00 PM. 3:00 PM military time is 1200 + 300 hours, or 1500 UTC.

Heres another example: The time is 1:00 PM UTC +3. Take 1:00 PM, and subtract 3 hours (- 3). Or, 1:00 PM – 3 hours. The answer is 11:00 AM UTC.