How to make a Pilot Logbook

How to make a Pilot Logbook

Here’s how to create a basic pilot logbook using Microsoft Excel.

Video: How to make a pilot logbook.

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We’re going to make an electronic version based on the Jeppesen Pilot Logbook layout.

Of course, you can change the format to suit your own countries layout, so, to make this whole process easier for yourself, it’s a great idea to have your own Paper Logbook next to you – so that you can reference the correct layout and the heading names etc.

If you don’t have Microsoft Excel, and you’re an Apple user, you can use Numbers or you can use a free alternative like Google Sheets.

Google Sheets is basically an online version of Excel that you can access through your web browser on any device and have it sync through the cloud – and the best part – it’s all free.

Microsoft Excel

We’re going to start by Opening a New Blank Workbook.

Let’s start by making a few adjustments to the layout which will help us build the logbook.

Select all cells in the Worksheet by clicking the Grey Triangle in the top left-hand corner.

“Align Text Centre”, Horizontally and Vertically.

Next, select “Wrap Text” – this will ensure all the text you enter is visible, even if it’s too big for the cell.

Align Text and Wrap Text

Let’s make the width of each cell narrower, so that we can fit everything onto one screen without having to scroll across. I like round numbers, so we’ll reduce the width to about 50 pixels and see how that looks.

  • Select all the cells in the Worksheet by clicking the grey Triangle in the top left-hand corner
  • Hover your mouse over the separation lines between A/B/C
  • Click and drag to make it smaller.
Adjust logbook heading widths

Cool, now we’re going to enter all of your Logbook Headings. 

Again, it’s great to have your paper logbook with you, so that you can just glance across and type them all in.

Insert Table

Once we’ve done that, we’re going to Format the table using Excel’s pre-built table formats.

To do this, select all your Headings (except for the top one) and lots of rows beneath. 

“Insert” -> “Table”. Select: “My Table has Headings

Create Pilot Logbook table

The reason why we don’t select the top row is that according to Excel logic, the Table can only have 1 row as the heading. Now, as our paper Pilot Logbook has two rows which are headings, so we’ll manually change the format of the top row ourselves.

Now that we’ve inserted the table, this has undone our changes to the cell width which we did earlier, so we’ll just need to again make them narrower, so that everything fits on one screen.

Add Total Rows

Once we’ve got everything looking nice and neat, we can then add in the Totals at the bottom of the logbook.

“Table” -> select: “Total Row”. This adds in a new row at the bottom.

Add Pilot Logbook totals

Click the total cell for “Total Duration of Flight”, click the grey drown arrow and select “Sum” – this will automatically add in the formula to add up all the values in that particular column.

You can repeat this step for all the other columns, or just click and drag the formula across which is much easier. 

To drag them across, click the cell we’ve just worked on, then a little square will appear in the bottom right-hand corner. Hover your mouse over that square and a black cross will appear. Click and drag that all the way across to the end of the table.

Automatically create formulas for totalling hours

And you’re done!

How to make a basic pilot logbook in Excel

Add more Logbook Entries

Insert more rows as you go. Highlight a bunch, right click, “Insert New Row“.

However many rows your highlight is the number of rows which will be added, so the more you highlight, the more new rows you’ll get.

Add new Logbook Entries

Freeze Logbook Headings

Once you have a few hundred entries, it’s going to be a lot easier if you can see the headings as you scroll down.

To do this, click the row which contains your first logbook entry. In this example, highlight Row 3.

“Window” -> “Freeze Panes”.

Freeze logbook headings


Date and Time format

If you’d like to log your hours in h:mm format or would like to change the date format, head to our Operations Manual to find out more details.

More options…

There’s so much more you can do with Excel to create a truly functional electronic pilot logbook. 

And the best part is, you don’t have to pay any expensive monthly subscription fees! It’s an Excel spreadsheet – it’s yours for life!

What we’ve just done today is exactly how my logbook started out 14 years ago – in a simple spreadsheet. 

We’ve spent years developing it and now have a professional version with heaps of more great features including dashboard which breaks down your hours by aircraft type, flight hour summaries, currency, IFR recency, reports and even the right formatting for you to print your electronic logbook! 

Check out our electronic pilot logbook.

About the author

Max is an Airline Pilot based in New Zealand. He has a background in Charter flying, Instructing and loves Aerobatics. Holds an Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL) and a Bachelor's Degree in Aviation (BAv). Founder of Excel Pilot Logbook.

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