TimeKeeper for Word Help

The nuts and bolts of TimeKeeper for Word


System Requirements

TimeKeeper for Word is Windows desktop software. It runs on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 operating systems. It will not run on a Mac — even if that Mac has Microsoft Word installed. It will not run on Linux. It will not run on smart phones or tablets — the sole exception is the Microsoft Surface Pro, which contains a full Windows operating system.

TimeKeeper for Word is an Add In to Microsoft Word. This means it installs itself INTO Word. It is not standalone software. Before installing TimeKeeper for Word, you must have Word 2016, 2013 or 2010 installed. Earlier versions of Microsoft Word are not supported. Mac versions of Word are not supported. Tablet versions of Word are not supported. Other word processors such as Open Office, Google Docs, etc. are not supported.

Installation

Full installation instructions can be found on the download page. Please follow all the steps outlined. In the event of any errors or failure to launch TimeKeeper for Word, refer to the FAQs page, which outlines all the common questions and possible issues that might arise.

Storing Your Stats

TimeKeeper for Word records the time you spend working on an individual document, as well as the word count for that document. It records this information on a daily basis, and can display that information in a table inside Microsoft Word. TimeKeeper for Word is switched on by default, and begins recording information for each document as soon as you open that document.

The stats recorded by TimeKeeper for Word are stored in an individual file with the same name as whichever document you are working in, but with a different file extension. The file extension is TIMEKEEPER. If you have a folder than contains 10 documents, and you open and work on each document over the course of a week or month, TimeKeeper for Word will create 10 new TIMEKEEPER files, one per document. How that looks inside Windows Explorer depends on your Explorer settings. Two examples are shown below, for two Word documents, the first called “Oz,” the second “The Big Project.”

Example 1
TimeKeeper File Icons

Example 2
TimeKeeper File Names

At first, this may seem excessive. But, using such a simple mechanism means there is no larger, more central database that might become corrupt, losing all or most of your stats. If a problem occurs, it will occur only to a single set of stats. A second advantage to this storage format is that it makes it extremely easy to copy your stats file along with your Word document so that you can work on it on a different PC and continue storing and building up your work stats.

Instead of copying or moving a Word document, you would copy and move a Word document and its accompanying TIMEKEEPER file. As the file has the same name as your document, and sits in the very same folder, locating it should never be a problem.

Reading Your Document History

Once installed, TimeKeeper for Word adds a new TimeKeeper menu ribbon to Microsoft Word. This ribbon contains a small number of buttons that allow you to open the results table, as well as options to switch TimeKeeper on or off, and to adjust various settings to suit your working style and tastes.

TimeKeeper for Word Menu Ribbon

The Document History button will open a table to the left of the word processor. This table outlines your daily stats, and provides a total at the bottom. When you first install TimeKeeper for Word, you are likely to begin working on existing documents that already contain words and that you have already spent time working on. As TimeKeeper for Word has no way of knowing how much time you spent on this document prior to first opening it, it shows the existing word count information as a Legacy figure, and the existing time spent as 0.

TimeKeeper for Word Results Table

Over time, you may notice that for certain days the Time Spent figure will display ‘...’ This signifies a time period of less than a minute was spent on the document that day.

What Constitutes Working Time?

TimeKeeper for Word differs from other time tracking utilities in that it does not trust you, the user. There are similar products out there that rely on the user to click a button when they begin work, and click another button when they stop work. This approach has a fatal flaw. Users cannot be relied upon to switch these buttons on or off at appropriate times.

For example, if you leave your computer to make a cup of coffee, will you always remember to switch off your time tracking program? If your phone rings and you find yourself dragged into a 30 minute call, will you remember? If you have a brief conversation with a colleague that ends with you being dragged into a meeting for an hour?

All of these scenarios are common, and lead to data that is simply unreliable. Far better to allow the software you are working in to work out that you are no longer actively working. If you then wish to ‘massage’ the figures later to reflect a greater working time, that’s up to you.

Microsoft Word contains a feature that totals up editing time for your document. It’s a useful, but limited feature that offers only a shadow of the information and reliability of TimeKeeper for Word. For a start, it cannot break down that time day by day, simply presenting you with a grand total. Secondly, it fails to correctly stop counting time when you stop work. And finally, if you exit a document without saving, all of that time you spent working prior to saving is lost.

TimeKeeper for Word monitors your activity. Every time you press a key it knows you’re working. If you stop pressing keys for a period longer than one minute, it assumes that you are no longer working. At this point it rolls back to the last second you were active and stops the clock from that point. You can’t cheat. Your ‘away’ time is not counted. Your coffee breaks are not counted. Your Wikipedia time is not counted. Your phone conversation with your friend that you were sure lasted a minute or two is not counted. The working time figure is for real.

Not only does it record working time, it also records reading time. So long as you’re busy using the keyboard — paging up and down, using the arrow keys, etc. This all counts as work. Unless you choose to exclude this sort of activity, which you can by switching it off in the Preferences dialog.

Buttons and Preferences

The TimeKeeper for Word menu ribbon has a limited set of buttons. You can switch TimeKeeper for Word on or off, thereby stopping or starting the app. This is a global setting, NOT a document setting. It’s either on or off for all documents. You can open or close the results table by clicking the Document History button.

TimeKeeper for Word Ribbon

The Preferences button opens the Preferences dialog mentioned above, which allows you to make a small number of customisations to TimeKeeper for Word. You can choose to include or exclude reading activity in your working time. You can switch on or off the columns displayed in the results table. Business users may have no interest in their daily word counts, and creative writers may only be interested in that figure. You can customise the date formats and the hour and minute display options — a limited acknowledgment that not all users will be English speaking.

TimeKeeper for Word Preferences

The final button opens a simple About dialog which contains version number information, as well as links to the TimeKeeper for Word website and to other websites and products from Bad Wolf Software. If you find TimeKeeper for Word of use, you should keep an eye on the website, as we are planning updates with changes and new features. There is also a possibility that we will be releasing a feature rich commercial version of this add in for business users.

And that’s it for TimeKeeper for Word. It’s simple to use, runs in the background without bothering you, busily capturing and storing information until you choose to look at it.

If you have any issues with TimeKeeper for Word, check out the FAQ page. The most common problems are addressed on this page, as are the most commonly asked questions.

NO, there is no Mac version, and YES it runs on Windows 10.