How-To Geek

Find out How Long You’ve Been Working on a Document (or Presentation)

One of the things most writers want to know is how much time they’re spending on writing a piece of text. If you use Microsoft Word for all your writing needs, you’re in luck, because it is really easy to find out the time consumed on the editing of a Word document.

When you start working on a new Word document, a timer starts, and once you save the document, the time consumed thus far is saved as the ‘total editing time’. You continue to work on the document, and save it again, and the time elapsed since the last save is added to the total editing time. However, if you exit without saving the document, the time since the last save won’t be added to the total time. In our testing, this feature was found to be present in Office ’03, 07’, and ‘10.

So when you’re working on the document and want to check the total time consumed so far (since the beginning), click the Office logo, navigate to Prepare, and click Properties.

In the properties pane, click Document Properties>Advanced Properties.

In the properties window, click the Statistics tab, and have a look at the updated Total Editing Time. If you’re on Office ’10, click the File tab, navigate to Info, and under the Properties section, you can find the Total Editing Time field. It shows the time passed since the beginning of the document till now, and it also includes the time since the last save, so if you exit without saving, the document properties will show the time till the last save.

You can try this with your existing MS Word documents as well. Make sure the document is not open, navigate to the location where it is saved, and click it. You’ll see some details and statistics in the details pane. Have a look at the ‘Total Editing Time’ field.

The time format is H:M:S, but it doesn’t count seconds, so all you get is the total editing time in hours and minutes. In this case, it’s 0 hours and 39 minutes. You can check this by another method as well. Right click the document, click Properties, click the Details tab, and find the Total Editing Time field.

It is worth mentioning that some problems are associated with this. Sometimes, Word continues running the timer in the background even if you’re working on something other than the document (that’s my case, others may vary). Another problem is that this feature does not work in Germany (and a couple of other regions),  and you’ll see 0 minutes as the total editing time. Fortunately, here’s a fix to enable this feature for those regions.

And here’s the good news. As the title states, this works for MS PowerPoint as well, just follow all these steps for PowerPoint, and you can see the total time you’ve worked on a presentation. Share your interesting editing times in the comments!

Here's our very own regular reader. He's an aspiring tech writer, and obsessed with all things tech!

  • Published 12/20/11

Comments (11)

  1. Harkaboy

    Thanks you! Very useful! [:

  2. anom

    In 2010 it is in the info section

  3. Dabheid

    Awesome, been using MS word and other MS Office programs for quite some time now and this will help. Cheers again, Usman and HTG.

  4. Phylis Sophical

    Excellent info. Never knew this. I have Office2k pro and it’s under File > Properties > Statistics tab. Very Cool!

  5. Steve-O-Rama

    Sorta funny there’s an apple keyboard in the first image..? :)

    It’s a good job EAGLE doesn’t have such a timer/counter. It’d probably make me really depressed!

  6. Anak

    In OpenOffice 3.3.0, this feature can be found at the bottom of the .odt’s
    >Properties >Document Statistics tab.

  7. A. S. Bhasker Raj

    Good report will help many writers

  8. Rob

    … also to be used to see just how long that canned document has been recycled.

  9. Shangdu

    So…if you had the document open all day it would record the time whether you are working on it or not?

  10. Usman

    Maybe yes, maybe not.

    In my testing, sometimes it showed this behavior. Minimizing Word (or just switching to another Window) paused the timer, and sometimes it didn’t. That’s why it was mentioned:
    “Sometimes, Word continues running the timer in the background even if you’re working on something other than the document (that’s my case, others may vary)”

    Honestly, I dunno the reason behind this :)

  11. deannbryant

    my roomate’s half-sister makes $69 an hour on the computer. She has been fired for 8 months but last month her check was $7446 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here…MakeCash7DOTcom

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