Timewriting Assistant

Do you need to bill your clients on hourly basis for some activities, such as PDF document conversion or post-formatting of documents? If the answer is yes, you may find it a bit difficult to track those hours accurately.

Timewriting Assistant is a free Microsoft Excel workbook developed specially for tracking and reporting hours. The workbook automatically calculates total hours worked for each activity every day of the week, and allows you to create an accurate summary of these hours for your clients.

Obtaining and opening Timewriting Assistant

  1. Download Timewriting Assistant (current version: 2.0, 24 Feb 2016). Within the ZIP package, you will find two files:

    • timewriting assistant (Excel 2000-2003).xls (for all Office versions);
    • timewriting assistant (Excel 2007+).xlsm (for Office 2007 and newer versions).
  2. Choose one of the versions most appropriate for your desktop. You can use the first file in any Office version starting with Office 2000, while the second file can be used only within Office 2007 and later versions.

  3. Save a copy of the file as a template. You will need to use this fresh template to create a separate workbook for every week, because the file can track hours for a single week only.

  4. Open the file.

    If presented with Enable Macros dialogue or a notification below the menu, choose to enable macros.

    If macros become disabled, your Macro Security settings block the macros contained in the file. To unblock macros, you need to change Macro Security level as follows:

    • in Excel 2003 and earlier, go to Tools -> Macro -> Security... and select Medium, then re-open the file and choose to enable macros;
    • in Excel 2007 and later, open the Options dialogue by clicking Options under the File tab (Excel 2010+) or under the large Microsoft Office icon in the top left corner (Excel 2007), then choose Trust Center from the list on the left, and click Trust Center Settings... button. In the new dialogue, choose Macro Settings from the list on the left and select ‘Disable all macros with notification’, then re-open the file and choose to enable macros.

Using Timewriting Assistant

The first sheet, Cover, allows you to erase all previously entered data from all sheets (using ‘Clear all sheets’ button) and copy a summary of all hours worked during the week grouped by project (using ‘Copy week totals to clipboard’ button). It also contains detailed instructions on the tool's usage.

The other sheets allow you to track hours spent on activities performed during that day of the week (e.g., the sheet named ‘Sat’ is for Saturday, etc.). To do this:

  • enter a description of the activity,
  • enter a short code of the project (when entering the project code, precede the code with an apostrophe ' if the name is numeric, e.g. 010),
  • note the sequential number of the activity displayed on the left, e.g. 1, 2, 3, and then enter that number in one of the 15-minute slots on the left side of the sheet. The total hours will be updated automatically for that activity.

When you need to generate a weekly summary of all hours worked on a particular project code, go to the Cover sheet and click ‘Copy week totals to clipboard’ button. This will copy a tabulated summary of your hours to the clipboard. After this, create a blank Excel workbook (or use another spreadsheet application) and paste the contents of the clipboard. You will see a list of all projects with a summary of hours spent on that project during every day of the week. On the right side, you will see a comma-separated list of all activities performed on the project.

Here is a sample hour summary produced by Timewriting Assistant:

Project Sat. Sun. Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Description
Microsoft     2     0,5 1,75 OCR
Facebook       1,5 8 6,5 4,5 Presentation formatting, post-editing
Google     6 6,5   1 1,75 Fixing table of contents + headers/footers

If you have ideas on how to improve the template to benefit all translators, or want to give a hand in modifying the template, drop us a line.