How-To

Track How Much Time Spent Editing Word 2016 Documents

Microsoft Word for Windows and Mac automatically tracks total editing time of documents. Here’s where to find it.

You probably didn’t know this, but Word 2016 has a great feature for tracking how much time is spent creating or editing a document. I only just discovered it recently and instantly thought of legal and writer types who need to keep track of billable time. I personally use it to help me prioritize and adjust how much time is dedicated to authoring and editing certain documents at any one time. Anyway, here’s how it works and where to find the feature.

How to Find the Total Editing Time for Microsoft Word Documents on Windows

The total Editing time keeps track of how long you have the document open, not when it’s actively edited. Keep this in mind as you begin paying more attention to it.

You can find the editing time on a document multiple ways. For Word 2016 for Windows, click File Menu > Info tab in Backstage. Under the Properties column, it will list the “Total Editing Time”. In my document below it shows 682 minutes.

Another location is the Properties box of the file.

Right-click the file in File Explorer > Properties > Details tab. Scroll down to Total editing time to view the details.

How to find Total Editing Time with Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac

In Word 2016 for Mac, open the document, Click File > Properties.

Select the Statistics tab to view the total editing time. The Finder does not support this option, so you will always have to open Word for Mac to view it.

You might be wondering, what about other Microsoft Office files. Unfortunately, this feature is limited to Microsoft Word. I searched through Excel and Powerpoint but it appears Microsoft left it out in those apps.

How to find Total Editing Time with Libre Office

At Groovypost, we are equal opportunity technologists, so, here’s a bonus for Linux systems too. Users of the open source operating system are limited to the Libre Office open source productivity suite. The bundled word processor includes a total editing time feature, too. Open your Libre Writer document, click File > Properties > General tab.

Let us know what you think. Do you find this feature helpful or more of a thin line between privacy invasion as I heard some describe it?


8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Richard  

    Thanks for posting this info Andre! I have bookmarked this posting. You are right….I did not know that you could track how much time is spent creating or editing a document. Thanks Again!

  2. Alexander  

    For once, Word for Mac has the same feature as Word for Windows!

    Awesome tip groovypost. Thank you!

  3. Eric Fletcher  

    This document property has been available in Word for many years. You can access the value via field codes at any time anywhere in a document. Try this:

    1. Press Ctrl-F9 to get the field code braces (shows as { }).
    2. Type “DOCPROPERTY TotalEditingTime” (without the quotes) and press F9.

    Word will display the total editing time for the document. If you update the field later (select & press F9), the new value will show.

    The same results will be displayed if you use the standalone “EditTime” field code.

    You can also use values like this in calculations: a nested field code formula like { = { numpages } / { edittime } * 60 } would display the average edit time in minutes per page for the document; { = { numwords } / { DOCPROPERTY Paragraphs } \# “#.00” } would display the average number of words per paragraph in the document shown to 2 decimal places.

    The DOCPROPERTY group of field codes include most of the variables shown in the Properties panel, and several more related to document statistics. Many more field codes are available via the Insert > Quick Parts > Field… dialog.

    Field codes are often overlooked, and can be far more useful than most users realize IMHO.

  4. Safeed  

    How can I change(increase) total editing time of Ms word win10…..?

  5. alex  

    Now the question is: If you have the word document open without adding text but the document is active open, wouldn’t it add more editing time even though you are not working on the document?

  6. Eric Fletcher  

    In Windows, Word’s { DOCPROPERTY TotalEditingTime } field code will report the number of minutes that the document has been open in an active window. The editing time stops accumulating if the document is minimized. However, it will continue to accumulate if it is open and visible even if Window’s focus is in a different app on the same monitor or on another monitor.

    Short of re-saving the document with a different name, I’m not aware of any UI method in Word to change the reported time value.

  7. Lori  

    This is a USELESS measurement. It measures only the time that the cursor is active in the document. If you have to switch to a browser to look something up or a stylesheet document or anything else, it won’t count that time. And if your cursor is active in the document and you get up to get a cup of coffee, check the mail, walk the dog, or take a week-long Caribbean vacation, it will count that time. Do not rely on this measurement for anything related to billing.

    I always do a save as at the end of an editing job to zero out that number, lest anyone get confused.

  8. Eric Fletcher  

    You are partly correct Lori, but like anything related to billing, you need to be rigorous for it to work for you. Since I have been using Word’s TotalEditingTime property to help me track my time for billing for >25 years, I am aware of the limitations and work with them.

    The cursor doesn’t have to be active in the document; the clock is running even while the cursor is elsewhere when the document is open AND ON TOP in Word. If I forget to close the document while I go for lunch, its “edit time” will end up including my lunch break — so I’ve developed the habit of closing the document (or bringing an unrelated Word document to the top) when I don’t want the time to be tracked for a given job. On the other hand, since I have dual monitors, I am able to pop over to the other monitor to look something up while my Word document is open and know that the time will be counted (as it should).

    When I move from one phase of the job to another, I use Save As to have a different name AND restart the editing time to be able to track details of that phase. Specific naming conventions are used by my custom tools to perform the analysis I need. The custom macros collect the various files associated with a job name and properties (including TotalEditingTime) to build a file I can open in Excel to work out my job costs. If there are obvious anomalies — such as an excessively long time for a normally short task — I can make adjustments in the spreadsheet to correct for situations where I left a document open while being out for lunch.

    Finally, I always do a “sanity check” before preparing the bill to make sure the total is reasonable. The custom routines bring in other properties like word, character & page count to calculate metrics I can compare to my historic normals for the various stages of preparing documents (i.e $/page, $/thousand words, etc.).

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