TinyTracker

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Welcome to TinyTracker!

The tiniest time tracker tendered today!

How tiny?

Tinytracker is tiny.png

Yep - it only takes up as much desktop space as the name of the task you're currently working on, plus an (optional) timer to show how much time you've been working on that task. That's tiny!

What is it?

TinyTracker is a Windows tool that keeps track of how you spend your time and doesn't take up much space on your desktop. It sits on top of all windows, yet is unobtrusive and quick to use. It has a number of features that allows for integration with external systems, search for and summarise time spent and, most importantly, makes it easy to fill out your timesheets.

History

TinyTracker was originally written in 2012 as a simple Windows desktop application that kept track of how I spent my time at work. There were other existing options available for download on the internet at the time, but they all took up too much screen real estate and didn't work the way I wanted. So, I built TinyTracker to work the way I wanted and have been using it ever since whilst making minor improvements along the way and writing a wishlist of major improvements should I ever have decided to make it into a product that I wouldn't be embarrassed to show my friends. I use TinyTracker to assist me in completing my timesheets, rather than having to backtrack emails and issue tracking entries to figure out what I did over the last 3 months or so (which, let's face it, unless forced otherwise, is how often one fills out their timesheets anyway).

In early 2015, I switched from commuting by car to work to commuting by train and needed something to keep me occupied for the train ride into town. TinyTracker has since had most of the wishlist of improvements implemented and is now available for download to anyone that may find it useful.

Contact

If you have any issues with TinyTracker, or just want to say hi, you can contact me here -

Plasticcheeseemailaddress.png

Download and Installation

You can download the latest version of TinyTracker from here - Tiny Tracker Download

Using TinyTracker

Basic usage

To run, click on Start button and then click on All Programs->TinyTracker->TinyTracker

Running TinyTracker

When TinyTracker starts, it will look something like this -

Main-ui-no-tasks.png

Notice 2 items in the list box - 'OFF' and 'Nothing'. The 'OFF' option, when selected, will stop all tracking so that no time is counted. Setting it to 'Nothing' is a task for when you're not doing any work. These options cannot be removed.

Double-clicking on TinyTracker's title bar or pressing Escape will minimise TinyTracker -

TinyTracker is minimised and tracking is switched off.

Double-clicking on TinyTracker or pressing Escape again will maximise it again so that you can see the main list. You can also use the up/down arrow keys to maximise the form to change the selected task without having to press Escape first.

Tooltips/Help System

The first time TinyTracker is run a tooltip help system is enabled which describes what each function does by hovering over it with the mouse. This can be disabled in the Settings form.

Always on top

TinyTracker will stay on top of all other windows so that it's always visible and doesn't get lost. It's also very small so that you can place it over a window's title bar and it won't get in the way. You can move it around by dragging it with the mouse and double-clicking or pressing Escape again will bring back the main form again.

TinyTrackerAlwaysOnTop.png

Tracking time against a new task

To add a task, start typing the task name and hit the enter key. You can do this when TinyTracker is in a minimised or maximised state - it will automatically accept text when you start typing even if the edit field isn't selected.

TinyTracker entering a new task.png

Once you're done, hit enter and the task will appear in the list and time will be tracked against it immediately. Note that it may take up to a minute before the time displayed is updated.

TinyTracker a new task entered maximised.png

If TinyTracker was in a minimised state when you started typing, it'll return to the minimised state once you hit enter and will track the task you just entered.

TinyTracker a new task entered minimised.png

Tracking output file

After a minute of tracking (i.e.: when something other than 'OFF' is selected) a csv file will be created for the current day in the following format - YYYY-MM-DD-tinytracker.csv. For every minute that the app is tracking time, this file will be updated.

A new file is created for each day that is tracked with TinyTracker. To access these csv files, press Ctrl+. (Ctrl and the period key) or press the "." button on the main user interface. You can open these files in a text editor or spreadsheet application to view it but note that applications like Excel will place a lock on the file and if you have the current days' file open in Excel, TinyTracker won't be able to update it. When TinyTracker tries to write to the output file and fails, an error message like the following will appear -

TinyTracker Error Output File Locked.png

Writing a label to the output file

You can create a label in the output file if you wish which will just write a new line at the end of the file with zero time allocated to it. This is useful for adding a quick note to the output file. Note that this doesn't interfere with the tracking of time against the current task selected in TinyTracker.

To do this, type in name for your label and press Ctrl+L. For example, if you enter "test" as your label, TinyTracker will write "label: test" to the output file without any time allocated to it. You can also just press Ctrl+L without a name for your label which will just write "label" to the output file.

Adding multiple tasks

You can have as many tasks listed as you wish. Every time you add a new task it will be added to the list.

TinyTrackerMultipleTasks.png

Rearranging the list

Click and drag items up and down the list to rearrange them.

TinyTrackerTaskMoved.png

Deleting a task

To delete a task, select it in the list and click on the minus button or press the Delete key.

Tracking time whilst your machine is locked

TinyTracker will still track time when your machine is locked, but will mark any time spent with "(Locked)". So, for example, if you're working on "Task 123" and you lock your machine, TinyTracker will record it as "Task 123 (Locked)".

Adding a note

You can create Post-It style notes to the desktop whilst taking up minimal desktop space.

TinyTracker note.png

You can also create a note with as many lines of text as you like, and the window will only take up as much space as necessary -

TinyTracker note multiple lines.png

Pressing Ctrl+N from TinyTracker (whether minimised or maximised) will create a new note and you can start typing. When you're finished, either click away (i.e.: to another window) or press escape and the note will be fixed. To edit the note, double-click in the window and continue typing. You can create as many notes as you want by pressing Ctrl+N from TinyTracker's main window.

Pressing Ctrl+Q will close the window, or press the "x" button at the top right corner of the note window.

To relocate the note to a different place on your desktop, click and drag the window to the desired location using the mouse just as you would with TinyTracker's main window.

Notes are not saved anywhere and are lost when TinyTracker is closed.

Summarising your day's work

Main article: Tiny Tracker Summary Form


To summarise the tasks for the day, click on the 'S' button on the main window or press Ctrl-s

TinyTrackerSummaryForm.png

Completing your timesheets

Main article: Tiny Tracker Summary Calculator

Use the Summary Calculator to assist in completing your timesheets.

To access the Summary Calculator, click the Calc button on the Summary Form or by press Ctrl-D on the main form.

Settings

Main article: Settings

Many things like colours, a global hotkey to activate TinyTracker, custom functions, the path where the log files are stored can be changed via the settings form.

Custom Functions

Main article: Tiny Tracker Custom Functions

Custom Functions allow you to extend TinyTracker's functionality to make TinyTracker quicker to use and for integration into 3rd party systems like Bugzilla