Microsoft Word has a handy feature that tracks the total time you spend editing a document. This can give you a general idea of how long you’ve actively worked on a file. Here’s an overview of how to view this total editing time statistic.
Word Keeps Track of Total Editing Time
Every time you open a new Word document, the program starts an internal timer. This timer runs in the background and keeps track of how long the document stays open on your computer.
Each time you hit save after making changes or additions, Word updates the total editing time. So it’s counting all the time you had the document open and were actively reading, writing, formatting, or otherwise editing.
Some key things to know:
- The total editing time is saved as metadata in the document file itself
- It updates automatically whenever you save changes
- It only tracks time with that specific file open and active on your PC
So how do you view this elusive total editing time statistic? There are a couple ways, as we’ll cover next.
View Total Editing Time from Within Word
The easiest way to see total editing time for a Word doc is to open the file and use Word’s built-in properties view.
Here’s how to find it:
- Open the Word document
- Click the File tab
- Select Info from the left sidebar
- Look under Properties for Total Editing Time
This shows the total editing time saved directly in the document’s metadata, displayed in minutes.
For example, if you’ve worked on a file across multiple days for 65 minutes total, it will show “65 minutes”.
Total editing time shown in Word’s Info properties
Pretty straightforward! Just open any Word doc and the total editing time is displayed in minutes right there in the properties.
View from File Explorer (No Need to Open Document)
You can also quickly check a Word document’s total editing time without actually opening the file.
From File Explorer:
- Browse to the folder containing the Word doc
- Right-click on the file
- Select Properties
- Click the Details tab
- Look for Total editing time under the Content section
This shows the same editing time total saved in that document’s metadata, but lets you peek at it without launching Word.
Time Tracked Isn’t 100% Precise
Now for a reality check about this total editing time statistic. The tracked time is useful, but not 100% accurate or precise.
Here are some important caveats:
- It counts any time the Word file is open on your computer, not just when actively editing
- If you leave a document open for hours without editing, all that inactive time still gets counted
- The timer keeps running if Word is minimized but the file stays open
- Using Save As to make a copy actually resets the time back to 0 minutes
So the total editing time is more of an estimate rather than an exact duration. Don’t rely on it for tracking billable hours or filling out timesheets.
Think of it as a metric for how long the document was open while you were working on it, as opposed to exact editing duration.
Use It to Estimate Work Time
Due to the limitations above, be careful about using the total editing time for official time tracking. But it still has some helpful uses:
- Gives a ballpark estimate of time spent writing or editing a document
- Helps compare relative editing times across multiple Word docs
- Can indicate if you accidentally left a file open for a long duration
- Lets you quickly see files you’ve spent the most time actively editing
So while not 100% precise, it serves as a handy metric for estimating work time on Word documents.
Tips for More Precise Tracking
If you need to track Word editing time more precisely for client billing, timesheets, or productivity tracking, consider these options:
- Use a dedicated time tracking app like Toggl, Harvest, or Timing
- Rely more on Word’s revision history timestamps
- Be diligent about manually tracking start/stop times in a spreadsheet
- Close documents promptly when you stop editing to avoid inflating times
Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of how to view total editing times for Word documents:
- Built-in metadata tracks estimated editing duration
- Check it in Word’s Properties or from File Explorer
- Gives a ballpark estimate, not 100% accurate duration
- Helps compare relative editing times across documents
- Use external tools for more precise time tracking
Next time you’re wondering “how long did I work on this document?” take a peek at the total editing time. Just keep its limitations in mind and use manual tracking for exact durations.
Let me know if you have any other questions!