Track Your Work Time With OfficeTime For Mac And iOS [Review]

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For those whose income is based on billable time or on a per-project basis, some kind of time/project tracker app is a basic necessity. OfficeTime combines meat-and-potatoes time and project management with greatly customizable billing and reporting features, and is one of the few apps in this category available on all Apple devices—iPhone, iPad and Mac.

OfficeTime for iOS is an $8 Universal App; its desktop companion is $47 and available only through the OfficeTime website. The two work well together—the iOS version as more of a convenient, mobile method of logging time, and the desktop version as a much more feature-laden manager with invoicing capability (which the iOS version lacks).

The Good

As will probably be true for almost anyone else who uses OfficeTime, by far the feature I spent the most time with in either version was time-logging.

The process was painless in the iOS app. Work sessions can be broken down by project, and each project can be assigned a category; for example, every time I worked on a different photography shoot I would open up a new project, but I tagged all photography projects with the “Photography” category.

Categories (but not projects) can also be assigned a per-hour monetary value, and total accrued payment is displayed at the bottom of the screen in each version.

Where OfficeTime really shines is in its ability to display detailed reports and its option-rich invoicing.

On the iOS app, time spent can be broken down by time period (day, week, month or all) or viewed by project or category. On the Mac version there’s a huge list of options; as with the iOS app time worked can be listed by day, week or month—but you can also look at, for instance, last week’s work, break this month’s work down by category or summarize the day’s work by employee (yes, OfficeTime supports multiple employees, but I didn’t delve into this feature). If you want you can even import tracked time into iCal where you can better visualize how you’ve spent your days.

Where OfficeTime really shines is in its ability to display detailed reports and its option-rich invoicing.

When it comes time to get paid, OfficeTime has a ton of options with to create an invoice. Templates be edited and saved, and there are options for sales tax amount, sessions to include and a drop-down menu that grabs contact details from the Mac Contacts app.

One note about the invoicing feature: For people like me who don’t bill for their time but are rather paid on a per-project basis, the invoicing section of the app doesn’t really fit—there’s no way to bill lots of different kinds of projects that each have a different fixed dollar value.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the time-logging function isn’t user-friendly in the desktop version. Even though I could start and pause my session via the space bar, the interface just seemed more clumsy and awkward on the Mac. The whole interface on the Mac could use an overhaul—the numbers and fonts are tiny and the whole thing is difficult to navigate, especially when compared with the slick UI of the iOS version. Even the menu bar icon that started and paused tracking was a feature I found only marginally helpful. Finally, there’s no Retina support.

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The iOS version of OfficeTime.

Verdict

If you can get over the UI issues with the desktop version, OfficeTime is a highly flexible, fairly easy-to-use project management and billing system for freelancer-types whose work is based on time spent—and especially for those who wish to track work on an iDevice and then transfer the data to the Mac for detailed reports and invoicing. There’s even a Windows version (though that wasn’t tested, so I have no idea how it plays with OfficeTime for iOS).

Fence-sitters can try the desktop app for three weeks before taking the plunge (one benefit of a non-App Store app), and there’s also a free version of the iOS app to take a look at.

officetime-iconProduct Name: : OfficeTime for Mac ($47) and iOS ($8)The Good: Flexible, easy sync between all platforms.

The Bad: UI somewhat awkward, no retina support on Mac.

Verdict Reasonably powerful billing and time tracking on all your devices.

Buy from: OfficeTime, The App Store

[rating=good]