Use a barcode scanner to start a timer. Find out how much time is spent on each task. Scroll down below the video for details
Standard Time® allows you to start and stop the timer by scanning employee names, project names, task names, and other text. This is typically used in manufacturing, shop floor, shipping, and step-by-step process settings. Employees walk up to a station and scan their jobs to start and stop them. No keyboard is required.
When in the program is in the barcode scanner mode, the keyboard is completely unnecessary. All timer operations are performed with the scanner, and all the time is automatically saved in the timesheet. Employees can log all timesheet hours without the use of the keyboard.
This video describes the scanning interface in detail.
To begin, you will probably need to purchase a barcode scanner that emulates a keyboard, AKA a keyboard wedge. Most barcode scanners have a USB connector and will operate exactly like your keyboard. They place scanned text into any editable window that is topmost on the screen. You can test this by scanning barcodes directly into Microsoft Word or Notepad. When you are satisfied your scanner works, try it with Standard Time!
Press F4 to open the barcode scanner input window.
This window waits for barcode input, and processes that text by starting and stopping the timer. You can also enter text directly into that window with the normal keyboard, which is useful for testing the text that will eventually come from the device. In fact, you don't even need a barcode scanner to test this. Simply enter usernames and task names as shown in the table below or in the video. Eventually, you'll want to print your own barcodes and use them to start the timer.
Printing barcodes is easy in Microsoft Word. Just enter the text you want, select it, and choose the barcode font from the dropdown. This video uses a font named: IDAutomationHC39M_FREE.otf. You can download it from the web. The table below shows the text that is used to start and stop the timesheet timer.
Things you can scan:
Here are the things you can scan into the barcode window.
|Employee names||Scanning an employee name puts the scanner software into a special mode where it waits for a category name, project name, or task name. When any of these are received, the timer starts. Scanning another task or project switches from the previous one to the new one. Scanning STOP during this mode stops the timer. Scanning a username will display the current timing status.|
|Project names||Scanning a project name will automatically start the timer if an employee name was recently scanned.|
|Task names||Scanning a task name will automatically start the timer. Task names must be unique. See the Project Tasks tab to view a list of your tasks. Since the task name is unique, no project name is needed. Simply scan the task name and the timer will start.|
|Category names||Scanning a category name before scanning a project name allows the timer to include both. But scanning project task names is recommended instead. Project tasks carry much more information that is automatically copied to the time log when the timer starts.|
|The word: STOP||Scan the word STOP (uppercase only) to stop the timer for the selected user.|
|The word: CLEAR||Scan the word CLEAR (uppercase only) to clear the screen so the next person does not see the work you are performing.|
|STOP username||Adding a username after the word STOP will stop the timer for that person.|
|COMPLETED||Mark the active task or work order as complete. This also stops the timer if it is running.|
|USERNAME yourname TASK yourtask||Combining the username and task name into the same barcode means you can start the timer with only one scan. That simplifies the operation. Unfortunately, this can make the barcode label very wide.|
|USERNAME yourname CATEGORY categoryname PROJECT projectname||If you don't want to use project tasks, you can use a category and project instead. Scanning them all in one barcode simplifies the operation but makes the barcode very long. Sometimes long barcodes don't scan well. Shorter ones are more reliable.|
|Expense templates||Scan an expense template to indicate that you have consumed the item or material. A new expense record will be added to the "Expenses" tab. Time and expenses can be added to invoices.|
|TIMELOG-workordernumber||This special sequence creates a new zero-duration timelog with the "workordernumber" in the Text 1 field. This is a quick way of recording work order status without starting a timer. A single scan records the work order and timestamp.|
|PRSTATUS-theprojectstatus||This special sequence records the project status of any job or work order. You must first scan a project name so this status can be set into that project.|
|TKSTATUS-thetaskstatus||First scan a project, then a task. Now scan this special code to enter that status into the selected task. This sends status back to the project managers.|
|WOSTATUS-thestatus||First scan a work order, then scan this special code. The status is set into the work order so it goes back to managers.|
|Work Orders||Scan a work order number. Work orders can contain projects, clients, tasks, materials, and categories. Print a work order document, and scan the number to start the timer.|
|SHIFT TOTAL username||Displays the number of hours worked today.|
Keep in mind that most barcode scanners don't scan spaces so a replacement character is used instead. The video shows the use of the '=' (equals) character to replace the space character. That means an '=' is used everywhere you would normally use a space. Employee names, task names, project names, and category names can all use spaces, but you would substitute an '=' character for them.
Typical scanning modes:
Two-step scanning operation (Shorter bar codes, more flexible)
1. Scan employee name
2. Scan project task name
3. Optionally scan 'CLEAR' to clear the screen (or wait 1 minute)
4. Perform the job
5. Scan employee name again, which displays the current status
6. Scan 'STOP' to stop the timer
Single-step scanning operation (Longer barcodes, faster)
1. Scan username and task name in one long barcode
2. Optionally scan 'CLEAR' to clear the screen (or wait 1 minute)
3. Perform the job
4. Scan 'STOP' and username in one barcode
Of course, you can combine these by scanning long barcodes to start the timer, and discrete username and STOP barcodes as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is a barcode scanner included with the software?
A: Barcode scanners are sold separated. Prices range from $30 - $300, depending on quality and expected longevity.
Q: Is a barcode font included?
A: You'll need to download a barcode font from the web. They are freely available, and work well with most scanners. The font used in the video is named: IDAutomationHC39M_FREE.otf but you can use any font you like. One possible place to download is this free site, but there may be others.
Q: Is barcode scanning required for using the software?
A: No, the timesheet software works fine with normal manual input and the single-click timer. Barcode scanning is an optional feature you can use at any time.
Q: Does the barcode scanning feature cost extra?
A: No, it is included in the software at no extra cost.
Q: How do you print a barcode label?
A: Use Microsoft Word. Enter the text you want to scan into a new document. Selected the text. Choose the barcode font. Print the document.
You could also use Barcode Builder if you want sequential barcode labels and project tasks to match them.
Q: How do you install a barcode font?
A: First search the internet and download the font file onto your computer. It will have a .otf or .ttf extension. Right-click on the file and choose Properties. It will be a "font file" type. Click OK to close properties. Once you are satisfied that the file is a font file, double-click it to install. The new font will immediately be available in Microsoft Word. You can select any text and change it into a barcode.
Q: How will the font appear in MS Word?
A: The font will appear in the Font list at the top of the MS Word window. The partial screenshot image below illustrates the font after it has been installed. Notice that the font name starts with "I" so you'll need to scroll down in the font list to find it. It will appear as a barcode label in the font list in MS Word. First select the text, and then choose the IDAutomation font from the font dropdown.
Q: Why are there "*" asterisks at the beginning and end of the text?
A: Barcode scanners sometimes use this (or other characters) as delimiters. That tells the scanner where the text begins and where it ends. The asterisks are not sent to the program. Only the text between them is sent. Consult your barcode documentation for the delimiter character. If you can't find it, try adding asterisks at the begining and end of your text. Then try scanning again.
Q: Why are there "=" (equals) characters in the text?
A: The 'equals' characters acts as a substitute for the 'space' character because it cannot be printed as a barcode. Each scanner may use a different substitution character; check your documentation. Anytime you need to scan a space, use the '=' instead. When the barcode is actually scanned, a space will be entered into the text instead of the '=' character.
Q: How do I know my barcode scanner will work with the program?
A: Try scanning some barcodes into MS Word or Notepad. If you see the text there, the scanner will work with the program.
Q: Does the hours from the timer go into the timesheet?
A: Yes, starting and stopping the timer creates new time logs. These time logs show up immediately in the timesheet, and are available for reporting immediately.
Q: How do I see all the employee hours?
A: There are two places to see employee hours: the Time Log and the Timesheet. Start by clicking the yellow "X" at the top of those views to remove filtering. (Filtering hides information.) If you are an administrator, the Time Log will immediately show all the hours from all the employees. Choose View, Columns to display the 'User' column. The timesheet only displays one person's hours at a time. Click the user's name in the tree at the left to view that person's hours. Again, click the yellow "X" at the top to remove filtering and view your own timesheet again.
Q: How do I see work order status?
A: Choose View, Work In Progress to see a list of projects and their current status. You'll see the last time they were scanned, the last employee to work on them, and the department they are in.
Q: Can you connect multiple scanners to a single PC?
A: Yes. You may need a USB hub to connect many scanners. And you will need to program a prefix into each scanner so the software knows which gun is sending text. Click the "Barcode Prefixes" button in the F4 window to work with prefixes. Learn how here.
Also see: Video: Barcode Scanner Part 2, Barcode Part 3, Barcode Builder Video, Video: Best Timesheet, Start and timer with an RFID tag reader, Start a timer with a mag card reader, Video: Timesheet Modes - How to use the timesheet in different ways, How to print barcode labels in MS Word, Strategies for barcoding serial numbers