General Software

CadTempo 5.2

18 Apr, 2012 By: R.K. McSwain

First Look Review: Automatically track and chart time spent using popular CAD applications, Microsoft Office, and more.

CadTempo, a software application from Rockford, Illinois–based Engineered Design Solutions, tracks working time in popular CAD applications including AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, ArchiCAD, Inventor, Inventor Fusion, 123D, MicroStation, Pro/ENGINEER, Revit, Rhino 4.0, SolidWorks, SketchUp, and 3ds Max. It also can track working time in Microsoft Word and Excel, and Corel Word Perfect and Quattro Pro. CadTempo automatically records who accesses a document, how long the document is open, and how much time is spent editing it. CadTempo runs independently of the monitored applications and thereby prevents software integration problems.

I reviewed a single-user version of CadTempo 5.2, tracking activity in AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D, and Microsoft Word. During the very easy installation process, the program prompts you to select applications or file types (such as DOC and DXF) that you would like to monitor automatically. AutoCAD is selected by default.

When you launch a monitored application, the CadTempo Task Timer also starts and presents a dialog box where you can confirm the default task name and user (or modify them) and, optionally, add details about the task in the Additional Task Info field. You can also start the Task Timer manually. When you end a monitored application, CadTempo prompts you to save that task or continue tracking. As an example, if you close your CAD application and are going to reopen it, you might want to continue tracking rather than stopping and starting a new task. The CadTempo Display Timer lets you view a summary of the current task with elapsed time.

The Task Timer can appear automatically when a supported application is launched.

The Activity Timer is similar to the Task Timer, except it records time spent away from the computer. You can choose from activities such as Customer Visit, Lunch, or Phone Call, or create your own. If enabled, the Activity Timer will prompt you for the activity name after a predetermined amount of inactive time, as specified in the program options.

After you start tracking time, you can use the CadTempo View component to analyze the collected data. Start with the Files tab in the navigation bar to view time spent on any particular file or group of files in a given time period and to view file previews and details. The Session tab lets you view user activity during a given time period, or session. You can generate reports from data in the Files or Session tab as well. Go to the Reports tab to view previously generated reports and, optionally, export the data to Excel. The Charts tab gives you access to various charts generated from the collected data. Lastly, the Options tab allows for a good deal of customization to the entire CadTempo application.

The CadTempo View component lets users analyze collected data. Here, the Files tab is selected, displaying time spent working on given files.

I found the time-logging functionality to be very accurate, with plenty of reporting tools and options available to display collected data.

Under the Session tab in CadTempo View, you can analyze user activity during a given time period.

Each copy of CadTempo contains a unique privacy code that protects your organization's data from parties who don't have this code. The data is also encrypted for additional protection. Details are available in the privacy policy.

The program's recommended requirements are a 32-bit 450-MHz processor (x86); 256 MB RAM; Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP Home and above, Windows Vista Home and above, or Windows 7 Starter and above; and a 1,024 x 768 resolution monitor. The installed files are minimal, and I was able to run CadTempo on Windows XP (32-bit) and Windows 7 (64-bit) operating systems.

CadTempo starts at $49.95, with a discount for multiple licenses. One license is required for each user you want to monitor. A 30-day trial version is available for download.

Don't let the length of this First Look review deceive you — CadTempo 5.2 is very comprehensive. In fact, finding the time necessary to learn all the reporting tools and options may be the only drawback of this application.

Accurately tracking the time spent working on a particular task can be challenging for an individual, and even more so for a team of users. Although I reviewed the single-user version, the usefulness of this application would increase greatly when tracking multiple users. End user interaction with CadTempo is minimal, allowing drafters and engineers to focus on production instead of time tracking. Highly Recommended.

About the Author: R.K. McSwain

R.K. McSwain

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