Freelancers' free time clock

Track and report working hours with this detailed yet easy-to-use time clock app.

Free time clock programs tend to fall into one of two categories, those that track a self-employed individual's time and those that keep track of a number of employees. MRO WorkingTimeClock is optimized for individuals such as freelancers, but it's suitable for small businesses, too, as well as organizations, clubs, or anyone who can use a free utility that accurately records and reports daily working hours. You can evaluate any period and save and export report data as HTML for use in other programs or online. It includes a stopwatch, countdown timer, and an optional screensaver that displays working hours. It also integrates with open source projects like TrueCrypt and eSpeak.

MRO WorkingTimeClock's 10-step setup wizard walked us through each detail, making what could have been a complex operation surprisingly simple. We could change the data at any time from the Options, a small dialog with a handy menu listing every major feature, function, and extra; we merely had to select one, such as Break duration, set our choices, and move on. One useful option is the ability to run the program from a USB stick at startup and even assign its drive letter to other programs--great if you telecommute. This program uses a variety of modules to record team activity, set reminders and bank holidays (for the USA, Germany, and Austria) and anything else you need to track. When it's running, MRO WorkingTimeClock is very unobtrusive, with two slim, independent microbars displaying time and activities. We clicked a small icon, selected a new activity, "I go home now," and set the activity's Definitions, Planning, Records, and Analysis on a larger, tabbed dialog. A system tray icon gave us easy anytime access to this extensive application's Modules, Tools, Options, and Activities. The manual was only available in German, but the program offers considerable help along the way, and German-to-English is an easy job for most translator software, should you need additional help.

While MRO WorkingTimeClock is freeware, a specified donation entitles users to a registration code that unlocks additional features, such as the Analysis tab. This sounds like a price tag to us. However, this freeware offers more than enough to satisfy most users, and no main functionality is affected, just some extras. On the whole, it's an easy recommendation.

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