Each new version of Office introduces new features, and they are rarely unanimously loved. Starting with Office 2007, Microsoft made the time editing counter more visible than it had been in previous versions of the software. Though a minor change, this counter runs in the background, so may not be accurate if the research is being done at the same time. This can lead to vastly inflated editing times, with thousands of minutes seemingly spent on a single document containing only a few hundred words. Not everyone is fond of this change, and disabling it is a convoluted process: there is no checkbox or option in the settings window to disable the counter.
It should be noted that, in Germany, this feature is disabled by default. Following these steps will make it possible to enable this functionality, even in Germany and other countries where the feature may be disabled due to privacy concerns or legislation.
Disabling the Time Editing Counter
1. Close all running Office windows.
2. Press “Windows key + R” to bring up the Run prompt. Type “
regedit” to bring up the Registry Editor (accept the UAC prompt, if one appears).
3. Navigate through the tree menus on the left-hand side, following this path:
Note that depending on your version of Office, “15.0” will change. Office 2013 is identified as 15.0, Office 2010 as 14.0, and Office 2007 as 13.0. However, this does not affect the procedure.
4. Right click in the empty space and create a new 32-bit DWORD. This DWORD will be called “
NoTrack” (see the above picture).
5. Right click the new “‘NoTrack” entry and then choose “Modify.”
6. Change the value to “1” if you wish to disable the counter, and “0” if you wish to enable it. There is no need to change the Base from Hexadecimal.
7. Open a document and check the time spent editing under the “File” button. It should either remain stuck at zero or increase, depending on the change made.
Restarting the computer shouldn’t be necessary; though some users may wish to for the additional peace of mind, given that they have edited the core Windows registry. For now, right clicking a document and going to “Properties”, then the “Details” tab will still display the older editing time. Editing the document, even if only adding and then removing a space, before saving it will change the editing time to 00:00:00.
Removing the ‘NoTrack’ Entry
Should you ever need to remove the modification, whether it was to enable or disable the timer, follow the steps below.
1. Open “
regedit” through the same Run prompt as before.
2. Navigate through the folder tree and find the “Common\General” folder under your version of Office.
3. Right click “NoTrack” and choose “Delete.”
4. Confirm the deletion by clicking “Yes” in the warning window. There will be no change to system stability, for the computer functioned properly before the entry was ever made.
Though the timer is hardly a major feature in Office, it is still one that has been given greater prominence in the latest versions of the software. Whether you view that as a good or bad thing, this relatively straightforward registry tweak will allow the software to better suit your individual tastes.