Text Entry Cheat Sheet

The following table provides you with some good working examples of how to use the text entry commands from the many different methods provided by Tempo. Since the text commands are always exactly the same if the method of entry is the web interface or OSX Dashboard widget, we lump these methods into one category called Text.

Entry Method Text Command What it Does
Text updating website Smart timer for last project entered, no tags with note updating website.
Text working on code for new twitter feature @development Smart timer for last project entered, tagged development with note working on code for new twitter feature.
Twitter d keeptempo working on business budget #web @expenses Smart timer for Web Development tagged expenses with note working on business budget.1
E-mail/SMS start updating business contacts #conglo @sales Smart timer for Conglomo Corporation tagged sales with note updating business contacts.1
All methods stop This stops all current timers.
Text 3 hrs invoicing for the company #internal @invoice @june 3 hours to Internal Company tagged invoice, june with note invoicing for the company.
Text 25m website style review conference call #box @design 25 minutes to Big Box Company tagged design with note website style review conference call.2
Text 2:43 updating customer database #internal @sales 2 hours 43 minutes to Internal tagged sales with note updating customer database.
Text 1.5 hr business meeting @conglomo 1 hour 30 minutes to the same project the last time slip, tagged conglomo with note business meeting.

1All Twitter time entries must start with “d keeptempo” and then the format is exactly the same as the Text Box commands. If you plan to start a smart timer through e-mail or SMS message, your command must begin with “start” in order for the Tempo server to recognize it.

2Tempo does a partial string search on the project name, so you do not have to enter the entire project name. If you do enter the entire project name, all spaces must be replaced by an underscore; for example, #big_box_company.

As you may have noticed from the examples above, there are two ways to record time using tempo: you can either specify the amount of time that you spent on a project, or you can start a smart timer when you begin working and stop it when you are finished. We are interested in using a text command to log time by these methods.

Fixed Time

Let’s start by creating a time slip where we specify the hours that we want to log to a project. Suppose we want to record 3 hours of work on the project Sprockets and using the tag data and the note onsite production, we would use the command

          3 onsite production #Sprockets @data

The general syntax for recording time using this method is

          number_of_hours notes #project @tag @tag


If we do not specify a project in the text command, the Tempo server will default to the project of our last time slip. For example, if we want to log an additional 30 minutes to the Sprockets projects without notes and with the tag data, the command 30 min @data will suffice because the last project we logged time to was Sprockets.

On the other hand, if we want to log time to a different project then we must include the project name in our command:

          2:40 development #Website @test

This will log 2 hours and 40 minutes to the project Website with development as a note and test as a tag. After this command, Website becomes the default project for Tempo, so an additional command that does not specify a project will be logged to Website.

Smart Timer

Now let’s use Tempo’s smart timer option. Suppose we want to start a smart timer for the project Website with the note meeting and tag it with graphics. The text command is very similar to that of the general case, except we do not include an entry for number_of_hours:

          meeting #website @graphics

If we are using e-mail to enter this command, then we have to begin the command with start as follows

          start meeting #website @graphics

E-mail and phone text messages contain more “noise” than the others, so the additional start aspect is only necessary if we use these methods to deliver the message to the Tempo server.

Whether we use e-mail/SMS or not, the command to stop the smart timer is the same: stop.

Let’s do a simple example. Suppose we want to start a timer for the project Sprockets and include the tags data and test. Our text command would look like:

          #sprockets @data @test
          (start #sprockets @data @test,      if we use e-mail/SMS)

After we finish working, we simply send


and the smart timer will record the time in our Tempo account.


We should mention that as above, we do not always need to specify a project. Along these lines, we do not always have to type the entire name of the project. The Tempo server works by looking at the string that follows the # symbol, and matching it as best as possible to the projects in the database. So we can save time by using a part of the project’s name that will uniquely identify it. Suppose none of our other projects have “web” as part of their name. Then we can start a timer for the project Website with the following shorter command

          #web @test

          (start #web @test,       if we use e-mail/SMS)