Batch Create Billable Time Imports Miss Data

Manager is great and is going to save me a lot of time. Thanks to all involved in creating it.

I seem to have a problem though. If I copy to clipboard from the billable time tab and paste into LibreOffice Calc or Google Sheets, then make a tweak such as changing a digit in the date field (no format change), when I then copy and paste that data from the spreadsheet into the batch create field, the time spent column is ignored completely when I “create” the data in Manager. Is this the correct behaviour?

I have tried altering the format of the time spent cells in the different spreadsheet programmes but cannot get any time spent entry to be accepted when “batch creating” billable time. What formats would be accepted by Manager for the time spent?

Ultimately, if I could batch create billable time from a spreadsheet entry it would save me loads of time and I know that other people have mentioned similar. I understand that the idea of the billable time tab is to simplify recording of billable time and to skip the need for first recording time spent elsewhere but like other people have mentioned, I need to add start time and end time and then calculate the time spent automatically (this is what saves me time). As this is not a current feature in Manager, I do the calc. using a spreadsheet so ultimately I would love to use the spreadsheet to format my data correctly then paste it into the batch create window in Manager to create billable time entries.

Any thoughts on why I can’t get time spent to “import” into the Billable time in Manager using Batch Create?

I’m using desktop version 22.1.99 on a Linux system.

Welcome to the forum @Beavo

It’s not clear what is being done here exactly. You need to illustrate with screenshots of at least the following:

  • Billable time transaction before update
  • Batch update spreadsheet file
  • Batch update screen
  • Billable time transaction after update

@Beavo, you seem to have some terminology mixed up. A few thoughts:

  • If you copy from the Billable Time tab, you get a CSV file with the data showing in the tab listing. This is not suitable for Batch Creating sales invoices.
  • If the data is already in the business data file, there is no need to use Batch Create. That is only for initial entry of transactions.
  • Batch Create is tricky, because it uses so many hexadecimal UUIDs for customers, accounts, and so forth.
  • If you are really referring to Batch Update, you must understand that you cannot paste spreadsheet-formatted files. You must create a file with your spreadsheet application that is CSV.
  • Once billable time data has been entered, its far easier to create sales invoices from the Customers tab by clicking on the uninvoiced figures. See Invoice billable time | Manager.

Thanks Tut. All I am ultimately trying to achieve is the ability to batch create billable time entries. If I create these following the instructions in Manager the time-spent data is never recognised by Manager.

Attached I have simulated creation of new data and the process. The end result is the same whether I start with only the headers copied to clipboard from Manager or as in the simulation shown in the attached. If I start with blank headers and simply type in the Customer name, even if this is typed in exactly as it is named in Manager, the customer name is also not recognised on “import”. Any ideas?

You can not use the plain name of the customers, accounts or other items in Manaher Batch Create or Update - you have to use the UUID - which is a hexadecimal code that you see when you copy the values from manager to do a Batch Update

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@Beavo, your PDF attachment have been removed since sharing of PDF files is not allowed in the public forum for security reasons.

Back to the issue at hand, besides what @Joe91 just said, you need to copy the form from Batch Create or Batch Update screens which is this one:

Thanks all for your help. Instead of the PDF which was removed I have outlined what I am saying in the steps below and attached (as images this time) the screenshots. As far as I am aware, I am correctly following the steps to use a batch create for Billable time but cannot get Manager to accept the time spent.

Here is what I am doing to create this problem:

Step 1 – From Billable Time tab click “copy to clipboard”

Step 2 – paste the data into LibreOffice Calc (Or Google Sheets Or Plain Text Editor)

step 2 paste into calc

Step 3 – To simulate new data, changed a single digit in the year of the date column and removed the data from the amount and status columns

Step 4 is to select and copy the data from the spreadsheet

Step 5 In Manager from the Billable Time tab click on Batch Create

Step 6 is paste in the data copied from the spreadsheet

Step 7 is click Next to preview the data recognised by Manager:

The important part of the data – Time Spent – is never recognised by Manager. This includes whether you use LibreOffice, Google Sheets or a plain text editor for step 3. It is also the same if you start by clicking “Batch Create” then click the “Copy to Clipboard” button to copy only the column headers then fill in the data using any of Libreoffice, Google Sheets, Plain text editor.

No time spent is recognised. Seems odd? Is that the expected behaviour for this batch create?

So can anybody explain why I cannot get Manager to recognise the time-spent values ?

This is because you are trying to import a text value (e.g. “3h 30m”) in a numerical field. One can tell that from the fact that the values in the spreadsheet are left aligned.

In order to correctly post to Time Spent, you need to enter a numerical value (i.e. 3.5 instead of 3h 30m)

I think I have figured this out. For the benefit of anybody else misunderstanding this process - When clicking the copy to clipboard in step 1 the existing data is copied to the clipboard in a different format to when you click batch create then copy to clipboard. You need the second layout but you need the UID of any existing customer that you are adding your new billable time to. Perhaps adding this new billable time is actually a Batch Update rather then “Batch Creating” new billable time records. Anyway what worked for me:

Step 1 on Billable Time click Batch Update then copy to clipboard.

What is copied to clipboard when you do this is a different set of column headers to when you click the copy to clipboard from the Billable Time screen. It includes (as @Joe91 mentioned) the UID for the existing customers rather that plain text name of customer but the important bit is that the columns for hours spent and minutes spent are separate. When you click copy to clipboard on the Billable time screen, the time spent data is a single column. This single column for time spent (i.e. both hours and mins in one column) is not accepted by Manager when you paste the data into the Batch Create window.

Step 2 - paste into a spreadsheet programme and enter the data that you need to add to Manager

Step 3 - copy from the spreadsheet and paste into the Batch Create input screen

Step 4 - When the data is presented with the Batch Update layout (separate hour and minute columns) it is accepted into Manager.

I hope this thread helps others and thanks for all those that replied to help me out.

@Beavo, I told you most of what you have figured out in post #3 above.

What you have never explained is why you are trying to use data and transactions already in Manager for Batch Create. That is a complete contradiction of what Batch Create is for and a total waste of time. It also results in double accounting. Is there some unusual circumstance you are not telling us about?

@Tut Thanks for your help. I am grateful for your wisdom. What was not originally clear to me in the documentation or your earlier explanation was that there is a difference of CSV layout of the columns copied to clipboard when you copy existing data and when you click the copy to clipboard after clicking batch create. My shortcoming I am sure. Is there a reason why there is? Logically you would think the data output would be the same layout/format as when you input? I did the latter process first (i.e. Click Batch Create then Copy to Clipboard) but could not get the time spent to be allocated to a customer (clearly I realise now that this was because I didn’t use the UID of the customer that first time round). As it didn’t work, I assumed that the thing to do would be to use the CSV layout of the existing data as the starting point…

I am not double accounting or trying to use data from existing transactions - Using existing data and then changing it to simulate a new data creation was, I thought, a logical way to ensure that the data was being created in the correct format, clearly this was wrong - I am only interested in the batch create process for Billable Time which I now have working.

I think perhaps I was also misunderstanding the distinction between the terms Batch Update and Batch Create. Here is what I originally understood these to mean for Billable Time:

Batch Update - To export, change, then re-import existing billable time records to amend details such as time spent, date etc.

Batch Create - To add a new billable time entry for an existing customer.

I think perhaps that to add a new billable time entry to an existing customer record is perhaps actually a Batch Update as far as Manager is concerned. No matter now, I have a process that will work for me. @Tut as you have correctly pointed out, your earlier post did explain most of what I was doing wrong I just didn’t fully understand your explanation until I had experimented further and had seen the difference in layouts first hand. I have given that earlier post the required Kudos of being marked as the solution.

Yes, there is a very important reason. When you copy a tab listing to the clipboard, you are copying the list you see onscreen. You are not even copying entries in the list that would appear on subsequent screens. (That was a change to improve functionality on very large databases, and it is why you can control the number of entries per page at the lower left corner.)

When you copy to the clipboard during a batch operation, you are copying the database entries themselves, which include many more variables (sometimes a great many more).

You should not think that. The program is consistent throughout, in that copying copies what you are viewing or processing, not a wider subset of the database.

Your original understanding, as written, was completely correct except for one detail. You can use Batch Create for more than one existing customer at a time. (The thing you cannot do during the Batch Create process is add billable time entries for new customers, because they do not yet have UUIDs assigned by the program.)

That is not correct. When you Batch Create, the program creates a new key for that transaction. When performing a Batch Update, the key assigned at creation remains unchanged.

Actually, that is one way to do what you are trying to do—that is, use prior billable time entries as models for new entries. But, as you have seen, it is very cumbersome. And it is almost impossible to notice errors along the way. I think a much easier way to accomplish what you want is to use the Clone or Copy to buttons while viewing a similar billable time entry.

The difference between the two buttons is small. Clone will produce an exact duplicate, including the original date of the parent transaction. Copy to will produce a transaction with today’s date. The selection will depend on how many entries you are making for which days. If you are entering things after the fact, a first entry followed by cloning will probably be easier.

Now, you may be thinking that doing things in a batch seems faster. But remember, all those changes you would be making in a spreadsheet for later reintroduction have to be typed in somewhere. Why not just type them in as edits to a cloned or copied transaction and bypass all the extra steps of batch operations?

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