Transcription Timestamps

How To Insert Timestamps

Transcribing Techniques: Sean Harper



We all know and love time coding formats. But the insertion of a timestamp doesn’t have to be as labour intensive as you think.


The amount of labour will depend on the programme you’re using.

By far the easiest programme for time coding or the insertion of timestamps is FTW.


Have FTW and Word open. To insert a timestamp using FTW, simply press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+T.

This will insert the time currently displayed on FTW into the Word document you’re transcribing, in the hh:mm:ss format we require. Really, it could not be easier.

In F4

The clever people at F4 presume that you’re going to do your typing in the word processing pane they provide with their player. This is not ideal, of course, as our time coding template does not copy across into this pane. However, by simply pressing F8, the time code will appear in the word processing pane as follows: #00:00:00-0#

You therefore have to trim the left #, the right # and the extra zero, then copy and paste it into your document. This is not ideal for the time coding template and is probably slower than simply typing the time code yourself.

In Express Scribe

You are going to have to make sure that your display is in the correct format. Go to Options> Display>and look at ‘Time Format’. There is a drop-down menu there. Select hh:mm:ss.

Now, when you’re transcribing a document which requires timestamps:

“To insert timestamps into a Word document, in Express Scribe go to Options, then select Hot Keys. Click Add at the bottom of the box to create a System-wide Hot Key. A Window pops up asking you to press a key. In my version of Express Scribe F1 and F11 are free. I chose F1. Then a Select Command box pops up. Scroll down to Copy Time and select this.

“Now, as you play the audio file in Express Scribe, all you have to do is press your Hot Key (F1 for me) at the point where you hear the word you want to time stamp, and then CTRL V to paste it in Word.

This hint comes from Suzanne Millington, herself a transcriber of the top rank. It’s an excellent tip and it really does work. It’s the first thing I do every time I update ES.  One of those times when five minutes of work now saves you hours over the next few months.

An alternative, sent to us by Amy Shackles, is to use the   key instead of F1. Since we don’t use it when transcribing, it’s a way to insert the timestamp without taking your fingers too far from the home keys.


And that’s it, ladies and gents. If you know of any other hints and tricks of the transcriber’s trade, we’re always looking for ways to help you and your fellow transcribers earn more money in less time.



14 thoughts on “How To Insert Timestamps”

  1. What do you mean “not to use Express Scribe for any sound format except .dss”? I use ES (with my pedal) for everything and I haven’t had a problem. Or am I having a problem without realising it? Is FTW much better? I have tried it once, but went back to ES. BTW, the tip for timecoding on ES is exactly what I’ve always done 🙂

  2. Hi Catherine,

    We have noticed a significant difference in sound quality between FTW and ES, especially with MP3 and WMA files. F4 and FTW deliver much better sound quality across a broad range of machines.


  3. Hi there, any help with For The Record? I’m doing a test for a new company who insists on using this programme. It’s the most confusing programme I’ve used. Much prefer ES, but can’t convert the files to something I can play in ES.

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