TimeWorksPlus: How To Export the Payroll File

TimeWorksPlus: How To Export the Payroll File

Download Activity Files, found in the Report Menu of TimeWorksPlus, exports a text file of your timekeeping data. That file can then be uploaded to your payroll software. The process is very simple and involves downloading a file to your computer.

This article explains the steps for creating that file and some “best practices”. How the file is uploaded to payroll will vary based on your payroll system. Check with your service provider for more details on what to do after you have downloaded the file.

The Download Activity File can only be run by client level users. Supervisors cannot run the report.

For Accounts Integrated with Payroll

You may be using a payroll system that supports an integration with TimeWorksPlus and generating the export can be done from within the payroll software. If that is the case and you are not manually uploading the export file, contact your service provider for further instruction.

For Accounts that Manually Key Payroll

If you do not have in integration or the ability to upload a file to payroll and are instead manually keying the timekeeping data into payroll, then it is suggested you use the Summary Report to facilitate your process.

Before Running the Export File

It is strongly recommended that you first finalize the pay period before generating the export file. Not only does this preserve the timecard data, but it also provides a quick check for missing punches and unapproved time cards.

If you choose not to finalize the pay period, then you should, at the least:

  • check the clock activity pane for missing punches.

The Clock Activity pane, visible when viewing time cards for a pay period, makes it easy to identify missing punches


  • use the Time Card Approval Report to check for unapproved time cards* if you are using that feature.


Found in the Reports Menu, the Approvals Report indicates which time cards have not been approved

It is also recommended that you check the Time Off Requests to see if any requests for the pay period are still awaiting approval or rejection. Checking the requests is not something checked by the finalization process.

*Note, you can still run payroll with unapproved time cards, it is not a required step for the Download Activity File.

Running the Download Activity File

Once you have checked time cards and are comfortable that your data is accurate, you can generate the export file:

Setting up the Download Activity File for a payroll export:


      1. Expand the Reports Menu and select Download Activity Files. If you don’t see it listed in the menu, then you most likely are logged in with a supervisor role. Supervisors do not have access to this report and a user with client level access will need to run the report.
      2. Select the pay period using the radio buttons in the top section. Generally, you will choose the prior pay period.
      3. The employee selector will default to All employees (including inactive), which includes any employees, with time card data, terminated during the pay period. If you have already paid out any employees terminated during the pay period, you will want to select All active employees instead.
      4. In the File format name field, enter your payroll specific format name. This should have been given to you by your service provider. For more on this, see the section titled File Formats.
      5. Click Submit and the file should be generated and downloaded to your computer. How it appears and where it is saved will depend on your chosen browser. We suggest that, in addition to providing this file to payroll, you also save a copy somewhere as a backup.


Missing Punch Warning

If there are any missing punches during the pay period and you try to run the export, you will be warned after clicking Submit. If you need to proceed in spite of the missing punches, you can override with the check the box located below the warning and click Submit again.

If there are missing punches, and you try to create the export file, the page will prompt you with a warning. You must check the box to override and run the report.


Additional Filtering

The Additional Filtering section of the Download Activity File is used if you are using clock prompts to track labor data (like location or department) and want to filter the export by those values.

For example, suppose you have one timekeeping account that tracks time for multiple locations. And each location has its own EIN and payroll needs to be run separately per location. A clock prompt can be used to allocate time to each location and then you can use the filtering to create an export file for each location.

(1) By selecting the “LocPrompt” clock prompt and selecting (2) 20 from the value list, the export file will only contain time data for punches made at location 20.

If you have questions on this and other filtering options, please contact your service provider.

Previewing the File With “What to do with file”

Most of the files created can be opened and converted in Excel to be viewed in a “user-friendly” format. While you may not have much need for this, it is an option.

An example of what is displayed if you “Show in Browser” when running the Download Activity File

It’s also an option to view the raw data in the browser itself. This option doesn’t create an export file, it just displays the data, which can be helpful for troubleshooting.

File Formats

As mentioned earlier, a File Format is basically a template used by TimeWorksPlus to arrange the data for payroll. Your payroll provider will often give you this file format name at the time of implementation.

For example, some payroll system want data listed as comma separated values, others used fixed-width formats. Some want just a summary of the data, others want each punch detailed. And almost all of them have their own unique way they want the data arranged.

Because of the numerous payroll platforms, and system variations within those platforms, it’s not possible to instruct you on which file format you need in this article. However, your service provider will have the means to determine which file format works for you.

As always, we are here to walk you through this or any other process you need help with. You can reach out to us toll free at (866) 757-8111 Monday-Thursday from 8:00AM-5:00PM and Fridays 8:00AM-4:30PM Central Standard Time.