Starts a timer and creates a session in which other timer actions can link to. Timer sessions can be used to gauge the execution time between Start Timer and Stop Timer steps. Use a Read Timer step to read the timer value without stopping the timer.

Practical Usage

Commonly used to start a timer to record the execution time of one or more task steps that may perform time sensitive operations. This action is used with the Stop Timer action, which reads the time and stops the timer or optionally the Read Timer action, which reads the time without stopping the timer.


General Properties







Timer Name





The timer session name to identify this timer in subsequent timer steps. This allows several timers to be running simultaneously. If only working with one timer in the task, use the default session name, which is TimerSession1.

Description Properties

The Description tab allows you to customize the text description of any step as it appears in the Task Builder's Steps Pane.

More on setting custom step description

Error Causes Properties

The Error Causes tab properties lets you instruct a task step to react only to specific errors or ignore certain errors that should cause it to fail.

More on Error Causes properties

On Error Properties

The On Error tab properties lets you determine what the task should do if a particular step encounters an error as defined in the Error Causes properties.

More about On Error properties

Additional Notes

Expressions, Variables & Functions

A percent sign is used as a special character in AutoMate to indicate the beginning and end of an expression. This allows variables, functions and other expressions to be entered in any text parameter of a task's properties. For example: %1+1% inside a task will resolve to 2 at runtime. A more elaborate example is %FileDateTime(myFile)% which results to the date/time of myFile. To help construct expressions, you can open Expression Builder by clicking the Insert Expression (%) button or by pressing F2.

More on expressions

More on variables

More on functions

More on extended functions
More on the expression builder


NOTE: The code below can be copied and pasted directly into the Steps pane of the Task Builder.


Description: This sample task illustrates usage of the Start Timer, Stop Timer and Read Timer actions. It basically starts a timer session on step 2. Step 3 is a message box step that's mainly used to add some time between the Start Timer and Read Timer step. Two more message box steps appear. One on step 5 to display the task execution time  up to that point of the task and another as the last step to display exection tme.




<AMMESSAGEBOX>This step is used mainly to add some time between the Start Timer and Read Timer step.</AMMESSAGEBOX>


<AMMESSAGEBOX>The task execution time to this point is %timeVar% seconds.</AMMESSAGEBOX>


<AMMESSAGEBOX>The total task execution time is %timeVar% seconds.</AMMESSAGEBOX>


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