Sunday, March 28, 2010

Working with Categories

As you can see from the last couple of posts, I started my testing of Quicken Essentials for Mac by starting from scratch, rather than importing my Quicken 2006 file. I'll get to that later.

Starting from scratch, QEM downloaded about three months worth of transactions. One of the things that it did was to assign categories to most of the transactions:

As you can see, it did an okay job. It correctly categorized the two Dining transactions, and figured out that Trader Joe's is a grocery store. It didn't know what to do with the post office transactions, and said that the Amazon purchase was a gift when it wasn't.

QEM comes with a starter set of categories:

Assigning a category to those two USPS transactions is simple enough: double-click on the category column for that transaction and you go into edit mode:

You can then either click on one of the categories, or start typing to narrow down the list:

Hit return to finish:

Okay, two things to be careful about:
  • I like typing. When the shortened lists of categories came up, like you see two pictures up, I wanted to be able to use arrow keys to pick a different category. I first tried using the right arrow key, since the categories are laid out in a grid, but that didn't work. You need to use the up and down arrow keys to cycle through. While this is just like how Quicken 2006 works, it was unexpected -- hitting the down arrow key to move right is weird.

  • QEM will not warn you before creating a new category based on what you type:

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