My Method for Excluding Transactions by Tag in Quicken for Mac 2017

Here's the problem I ran smack into with reporting in Quicken for Mac:

Quicken for Windows and Mint have the native ability to exclude tagged transactions from various reports. QW's and Mint's tagging systems both operate under the hidden presumption that every transaction is by default "tagged" as untagged.

The upshot is that in QW and Mint it's simple to tag various transactions and run reports that exclude them without also excluding all of your other untagged transactions (or to include them and exclude everything else). This ability to include or exclude certain transactions, as every Quicken user knows (or finds out), is essential to running accurate reports.

For example, I purchase heating oil in bulk during the summer in order to lock in a lower price, but we use the oil during the winter. This transaction more accurately belongs in my yearly reports, not in reports for the month in which the transaction occurs. My son's preschool tuition is another such example. I pay the school in August but he attends from September through December. 

It's feasible to exclude entire categories in reports, of course, but not when some transactions in a category should be properly included and some properly excluded, depending on the type of report you want to run. In my Quicken file, for example, heating oil is categorized as Utilities. Any report which excluded Utilities wholesale wouldn't do me much good. Hence the usefulness of tags for this job. 

To run accurate reports in QW, I created two tags: Exclude from Monthly and Exclude from All (the latter being for very rare transactions, like inheritance, which I don't really want in any report). 

When I bought Quicken for Mac 2017 last fall, however, I was shocked to discover I couldn't do this. QM does not presume that all transactions are tagged as untagged. In QM, selecting a tag in a report will include transactions with that tag, but nothing else. Unselecting a tag usually includes nothing at all.

So, in order to make QM at all useable, I racked my brain to devise a workaround. The workaround I came up with is, I'll admit, kind of nuts and somewhat tedious. Furthermore, the fact that's it's even necessary is frankly ridiculous. But it works.

The workaround is to tag everything.

Well, not everything. My QW file imported into QM with all of my Exclude tags intact, so I simply tagged everything else. Here's what I did:

First, I create a tag I called "Include." Then, in the All Transactions register, I arranged my transactions by tag, multiple-selected the transactions to be included, right-clicked, selected Edit Transaction and then selected the Include tag. 

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Less than a minute later, all 9000+ previously untagged transactions had been slapped with the "Include" tag.

I wish I could report that this was all she wrote. Unfortunately, split transactions have to be tagged manually. 

Still in the All Transactions register, I started with the first split, hit Enter, tabbed my way through the split line, and pressed the "I" key. "Include" immediately auto-populated, whereupon I tabbed through the fields, adding the "Include" tag where it was needed, and moved on.

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Once I entered the properly tagged split, I pressed the down arrow key, pressed Enter to open the next split transaction, and lather, rinse, repeat.

(I know. We're supposed to be living in the 21st Century. Luckily, there was a good documentary on Netflix).

When finished with this less-than-stimulating task, the customization windows in my reports now look like this:

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All told, this operation took me several hours, and now QM17 reports as it should. It's worth noting that QM17 will remember the tag you put on a certain transaction (whether by payee or category, I don't know). The next time that payee/category downloads, QM will tag it accordingly:

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You have a couple things going for you if you decide to do this:
  1. QM17 is lightning fast. The multiple tag operation is over before you know it. Even manually tabbing and entering from one split to the next, while not something I'd recommend for recreation, goes by remarkably quickly. Doing something like this workaround in Quicken for Windows, by contrast, would simply be unthinkable. 
  2. Your scheduled transactions will be tagged as they were when you created the schedule. This is huge WRT paychecks, e.g. and loan transactions.
That's it. Drastic, certainly, but not absolutely awful. And now QM17, which has relatively spare but effective reporting capabilities, is actually useful.

With my luck, Marcus's team will add this capability to QM17 some time next week.  
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  • RickORickO SuperUser
    edited March 2017
    If you haven't already, please go to THIS LINK and vote for the addition of "No Tag" to the tag customization options (just to be sure it does in fact get added next week).
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