Prevent Auto-Creation of Categories

RA2
RA2 Member ✭✭
Please stop the automatic creation of categories.  It's beyond belief that there is no control to prevent automatic creation of categories like Quicken for Windows.

I have seen other posts about merging categories when something is created by accident on the fly. However, that is not the right solution.  Please increase the amount of preferences available to Mac users. 

Quicken for Windows was the perfect blue-print and it was ignored when you built Quicken for Mac. Please add this vital control so categories are not created by accident which throws off budgets and reports.  I should not have to periodically review for new categories to add to budgets and reports.....I already have what I need created.
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    How and where are you seeing categories get automatically created in Quicken Mac? Quicken Mac has a large set of default categories which are there from the moment you create your file, but I wasn't aware of new categories appearing over time. Could you give examples of the categories, and what actions produced these new categories?
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • RA2
    RA2 Member ✭✭
    If you are entering a transaction and type a category and it doesn’t exist, it will get automatically created when you save the transaction.  There should be a control to give Mac users the option to allow or not allow this function like Windows. 

    If you are using Quicken for Mac to closely track a budget, you will occasionally be surprised to find transaction in a new category. It could be 1+ months before you identify this unless you are remembering to check categories a couple times per month like I have been doing since using Mac version. 


  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @RA2 Ah, I understand your comment now. When you're entering a transaction and you type in the Category field, if you've typed a category that doesn't exist, the drop-down menu shows that you can create it as a new category...



    It only creates the new category if you accept the default to Create new category, but it's easy to tab to the next field and accept it. So what you're describing is basically user error, but one that is too easy to make. And you're asking for is either a warning to ask you to confirm that you really want to create the new category, and/or the ability to lock categories such that new ones cannot be created in data entry, only from the Categories window. Sounds like a good idea to me!

    This falls into a class of actions that users have asked the program to safeguard against with warnings or optional warnings, such as deleting a transaction without realizing it. So far, the developers haven't implemented a bunch of optional warnings or locks, but it's not clear whether they are opposed to the ideas or are just concentrating on bigger issues than these types of small user interface refinements. Unfortunately, the list of enhancement requests from customers number in the hundreds, so some of them are going to take a long time before they are acted on.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Festus500
    Festus500 Member
    @RA2 Amen. I concur 100%

    @jacobs - a legit accounting software should have access / change controls to make sure you can easily audit the system. If you build in controls up front it saves dozens of hours of Ad Hoc review and repair. Sure the batch change mode works for some transactions but is useless when you have split transactions. Suggest a configuration control board with user reps - then to get changes made we could crowd fund the ones users most want
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Festus500  Quicken (the company) seems open to accepting user feedback in a variety of ways, including: reports from their Customer Support teams who deal with many thousands of customers and can report problem/pain areas, Idea threads on this site which receive significant support from fellow users, and feedback from users engaged in their beta testing program. But they don't have an easy way for customers to directly submit enhancement ideas, and don't offer anything like a user group webinar where users could make suggestions to their product teams. They conduct surveys periodically where users can rank some priorities, but they are not frequent and often don't allow freeform input, and are sometimes more marketing-focused on things they have already decided to do than idea-focused on things they might consider doing.

    So the good news is they do listen to their customers; the bad news is they don't listen enough, or make it easy enough for customer input to positively effect their efforts.

    As a quick example of the former: the comment from @RA2 and my reply above were from April 2019, and since then, they have added a warning dialog box on the deletion of a transaction, which hadn't existed previously. They clearly listened to user requests and/or tracked Support Calls where users had inadvertently deleted transactions without realizing it. So, although it might have been a long time in coming, it was a positive step forward.

    On the other hand, even when ideas requested on this forum end up being implemented, it becomes clear from their implementation -- and often the iterations over subsequent releases -- that the development team often hasn't fully read the comments and suggestions before building the feature, and therefore doesn't fully understand what users are asking for until after they've released a feature and complaints drive them to tweak it. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • kdp2852
    kdp2852 Member
    Please make this change soon........I want to categorize myself, I don't need quicken to categorize my transactions for me.
  • kdp2852 said:
    Please make this change soon........I want to categorize myself, I don't need quicken to categorize my transactions for me.
    Hello kdp2852,

    You should be able to categorize transactions yourself, either by clicking on the transactions in the register and editing them, or by going into 'Categories' in 'Window' at the Quicken menu in the top of the screen. I might have misunderstood, however; were you referring to something else?

    Thanks,

    Quicken Jared
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    kdp2852 said:
    Please make this change soon........I want to categorize myself, I don't need quicken to categorize my transactions for me.
    @kdp2852 If might help if you posted again about what change you're wanting to see in Quicken Mac, and/or what issue you're having with categorizing transactions. The original point of this thread was to request a preference setting to prevent a user who is manually entering a transaction and misspells a category from accidentally creating a new category.

    It sounds like perhaps you want to disable auto-categorization when you download transactions? You can go to Preferences > Connected Services and uncheck the box for "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories." As it says, this affects both auto-categorization and Payee name clean-up/normalization which typically occurs in the background as transactions are downloaded. So turning if off might move to be both a help and a hindrance, but you can certainly try it to see if you prefer the results with that setting turned off.

    And you can always create QuickFill Rules which will take precedence over any auto-categorization, for maximum control. QuickFill Rules allow you to define what category(ies) to use for each Payee name. These rules are a very powerful and very customizable feature. If you need help with how to work with QuickFill Rules, please create a post about that. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • dental_floss
    dental_floss Member ✭✭
    Quicken Mac _seemed_ to have this bad-automatic-categorization-of-downloaded-transactions under control until a recent release of 6.x.x (not sure which). Since I upgraded to the latest version (6.4.5) from a previous version (not sure which), I see that quicken is once again categorizing my downloads when I instruct it to not do that. If a commercial accounting/financial software product did this, one could imagine there would be legal ramifications.

    Quicken needs to stop modifying our 'golden' downloaded data.

    Only the user should be the one allowed to make or allow modifications to data.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @dental_floss There are for sure no legal ramifications, even if there's a bug in the software — but if there's a bug, it should be investigated and hopefully fixed. But first: have you checked your preferences to see if the checkbox for "automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories" is unchecked. Sometimes in updates, preference settings get inexplicably changed. If so, this might be an easy issue for you to correct.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993