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Is there a way to disable automatic categorization of downloaded transactions? (Q Mac)

smali
smali Member ✭✭
Is there any way to stop Quicken Mac 5.12.5 from automatically assigning categories to all downloaded transactions? I understand that having categories automatically assigned may be good for some users, but is there a way to disable it? I want to add all the categories to the downloaded transactions myself, not have Quicken add them for me.

In Quicken Mac 5.11.x, downloaded transactions came in as "Uncategorized". I use the "Uncategorized" default as my way of knowing which transactions I still need to enter details into. When Quicken does it automatically, I find that a lot of them are not categorized the way I would like and it is difficult for me to identify which ones I entered and which ones were entered by Quicken.

For example, if I make a purchase at a grocery store, many times the automatic categorization of "groceries" is correct, but sometimes I may have bought dish soap and want to categorize it as "household" so I can track it with my house expenses. If Quicken automatically assigns "groceries" to all those transactions, it makes it harder for me to remember which ones I actually entered that way versus which ones were auto-populated and need to be reviewed.

I have unchecked the Quicken Preferences > Connected Services > "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories" check box, but it still automatically adds categories to downloaded transactions.

Just to be clear, I am not talking about the auto-complete feature when you are manually typing in a payee, I'm talking about Quicken automatically adding a category to every transaction that is downloaded before you have a chance to review or edit it.

Best Answer

Answers

  • gwj123
    gwj123 Member ✭✭
    I am on Windows, not sure if MAC has this, but under Preferences > Downloaded Transactions we have an option for "automatically categorize transactions" that can be unchecked.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Once you have unchecked the box for "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories," Quicken will simply use the same category you used for the last transaction by this Payee. There's no way to prevent it from doing this currently.

    The prioduct manager recently described work they are doing to allow users to have more flexibility with categories, including presenting several categories you've used previously for the Payee so you can choose for the current instance. How exactly this will work will have to wait until this functionality is released -- and we don't know how soon that will be. (The fact that he discussed their work on it indicates its actively being worked on, so the expectation would be sometimes in the next several months -- but it depends how complicate the changes are and how long it takes them to finish development and testing.)

    One thing I'd note is that changing the category it automatically creates is no more work than adding a category manually after downloading. When you tab to the category field on a transaction you've opened for editing, or if you double click on a transaction in the category field, the text in the category field will be highlighted by Quicken -- so typing any character will wipe out what's there and replace it with a category that matches what you're typing, just as if the category field was originally blank. The point is that even if Quicken chooses a wrong category for you, changing it to the one you want is exactly the same as if Quicken chose no cateogry and you needed to enter the one you want. So if you use the Status field to see all your newly downloaded transactions, you can edit the categories to be what you want with no extra effort.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • smali
    smali Member ✭✭
    This is something that changed in 5.12.x. Sure would be nice to have a checkbox that disables it like gwj123 said is available in the Windows version.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I changed in version 5.12.5 because it was working for certain customers and not for others. Now it should be working the same for everyone. But how it works isn't what everyone wants. Hopefully the next round of changes to memorizing transactions will give users the categorization choices they want. (In the meantime, as I explained above, editing a "wrong" category Quicken applies in downloaded transactions requires no extra work or keystrokes versus filling in categories for uncategorized transactions.)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • smali
    smali Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    Man. That's too bad. For years I've used the "Uncategorized" category of downloaded transactions as an easily searchable way to know if I have entered a transaction's details or not. Now, it seems that there is no way of stopping Quicken from not only changing the name of the downloaded payee, but also entering a category I don't want.

    Not being able to turn off the auto-categorization and automatically renamed payees is kind of a huge problem for me, in particular, because every time I shop at a store in the city of "Chico", all the transactions are downloaded as "Chico's"-the women's clothing store-even though I've NEVER shopped there and don't have ANY transactions with "Chico's" as a payee. Sure would be nice if Quicken would think things through before implementing new features.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @smali First, you can turn off renaming of payees and Quicken trying to categorize your downloaded transactions, by turning off the checkbox in Preferences as I mentioned above. Quicken will then use the same category used for the most recent transaction for existing Payees.

    Second, one of the major new features in version 5.12 is that you can create Payee renaming rules to name Payees the way you want instead of how your financial institution names them or Quicken would attempt to rename them.

    What Quicken Mac doesn't have (and hasn't had) is an option to tell Quicken to never enter a category when downloading transactions.


    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • smali
    smali Member ✭✭
    edited October 2019
    I've been using Quicken since the late 1990s and, other than for a short period when there was a glitch in one of the updates (I think during QM2015?), it has always downloaded as "Uncategorized" or something similar for as long as I can remember.

    As I noted above, I already have unchecked the Quicken Preferences > Connected Services > "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories" check box, as you suggested. However, Quicken continues to change the downloaded names and add categories. I don't want to have to create new payee rules for the 50,000 transactions in my file from the past 20 years.

    Even though the quick-fill feature has been funky (to put it nicely) since QM2007, I'm perfectly happy manually editing the transactions that are downloaded using quick-fill as I compare my paper or emailed receipts to my downloaded transactions and enter the categories and line item details myself.

    For me, sometimes increased automation doesn't equal better. I'm just saying that some new features may be best implemented with a way to disable them for those who so desire instead of forcing them on everybody.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    smali said:
    As I noted above, I already have unchecked the Quicken Preferences > Connected Services > "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories" check box, as you suggested.
    For Payee names, is it changing them from what your Financial Institution provides? If your bank or credit card company sends "Home Depot #1234 Anytown", Quicken's renaming service is supposed to parse that and return to you "Home Depot". If you turn off the automatic renaming service, then Quicken should show exactly what your financial institution sent: "Home Depot 1234 Anytown". Are you saying that Quicken isn't doing that? You should check a few transactions in the Inspector Window (click on a transaction and select View > Show Inspector), to get this window:

    The "From your financial institution" section shows exactly what it coming from the bank or credit card company. With the preference turns off to improve Payee names, the "Statement Payee" here should be the same at the Payee up above if you haven't edited it.

    smali said:
    I don't want to have to create new payee rules for the 50,000 transactions in my file from the past 20 years.
    You don't need to write Payee renaming rules for any of your existing transactions. You would only create them going forward for Payees whose names you want to change. If you find Quicken's renaming service works well most of the time, you'd leave that preference checkbox checked, and create renaming rules only the for those it renames incorrectly (such as a store in Chico that gets incorrectly renamed to "Chico's"). On the other hand, if you find Quicken's renaming service gives undesirable results the majority of the time, you'd leave that preference checkbox unchecked, and create renaming rules only the for those you want renamed (such as "Home Depot 1234 Anytown".

    As for auto-categorization, this is unfinished business. Since its original incarnation, Quicken Mac hasn't had the same concept of regular transactions and memorized transactions that Quicken 2007 did. Essentially, every transaction is a memorized transaction, because when Quicken sees a new transaction for an existing Payee, it applies the categorization from the most recent transaction for that Payee. This is great if you always go to the same restaurant and Quicken applies the dining category you want. It's not great if you go to Home Depot, or purchase from Amazon, and each transaction needs a different category(ies). This is where the new functionality they're working on is supposed to make things better; the product manager shared some insight about what they were working on, but exactly how it will work is yet to be known.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • smali
    smali Member ✭✭
    > @jacobs said:
    > For Payee names, is it changing them from what your Financial Institution provides? If your bank or credit card company sends "Home Depot #1234 Anytown", Quicken's renaming service is supposed to parse that and return to you "Home Depot". If you turn off the automatic renaming service, then Quicken should show exactly what your financial institution sent: "Home Depot 1234 Anytown". Are you saying that Quicken isn't doing that?

    Yes, Quicken is changing the payee names in transactions that are downloaded to my file, regardless of the "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories" check box.

    > @jacobs said:
    > You don't need to write Payee renaming rules for any of your existing transactions. You would only create them going forward for Payees whose names you want to change. If you find Quicken's renaming service works well most of the time, you'd leave that preference checkbox checked, and create renaming rules only the for those it renames incorrectly (such as a store in Chico that gets incorrectly renamed to "Chico's"). On the other hand, if you find Quicken's renaming service gives undesirable results the majority of the time, you'd leave that preference checkbox unchecked, and create renaming rules only the for those you want renamed (such as "Home Depot 1234 Anytown".

    I think I've decided that I'm not a fan of the "renaming service" can you please explain which checkbox I need to uncheck in order to disable this?

    > As for auto-categorization, this is unfinished business. Since its original incarnation, Quicken Mac hasn't had the same concept of regular transactions and memorized transactions that Quicken 2007 did. Essentially, every transaction is a memorized transaction, because when Quicken sees a new transaction for an existing Payee, it applies the categorization from the most recent transaction for that Payee. This is great if you always go to the same restaurant and Quicken applies the dining category you want. It's not great if you go to Home Depot, or purchase from Amazon, and each transaction needs a different category(ies). This is where the new functionality they're working on is supposed to make things better; the product manager shared some insight about what they were working on, but exactly how it will work is yet to be known.

    Sorry to say it again, but if this implementation is only half-baked, as you described, the Quicken team needs to be smart enough to allow users to disable it if they desire until it can be completely fixed, tested, and implemented.
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