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disable automatic categorization after download

Hi,

I know this question has been asked many times historically, but I couldn't find a recent thread about it. I'm using Quicken for Mac v6.1.1. Every time I download, Quicken automatically categorizes many transactions, and it's almost always very bad at this. I understand that for some users this feature is helpful. I used to use Quicken for Windows and I could disable this, but I think the ability to disable this is missing on the Mac.

The best workaround I've found is to use the status field for this, and set all unreviewed transactions to Uncategorized after every download. With a large number of accounts and transactions, this is hard to get right every time, and it's very painful/stressful to go and review things to make sure I'm not allowing some bad automatic categorization somewhere (this has happened a few times and yielded some really large errors in reports, which entirely undermines the value of Quicken to me). A simple workflow where I manually categorize all Uncategorized transactions worked beautifully in Quicken for Windows for years.

I'm wondering:
1) Can anyone confirm whether the ability to disable automatic categorization is indeed still missing in Quicken for Mac?

2) If it is missing, is there any other way to request this feature formally? It seems like a large number of customers have been waiting many many years for this, and it doesn't seem like a difficult feature to implement. The Quicken team is obviously committed to continuously improving the product, so I'd like to think there's a better way to get their attention.

Thanks,
Jeremy

Answers

  • Hello @nonagon

    Thank you for reaching out on the community and telling us about your issue. I was taking a look and it looks like this is currently not available. There is an idea that exists requesting the same feature on the community as well. I would recommend adding your vote to the existing thread. Ideas are reviewed by our development team to see what people would like to be available in the future.

    https://community.quicken.com/discussion/7852035/prevent-auto-creation-of-categories#latest

    Thanks,

    Quicken Francisco


  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Go to Quicken > Preferences > Connected Services and uncheck the box for "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories."
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • nonagon
    nonagon Member ✭✭
    @jacobs that was unchecked already. Quicken isn't renaming payees or categories, but when I download transactions from my bank etc it is automatically assigning categories to those transactions. The quality of those automatic matches is terrible, and I'd really like to disable the feature.

    The link Quicken Francisco posted is the same issue, although the title is misleading - it's not the creation of categories that's a problem, it's the assigning of categories to transactions.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I wonder if you have QuickFill rules created from prior downloaded transactions which keep applying the same bad matches over and over.

    Go to Window > Payees & Rules and click on the QuickFill Rules tab. Do you have a lot of entries here? If so, try double-clicking one for a recent Payee which you know came in with the wrong category. Is that wrong category in the QuickFill rule? If so, edit the category here and re-save the rule. The next time Quicken downloads a transaction for that Payee, it should apply the category you just selected in the rule. I'd try doing  this for a dozen Payees you know you download with some frequency, and then seeing if it solves your problem. If so, then take some more time to do a deeper dive going through and fixing the categories in your QuickFill rules so your future downloads will do what you want them to.

    For Payees where the category often changes, a useful trick is to make sure there's a QuickFill rule, blank out the category, and then click the checkbox for "Lock this rule to prevent changes to it when editing a transaction." That insures that all transactions for this Payee will come in Uncategorized, rather than incorrectly categorized.

    Another option would be to delete all the QuickFill rules, if it turns out that many of them have wrong categories. But I think it's better to correct the QuickFill rules to categorize the way you want rather than to have things come in uncategorized and have to manually categorize them time after time. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • nonagon
    nonagon Member ✭✭
    That is really helpful - thank you! Agreed that blanking out the category and clicking that checkbox for a problematic payee is a good workaround.

    I do have a very large number of QuickFill rules. I recall deleting them every so often. Is there any way to prevent them from being created?
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    nonagon said:
     I do have a very large number of QuickFill rules. I recall deleting them every so often. Is there any way to prevent them from being created?
    Yes. Open Quicken > Preferences > Register. At the bottom of the window, uncheck the box for "Automatically create a rule when I edit a transaction". (You can still tell Quicken to create a rule on demand by clicking the pop-up checkbox while you're in the Category field.)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • nonagon
    nonagon Member ✭✭
    Great - if I make sure that checkbox is unchecked, and I delete all of the QuickFill rules, maybe that will effectively disable automatic categorization?
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @nonagon  I believe it should. But rather than deleting all the QuickFill transactions, I recommend taking a little time to edit at least some, if not all, of them to the categories you want them to be. If you turn off auto-categorization, your transactions will come in uncategorized and you'll have to manually edit them on an ongoing basis; if you set up the QuickFill rules the way you want, the majority of your transactions should come in correctly going forward.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • nonagon
    nonagon Member ✭✭
    That's great - thanks again for all of the info. I've tried experimenting with automatic categorization rules in the past, but I found the effort it took to validate the categories Quicken entered was greater than having a simple workflow where I manually categorize all transactions.

    If I run into situations where Quicken is still automatically categorizing transactions, I'll update this thread (since at least I would still really like an option to disable it just like Quicken for Windows has). If this workaround is solid then it'll provide a good answer to this question when it comes up from time to time in the community.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    nonagon said:
    I've tried experimenting with automatic categorization rules in the past, but I found the effort it took to validate the categories Quicken entered was greater than having a simple workflow where I manually categorize all transactions.
    I agree, and that's why I'm suggesting creating/editing your QuickFill rules, because that is manual categorization, and saves you from having to categorize transactions for the same Payee time after time after time. 

    nonagon said:
    If I run into situations where Quicken is still automatically categorizing transactions, I'll update this thread (since at least I would still really like an option to disable it just like Quicken for Windows has).
    The Quicken Mac product manager has stated in a post on this site last year that unchecking the "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories" box turns off all auto-categorization and payee re-naming. You'll simply get the raw data from the financial institution. If you find that's not the case, post here as it would then seem to be a bug, not a feature request.

    One of the reasons auto-categorization works reasonably well for some users and not well for others is likely to due to what categories we use. For those who use the default Quicken Mac categories, they are all wired to Intuit category mappings, and the categorization on downloaded transactions is likely pretty good. But for those of us who created our own categories and/or started with categories brought in from Quicken 2007 for Mac or Quicken Windows, any categories which weren't exactly the same as the default modern Quicken Mac categories aren't mapped and therefore won't get auto-categorized.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • nonagon
    nonagon Member ✭✭
    Makes sense, I have experimented with auto-categorization (by manually setting up rules) before. I just ran into too many cases where the same payee name showed up in a way that I wanted categorized differently over time. I do have mostly custom categories so I can see that many other users would find auto-categorization more useful.

    I'll certainly update this thread if I see any more auto-categorization happening. After fighting it for a long time I'm glad I finally have a workaround to try.
This discussion has been closed.