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How do I generate a report using both the category and the memo fields? (Q Mac)

brichter
brichter Member ✭✭
edited May 4 in Reports (Mac)
self-explanatory, I want to create a report using both the category and memo fields, e.g. category == auto:fuel and memo == truck.

There doesn't seem to be a way to do this, although logically if the field can be used to define a value, it should be able to be used in a report to match that value. It has very little usefulness if it can't be used for the report function.

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    You're correct that you can't create a report using the memo field as a (or the) criterion. 

    But you can select one or multiple accounts in the sidebar (up to All Transactions) and use the Search field to search by memo. You can then sort by category, multi-select the transactions for the category you want, and print a report of the selected transactions. So although it's a two-step process, you can get what you want.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • brichter
    brichter Member ✭✭
    Thanks, I’ll try that. Why is the user not able to select the memo field as a criteria for a report?
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    One thing you might want to consider doing is using Tags for this type of situation. Create a tag for each vehicle and then tag each fuel purchase transactions (and other vehicle related transactions) according to which vehicle it applies. This will unlock the full power of the reporting engine to filter by tags and let you generate tag-centric summary and comparison reports.
    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    brichter said:
    Why is the user not able to select the memo field as a criteria for a report?
    @brichter Because the developers haven't built it yet! ;) Seriously, Quicken Mac was rebuilt from scratch last decade, and it's still a work in progress to add useful features which existed in older versions of Quicken. There's a long list of requests from Quicken Mac users, so it's a question of which things get prioritized.

    In this case, my guess is that the developers initially felt using Search to find something in the Memo/Notes field would be sufficient for most people's needs. Also, the existing Reports criteria are all lists (accounts, categories, payees, tags), where this would require a different interface for a free-form field, so perhaps they were trying to avoid that. But as you've realized, there are situations where using specific Memo text would be very useful for reports where Search is less-than-optimal. So…

    There is an idea request to add the ability to use Memo/Notes as a Reports criterion; please take a few seconds to add your vote for this feature (click the link, look for the yellow box, and click the little arrow under the vote counter). More votes is how we users can influence the developers to prioritize a feature request.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • brichter
    brichter Member ✭✭
    Sure, I understand that they rebuilt the app, But, coming from my experience as a software engineer for a couple of decades, one needs to realize that if users are given a certain tool, eliminating or restricting the functionality of that tool in a new version makes for a horrible UX, especially with no method to retroactively change their existing records to conform with the new functionality. Also, if the ability to generate reports based on the memo field existed in the prior version, one would think that continuing that functionality in the new version should still be a somewhat trivial endeavor.

    I added my vote to that feature request, and your workaround mostly achieves the desired result, thanks for the tip.
  • brichter
    brichter Member ✭✭
    > @RickO said:
    > One thing you might want to consider doing is using Tags for this type of situation. Create a tag for each vehicle and then tag each fuel purchase transactions (and other vehicle related transactions) according to which vehicle it applies. This will unlock the full power of the reporting engine to filter by tags and let you generate tag-centric summary and comparison reports.

    That is an acceptable solution going forward, but with no thought to months or years of preexisting records. It's fine for a new user, but not for existing users.
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    brichter said:
    That is an acceptable solution going forward, but with no thought to months or years of preexisting records. It's fine for a new user, but not for existing users.
    You may be able to "retrofit" your database to use tags fairly easily, depending on how far back you want to go. You could do this, for example:
    1. Search the register (or group register) for the word "truck" in the memo field.
    2. Sort by the memo column. Hopefully all the transactions that need the Tag "truck" would be in a contiguous set.
    3. Select that contiguous set of transactions using shift-click (click the first one then shift-click the last one).
    4. With the transactions selected, click menu File > Get Info.
    5. Put "truck" in the Tags field in the Info window.
    6. If there are other tags on the transactions, select "Add to existing tags"
    7. Click OK
    8. The older transactions will now have the "truck" tag applied and you can use tags going forward and have access to better reporting.



    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    brichter said:
    Coming from my experience as a software engineer for a couple of decades, one needs to realize that if users are given a certain tool, eliminating or restricting the functionality of that tool in a new version makes for a horrible UX, especially with no method to retroactively change their existing records to conform with the new functionality. Also, if the ability to generate reports based on the memo field existed in the prior version, one would think that continuing that functionality in the new version should still be a somewhat trivial endeavor.
    When the engineers began working on a modern Quicken Mac, they made clear that they weren't going to try to just re-create a modern version of the exact same software. There were features in the old versions which few people used, or which didn't work well or confused people, or which new functionality might render unnecessary, etc.  So just because a certain feature existed before didn't make it something they felt was automatically needed in the next-generation product. And since they couldn't develop every feature quickly anyway, they are adding features in response to user feedback.

    As a software engineer, you should know that building a feature on one technology base does not necessarily make it easy to design in a completely different technology base. A feature in an old program written in, say, COBOL is not trivial to re-create in modern Objective-C simply because it was previously coded for the older program. In the case of modern Quicken versus the legacy Mac program, literally everything is different. The core database is different. The operating system frameworks and tools are different. The programming language is different. The user interface design and tools are different. So implementing a feature in modern Quicken Mac which was originally designed for a significantly different program 30 years ago is not necessarily a trivial endeavor. ;)

    That all said, I think there's a compelling argument for the ability to specify text in the Memo/Notes field, in addition to other criteria, for reports. I'm all for this, and I hope other like-minded Quicken Mac users will vote for the Idea to add this feature! My posts here have been to help suggest workarounds in the meantime, and to provide context for why something like this doesn't exist yet, but I'm very hopeful it will be addressed by the developers in the future. Unfortunately, the Idea post has only a modest number of votes, so it's probably not high on the priority list -- and thus the need to get more votes. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • brichter
    brichter Member ✭✭
    I have 3 trucks, 2 motorcycles, and 2 cars. jacobs's solution will suffice until a better fix is implemented.
  • brichter
    brichter Member ✭✭
    > @jacobs said:
    > When the engineers began working on a modern Quicken Mac, they made clear that they weren't going to try to just re-create a modern version of the exact same software. There were features in the old versions which few people used, or which didn't work well or confused people, or which new functionality might render unnecessary, etc.  So just because a certain feature existed before didn't make it something they felt was automatically needed in the next-generation product. And since they couldn't develop every feature quickly anyway, they are adding features in response to user feedback.
    >
    > As a software engineer, you should know that building a feature on one technology base does not necessarily make it easy to design in a completely different technology base. A feature in an old program written in, say, COBOL is not trivial to re-create in modern Objective-C simply because it was previously coded for the older program. In the case of modern Quicken versus the legacy Mac program, literally everything is different. The core database is different. The operating system frameworks and tools are different. The programming language is different. The user interface design and tools are different. So implementing a feature in modern Quicken Mac which was originally designed for a significantly different program 30 years ago is not necessarily a trivial endeavor. ;)
    >
    > That all said, I think there's a compelling argument for the ability to specify text in the Memo/Notes field, in addition to other criteria, for reports. I'm all for this, and I hope other like-minded Quicken Mac users will vote for the Idea to add this feature! My posts here have been to help suggest workarounds in the meantime, and to provide context for why something like this doesn't exist yet, but I'm very hopeful it will be addressed by the developers in the future. Unfortunately, the Idea post has only a modest number of votes, so it's probably not high on the priority list -- and thus the need to get more votes. 

    I'm pretty sure none of the original program was coded in COBOL, and pretty sure none of your existing developers could still develop anything near as complicated as this application using COBOL, although there might be someone there as old as I am that actually learned COBOL on a lark. LOL That said, modern db APIs are sufficient that this "should" be pretty trivial, unless you reinvented the wheel with your own db, and one might question the sanity of that. :-)

    As far as users voting to add the feature, I wonder how many folks simply didn't upgrade, or as in my case having to migrate to Mac, chose a different solution when they moved from Windows to Mac? The many DB changes over the years were a constant source of pain for me (I've been a user of the Windows platform since 1996), as was migrating from Windows to Mac because of the schema changes. IIRC, there were a couple "total backups" necessary with 2 clean installs on Windows to specific versions, then an installation on Mac and restore the final backup from the Windows platform to the Mac The process to change OSes almost drove me away.

    The only way I found the page to vote to add the feature was because you mentioned it, it never came up via an internet search so how many others would be able to vote? I'd hate to see you folks fall into the trap of "We're number 1, we don't need to try any more."
  • smayer97
    smayer97 SuperUser, Mac Beta, Canada Beta ✭✭✭✭✭
    Unfortunately, the number of votes is VERY misleading. This Idea thread was only created 1 year ago BUT this request has been part of the Quick Report request since way back in Nov 2016 Bring back Quick Report for Mac. You can see from the comments that many are looking to create reports based on the memo field. And that thread has garnered almost 100 votes.
     

    It would be a shame if the mods and developers lose sight of the fact that some of the votes are reflected there and never got added to this newer more specific idea.



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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    brichter said:
    I'm pretty sure none of the original program was coded in COBOL...
    I used COBOL to Objective-C simply as an example of the massive change in coding environments over 3 decades, to counter what you wrote about it being a trivial endeavor to create an old feature in a different program. I was not suggesting that the original Quicken Mac was written in COBOL. (It most definitely was not.)

    brichter said:
    The only way I found the page to vote to add the feature was because you mentioned it, it never came up via an internet search so how many others would be able to vote? I'd hate to see you folks fall into the trap of "We're number 1, we don't need to try any more."
    Keep in mind that most of the people posting here are fellow Quicken users, like me, trying to help each other; you're not writing to Quicken management when you post here. 

    As for whether Quicken is resting on its laurels, I think from at least the Mac perspective, it's pretty clear they're not. The "modern" Quicken Mac came out in late 2014, and it was pretty anemic for those who had been using the old Quicken 2007 for Mac or Quicken Windows. Over the past 6+ years, an incredible amount of progress has been made on Quicken Mac. Reports, budgets, loans, transaction management -- all have seen significant improvements. All are in response to customer requests. We all wish the progress by the development team unfolded more quickly, but there's no doubt that they have been and continue to be chipping away at the functionality users want. (Quicken Windows is a much more mature product, so the pace and scope of changes may feel different to Windows users.)

    I'd also note that management and the development team make their decisions based on a number of inputs. Idea posts here are one of them. Feedback from their support centers -- about where customers are having problems with the program -- is another. They also periodically survey both beta test customers and regular customers. So they get data fro multiple sources as they constantly update their development roadmap.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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