Configuring Automatic Categorization to Function As Expected

How does one do this? Is it not obvious to most humans that when the user categorizes a
transaction from Store X as AAA, then, likely the user would like to classify all
transactions from Store X, regardless of source (download, import, manual entry, other), splits or other trivia as AAA?
Can Quicken Windows Subscription be configured to work as this human expects?
If it matters, the transactions were imported from a QIF produced by Paypal. There are
about 1000 transactions, and every transaction I don't need to touch helps.

Best Answers

  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    That's right, renaming rules only apply to newly downloaded transactions. For transactions that are already in your registers, you can use Edit > Find/Replace. You can even do operations like Find Payee contains Store X and replace the Category with Groceries.
     
    There is no Undo button, so be careful and back up your data file before making bulk changes, in case the results are not what you expected.
    QWin Premier subscription
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    kenlyle said:
    If it matters, the transactions were imported from a QIF produced by Paypal. There are
    about 1000 transactions, and every transaction I don't need to touch helps.
    This statement matters a lot.

    First off renaming rules have never been applied to QIF imports.
    And starting in Quicken Subscription basically all processing has been dropped from QIF imports.
    That means, that the memorized payees aren't used to fill in categories.  And the transactions go directly into the register without trying to match to any existing transactions in the register.

    What's more this isn't "automatic transaction entry mode".  With transaction entry mode there would be a status of New/New Match on imported transactions so that the user can review them (and sort on them and edit them together).  With the Quicken Subscription QIF import there isn't any indication of what transactions of new other than maybe the cleared status (Clr).

    Another difference about QIF imports is that the category can be in them.  As such if the category is in the imported transaction it will be used.  And it will be used even if you were using Quicken 2017 and below where if there wasn't a category the memorized payee would be used to select the category.  PayPal QIF files have categories in them, and you better like their choices, because the only way to override them after the import is with find and replace (you might edit the QIF file before hand).

    Another thing different about QIF imports is they can have splits.  And if you have Paypal QIF files from a business transaction that has fees it is going to use splits.

    If it sounds like Quicken Inc is not supporting QIF imports very well that would be because they have for years discourage the use of them.  In fact other than converting from another personal finances program you can't even import them into Quicken Mac.
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Answers

  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Quicken does this via a combination of option settings, Renaming rules, and Memorized payees.

    The first step is to standardize the payee names. If Store X sometimes downloads as "Store X #123" and sometimes as "Store X 234", you can allow Quicken to attempt to change it to "Store X" automatically by checking the Edit > Preferences > Automatically apply Quicken's suggested payee" option.  If the automatic assignment doesn't work, you can also create a Renaming rule to always translate it to "Store X" .

    Once you have standardized the payee names, you can use the Memorized payee list to assign the category.
    QWin Premier subscription
  • kenlyle
    kenlyle Member
    Thanks. The user experience in this area still seems terrible. I did a Merge on two of my Memorized transactions related to Skype, and apparently created a renaming rule in the process, but when I go back to the register, Skype Communications Sarl is still there. Hitting the little down arrow in the name clicking Skype in the popup list, or picking it from the full Memorized Transactions list do nothing. It appears that Quicken is not designed to be helpful in responding to renaming or categorization AFTER download. Could that be?
  • kenlyle
    kenlyle Member
    Thanks. The user experience in this area still seems terrible. I did a Merge on two of my Memorized transactions related to Skype, and apparently created a renaming rule in the process, but when I go back to the register, Skype Communications Sarl is still there. Hitting the little down arrow in the name clicking Skype in the popup list, or picking it from the full Memorized Transactions list do nothing. It appears that Quicken is not designed to be helpful in responding to renaming or categorization AFTER download. Could that be?
  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    That's right, renaming rules only apply to newly downloaded transactions. For transactions that are already in your registers, you can use Edit > Find/Replace. You can even do operations like Find Payee contains Store X and replace the Category with Groceries.
     
    There is no Undo button, so be careful and back up your data file before making bulk changes, in case the results are not what you expected.
    QWin Premier subscription
  • kenlyle
    kenlyle Member
    Ah, There is the issue. It seems sad to me that the developers don't think it is important to make it easier to handle downloaded Paypal files. Thanks very much! I am almost to September on my file, so probably won't Search/Replace this time.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    kenlyle said:
    If it matters, the transactions were imported from a QIF produced by Paypal. There are
    about 1000 transactions, and every transaction I don't need to touch helps.
    This statement matters a lot.

    First off renaming rules have never been applied to QIF imports.
    And starting in Quicken Subscription basically all processing has been dropped from QIF imports.
    That means, that the memorized payees aren't used to fill in categories.  And the transactions go directly into the register without trying to match to any existing transactions in the register.

    What's more this isn't "automatic transaction entry mode".  With transaction entry mode there would be a status of New/New Match on imported transactions so that the user can review them (and sort on them and edit them together).  With the Quicken Subscription QIF import there isn't any indication of what transactions of new other than maybe the cleared status (Clr).

    Another difference about QIF imports is that the category can be in them.  As such if the category is in the imported transaction it will be used.  And it will be used even if you were using Quicken 2017 and below where if there wasn't a category the memorized payee would be used to select the category.  PayPal QIF files have categories in them, and you better like their choices, because the only way to override them after the import is with find and replace (you might edit the QIF file before hand).

    Another thing different about QIF imports is they can have splits.  And if you have Paypal QIF files from a business transaction that has fees it is going to use splits.

    If it sounds like Quicken Inc is not supporting QIF imports very well that would be because they have for years discourage the use of them.  In fact other than converting from another personal finances program you can't even import them into Quicken Mac.
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
  • kenlyle
    kenlyle Member
    Thanks, Chris.
    The part about no processing on import is fine with me.
    I did get my most recent 3 months by connecting Quicken Subscription to Paypal, but couldn't see how to get my 2021 data in an automated pull from Paypal.
    I think I get all your points, but I still wonder, if the user recategorizes a transaction, shouldn't the software offer an option, if there are other transactions for the same payee, to recategorize them?
    Noted about QIF, I will try to avoid them in the future. Thanks for that backstory.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    kenlyle said:
    but I still wonder, if the user recategorizes a transaction, shouldn't the software offer an option, if there are other transactions for the same payee, to recategorize them?

    It does.

    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
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  • kenlyle
    kenlyle Member
    Thanks again, Chris. I had seen that, and even unchecked "Only when updating Uncategorized Transactions" because the Paypal transactions arrive categorized. If I ever use QIF again, I will bring the transactions in Uncategorized, except that the Fee breakdown on PP transactions is kind of nice, ugh. Anyway, I note the word PAST transactions, and I happened to be working through the file forward, i.e. January to December, so all the trailing transactions had been updated already, so maybe Quicken knew there was nothing to do.
    So, it seems I managed to find an edge case where I didn't get the benefit of this suggestion feature.
    If you have any influence on the dev team, my suggestion is, as I have written, that when I update the category, it is likely that I want to update the category for ALL transactions matching the payee, not just PAST ones, which seems to assume that I am working/categorizing in reverse chronological order?
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Past should be removed from the option text because it isn't what happens.

    "past" is an seems to be some kind of assumption of what the user might be doing.  As in they put in past because of the fact that they are assuming that you just downloaded a transaction and now want to change its category.  In fact the function changes all the transactions with that payee in that account.
    Signature:
    (I'm always using the latest Quicken Windows Premier subscription version)
    This is my website: http://www.quicknperlwiz.com/
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