Add email as an attachment to a transaction (Q Mac)

cynstalker Member ✭✭
I have just switched from Windows to Mac, and am working my way through my learning curve.🤪 one thing I need help with is attachments - really trying to be all digital instead of maintaining paper files.


How does one add an email as an attachment to a transaction? When I spoke with support, they said one cannot drag and drop - one must create a pdf from the email, and then drag the pdf to the transaction. That works, but it is very cumbersome. ***EDIT:*** I found that i can just drag the email itself to the desktop and attach from there. A little better than creating a pdf, but still wondering if I can just drag and drop directly into the transaction.

Also, is there a way to copy something from the clipboard as an attachment?

And lastly, how does one scan a doc to use as an attachment.

Thanks for any assistance you can give!


  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    I just tried to drag and drop from both Apple Mail and Outlook directly into Quicken. Neither works. So I'm afraid you're stuck with an intermediate location such as desktop. Considering how you have to arrange windows for direct drag and drop, going through desktop doesn't seem to me to be all that inconvenient. I don't think there's any way to copy/paste through the clipboard either. 

    That said, I prefer personally not to store my emails and receipts within the Quicken database, which greatly increases the size. I just file them separately in a way that I can easily access.

    To scan a document, you would scan it to your desktop as a JPEG or PDF file, then drag and drop it to Quicken. You can also add attachments to a Quicken transaction via the file dialog by clicking the paperclip icon in the Attachments (paperclip) column. (If you don't see the Attachments column, click menu View > Columns to add it.) 

    Exactly how to scan a document to your desktop would depend on which scanner you have and the software it provides. But generic instructions for scanning from the Preview app can be found here:

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    As Rick notes, an "attachment" is a file, so you must create a file before you can attach it. you can't drag text from an email or the clipboard to a transaction; quicken Mac doesn't create files, it only copies and organizes them.

    I'd also echo Rick on the recommendation to store your documents outside Quicken. It will keep your data file from ballooning in size over time. This can slow down launching Quicken, and definitely slows down putting Quicken when you are having it create a backup file every time you quit.

    But there are other reasons. It is rare, but it is possible for a Quicken data file to get corrupted or damaged. Do you want to risk having all your documents at risk if the Quicken data file is damaged. Sometime, the only way to fix a damaged data file is to export the transactions and re-import them to a new data file; your transactions are preserved if doing this, but all your attachments would be lost.

    The key to keeping your documents organized outside Quicken is to establish a filing system on your Mac. For many people, keeping documents chronological is the easiest. Make a folder for each year, and depending how many documents you plan to save, possibly a folder for each month within it. Then come up with a good naming system for your files and use it consistently. I would do something like date+payee+optional note for the name. So something like:
      2021 folder
          2021-11-15 XYZ Bank monthly statement
          2021-11-30 ABC Visa Card monthly statement
          2021-12-01 Mytown Water Company bill
          2021-12-03 Amex statement (includes hot water heater)

    The key is that you can skim the folder if you know what you're looking for, or you can use the Finder to find all your bills for a particular company over time.

    Alternatively, if you decide you're only going to keep bills and statements from a limited number of financial institutions and vendors, you could create a folder for each one, and then use dates in the filenames to keep them straight. So: 
       XYZ Bank
          2021-09-15 statement
          2021-10-15 statement
          2021-11-15 statement
      MyTown Water Company
          2021-03-31 statement for Q1 21
          2021-06-30 statement for Q2 21
          2021-09-30 statement for Q3 21
          2021-11-03 Amex statement
          2021-12-03 Amex statement (includes hot water heater)

    Use what is intuitive to you, and what you will be able to remember to do consistently. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • cynstalker
    cynstalker Member ✭✭
    Wow! Thanks RickO and Jacobs. I so appreciate the thoughtfulness and depth of both your replies! I will take to heart the idea of not attaching receipts and statements in Quicken, and try to devise a better way in separate file(s). I have already felt this pain by transferring my data file from Windows into Mac, where the attachments did not transfer. I do love having the receipts attached in Quicken, as I have been using Quicken for windows for many years and am super comfortable finding transactions in Quicken. I am brand-new to Macs, so understanding the work flow and finding docs is a challenge at this point in time. I will get there, eventually!🤪

    Again, thank you both your kindness.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Attachments in Quicken is a nice feature, and if you decide the convenience of using it outweighs the potential downsides to doing so, you can certainly go ahead and use it. I definitely understand the convenience of storing a bill or statement with a transaction, and having it always available when you find that transaction in Quicken. 

    One of the problems I find with Quicken's implementation of attachments is that it is very rudimentary. When you attach a document to a transaction, Quicken makes a copy of the document, gives it a long and cryptic filename, saves that file in a hidden folder inside your data file, and stores the filename of that file with the transaction record, so the transaction knows which file is attached. So it's a perfectly fine one-way link. But there's nothing else you can do with attached transactions. You can't export them all, should you need to. You can't export all of last year's credit card statements; instead, you'd need to do a Search in Quicken for the Payee name to see all the transactions, and then open each transaction to open the attachments one at a time. So when I add that lack of any advanced functionality to the datafile size issue and the potential corruption issue, I lean toward external storage of files.

    The last issue: what if you ever stop using Quicken? (Maybe the company stops selling the program... or you decide it's become too expensive... or you find some other personal finance software which excels in areas you find important... etc.) Although I plan to continue using Quicken indefinitely -- hopefully fr the rest of my life! -- I recognize that software products and companies rise and fall, and there might be a day when things change. If you have years and decades of records stored in your Quicken data file, hopefully you'll still be able to access it when you need to, but you'll always need your copy of Quicken in order to access your old documents. But if you store your documents externally, that part of your financial history isn't tied to Quicken.

    Again, some people do choose to store their file attachments in Quicken; it's very convenient. I'm not trying to talk you out of doing something you've done for years and feel comfortable with; I'm just trying to make you aware of some possible downsides to going that route.

    Best wishes!
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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