Is there a way to "lock" a category to prevent it be used going forward?

Long time user of Quicken Mac and some old transactions have categories I no longer use. I would like to avoid accidentally assigning new transactions to these categories. Is there a way to "lock" categories so they won't be used going forward?

For instance, I originally used the category "Auto" for automatic deposits and then used the same category for cars. Not smart, but that's how I did it back in 1993. Over time, I began using Quicken's category "Auto & Transport"" for auto expenses and used an appropriate category for automatic deposits (eg., salary).

The "auto" transactions are over 10 years old so I could delete the category and realistically it won't hurt anything. Preference though would be to keep the transaction/category as is and not use it going forward.

Possible?
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Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Quicken Mac doesn't let you delete a category which has been used. The reason is that all the transactions which used it would them become uncategorized. Many users have asked the developers to create a feature which would allow old and unneeded categories to be hidden, but this feature doesn't yet exist. (You can add your vote for it by clicking here, and in the yellow box, clicking the little black arrow under the vote counter.)

    What some users have done is to rename unneeded categories with a "z" prefix (e.g. "z-Auto" or "zAuto"). While this doesn't delete them, it makes them come up at the bottom of an alphabetic list, which fundamentally makes them disappear from your day-to-day usage. It ain't pretty or perfect, but it gets the job done. ;) this is particularly useful for categories you simply don't use anymore, such as work-related expenses if you've retired, or kid-related expenses if your kids have grown and moved out.

    Another thing you can do, which is often better if you switched from one category to another, is to merge the old category into the one you use now. For instance, in Quicken 2007 and earlier, I used my own category Auto:Fuel go gas. Modern Quicken Mac has a default category Auto & Transport:Gas & Fuel. So if I wanted to get rid of my old category, I could merge it with the new category.

    For categories with no subcategories, this is straightforward: in the Categories window, click both categories and click Merge; make sure you select which should be the surviving category in the next dialog box. With sub-categories involved, there's an added wrinkle: you can only merge categories or sub-categories at the same level. In my example above, I'd need to first drag my "Fuel" sub-category into the Auto & Transport category to make Fuel a subcategory of Auto & Transport. Then, I could click on my Fuel sub-category and the default Gas & Fuel sub-category and merge them into Gas & Fuel.

    In the case you describe with the old "Auto" category, this would require some work, because it sounds like you have two different types of transactions which used the same category. If you can figure out how to select all the ones for cars, you could edit them to use the appropriate category you now use. If these transactions are not part of splits, you can select any number of transactions and use Transaction > Edit Transaction to change the category in all the selected transactions at once. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for split transactions. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Dorothy H
    Dorothy H Member ✭✭
    Thank you! This helps alot. I'm setting up a budget for the first time and the process has taken me into a deep dive of categories and cleaning up alot of registers.

    Out of curiosity, what categories do you use for things like drivers license renewal and passports? We received an auto insurance payout in the past that I simply categorized as auto. How would you categorize an auto insurance payout?
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    All good questions; there’s no right or wrong answers, and different people will answer differently…

    For passports, I use a Travel:Other category, since I consider it a travel-related expense.

    For drivers license and auto registration fees, I use Auto:Registration.

    For an auto insurance payout, I categorize it to Auto:Repairs (Quicken’s default version of this is Auto & Transport:Service & Pars) to offset what I paid or will pay for the repair work.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Dorothy H
    Dorothy H Member ✭✭
    Thank you. Working on it right now. It is oddly satisfying to get Quicken registers cleaned up!