Confused - just want to use Quicken as a checkbook register.

I'm 82 and I used a much older version of Quicken. My computer crashed and I now have the subscription version and I'm really confused. I don't want to do anything online. I like to use Quicken as a checkbook register. Can someone tell me how I can enter my bill payments and then see all my transactions?


  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Theoretically, you do it in the same (or similar) way as you did with your old Quicken version: You enter transactions manually.
    If you need to add new accounts to your Quicken data file you want to start the Add Account process and then continue with the "Offline Account" tab (at the bottom of the dialog.
    Were you able to recover your old version's Quicken data file or a backup of same from your old computer? If so, you should be able to open either one from within your new Quicken ... within some limitations. What old Quicken version were you using? US, Canadian or other country version?

    Are you new to Quicken for Windows?

    Please read this for more information, some videos and a list of resources to help familiarize yourself with Quicken:


    Quicken Help! (Quicken for Windows)

    If you're unsure on how to do something, you can find more information about a specific task, function, feature or report in Quicken Help.
    To access Quicken Help simply press the F1 key from anywhere in Quicken (or click Help in the Menu bar, then click Quicken Help).
    Or use the Search tab to search using keywords, e.g., "buy security".
    Some Quicken view screens may have a blue (or yellow) button with a question mark. Click it to get view - specific help.
    A browser-based version is available here:

  • I was not able to recover my old files. I'm starting from scratch and the subscription version looks very different from the version that I was using. I have entered my accounts but I can't figure out how to enter what I paid on my credit card.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2022
    In all material respects the subscription version works exactly the same as Quicken has always worked when it comes to the pure "accounting" functions of Categorizing transactions and moving money between Accounts.
    You apparently have created "manual" Accounts in Quicken, (i.e., not set up to download) - a checking Account and a credit card Account.  As you enter enter charges on your credit card you Categorize each charge appropriately, identifying the payee, the dollar amount, and what Category(s) to use for the charge. 
    When you write a check out of your bank Account to pay the amount owed to the credit card company, you enter that in the bank Account with the needed information - payee, dollar amount and what "Category" to use.  In this case the "Category" you use is the name of the credit card Account, surrounded by square brackets, e.g., [Chase Freedom Card VISA 8730]. 
    Using the name of an Account surrounded by square brackets in the "Category" box is a "transfer" in Quicken terminology.  The convention of "Categorizing" a transaction as a transfer between Accounts as described above is the same way Quicken has always worked, as far as I know.
  • Thank you for your comments. Is there a way for me to see all my check register(checking balance and each bill that I have paid) on a monthly basis? I am struggling to find that view. I can see each account but not a monthly view on what has been paid. Thanks again for your assistance!
  • You are correct. All my entries are entered manually.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Here's one way: Click on the gear wheel in the upper right corner of the register, select More Reports, then Register Report.  You can customize the resulting report to cover any period you're interested in looking at by using the "Date range" drop-down list over on the left.  After customizing your report you could then save the report for future use.
    You could use that same saved report for different checking Accounts by customizing it, (large gear wheel up at the top of the report), each time you use the report and selecting what particular checking Account you want to look at.
  • Your comments have been very helpful. Thank you.

    New question - if you have a monthly expense like your electric bill, do you create that under Other liabilities/no loan attached - keep in mind I entering everything under manual? If so, when I pay it, the account is zeroed out the balance. What do I do next month because it is a reoccurring expense.

    Thanks again.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2022
    If you're asking me personally what I do, I don't do a whole lot of accruing, I generally expense a payment like an electric bill when I actually pay it out of checking, so a bill with a cutoff date in September, say, will be expensed probably in October when the payment goes out.
    You can, of course, enter a bill with a cutoff date in September in a liability Account, an "Accounts Payable" in effect, and then have the check paying that bill that goes out in October be debited to that liability account to bring the balance to zero.  And then the next month do the exact same thing: record the bill in the liability Account when you receive it, then zero out that liability Account when you atually pay the bill.
    They're your accounting records and you're the Chief Accountant so you can do whatever makes sense to you.
    Since my electric bill cuts off sometimes around mid-month it's not really a bill for the energy used for that month, it's more like half of the prior month and half of the month of the bill's date, so I don't do the extra work necessary to make sure the expense shows up "in the month."  In the memo field I enter the date of the bill so if I wanted to make an estimate of some month's "actual" energy expense I do have the information in Quicken to do that.
  • Thank you Tom, but unfortunately, I am not following what you said. Sorry! I am an 82 year user that used a much older version of Quicken. This new one has a lot more bells and whistles and it is overwhelming.
  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2022
    I've been using Quicken from the earliest days of DOS and while the subscription version certainly does have more bells and whistles, the basic accounting functions really remain unchanged, and if you have always used Quicken manually - no downloading - I'm sure you can do the same with the subscription version.
    As always, in Quicken you first set up the Accounts (balance sheet items) that you intend to use.  In your case it appears that you have, at least, a bank checking account and probably a credit card account, maybe more than one credit card account. 
    So you click on Tools > Add Account > Offline Account and establish manual Accounts in Quicken for the bank checking account, and credit card accounts.  This process has not changed in at least of couple of decades, although the screen you're looking at to go through this process certainly have changed.
    As you create each Account you are asked for an "Opening Balance" and most people probably do as the prompt for this asks, enter the date and dollar amount shown on the most recent statement and work forward from there.  (If you have balances and transactions that are earlier than the most recent statement you can use that information, too, filling in historical data so that you have a more complete record of transactions.)
    After creating the Accounts and entering opening balances you then enter transactions in the same fashion that Quicken has always worked, using Quicken's pre-defined Categories if they work for you or creating your own custom Categories.  And, I explained earlier, when you pay a credit card bill out of checking you use the Quicken credit card Account name, surrounded by square brackets, in the Category field to "transfer" that money into the credit card Account.
    Now you had asked me if when you receive your electricity bill if that should be entered into a non-loan liability Account, and my answer was you can do that, if you want to, but you don't have to do that, it's up to you if the extra work is worth it.
    Ultimately, however you do your accounting, you're going to write a check out of the bank Account to settle the bill, so the most straight-forward and simplest accounting here would be to simply enter the check in the check register, using the date that you intend to pay them.
    Going back to my example of a electric bill I receive sometime in September with a due date of, say, October 5th, I simply enter that information in my check register and set up the payment with my bank:
    Date; 10/5/22
    Payee: (Name of utility provider)
    Amount: $XXX.xx
    Category: Utilities:Electric
    and I'm done.
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