Attaching receipts/invoices to register posts for Quicken for Mac

WoodSculptor
WoodSculptor Unconfirmed, Member

I am a 20+ year user of Quicken for Windows. I am suggesting to a friend who has a Mac to use Quicken. I want to be sure that receipts, invoices, etc can be as easily attached to a register post in the Mac version as it is in Windows.

I will set her up with a document management system where the receipts will first be scanned to and then from there attached to the Quicken register. I've worked this way with my Windows version and it works well. I also have a triple backup system for the Quicken file in case it gets corrupted which has only occurred once in the 20+ years.

Thank you,

Mark

Answers

  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta

    Yes, you can add such attachments to register transactions in QMac.

    Personally, I have never used it instead preferring to maintain my own electronic filing system for these items. One reason is that adding in attachments greatly bloats the size of the Quicken file.

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • WoodSculptor
    WoodSculptor Unconfirmed, Member

    I'm aware of that and have 20+ years' worth of receipts attached to all my posts in Quicken & it runs fine plus as I mentioned I also have all the receipts in a separate document management directory on my computer and will set up the same system so their will be a redundancy of material.

    Rick, Thank you for taking the time to reply, Mark

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta

    I'm not very knowledgeable about the Windows version, but I just wanted to add that there is no management of attachments available in Quicken Mac. You can attach a document to a transaction; you can see an icon in the register view which transactions have documents attached, and you can click to open an attachment. But you can't find and open/delete/print/export multiple attachments at once.

    Quicken Mac also allows only attaching documents to transactions; you cannot attach documents to accounts (for things like statements) as you can in Windows. (You could create dummy $0 transactions each month to attach a statement to, if you wanted.) There is no attachment viewer, and no uploading documents to the cloud.

    Like Rick, my recommendation to users is to set up a folder hierarchy (folders by year, and by payee within that, or visa versa) on the Mac, and not attach them in Quicken. If you're already doing that work for redundancy, then I'd suggest that the extra work of attaching the documents inside Quicken isn't necessary. Since Quicken Mac backs up every time you quit the program, and all the attachments are stored within the Quicken data file, the bloated file size you'll get over time will be an annoyance, because each backup will contain all your scanned documents.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • WoodSculptor
    WoodSculptor Unconfirmed, Member

    That's all we want to do is attach the receipt/invoice to the respective transaction and from both posts that doesn't sound like it will be an issue. As previously stated, as I now do, I will also set up the same document management software for my friend where the scan will be dumped first into its respective directory and then attached to the transaction.

    I see no lag in the working of Quicken with about 15 years of data. I archive older data. It sounds like it's more an issue per each individual's computer. We update to the newest and fastest computer our budget allows about every two years. She has a Macbook so it may be an issue and will take into account the potential for lag and perhaps just leave the documents in their respective directories if it becomes a problem.

    Jacob, thank you for your input. Mark

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta

    Well, you said you use Quicken Windows, and you've heard opinions from two Quicken Mac users, which you're completely free to disregard. 😀 There are differences in the programs and the operating systems between Mac and Windows. For one thing, you mentioned archiving older data, but there is no archiving in Quicken Mac; with a newer and more robust database than Quicken Windows, the program has been designed for users to accumulate data on an ongoing basis without purging. Without bringing attachments into the picture, this is pretty sound; I have 30 years of data in my current Quicken Mac file. But a large volume of attachments will slow operations down at times you might find annoying. As mentioned, when you quit Quicken, it makes a compressed backup of your data file — and there's a big difference in speed, even on a modern, fast Mac, if your data file is 70 MB versus 100 GB.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • WoodSculptor
    WoodSculptor Unconfirmed, Member

    Good info that I didn't know. Thank you, Mark

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭

    From what I can see, or guess (I don't have a Mac) you should be fine "up to the limitations of Quicken".

    In both Windows and Mac the "attachment system" is so limited that all the SuperUser don't recommend it, and there is an added difference with Quicken Mac you might need to consider.

    I don't know how Quicken Mac actually stores attachments, but my guess is that it is similar to what Quicken Windows does.

    Quicken Windows data file is in fact a compressed file (Like ZIP, but not exactly, 7-Zip can open it). As such, attachments are stored in a folder in that compressed file, and a link in the actual database file points to that file. When a ZIP/compressed file is opened, it doesn't have to read in all of the file in such folders if they are not needed. This is the reason that there can be gigabytes of attachments in such a file and still the performance of Quicken doesn't go down.

    The biggest problems though have to do with the fact that there isn't a real system for dealing with these attachments. Quicken Windows has a very limited "viewer" that only shows a thumbnail of the attachments. To actually view them they are opened outside of Quicken. accessing/saving/deleting is only possible from that link in the register (or the Account Details/attachment location). So, maintaining them is an extreme pain. What's more from time to time there are reports of Quicken "forgetting/breaking" the links. Note one Idea thread in Quicken Windows is that they should allow links to files outside of the Quicken data file.

    You say that you use Quicken Windows year end copy function to prune out these and other data, well Quicken Mac doesn't have that functionality.

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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta

    I don't know how Quicken Mac actually stores attachments, but my guess is that it is similar to what Quicken Windows does.

    @Chris_QPW It sounds similar from your description. In Mac parlance, a Quicken data file is a "package file", which is actually a wrapper which makes the files and folders it contains appear as if it's a single file to the user and the operating system. Inside the Quicken data file, there's a folder for attachments. Quicken creates a folder hierarchy for each attachment with a pointer/link on the transaction record. Here's a peek inside one of my test Quicken data files showing the Package contents with a sample attachment I just attached to a transaction:

    Note that the PDF attachment shows a 1.3MB file size, which is the same size as the original PDF, so I don't believe Quicken Mac is compressing the individual attachments. And the cryptic folder naming scheme Quicken uses for the attachments means that you can't ever look at the attachments folder and find a particular attachment; it's not designed for users to be looking inside the data file Package. (The 85.9 MB file called "data" is the actual SQL database of my ~30 years of Quicken data.)

    Clicking the attachment icon on a transaction opens the transaction using the native macOS application for that attachment — typically Preview, which displays PDF, jpg, and png files, or Word, Excel, Pages, Numbers etc. I forgot that there is a mini-viewer which shows attachment thumbnails if you click on Show Attachments for a transaction; this is also the only place you can delete attachments.

    The Quicken Mac data file itself is not compressed, but the backups Quicken creates are compressed (zip) files. That's why quitting Quicken Mac will get slower over time if there are gigabytes of attachments stored inside.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭

    Looks like you have a better chance with Mac (not really…) in the sense that at least the file name is preserved.

    The original name of this file was version.txt

    Note that in the case of Quicken Windows you can't open this file directly because it is encrypted. If the user opens it in Quicken, Quicken first decrypts it.

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  • WoodSculptor
    WoodSculptor Unconfirmed, Member

    I've been adding receipts to transactions ever since it became available in Quicken WIdnows and am very familiar with the process and limitations.

    Because I also have a traditional directory that has all the same receipts, they are very easy for me to manipulate and retrieve if need be. My "paper" directory has about 40 sub-directories which may sound daunting, but using Paperport software I can see the complete directory at a glance.

    The reason attaching receipts and such are such a big deal for me, that capabitiy saved both my **** and my business. I was audited by the state. I came to the appointment with my laptop and in a matter of seconds I was able to pull up every receipt they wanted to see. They were hoping I didn't have the receipts, They threw in the towel in about an hour and I paid no fees or penalty.

    My business burned to the ground and I had to do the same dance with the insurance company. They put me through it for two hours, and again because I could pull up the receipt with any transaction in a few seconds, they too gave up fighting me and agreed to pay me 100% of what my policy stated I was to receive. Back then I did the triple backup thing, no cloud existed. Two of the three external drives were lost in the fire, but I always kept one external drive off-premise.

    Thus my love for attaching every receipt to every freaking transaction, but I do undertstand the potential lag on a Mac as the data file grows.

    Thanks again,

    Mark

  • WoodSculptor
    WoodSculptor Unconfirmed, Member

    I appreciate all the above info. Thank you, Mark

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭

    Given that Quicken Mac is similarly storing the attachments outside of the actual database I don't think there will be any performance issues, just like there aren't on Quicken Windows. The real shame is that this could be a really good feature, but they have never really expanded to properly support it with things like searching, moving, dealing with more than one attachment at a time. or with being able to just use links to your own files on disk.

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