Transaction categories no longer autofill when I download? HELP! (Q Mac)

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Makers
Makers Member ✭✭✭

It seems that lately when I download transactions Quicken no longer autofills the categories associated with payees the way it did in the past. Every transaction comes up "uncategorized" How do I turn the autofill feature back on if Quicken somehow turned it off?

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Answers

  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    There's no on/off setting for category fill, but check the setting in Quicken > Settings > Connected Services to improve the quality of downloaded transaction categories. Other than that, if you manually assign categories to transactions for a while, Quicken should start learning from that.

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Thanks, that check box is checked (and has been.) I've been using Quicken since the 90s and it has been "learning" all along. Only for the past few weeks does it seem to have "forgotten" all my past payee/category associations. It'll be like starting all over now if it has to relearn from scratch. There has to be some explanation for this!

  • Quicken David
    Quicken David Member, Employee, Mac Beta Beta
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    @Makers if you are still seeing this problem, could you please report it using Help > Report a Problem...?

    Also, you can create a QuickFill rule when editing a transaction to automatically apply the category (and, optionally, Tags and Memo/Notes).

  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Thanks for your interest. I have reported the problem as you advise above. Meantime, note that I have been using the checkbox as you mentioned above though it doesn't seem to matter. The category doesn't autofill on subsequent downloads of transactions to the same payee.

    If you're interested, here's the fuller description I just left via Help>Report ….

    I am running Quicken Version 7.7.0 (Build 707.53335.100) on an iMac running Ventura 13.6.6. For the last few weeks, categories no longer autofill when I download transactions. I have been using Quicken for 30+ years so have a long history of payee and category associations that have autofilled (e.g. “Groceries” for a charge to Safeway.) Having to reenter categories for every downloaded transaction is incredibly time consuming and makes Quicken far less useful to me. Note that using the “Save QuickFill rule …” checkbox when I edit the transaction to enter the category seems of no use either since the category still doesn’t autofill the next time I download a transaction from that payee. Help!!!

  • Quicken David
    Quicken David Member, Employee, Mac Beta Beta
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    Thanks, @Makers. Is it possible the downloaded payee names have changed, and no longer match the payees in your QuickFill Rules? If so, I would suggest creating Payee Renaming rules, which you can do manually, in the Payees & Rules window, or by checking the box (see screenshot) when renaming the payee for a downloaded transaction.

  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Yes, this happens occasionally, but unfortunately does not explain why now EVERY transaction downloads without a matched category. And, as I mentioned, I've been checking the "Save Quickfill…" checkbox and each subsequent download from the same payee downloads as uncategorized.

  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Still looking for some sort of solution to this problem! To hand enter everything defeats the purpose of using a computer to track expenses!

  • Quicken David
    Quicken David Member, Employee, Mac Beta Beta
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    @Makers I'm not aware of other Quicken customers experiencing this issue, which makes it pretty tricky to track down. Submitting another feedback report, this time including a Sanitized File, may give us some clues.

  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Sanitized file?

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    @Makers When you go to Help > Report a Problem, the first checkbox on the right is for "Sanitized data file". It is not checked by default; you must check it. What this does is create a copy of your data file, replacing all your data with anonymous names: Account1, Account2, Account3; Payee1, Payee2, Payee3; Category1, Category2; Tag1, Tag2, etc. The result is a file which has the identical structure to your data file, with none of the identifying information. So it's safe to send to Quicken the the engineers to poke into without fear that you are sharing any identifiable data.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    @Quicken David, have other users brought this to your attention since I last wrote? After 30 years of using Quicken, I'm just about ready to give up using it. I can't keep up with manually entering categories for transactions with repeat vendors. It's way too time consuming. Sending Quicken a sanitized file to diagnose isn't an option. With all due respect, I can't trust that personal information won't be included.

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    Sending Quicken a sanitized file to diagnose isn't an option. With all due respect, I can't trust that personal information won't be included.

    The whole point of sanitized files is to relieve users of such concern. When you create a sanitized file, you can open it like any other Quicken file and you can see that it contains absolutely none of your accounts, payees, categories, tags, etc. — only replacement names for them all so the engineers can study the structure and operation of a version of your file without seeing any of your actual data.

    If you still choose not to send a sanitized file, then I'd guess that you're at a dead end, because they can't diagnose and possibly fix something that they aren't seeing from other users.

    The only other option I can think of for you is to export your Quicken file to a Quicken Transfer File (QXF), then create a blank new file and import the QXF file. All your data will be preserved (except attachments), but you'll have to re-configure your accounts and registers and re-create any customized reports. It will take a little time, but perhaps it will get you over the hump of whatever is wrong in your database so you can continue using Quicken.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    " … When you create a sanitized file, you can open it like any other Quicken file and you can see that it contains absolutely none of your accounts, payees, categories, tags, etc. — only replacement names for them all so the engineers can study the structure and operation of a version of your file without seeing any of your actual data….."

    Except that I can't see any metadata that might be embedded. I can only suggest that you and anyone else who might be asked to send any sort of file created by a program they didn't create, to beware. (An excel spreadsheet is a perfect example. There is so much more in an excel file than what you see when you simply open it. A smartphone camera pic is another good example.)

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    @Makers Well, the engineers created sanitized files for the sole purpose of having a a way to investigate and troubleshoot users' data file problems without them sharing any personal information. But if you choose to believe they are actually out to access something in your data nefariously, then you're at a dead end with them trying to see what's going on. (Heck, if they wanted to peer in at users' data, they could do so via the Cloud data on their servers, our build in surreptitious code to send user data to the mother ship.) I respect that it's your choice; I'm only saying that you can't reject using the troubleshooting tool but still expect them to work on troubleshooting a problem you're having.

    I mentioned the export/import option for you to try. You can do it and if it seems like it will be too much work to get back to normal, you can just abandon the new file and continue to use your old one.

    Best of luck.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Quicken David
    Quicken David Member, Employee, Mac Beta Beta
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    @Makers no, we have not received any other reports of this issue that I'm aware of.

    @jacobs suggestion for doing an export/import is worth a shot. But before giving that a try I would suggest doing a dataset reset to see if that makes a difference; you can do that in Quicken > Settings > Connected Services.

  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Thanks, @Jacobs. I know you mean well and are trying to help me. I have some background and experience in this domain and so perhaps am a bit more cautious with sending personal data over the internet no matter how sanitized, particularly when I have no control over the sanitization process. The benefit, in this case, is not worth the risk (potentially exposing personal data) in my opinion. Yes, an employee could already do harm to me. Fortunately they haven't - at least not that i'm aware of - but I don't see that as a rationale for exposeing myself further.

    @Quicken David, Thanks to you as well for your reply. Meantime I've been looking harder at the most recent weeks of downloads and have noticed that Quicken may be scraping more of the vendor field than it has previously. That is, it looks like some (very few) categories are now being populated, so perhaps this isn't a bug or config file issue. Rather, something like "Safeway" is now being imported as "Safeway4059" with which I don't have a prior transaction even if it's the same store. My plan is to make sure to tick the box to save assignments when I add categories to those transactions and see if over the next few weeks things get better. I'll let you know.

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited May 24
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    something like "Safeway" is now being imported as "Safeway4059"

    @Makers Check the Transaction Inspector window to see if "Safeway4059" is in the "Statement Payee" field. If so, that's what is coming from your financial institution, and there's nothing Quicken can do about it. In other words, perhaps it's your bank/credit card company which made changes rather than Quicken. As long as there's some form of delimiter — like "Safeway 4049" or "Safeway-4059" or "Safeway*4059" — you can create a renaming rule to make the Payee name be just "Safeway", and then have a QuickFill rule for the Safeway payee. But if the downloaded Statement Payee name has no delimiter (like "Safeway4059"), there's not much you can do except create a Renaming rule for each instance of Safeway names.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    @jacobs - I made up the Safeway example but I see what you're getting at. What shows up in the Payee field in the register is the same string that appears as the Statement Payee in the Transaction Inspector window. In some cases the "Quicken Name" in the window is the same as the Statement Payee, but in other cases it's shortened (e.g, Exxon #2099 Anytown, CA becomes Exxon). I'm not sure how that is but I think you're saying that I can create a rule to change those names, or at least treat all Exxon * transactions the same. How exactly do I do that? If I right click on a transaction and select Save QuickFill … I can edit some fields but I can't map the Statement Payee to another name there.

  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    To create renaming rules, you'll need to open the Payees & Rules Window, then click the Renaming Rules tab. Click the + sign in the lower left corner to create a new rule. The new renaming rule will look like this:

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    @Makers The key thing to understand is that it’s a two part process; first Quicken applies the renaming rule to standardize the Payee name, then it applies the QuickFill rule to categorize the transaction for that Payee.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Thanks, @RickO and @jacobs. GREAT information. There's still at least one piece of this I don't understand. The Statement Payee name clearly comes from the credit card company as part of the download, but how are the Quicken Name and Payee generated if I haven't created a renaming rule for a particular vendor? Looking back over the past several months, my issue arose in March when Quicken began using the Statement Payee in the Payee field rather than the Quicken Name (Is there a way I can look at my patch history to see if I can correlate this with a particular patch?) Since I don't have QuickFill categories for any of these long form vendor names, they all show up as uncategorized in the register. Prior to March, Quicken would post Exxon 1234 simply as Exxon for which there was a Quickfill category associated. This would happen despite the fact that I don't have a Renaming Rule from Exxon * to Exxon. Until March, Quicken seemed to figure those out on its own.

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    Quicken has server-based renaming services which are applied when you download transactions. Local renaming rules — the one you create yourself — take precedence, but on the absence of a local renaming rule, Quicken tried to clean up payee names as they come through the server. Most of the time, this is helpful, but sometimes it gets things wrong; this is where a local renaming rule can prevent Quicken from renaming something inaccurately.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    I pre-enter all my transactions, so I don't have a lot of experience with this. But if you look at a few transactions using the inspector, I think you'll see that the Quicken name is often a combination of the Statement Payee and Statement Memo but with some boilerplate word(s) (e.g., "preauthorized") removed.

    You can try turning off the Quicken > Settings > Connected Services > Improve the quality of downloaded payees and categories setting and see if that makes a difference.

    That said, once you have proper renaming and quick fill rules set up for the common/frequent payees, you should no longer have this annoyance.

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    @jacobs - Quicken server-based renaming rules would explain how in many/most cases the Quicken Name was some plain language version of the Statement Payee prior to March in the case where I haven't set up a rule myself. Now the question is, why did that stop in March? I understand you don't know the answer, I'm just thinking out loud. And as @RickO says, I should be able to edit the rules to fix all this going forward. It's just a bit painful. Thanks for your help!

    @RickO - Thanks to you as well. I'll play with the download option/setting to see what that gets me.

  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Perhaps a Quicken technical support staff member can say if (and why?) their servers seemingly stopped modifying the Statement Payee to generate a simpler Quicken Name. Also, is there a option somewhere that lets me see the dates I installed each update as they became available recently. I still believe the issue I see is tied to an update.

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    Perhaps a Quicken technical support staff member can say if (and why?) their servers seemingly stopped modifying the Statement Payee to generate a simpler Quicken Name.

    As has been noted by me anecdotally and by the Quicken engineer, others are not reporting what you are, so it's not a change in behavior of their servers.

    Also, is there a option somewhere that lets me see the dates I installed each update as they became available recently.

    When you install each major update (e.g. 7.6.1 to 7.7), Quicken creates a backup file at the time it's installing the update. So if you navigate to your backup folder location, and look in Backups > Automatic Backups, look for "BACKUP (Pre-Update)" and the most recent one is when you installed the update. But it doesn't do the update when installing a bug fix update (e.g. 7.7.0 to 7.7.1). However, if you go to your Applications folder and do Finder > Get Info on Quicken, I believe the Modified date is when you installed the application.

    I still believe the issue I see is tied to an update.

    An update to the desktop application wouldn't be likely to have affected renaming rules being applied at the server level. The only things I've sometimes seen ua few users report is a preference setting which got changed during an update; have you checked to see that your Settings > Connected Services has the box checked for "Automatically improve the quality of downloaded payee names and categories"? That's the setting which enables or disables server rules.

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    I can confirm that Settings>Connected Services>Automatically … checkbox is checked.

    Regardless of the fact that there are no other reports of this issue, I have to believe something changed since I went from having 90% of my transactions auto categorized to none, or all but none. It seems as if Quicken began using the full Statement Payee to lookup an autofill category rule rather than any abbreviated version unless I had created a renaming rule locally. Up till now I've created very few such rules which would explain what I'm seeing. At least that's how it appears to me.

    Thanks!

  • Jon
    Jon SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited May 24
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    It is possible that there was some change to the cloud servers that altered how Quicken Connect renames or recategorizes transactions. AFAIK they don't announce changes to the backend software running the cloud service or provide a version history for it.

  • Makers
    Makers Member ✭✭✭
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    Thank makes sense, that the issue might stem from an update to server-side software rather than in the app itself. Thanks!

  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
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    Have tried unchecking Settings>Connected Services>Automatically to see what happens? Then after a while, check it again and see if that changes anything?

    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s