Best practice question - assigning categories

Tony Dalia
Tony Dalia Member ✭✭✭
I started using Quicken for iMac 3 months ago, previously use Quicken Windows for well over 10 years. The new available categories seem to be better and more descriptive, but using my old categories keeps budget and searches in line. Would you suggest a cutoff date category changeover or a gradual changeover?

Comments

  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    How about preparing for changeover on January 1st,  2022. New Year, new budget, new categories ...
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @Tony Dalia  There's another option I think is even better: merge your old categories into the new categories. That way, you won't have to remember which category was used from the old system and which use the new system. And you don't have to do this as a wholesale changeover on one day; you can make changes as you have time until you get all your categories set up the way you want.

    To merge two categories: open the Window> Categories screen, click on one category, then Command-click on another category, and then click the Merge Categories button at the bottom. In the dialog box that comes up, you can choose which category is going to be the one you retain. (You can merge 2, 3 or more categories at once in this way.) Any QuickFill rules you have saved with a category which is merged will be updated to the new category, so you won't have to remember to make changes as you move forward.

    Note 1: If you utilize Quicken's feature for auto-categorizing downloaded transactions, you should try as much as possible to retain Quicken's default categories rather than you own. The auto-categorization process maps Payees to Quicken's default categories, so if you delete one of Quicken's categories, it will not know to categorize into your category you're using instead. (But if you use QuickFill rules to save category information for your recurring Payees, this may not matter to you.)

    Note 2: You can only merge two categories when they are "at the same level". This means you can't merge Category A with a subcategory of Category B. You need to either make the categories you want to merge both be main categories, or both be sub-categories of the same category; then you can merge them. You can make sub-categories main categories, or main categories sub-categories simply by dragging them where you want them in the Categories window.

    Note 3: Any categories with a Status of "Required" cannot be merged. This is mostly the Investments category and its sub-categories. This is somewhat annoying for those of us who have migrated from the old Quicken 2007 for Mac or Quicken Windows, both of which used different investment categories. I have lobbied the developers to allow us to merge our old investment sub-categories into the current investment sub-categories, but they have not yet made such a change. (And perhaps can't because of concerns it will mess up Quicken's internal calculations.) If you have such old categories, and they show a Status of Unused, you can just delete them. For ones which are in use and can't be deleted, if you want to get them out of your sight, consider renaming them with a "z" prefix -- e.g. "z-Div Income" -- so these old and no-longer-used categories will drop to the bottom of your category list and not confuse you.


    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Tony Dalia
    Tony Dalia Member ✭✭✭
    Thank you for suggestions and great information. I am sure this "merge" feature existed before but I never knew about it. Like you said, quick fill helps in this scenario. I think one of my problems was that I was changing the payee to recognizeable text, instead of how it downloads. If I left that alone, quick fill would work better. So in an effort to track what I want, I may stay with my old categories but leave the payee alone. For example, I am tracking how much I spend on "cigars" and would like a category instead of having to use tags.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I think one of my problems was that I was changing the payee to recognizeable text, instead of how it downloads. If I left that alone, quick fill would work better.
    That's exactly what Renaming Rules are for. Let a Renaming Rule change a downloaded Payee name to a predictable, consistent Payee name -- and then let a QuickFill rule for that Page name so your categories are used consistently.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993