To get the most out of Quicken, you should assign one or more categories to each transaction. Categories track the source of a deposit (such as Salary), the reason for an expenditure (such as Clothing), or the name of the account to which you are transferring funds (such as Savings).
Quicken's Category List provides a selection of commonly used categories. The Category List then becomes the central location from which you can add, edit, delete, and otherwise manage categories.
Click a link below for a brief overview of the topics covered in this section.
When you open the Category List from the Tools menu, Quicken displays all of the categories and accounts in the current file. By default, the Category List is sorted first by type (income and then expense) and then by name. Subcategories are indented directly below their parent category. Accounts are listed by type and name at the bottom of the Category List, under Transfers and Payments. Account names appear in square brackets. If you prefer a different sort order or want to view only a subset of your complete list (for example, tax-related categories only), you can customize the display of the Category List in a variety of ways.
Categories with names beginning with an underscore (_) are used in investment transactions. Quicken adds these categories to the list when you add your first investment account. These are the only categories you can't edit or delete.
Depending on how you answered questions during Setup, Quicken may have included category lists organized around lifestyle factors such as marriage, owning a business, and so on. When your life circumstances change (for example, if you become a parent), it is usually more efficient to add all the categories from the appropriate list.
If you want to change categories assigned to specific transactions, recategorize them.
If you start off using two similar categories and then later decide that you need only one of them, you can merge the categories so that you don't lose any information that you've already entered. Note that you can merge only categories that have transactions associated with them. You can simply delete unused categories that you don't intend to start using in the future.
If you want to know how much you are spending on a certain type of item, you can quickly see all transactions assigned to the associated category or transfer account in the Transaction Usage snapshot. It's easy to
Even a well-managed Category List can still be large, and you may be hesitant to delete categories if you think you might need them in the future. Also, certain categories that Quicken uses cannot be deleted.
Hiding categories allows you to more easily access commonly used categories by removing the clutter of unused and seldom used ones. You make a hidden category visible at any time.
Category groups give you a simplified picture of your finances when you create reports. You can organize categories into category groups that you can use in budgets and in budget, cash flow, and summary reports.
You can create, edit, or delete a group of categories used for budgeting purposes. For example, suppose you want to budget $100 a month for the categories Movies and Books, but you don't care how that $100 is split between the two. Instead of budgeting a specific amount for each category, you can assign the categories Movies and Books to the category group Discretionary, and budget $100 a month for Discretionary expenses.
When you run your budget report, Quicken totals the amounts you spent on movies and books and displays the total under Discretionary expenses.
If you decide that you don't like the name of a category group, you can easily change it, and if you decide you no longer need a category group, you can delete it.
To make sure that you can get the most out of Quicken and to speed up entering transactions, Quicken helps fill in the Category field automatically. How? Quicken follows certain rules.
When you enter a transaction, Quicken searches the Memorized Payee List and then the register for a transaction with a matching payee that was entered within the last year.
If you'd like to use the category Quicken suggests, just record the transaction as you normally would. If you change the category, Quicken remembers your change. You can customize Quicken's register preferences to turn off this feature.
The selected business data Quicken uses to categorize your transactions is provided by infoUSA, Inc.(TM)
When you download credit or charge card transactions from your financial institution, the data may include a merchant code for each transaction. The online banking service reads each code and translates it to a Quicken category. Quicken may or may not use that category, depending on the payee. First, matched payees and split transactions are categorized as described above. If no matched payee is found, Quicken assigns a category to the new transaction based on the merchant code.
When processing transactions that use Compare to Register (WebEntry or Pocket Quicken), Quicken checks for a category in the transaction during the Compare to Register process. If found, that category is put in the register.
Quicken will not suggest a category for downloaded bank transactions with a payee such as VISA or MasterCard.
ATM transactions and transaction download service charges may be labeled EFT for electronic funds transfer.
You can edit transactions to change the category either before or after updating the register. (See "Editing, changing, or deleting a category or subcategory" above")