Entering a Check into the Quicken 2007 Register

To start working with Quicken, head to the Cash Flow Center, which looks and works (sort of) like a Web page. The Cash Flow Center provides clickable hyperlinks to some of the most popular banking and bookkeeping features of Quicken.

If you don't see the Cash Flow Center window, you can click the Cash Flow Center button, which appears at the left edge of the Quicken window and is cleverly labeled Cash Flow Center.

Finding your checkbook

To enter checkbook transactions, use the Register tab of the Checking window. If you can see the bank account you want to work with listed beneath the Cash Flow Center button, you can click it to display that account's register. If the Cash Flow Center window is displayed, you can also click the bank account's QuickTab hyperlink, which is shown in the Spending & Savings Accounts list area. Finally, if you don't see the account anyplace, you can choose Cash Flow --> Cash Flow Accounts and then select the account you want to work with.

The starting balance you specified as part of setting up the account is the first amount that Quicken lists.

The Download transactions from [name of your bank] information, initially shown at the bottom of the register window, lets you set up an account for online banking or online bill payment. If you want to do this, follow the on-screen instructions. (You can also click the Set Up Online Payment button on the Register tab to set up the account for online banking and bill payment.) To remove this online services stuff from the window, click the button with the double-chevrons that's to the right of the Download Transactions and Scheduled Transactions tabs.

Entering a check

You can enter checks into the Register by using the Register tab of the Checking window or the Write Checks window (press Ctrl+W). (The following guidelines aren't etched in stone, but they do make things easier.):

  • Use the Register tab for the checks that you don't want to print or pay electronically with Quicken.
  • Use the Write Checks window to enter the checks that you do want to print or pay electronically with Quicken.

Entering a check in the register is a simple matter of describing to whom you wrote the check and how much you paid. Suppose, for example, that you paid $25.50 to the cable television company for your monthly cable service. Here's how you enter this check:

1. Enter the check date.

Move the cursor to the Date field in the next empty row of the register (if it isn't already there) and type the date by using the MM/DD format. To enter June 8, 2007, for example, type 6/8. You usually don't have to type the year because Quicken retrieves the current year number from the little clock inside your computer.

You can adjust the date in a Date field by using the + and – keys on your keyboard. The + key adds one day to the current date; the – key subtracts one day from the current date.

2. Enter the check number.

Move the cursor (or tab) to the Num field and type the check number.

Alternatively, move the cursor to the Num field and then, when Quicken displays a list box of entries (such as ATM, Deposit, EFT, Next Check Number, Print Check, Send Online Payment, and Transfer Funds), select Next Check Number if you want. Quicken then fills in the number with its guess as to the new check number — one more than the last check number you entered. If it isn't right, use the + or – key to increase or decrease the check number.

3. Enter the payee.

Move the cursor to the Payee field. Type the name of the person or business you're paying, or select payee names from the Payee list box.

4. Enter the check amount.

Move the cursor to the Payment field and type the check amount — 25.50 in this example. You don't have to type the dollar sign, but you do need to type the period to indicate the decimal place and cents.

5. Enter the category.

Move the cursor to the Category field. Quicken displays a drop-down list box of category names from your category list. You can select one of these categories by using the arrow keys or the mouse.

You can also just type the name yourself. Quicken can probably guess which category you're entering before you finish. When you start typing Ut, for example, Quicken fills in the rest of the category name, "ilities," for you ("Ut" + "ilities" = "Utilities"). This feature is called QuickFill.

6. [Optional] Enter a class.

You can also enter a class into the Category field. To do this, type a / (slash) and then the class name after you type the category name. Just to make this a bit more clear, suppose that you're using classes to segregate expenses by house because you own two homes: your principle residence and a cabin in the mountains. If you've set up two classes — principle and cabin — you record utilities expenses for your principle residence by entering utilities/principle into the Category field. You record utilities expenses for your cabin by entering utilities/cabin into the Category field.

7. [Optional] Enter a memo description.

Move the cursor to the Memo field and describe the specific reason that you're paying the check.

8. Click the Enter button that appears in the transaction's row of the register.

This option tells Quicken that you want to record the transaction into your register. Quicken beeps in acknowledgment, calculates the new account balance, and moves the cursor to the next slot, or row, in the register.

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