Cheat Sheet

Quicken 2013 For Dummies

From Quicken 2013 For Dummies by Stephen L. Nelson

Quicken 2013 makes life easier for individuals and investors (including real estate investors, and small business owners). But that doesn’t mean you want to spend any more time working with each whistle and bell in Quicken 2013, or reading more about the software program than you have to. Here are quick summaries of stuff you can do and information you can employ to make using the world’s most popular financial record-keeping tool easier and more profitable.

Windows Tricks for Quicken 2013 Users

Quicken “plays” well with Windows. Accordingly, you can use a handful of standard Windows tricks to make your use of Quicken financial recording program easier — and faster.

  • To move quickly to list box entries that begin with a particular letter, press the letter.

  • To select a list box entry and choose a dialog box’s suggested command button, double-click the entry.

  • To move the insertion bar to the beginning of a field, press Home.

  • To move the insertion bar to the end of a field, press End.

  • To close a window or dialog box, click its Close button in the upper-right corner. (The Close button is the little box with an X in it.)

  • To minimize a window, which shrinks it into a tiny little picture, Windows users need to click the first button in the upper-right corner — the one that looks like an underline. (Windows then places the minimized program on the taskbar.)

  • To maximize the Quicken desktop so that it fills the entire monitor screen, click the middle button in the upper-right corner of the application window if the button shows one window. If the middle button shows two windows, the desktop is already maximized. For previous Windows versions, click the up arrow in the application’s upper-right window.

  • To do a Help Yelp, press the F1 key. This key works just about anywhere. Don’t press it in a crowded theater, though.

  • To start another application in Windows, click the Start button.

  • To switch to another application, click its button on the taskbar.

  • To change any document’s window size, position the mouse pointer on the window border and then click and drag the border. (If you can’t see the border because the window's been maximized, click the middle button — with the two windows in it — in the upper-right corner.)

Cool Date-Editing Tricks for Quicken 2013

Within the Quicken accounting program — and it doesn’t matter whether you’re using Quicken Basic, Quicken Premier, Quicken Home & Business or Quicken Rental Property Manager — you'll enter dates again and again: the date you write a check, the date you record a deposit, the date you reconcile an account, the date you receive a dividend on some investment, and so on.

Fortunately, you have several very cool, extremely handy date-editing tricks you can use. Specifically, if the selection cursor is in a Date field, you can do these things:

Press This Key What Happens
+ Adds one day to the date shown.
Subtracts one day from the date shown.
t Changes the date to today’s date. You can remember this because t is the first letter in today.
y Changes the date to the first date in the year. Note that y is the first letter in year.
r Changes the date to the last date in the year. Note that r is the last letter in year.
m Changes the date to the first date in the month. Just to salve my compulsive personality, allow me to point out that m is the first letter in month.
h Changes the date to the last date in the month. Okay, last time I’ll provide a memory tool — note that h is the last letter in month.

Four Tasks Every Quicken 2013 User Should Perform

Working with a richly-featured, mature financial record-keeping software program like Quicken 2013 can present a bit of a challenge. The Quicken software just does so much . . . Here are four tasks that every Quicken user should perform on a regular basis:

  • Set up Quicken bank accounts for all your checking, savings, and money market accounts — and then use the Quicken software to carefully track the money that flows into and out of these accounts. Maintaining even just this simple cash accounting system lets you more easily monitor your finances, budget for the future, and identify money-saving tax deductions.

    Just one quick aside for small businesses and rental property investors: The Home & Business and Rental Manager versions of Quicken let you easily set up and run simple cash-based accounting systems for a home-based business and for real estate investments. Use these great tools if you’re a real estate investor or business owner!

  • Use the Retirement Calculator to estimate when and how you can retire. Especially with the financial meltdown in the last decade, people need to get more proactive both about saving for and planning for retirement.

    To use the Retirement Calculator, display the Planning tab, click the Planning Tools button, and choose the Retirement Calculator command. Here's a free financial planning tip: Invest some time in figuring out how to really economize on your investment-related costs because these costs (mutual fund expense ratios, financial advisory fees, trading costs, and so on) can eat away at your profits in a fashion that most amateur investors don’t understand.

  • Create a category list that makes tracking your spending and tax deductions easy. Within Quicken, you organize your financial information using income and deductions categories. Any stream of income you want to separately track or monitor, for example, requires its own category. And any expense that you want to regularly tally — perhaps the expense represents a tax deduction — also requires its own category. You can set up categories by choosing Tools→Category List.

  • Balance bank accounts each month with only a few minutes of effort by clicking the Actions button and then choosing the Reconcile command. (The Actions button appears in the upper-right corner of the Quicken window whenever a bank register shows.) Reconciling a bank account lets you catch and correct bookkeeping errors with your accounting records.

Quicken 2013 Shortcuts That Save You Time

Want to save time working with the Quicken 2013 program? Consider using and memorizing a handful of the keyboard shortcuts listed in the table here. Learning to use Quicken keyboard shortcuts — although a bit of memorization work upfront — usually pays back rich dividends in the form of data entry time savings.

Shortcut Why You Want to Try Really Darn Hard to Remember This
Ctrl+S Displays the Split Transaction window (so that you can use more than one category to describe a payment or deposit).
Shift+Delete Cuts out the selected text in a field and moves it to the Windows Clipboard (so that you can paste it into some other field).
Ctrl+Insert Copies the selected text in a field to the Windows Clipboard (so that you can paste it into some other field).
Shift+Insert Pastes what's on the Clipboard into the selected field.
Ctrl+P Prints the contents of the active window. (Well, almost always.)
F1 For those times when you just have to say, “Aaagh! Help! Help!”
F11 Maximizes register view.
Ctrl+O Lets you open another Quicken data file.
Ctrl+G Go to date.
Ctrl+K Displays the financial calendar.
Ctrl+B Puts you on the fast track to backing up your data.
Ctrl+A Displays the Accounts List window.
Ctrl+W Displays the Write Checks window.
Ctrl+L Displays the tag list.
Ctrl+T Displays the memorized Payees list.
Ctrl+J Displays the scheduled transactions list.
Ctrl+U Displays the Portfolio View window.
Ctrl+V Allows you to void a transaction.
Ctrl+Y Displays the security list.
Ctrl+H Displays the Find and Replace window.

Six Free, Reliable Websites for Quicken 2013 Users

The web represents a treasure trove of information about personal finance, small business, and tax accounting that Quicken users will appreciate. Individuals, investors, and small business owners just beginning their research, however, often aren’t sure which websites offer the most reliable information. Here are half a dozen sites that provide lots of reliable information you can use.

Site Why It’s Useful
www.ssa.gov The Social Security Administration website lets you estimate your future benefits. (Despite what you sometimes here people say, Social Security will “be there” for future generations. But benefits will probably be scaled back for at least some recipients, which you can read more about at the Social Security Administration’s website.
http://www.bogleheads.org Basically, the online fan club for Vanguard Group founder John Bogle, this great forum provides tons of investment planning and record-keeping advice—all influenced by a strong belief in the superiority of a passive, low-cost investing
Quicken Find lots of stuff for Quicken.com users, all from the maker of Quicken — Intuit. Note that if you register at the Quicken.com site, you also gain additional functionality within the Quicken program. For example, you can usually download stock price information for free.
www.howdoibuyashortsale.com A free website author created for smalltime real estate investors. Site includes real estate tax primer and MS-Excel tools for doing real estate investment analysis.
www.irs.gov Most people by now know that the IRS website provides downloadable forms and informational booklets. What some people don’t know, however, is that it also provides access to U.S. tax law (both the Internal Revenue Code and the Treasury Regulations).
www.stephenlnelson.com This author of Quicken 2012 For Dummies has posted several hundred pages of small business, personal financial planning, and tax-related information, including free downloadable copies of many of his old (but still useful) books.
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