How to Add a Quicken 2012 Category List

By Stephen L. Nelson

Basically, you need to be able to do three things to the Quicken category list: add categories, remove categories, and change category names and descriptions. Adding individual categories is a snap. Here’s all you have to do:


1Choose Tools→Category List on the menu bar.

Quicken displays the Category List window. This window lists the categories available and the accounts you’ve set up.


2Click the New button in the Category List window.

The New button, by the way, is the third button on the lower left. Quicken dutifully displays the Set Up Category dialog box. You probably aren’t surprised that you use this puppy to describe the new category.

3Enter a short name for the category.

Move the cursor to the Name text box and type a name. Although you can use up to 15 characters, use as short of a name as possible to clearly identify the category. Why? Because you use this category name every time you want to tag a transaction to fall into the category.

4Enter a description for the category.

Move the cursor to the Description text box and then describe the category. Quicken uses the category description on reports that show the category. If you don’t add a description, Quicken just uses the category name. You don’t need a description, obviously, if your category name is, well, adequately descriptive.

5(Optional) Identify the category group.

If you disregarded my earlier suggestion to not worry about category groups, click the Options button at the bottom of the Category List window and choose Assign Category Group from the menu that Quicken displays.

When Quicken displays the Assign Category Groups dialog box, click the Add Custom Groups button to create a new category group.

Then, with the Assign Category Groups dialog box still displayed, select the category you want to group from the Find The Category You’d Like to Re-assign list box (shown on the left half of the dialog box) and then the category group you want to use from the Assign It To A Custom Category Group list box (shown on the right half of the dialog box).

Click Done when you’re, well, done.

6Indicate whether the category is an income category or an expense category.

Select the appropriate Income, Expense, or Subcategory Of option button — just select the appropriate option button with your furry little friend, the mouse. If you’ve totally blown off my admonition not to use subcategories just yet, use the dialog box’s drop-down list to indicate into which income or expense category a new subcategory falls.

7Indicate whether the category tracks an amount you will use on an input line on next year’s tax return.

If a category does track a tax deduction, click on the Tax Reporting tab of the Set Up Category dialog box, move the cursor to the Tax-Related check box, and then select the check box if the category is tax-related or deselect the check box if the category isn’t tax-related.

Just to clear up any confusion, vacationing in Hawaii probably isn’t a tax deduction — even if your neighbor promises that it is. Then identify the form and line by opening the Tax Line Item drop-down list box and selecting one of its entries.

8Click OK.

Quicken adds the new category in the Category List window and then redisplays the window. Now that you understand the stuff in the Category List window, note that it shows the category name, its type, notations concerning the category’s tax-reporting status, and, golly darn, even its description and group.

(The tax information about on which tax return line a category gets reported appears only if the Show Tax Line Item choice under the option button is selected.)