We’ve received a lot of great feedback on our original Hidden Gems blog posts, both part 1 and part 2. So in keeping with the spirit of those posts I’ll again be exploring the less touted features of Banktivity 6. But instead of just focusing on new hidden features, I’ll also cover tips and tricks, how-tos and best practices. So whether you’re a penny pincher, wealth builder, loan payer or FIRE (financial independence, retire early) seeker, this post is sure to have something for everyone.

Irregular budgets

In the past (i.e. before Banktivity 6) budgets had the notion of two different types of expenses: bills and unscheduled expenses. Bills occur at regular intervals for roughly the same amount each month (or week, or whatever interval you want). You know, like a cell phone bill. Unscheduled expenses was for everything else, like your Dining or Groceries budget. This generally worked fine, but what about a category like Gifts? Your gift spending might be high in the months when there are birthdays, an anniversary or in December for the holidays, but then it might be zero for all other months. Prior to Banktivity 6 there just wasn’t an easy way to handle this, but now with irregular budgeting, you can plan for those more idiosyncratic (and still important!) expenses.

Banktivity 6 budget set up screen

To set up an irregular budget you go through the process of setting up an unscheduled expense, but instead of choosing an interval like monthly, choose Custom. Then change the amounts for each month as appropriate.

 

Making the Most of the Built-in Browser

Most of our customers automatically download transactions using our Direct Access service or Direct Download (aka OFX). However, there are some out there, that for various reasons, using the built-in web browser is still the best way to download transactions. Additionally, many people just use the built-in browser if they need to verify an account balance, make a payment to a credit card or do a transfer.

So here is a scenario we’ve heard several customers experience. First, they click on a website in the sidebar, this loads the built-in browser and they log in to their bank’s site. Then they click on their checking account in the sidebar (or report, budget, or something other than the loaded website). Then when they are done in that view, they click back on the website. This brings up a brand new web browser screen and they are asked to log in again. However, if instead of clicking on the web browser in the sidebar a second time, they just click the back button they will be right where they left off on the bank’s website. The forward and backward navigation is new and we really hope our customers embrace it. If you have a hard time remembering the forward and backward navigation, this is a really great trick: put the bank website in its own workspace and put your “working view” in a different workspace.

Putting the website in the right most workspace allows you to easily stay logged in while navigating the rest of the app in the left workspace.

Visual Emphasis on New and Uncleared Transactions

Ok, disclaimer, this feature is in Banktivity 5 but how to access it moved in Banktivity 6. For accounts that have a lot of activity, sometimes you only want to see what is most important: new transactions and all transactions that have not yet cleared with the bank. To see these transactions together, select an account in the sidebar, then click the small downward facing arrow in the Transactions button and select, “Group New and Uncleared Transactions”

Merge Two Transactions via Drag and Drop

Ok, another quick disclaimer, this isn’t actually new in Banktivity 6. But I want to cover it now because if you don’t know this feature exists, you are really missing out. So the use-case goes something like this, you write a check, say for $100. Now, since you are using Banktivity, you of course enter this transaction in the app so you have an accurate take on that account’s true balance. But the person who receives the check, for whatever reason, doesn’t deposit it until a month later. After that month goes by a new transaction appears in Banktivity for $100, but because it is a month after you wrote the check, it isn’t matched to the original transaction you entered. To rectify this, simply drag the new downloaded transaction onto the one that you entered manually and they will be merged together. Case closed.

Report Groups

We’ve worked really hard trying to make Banktivity’s reports useful and nice to look at. But until version 6, a customer’s list of reports might grow and grow until the list felt unmanageable. Now you can select multiple reports, right click and choose to put them in a group. Once the group is created, you can drag and drop reports in and out of the group. You can even put groups within groups to organize to your heart’s content.

Right-clicking while multiple reports are selected allows you to put them in a group.

Checking an Online Version of a Transaction

Every once in a while you might have a transaction in Banktivity that you don’t immediately recognize. Further, you might not know if some clever import rules cleaned up the payee and gave it a category you weren’t expecting. Whatever the case, there is a way to see what the original/online version of a downloaded transaction looks like.

To see the original imported transaction double-click the transaction to edit it. Then look for the little gray “i” icon. Click it, and you’ll see the original import information, also known as the Imported Transaction Details.

Please note, the little gray “i” button will only appear if the transaction was in fact imported via Direct Access, Direct Download (OFX) or imported from a file.

The List Goes On

There are more goodies throughout the app that I look forward to sharing with you in the future. If you have a favorite tip, trick, best practice or other Banktivity 6 feature you love, let me know about it in the comments.

Until next time.

– Ian

 

Ian Gillespie
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Ian Gillespie

CEO/Founder at IGG Software, Inc.
A California native, Ian's academic background was in biology, botany and environmental studies. He comes to the field of technology purely out of personal passion, and has been writing Mac software for over a decade. He's also an avid birdwatcher, a soccer player, fiddler and an organic gardener. He lives in Oregon with his wife and their two sons.
Ian Gillespie
Follow IGG

Latest posts by Ian Gillespie (see all)

48 comments on “Banktivity 6 Tips and Tricks, How-Tos and Best Practices

  • I’m feeling good about not learning anything new with these posts. Also, I don’t think you should call any of these features ‘hidden’ as they’re all in the manual… and you don’t want to *hide* features!! 😉

  • Regarding New and Uncleared, I make use of this feature daily in V5 so I launch V5 it into a Smart Account Template of ALL accounts/ALL Uncleared.

    With B6 I have to look at every account to get this picture, we need a way in B6 to pull out Uncleared/Unreconciled transactions globally with the either FIND command , Reports Filter or reintroducing Smart Accounts concept.

    • I agree! I’m looking at Banktivity as a replacement for Quicken, now that they have moved to a subscription only model. My morning routine is to review all uncleared transactions across all accounts while I sip my first coffee. In some ways I use that view almost as a to-do list. It’s important enough to me that I’m seriously thinking whether I can give that up. It’d be like giving up coffee…

        • That’s true, but ‘uncategorised’ transactions are not the same as ‘uncleared’ transactions. I have transactions with payees, categories:subcategories, etc. all ready to be ‘cleared’ but I leave them uncleared. In this state they do not show up in reports as they are not ‘uncategorized’.

          It should be easy enough to add this little ‘cleared/uncleared only’ checkbox to a report’s setup so allow such filtering, surely?

          I do utilise the ‘Group New & Uncleared Transactions’ all the time. It’s a great way to see them all together, particularly when their dates are quite spread out in the ‘normal’ view, but allowing a report to filter based on the ‘cleared/uncleared’ status would be useful in several circumstances.

          • I have the same workflow as Richard, the uncleared stuff from the catch all Smart Account in B5 is my portal to the day’s Banktivity work. I have delayed moving to B6 for this very reason.

            I can live with Paul’s suggestion of a batch report that gives me that info, I can’t consider opening every account to find my Group Uncleared’s.

          • Likewise, I too could live with a report that allows me to display uncleared transactions, though in an ideal world I’d prefer to see them in a “global” or “smart” register or on the Summary screen. If a report “cleared / uncleared” filter is quick and makes it into an upcoming dot release, you’ve converted this Quicken user. Thanks!

          • I like that idea Richard, a Global Register under Overview which would pull all the transactions and you could leverage off the existing filter facilities in the register. Sounds like a winner and not much change to the code. Works for me !

  • Ian

    I look forward to these “Gems” ( which is an appropriate description )…… Excellant tips.. Now if we can only get the “Present” balance instead of “Projected” balance on the side bar when using scheduled transactions !!!!

    Ron

      • I’m not sure I understand this correctly.

        My side bar always shows current balances and doesn’t include any *scheduled transactions*… but if I put any future dated transactions into the register, it does show that figure, but this is not the correct way to use ‘scheduled transactions’…

        Why are you entering transactions into the register with a future date if they’re meant to be scheduled transactions and you don’t want the ‘future balance’ displayed?

        I only add scheduled transactions when they occur, adding them to the transaction register using the ‘Confirm Scheduled Transactions’ drop down list. If I want to see what the future balance will be, I’ll put a future dated transaction in the register… but that’s *not* a ‘scheduled transaction’.

        • Hi Paul

          Maybe I am doing this the wrong way !!!! I like to see what my financial position position looks like in the future so my logic is to input the future transactions to see this.

          Is there a better way to do this ? I have been doing this in Qui******en and it works well. Please advise

          Ron

          • Hmm… I see what you are trying to achieve.

            I think you can do this for each account with Banktivity 6 (see p231 of the manual).

            Provided you have all the scheduled transactions set (including deposits & withdrawals), you don’t need to have them entered into the register to see the projected balance forecast.

            If you select the account in the side bar, then select ‘Summary’ for that account (from the top menu items of ‘Transactions – Statements – Summary’, it shows a nice summary for the account, with current balance and the *projected* balance.

            The duration of the projected balance can be set by clicking the little ‘cog’ icon in the corner of the ‘UPCOMING’ section.

            Does that help?

          • Further to this, the ‘SUMMARY’ section in the ‘Summary’ page for an account will display the following:
            ——————
            Cleared Balance
            Uncleared Balance
            ——————
            Future Transactions
            Today’s Balance <- This shows you the balance TODAY, ignoring future
            _______________ dated transactions entered into the register **
            Scheduled Bills
            Scheduled Deposits
            _______________
            Projected Balance <- based on the bills/deposits for the set timeframe

            ** I think this is what you want on the Accounts List on the left, but I think it is much better in this summary format… but that's my preference. 😉

          • Thanks Paul for taking the time and effort to explain this to me……. All though, It would be nice, if we had the option to show “Present” or “Scheduled” on the sidebar…

          • This (entering future estimated transactions into the register in order to see upcoming/forecasted balances) is my main daily activity in Q*. So far I am happy with the end user experience and responsiveness of Banktivity, but the inability to easily view the the current balance in the menu of accounts on the left is a major shortcoming (in my circumstance, anyway). I am instead forced to drill into the account, remember today’s date, and find the appropriate line in the register. Ability to select the type of balance displayed (current or future) should be an option/preference.

      • I agree:
        I don’t use direct access for transactions and will future date most of my transactions to be confirmed with OFX downloads once or twice a month. The current account balance would be what I am looking for.

  • Is it possible to search for or create a report to find all transactions that have NO TAGS associated with them? In Quicken, many of my transactions were not assigned to any Class, but at the end of each year I reviewed these unclassified transactions to see if there were any that should have been assigned to a Class. Now that I have imported my Quicken file to Banktivity, I would like to search for and find all transactions that have no Tags, so I can review them to find transactions that should have Tags assigned to them.

    In the Reports feature, checking NO Tags boxes has the same effect as choosing ALL Tags boxes. Is there currently any way to generate a report of all transactions that have no Tags? If not, perhaps this is a feature that can be added? (…before I need to prepare my 2018 taxes, please.)

    • Your request is at the heart of what the FIND command should be.

      I would like to see a Filters option beyond ‘amount delimiters’ which I don’t find that useful.

      Adding all possible filters would make this a very powerful mining tool.

      • I agree. More fine-grain options for Finding, Filtering and Reporting should be do-able and would enhance Banktivity enormously. I feel these are the only aspects of the application that are currently under-developed.

  • When creating a report I would like to see all the transactions for that period sorted by the date, and not by the category. Is this possible.

  • I will admit I haven’t tried this in 6 but I have had the problem (in 5) where I can’t merge transactions even when everything matches up. If this has been fixed in 6 then thank you and I hope it works for me the next time I need it.

  • With regard to the webpage tips, I stopped using the build-in web browser as my passwords for financial sites are long random strings, which in the normal browser are automatically filled-in by a 1Password plugin. With the build-in browser I have to copy paste the username and password. This makes it much easier to go the website in normal browser, download the statement and the QIF file, and then import the QIF file. Adding 1Password access to the built-in browser would get me back to using it.

  • Any progress in developing a tax category report? You are already capturing the “tax category” and it seems as thought it would be an easy report to spew the data back. This is not an earthshaking problem for me but it make B6.0+ even better! I keep discovering features that have made my life SOOOO much easier. Keep up the excellent work!

  • I would really like to be able to produce a report that shows income by category with a total & expenses by category with a total and a Surplus/Deficit & print this out over a range (e.g. 12 months) by month.

  • I LIke my Banktivity 6 on Mac OS: but I am wandering when will there be a full Bankitivity on iOS ? Or évent better, when are you expecting having Banktivity on line ?

    I don’t understand why Bankitivity 6 is not already available on both platform ? Should I think changing my accounting software ?

    • “Or even better, when are you expecting having Banktivity on line ?”

      Um… hopefully it is *never* going to be a cloud based app. That will be the day I stop using it.

      • Ditto on that.

        I think the Cloud Synch on a mobile device gives you the ‘online’ needs. Sure the IOS versions need to catch up with functionality but I do love the Mac being the ‘have it all’ platform.

  • With all the new features in 6, I think I will stick to banktiviey 5. I just use ibank for basic bookkeeping. I do not do budgets; I do not see value in separating transactions into various groups – the registers with all transactions is easier to manage; Also, it has been my experience that once a program starts adding many features, it just becomes confusing going through the learning curve all over again

    • The separation of txns (new and uncleared) is optional and has been there in B5 (icon between list and Reconcile in register) .

      What I do miss is the Smart Account concept, specifically the ability to have a catch all txns register that I can use the register filters across all txns. This is a big function gap , new Find command and Reporting has not adequately replaced this.

  • Ian -you mentioned the use of ‘Custom’ for unscheduled transactions. I use this feature quite a bit when setting up my budget. In a webinar I attended several months back I asked you about when this might then reflect in the app as well for budgeting. You mentioned it was on the developers list. Any chance that is getting closer to reality? Able to budget and keep up on the Mac pretty easy. On the fly with the app, not so much. Please make this a must to complete.

  • Unfortunately these tips are not good as the budget does not total correctly. I have logged this problem and have been told it is a known issue, but there is no date for rectification

  • I wish B6 had printing options like B5 does. There’s no adjusting margins, orientation, or scaling by %. I was told by support that “We do have feature request to have more print options. I will add votes to those on your behalf.” But there is no timeline.

  • I appreciate these emails; they are good reminders of functions even when we already know them. Since we seem to be creating a “wish list” here, i would like to add my request that when we start a transaction with “deposit” it will only go into the “deposit” column and likewise for other types of transactions. I really don’t understand why that wasn’t put into 6. Thank you.

  • I’ve been using YNAB4 for several years, but am now looking for a replacement and Banktivity 6 seems to be the best option. I’ve also grown fond of envelope budgeting, but I’m not finding a way in Banktivity to earmark funds already in savings accounts for things like funds for emergency cash, future car purchase, or other big things that may not occur in the near future. Is there a way of doing that planning I might have missed? The budgeting capabilities seem constrained to just monthly income.

    • Create a custom categories within the savings account for the items for which you’re saving. For deposits, you could use the split feature to separate a single deposit into the categories.

  • I have just updated to Banktivity 6 from i-bank 4. I-bank 4 had a feature that I used all the time. There was a line that showed “Remaining Cash to Spend”. Is it possible to have that added to an update of Banktivity?

  • I have been using Mac based financial software from original Managing your Money on my Mac 512k, Quicken 2007 forward to iBank to now B6. Budgeting for me using B6 is difficult. The budget expenses screen only shows 5 expenses. I have over 100 budget lines. You cannot search and organize these expenses. You change one and then the position in the list can change, you go back to the expense screen after adjusting one and the list take you back to the top. Not the last line you were working. A more spreadsheet type screen would work for better me. If I could change the different expense lines at the same time, it would save me time and aggravation.

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