When you first run PLCash, you will be asked whether you want to create a new bank account. If you intend to import Quicken records instead, click "no" to this dialog and proceed to the "Importing Account Data" section below. If you do want to create a new account, click "Yes."
If you later want to create an account, just press the "Create a new account" toolbar button.
An account design panel will appear.
First, type a name for your account. This name should be one you prefer, it doesn't have to contain any information specific to the account. It is intended to make it easy for you to identify the account later. If you later decide to change the account name, you may. An example name might be "My Checking Account".
Then choose an account type from the "Type" drop-down list. This choice should be made carefully because, unlike the account name, it cannot be changed later.
For checking and savings, choose the default "Bank" account type.
For credit card accounts, choose "Credit Card".
For investment accounts,
These choices are pretty straightforward.
Please ignore the "Subtype" field. It is included for Quicken compatibility, but PLCash doesn't actually use it.
If this is to be a bank account with check-writing capability, and if you know the starting check number for your checks, enter it under "Check Number". You can add or change this number later. This number is used by the PLCash check-printing feature.
In the "Description" field, you can put the bank account number, contact phone number, or any related information.
If this is an investment account and it is associated with a security, enter the security (quotron) symbol under "Security". Including this symbol will allow this account to be included in the PLCash symbol-based price update feature.
For "Credit Limit", enter any credit limit that is appropriate to the account. This feature is not exploited in the current PLCash version, but it may be incorporated into future versions to alert the user when the set limit is approached or exceeded. A "limit" of zero means there is no applicable limit.
The "One line display mode" is an option that changes how this account's transactions appears in the register display. One line mode is less detailed but more transactions can fit on a page. This is not a decision you need to make during account setup.
The option "Show in list" is a way to limit the size of the account list to active accounts, accounts you have an everyday need to access. You may have many more accounts than you need to list and access regularly. This setting can be globally overridden in the account display by choosing "Show all accounts."
The option "Total in list" is a way to exclude accounts with balance amounts not relevant to your net overall balance. To exclude such account balances, deselect "Total in list."
The entries "Statement balance" and "Statement balance date" are used to maintain synchronization between your bank's statements and your records over time. Normally these fields are filled in automatically by the PLCash account reconciliation feature.
When you have filled in all the required fields, press the "Commit Changes to Account" button at the bottom of the account editor dialog. This action will create the account and it will appear in the account list at the top of the display.
Most of the information in an account design can be changed after the account has been created. Just select the account with your mouse, press the right mouse button and choose "Edit account". Anything except the account type can be changed after the account has been created.
If you realize you've made a basic mistake in designing an account (like wrong account type), and before you enter any transactions into the account, you can delete the account and start over. Just select the account for editing and choose the "Delete Account" toolbar button at the bottom of the account editing dialog.
When PLCash is first run, you are asked if you want to create an account. If you reply "No", PLCash offers to import Quicken-formatted (QIF) files. You can also choose this option anytime later by choosing the menu item "File ... QIF File Import/Export ... Import QIF File". This method offers an easy way to transfer all your accounts and related data at once from Quicken or another program that supports QIF files.
But before actually importing a QIF file, it must be created in the originating program. Here is a Quicken example:
From Quicken, choose File ... Export ... QIF File.
Chose an appropriate name and location for the export file.
Unless you have a special reason not to, I recommend that you select "All accounts" and select all the other selectable options. PLCash knows how to read and decode the master account list this approach creates, and in fact it is the preferred import method.
When all the choices have been made, press "OK" and the export QIF file will be created.
To import the QIF file into PLCash:
Choose the menu item "File ... QIF File Import/Export ... Import QIF File".
Use the file dialog to navigate to the location of the QIF file you created in Quicken, select it, and click "Open".
The QIF file will be read and translated into PLCash account data.
Note: Avoid the mistake of importing a QIF file into PLCash twice. This can create havoc, and there is no "undo" for this error. If you make this mistake, it will be revealed by the presence of two copies of each transaction in each account. The only remedy is to delete all the accounts and start over.
Assuming you have either created an account or imported accounts from Quicken or another program:
On the account list, point the mouse cursor at a bank account (not an investment account for this example) and double-click to display the account.
If you chose a newly created account, there will be one transaction listed, marked "(new)". If you chose an imported account, the last listed transaction will be marked "(new)". Double-click the "(new)" transaction to display the transaction editor.
The transaction editor panel will appear at the bottom of the program, and to create a new transaction you can enter some items of information:
"Date". You may simply type in a date in this field, or you may click the field with your mouse and use the "+" and "-" keys to move quickly through dates near the present date. When you are done, press the Tab key to move to the next field.
"Number". You may type in a check number, or you can make one of the choices located in the drop-down list:
"Next Check Number". This choice will automatically produce the next check number in sequence when the transaction is saved.
"Print Check". This choice will add the transaction to a list of checks to be printed later when you setect the toolbar button "Print Checks".
"Deposit" or "ATM". These choices are ways of keeping track of different classes of transaction, but they don't trigger any special actions.
Enter the name of the check's recipient here. This field has a
special feature called "auto-complete." If you have
entered transactions before, and if you have chosen to
"Memorize" some of those prior transactions, then
PLCash will attempt to locate memorized transactions that have
payee spellings corresponding to the characters you have
This saves a lot of time when you write periodic checks to the same recipients. If you want to accept the transaction suggested by auto-complete, instead of typing the entire payee name, just press the Tab key and the entire memorized transaction will be copied into the transaction editor. This is a great time-saver.
"Payment" or "Deposit". Choose one or the other. Type in a currency amount for this transaction.
"Memo". This is a useful field for adding explanatory notes. The memo field is also printed on checks.
"Category". This is a very important field.
All PLCash transactions are organized by category. This allows PLCash to analyze your spending in intelligent ways, and it also allows you to find, and get totals for, specific kinds of transactions. And, like "Payee", this is also an auto-complete field.
You can use the drop-down list to choose an existing category, or
You can start typing, and the auto-complete feature will try to match up your typing with existing transactions.
If none of the existing categories is suitable, or if you want to add a new category, just type it in. When you save your transaction, a dialog will appear that helps you define your new category.
"Address". Press this selection to enter an address that appears on some kinds of checks. This is a way to take advantage of windowed envelopes and save a great deal of effort in processing payments. A transaction with an address is a perfect candidate to be memorized, because it means you will only have to enter the address once.
Once you have typed in or selected the required information, press the "Commit" button and this transaction will be entered into the account. The account totals will be changed and the transaction editor will shift to a new, blank transaction.
Memorize Transaction. This important feature allows you to memorize transactions so they can be recalled by the Auto-complete feature later. This is an especially important choice for transactions that are entered repeatedly. To use the Memorize feature, just click "Memorize" after all the required fields have been filled in.
Enter mode (check box). This mode allows you to record a transaction by pressing the "Enter" key instead of clicking the "Commit" button. This saves time when entering a lot of transactions. When you use the Enter mode, you move between fields using the Tab key, and you record transactions using the Enter key. Your hands don't need to leave the keyboard.
Cleared (check box). This choice causes a transaction to be manually cleared or uncleared. Clearing transactions is normally performed automatically by the "Reconcile" feature, but in some special cases this check box may be used.
Splits. This feature will be described more fully later in the Advanced Operations section. It is a way to split a transaction's proceeds among several accounts and/or categories.
All the same actions apply to editing an existing transaction as for creating a new one, explained in "Entering your first transaction".
To choose a transaction to edit, just point at it and double-click the mouse to open the transaction editor.
If the transaction editor is already on display, just select a transaction by clicking it once. The transaction editor will display that transaction and you can change any required fields. Record your changes by using the "Enter mode" described above, or by clicking the "Commit" button.
This is a very important step to take. Without backup, any number of user or program errors could cause the corruption or loss all your financial records.
Because PLCash is a cross-platform program, it cannot back up your records for you. You must choose how to do this, based on your own system and needs.
Your PLCash financial records are located in (user directory)/.PLCash/data. For the location of this directory on your machine, press the toolbar "About" button.
The easiest way to back up your work is to make copies of all the files in the data directory to another location.
Be sure to take this action periodically. Backing up your work is your responsibility.
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