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500 Tips
Tax Software
Quicken 6

Wave a Red Flag

Set an alert to warn you when you're approaching your credit limit. From within your credit card register, click on Edit Account and enter your credit limit. Click on Done. Then open View/Register Options/Miscellaneous and check Alert. Enter an amount that provides a comfortable buffer and click on OK. Quicken will watch your balance and warn you when you're near or over your credit limit.

Drop the Drop-Downs

You can decide how much (or how little) you'd like QuickFill to do. For example, if you find it distracting to see drop-down menus listing previous entries every time you move to a new field, turn them off. Go to Edit/Options/Register/QuickFill, and check or clear options to suit your preferences.

New Views

Quicken now lets you customize your register to organize entries in various ways: by date, check number, amount and so on. Open the View menu and see which suits you best. Explore Register Options to customize the order of columns, colors, fonts and more.

Back to Basics

Get back to New User Setup by selecting File/New while holding down Ctrl+Shift. It's an easy way to start a new account or revisit the overview of features and functions. Click on Help on the overview's last screen to get more detail on each topic; use the live links to get to related info in a flash.

Take a Rosy View of Things

Brighten up your financial picture with a new hue. Right-click anywhere in the QuickTabs column, choose Color Schemes and pick the palette you prefer.

Get a Quick Fix

From the register, right-click on a payee and you'll get a dialog box that includes an entry "Payments made to ...." Click on it for a summary of how much you've forked over to that company or person. Similarly, right-click on a category-such as clothing or vacations-and you can find out how much you've spent on that category.

All Net, All the Time

Quicken will automatically connect you to the Internet to download stock prices and update Quicken Live features, and then disconnect when you're done. If you'd like to stay online after you've downloaded, exit Quicken, back up the QUICKEN.INI file in your Windows directory (to something like QUICKEN.BAK) and use Notepad to edit the INI file. In the section called [Internet] add =True after Stay_connected, so it reads Stay_connected=True. Save your change and exit Notepad. (This will not affect online banking.)

Don't Forget!

Click the tiny To Do icon at the bottom right of the screen to jump to the Reminders dialog box, where you can view-and establish-reminders for making online payments, printing checks and so forth.

A Fitting Solution

Tired of reports that span many pages? With a report open, go to File/Print Report and check "Fit to one page wide." While you're there, try changing the orientation from landscape to portrait, and get a sneak peek at the result by clicking on the Preview button.

The Bottom Line

When you click in a field for dollar amounts, you'll see a tiny calculator icon. Click on it once to open it, then play the numbers game using your mouse or your keyboard's numeric keypad. You can also pop up a monthly calendar by clicking on the miniature icon in the Date field of the register.

Check It Out

You can either choose the check number (Next Check Num) from the drop-down list (if you have the QuickFill feature enabled) or type just the first numeral, and Quicken will automatically complete it for you.

Add Icons

Add icons to the toolbar for frequent transactions. Memorize the transaction, then choose Edit/Options/Iconbar. Select New from the Customize Iconbar dialog box. In the Icon Action list, select "Use a specific memorized transaction," then click on OK. When Quicken displays the "Assign memorized transaction to icon" window, select your memorized transaction from the drop-down list. In the Target Account drop-down list, select the account in which you usually enter this transaction. Click on OK and Done.

Play It Safe

Always back up your data periodically to a floppy disk or other media. Select File/Backup and choose the backup drive and file to be copied. Give the backup file a unique name or Quicken will overwrite the current data file when you restore files, and you'll lose data added since the backup was created.

Get Your Backup

Quicken will prompt you to back up your data every third time you exit. If you'd like more frequent reminders (or none at all), edit the QUICKEN.INI file in your Windows directory. Exit Quicken and make a backup of that INI file. Using Notepad, find the line AutoBackup=3. Change the 3 to 0 to turn this feature off; change it to 1 to see a prompt every time you exit.

A Hot Date

Press the following keys to change the date in the register as indicated:

  • + Next day
  • - Previous day
  • t Today's date
  • m First day of month displayed; press a second time to get first day of previous month
  • h Last day of month displayed; press a second time to get last day of next month
  • y First day of year displayed; press a second time to get first day of previous year
  • r Last day of year displayed; press a second time to get last day of next year

Emergency 911

If disaster strikes and you've been lax about backing up, all may not be lost. Quicken automatically makes a backup copy of your data every seven days and places it in a BACKUP directory. If you can open the backup file, copy it to the directory where you ordinarily keep your data. You may be missing some recent data, but you won't have to start from scratch.

Invisible Ink

To add a memo to a check without printing the information, enclose it in curly brackets { } on the Payee line.

An Interesting Point

When paying off credit cards, it makes sense to pay the ones with the highest interest rates first. Enter the interest rate in the Description field when creating the account. When you're making payments, choose Lists/Account and find the highest interest rate in the Description column. Let that be your guide.

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