Quicken 2005 for Dummies


  • The fun and easy way to get started with Quicken, the #1 personal financial software, with more than fifteen million users
  • A bestseller year after year-now updated throughout for the latest release of Quicken
  • Helps readers take control of their money by showing how to track their day-to-day finances, better manage their investments, and evaluate the tax implications of their financial decisions-all without ...
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  • The fun and easy way to get started with Quicken, the #1 personal financial software, with more than fifteen million users
  • A bestseller year after year-now updated throughout for the latest release of Quicken
  • Helps readers take control of their money by showing how to track their day-to-day finances, better manage their investments, and evaluate the tax implications of their financial decisions-all without hiring expensive professional financial consultants
  • Expert advice shows how to manage bills, maximize investment performance, save money for college or retirement, bank online, maintain detailed financial records, and more
  • Written by veteran For Dummies author Stephen L. Nelson, MBA, CPA and author of more than 100 books
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
A million Quicken users have chosen one book to help them get up-and-running: Stephen L. Nelson’s easy, enlightening Quicken for Dummies. The new Quicken 2005 adds over 100 new features, and like clockwork, the new Quicken 2005 for Dummies is here to tame them.

Nelson’s arguably the world’s No. 1 author on personal and small business accounting software. No wonder: His day job is helping individuals and entrepreneurs set up their books. He’s constantly seeing their goals and challenges firsthand. It shows.

One step at a time, he walks through “setting up shop,” making some suggestions that you’ll appreciate at tax time. Next, master Quicken’s core checkbook functions; online banking; reporting; credit/debit cards; even payroll and receivables. From start to finish, Nelson’s money-savvy approach will help you use Quicken to do what it’s supposed to do: build wealth. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764571718
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 378
  • Product dimensions: 7.54 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen L. Nelson, MBA, CPA, author of QuickBooks For Dummies, provides accounting, business advisory, and tax services to small businesses. He has written over 100 books that have sold more than four million copies.
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Table of Contents


Part I: Zen, Quicken, and the Big Picture.

Chapter 1: Setting Up Shop.

Chapter 2: Introduction to the Big Picture.

Chapter 3: Maximum Fun, Maximum Profits.

Part II: The Absolute Basics.

Chapter 4: Checkbook on a Computer.

Chapter 5: Printing 101.

Chapter 6: Online and In Charge.

Chapter 7: Reports, Charts, and Other Cool Tools.

Chapter 8: A Matter of Balance.

Chapter 9: Housekeeping for Quicken.

Chapter 10: Compound Interest Magic and Other Mysteries.

Part III: Home Finances.

Chapter 11: Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Petty Cash.

Chapter 12: Other People’s Money.

Chapter 13: Mutual Funds.

Chapter 14: Stocks and Bonds.

Part IV: Serious Business.

Chapter 15: Payroll.

Chapter 16: Receivables and Payables.

Part V: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 17: (Slightly More Than) Ten Questions I’m Frequently Asked about Quicken.

Chapter 18: (Almost) Ten Tips on How Not to Become a Millionaire.

Chapter 19: Ten Troubleshooting Tips.

Part VI: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Quick-and-Dirty Windows.

Appendix B: Glossary of Business, Financial, and Computer Terms.


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First Chapter

Quicken 2005 For Dummies

By Stephen L. Nelson

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-7171-0

Chapter One

Setting Up Shop

In This Chapter

* Installing Quicken

* Touring Quicken

* Setting up your bank (or other) accounts if you're a first-time user

* Retrieving existing Quicken data files

If you've never used Quicken, begin here. This chapter tells you how to install Quicken (if you haven't already) and how to start the program for the first time. You also find out how you go about setting up Quicken accounts to track banking activities - specifically, the money that goes into and out of a checking or savings account.

If you've already begun to use Quicken, don't waste any time reading this chapter unless you want the review. You already know the stuff it covers.

By the way, if you have Windows, I assume that you know a little bit about it. No, you don't have to be some sort of expert. Shoot, you don't even have to be all that proficient. You do need to know how to start Windows applications (such as Quicken). It also helps immensely if you know how to choose commands from menus and how to enter stuff into windows and dialog boxes. If you don't know how to do these kinds of things, flip to Appendix A. It provides a quick-and-dirty overview of how you work in Windows. Read the stuff in the appendix, or at least skim it, and then come back to this chapter.


When I say Windows, I mean a recent version of Windows - something Microsoft is either currently selling or has sold in the last few years. Quicken 2005 won't run on Windows 3.1, so if you want to run the latest version, I'm afraid it's time to upgrade.

Installing and Starting Quicken

You install Quicken the same way that you install any program in Windows. If you already know how to install programs, you don't need any help from me.

Stop reading here, do the installation thing, start your newly installed Quicken program, and then start reading the next section, "Finishing Setup If You've Used Quicken Before."

If you need help installing Quicken, here are the step-by-step instructions. Installing Quicken from a CD-ROM is as easy as one, two, three, four:

1. Insert the CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive.

In a short amount of time, Quicken should display the Quicken 2005 installation window, shown in Figure 1-1. Your window may appear slightly different if you're installing some other version of Quicken than Quicken Premier - which is what I am installing in Figure 1-1.

Note: If nothing happens when you put the CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, don't panic! First try removing the CD and then putting it in again. If Windows still doesn't recognize the CD, you need to tell Windows that it should install your Quicken program. In many versions of Windows (but not necessarily with your version), you do this with the Windows Control Panel by using a tool called Add/Remove Programs. To do this, refer to your Windows user guide or a good book about your version of Windows (such as Windows XP For Dummies, written by Andy Rathbone and published by Wiley Publishing, Inc.).

2. Click Next.

Quicken then asks you a few questions:

The first question is whether you accept the Quicken license agreement.

The next, as shown in Figure 1-2, asks whether you want to perform an Express or Custom installation. Unless you want to spend time figuring out which features you'll use and muck about storing all the bits and pieces of Quicken in different places, go with the Express installation.

The installation program may also ask whether you want to install the U.S. version or the Canadian version. Obviously, you're a patriotic guy or gal, and you want to install the version for your country. (Even if you aren't a patriotic guy or gal, install the version for your country. Quicken uses different expense categories for the countries because their taxes work differently.)

3. Answer these three questions by clicking the appropriate buttons. Click Next to move to the next question. Then click the Install Now button when you answer the last question.

Quicken installs itself. This process takes a few minutes. Along the way, you see several screenfuls of messages, including marketing information about the features new to Quicken 2005 and some progress reports on the installation itself.


If you're upgrading from an earlier version of Quicken to Quicken 2005, the installation program also displays a message at the start of the installation. It says that if you install Quicken 2005 in the same default quickenw directory, it'll need to uninstall the current version of Quicken. Because this uninstallation of "old" Quicken is sort of a big deal - what if you want to use the old Quicken? - the installation program asks you to confirm this bit of minor risk-taking.

TIP When in doubt about some installation option, just accept the default suggestion by pressing Enter.

After the installation is complete, Quicken displays an installation complete message.

4. Click Finish.

Congratulations. You're done.

After you install Quicken, you need to start it to finish the setup process. If you told the installation program to launch Quicken 2005, you should see the Quicken program window on your screen. If you didn't tell the installation program to launch Quicken, you need to start Quicken.


The easiest way to start Quicken is to double-click the Quicken shortcut icon that (post-installation) appears on your Windows desktop. The Quicken program window appears, almost like magic.

Finishing Setup If You've Used Quicken Before

If you've used a previous version of Quicken, the Quicken program might show option buttons to indicate what you want to do next: Open the found data file. (Alternatively, you can also indicate that you want to open some other data file.) You're done. You're ready to begin Quickening.

Finishing Setup If You Haven't Used Quicken Before

If you haven't used Quicken before - or if you have but you want a fresh start and a fresh set of accounts - you need to set up a new data file. (A data file is the place where all your financial records are stored.) What happens next depends on whether you've used Quicken before:

  •   If you haven't used Quicken before, Quicken automatically sets up a data file for you (you don't need to worry about it) and starts the Quicken Guided Setup (see Figure 1-3). This Guided Setup process walks you through the steps for setting up the Quicken data file. (You can find out much more on this process in the next section.)
  •   If you have used Quicken before, Quicken asks you to name the new data file (using a familiar-looking dialog box named something like Create New Data File), and then it starts the Quicken Guided Setup, as shown in Figure 1-3.

Running the Quicken Guided Setup

Okay. Here's the deal. The Quicken Guided Setup walks you through a three-step process that asks about your personal financial affairs as well as a few other questions. (You walk through the steps by clicking the Next Step button in the lower-right corner of the window.)

The first step asks you to provide some personal information: your name, your spouse's name, your birth date, number of dependents, and so on. You're also asked whether you own a home, invest in rental property, or run a small business. Figure 1-4 shows the window that collects this information. Answer the questions by typing information into the appropriate boxes or clicking the appropriate buttons. That's it. Simple stuff.

The second step asks you to check boxes that correspond to financial management tasks you want to accomplish with Quicken (see Figure 1-5). (You can check as many boxes as you want, but at a minimum, you want to check the Manage My Checkbook and Bills box.)

The third step - and this one is key - provides buttons that you click to describe the accounts that you want to manage with Quicken, as shown in Figure 1-6.


Now I need to explain something here. The Quicken Guided Setup assumes that you're going to set up everything you need or will ever need in Quicken all at once and in the beginning. You can do that if you want, but that's not my suggestion. You can easily add stuff later, when you want it, so I suggest that you set up your principal checking account or accounts in the beginning. (Yes, like right now when you and I are talking about this stuff.) Later on, if you want to set up credit card accounts or manage your investments or track a rental property, you can quickly set up the accounts and other stuff you need then. Sound okay? (I do explain how to set up these other accounts in other chapters.)

My reasoning for this suggestion is that I'd like you to have some experience working with Quicken before you go hog wild. Focus first on those personal accounting tasks that you absolutely will want to perform. This approach gets you started working with Quicken - happily, productively, and successfully - from day one. If you want to do more in a week or a month or a year, great. You can easily do more tasks, and by then, you'll know so much more about Quicken that adding these other tasks will be a snap.

Setting up an account with the Guided Setup

To set up an account for your principal checking account from within the Quicken Guided Setup, display the Add Cash Flow Accounts window (refer to Figure 1-6) by clicking the Cash Flow label, if necessary. (This button appears on the left edge of the Quicken window and is cleverly labeled, "Cash Flow.") Then follow these steps:

1. Click the Add Account button that's next to the Checking label.

Quicken displays the Quicken Account Setup dialog box (Figure 1-7).

2. Identify the financial institution - usually a bank - by typing your institution's name into the text box provided.

As you type, Quicken displays a list of financial institutions that match what you've typed so far. The more you type, the shorter the list of possible matching institutions. If you see your bank or whatever listed, select it. If you don't see your bank listed, mark the This Account Is Not Held At A Financial Institution button.

When you click Next, Quicken displays the third Quicken Account Setup dialog box, as shown in Figure 1-8.

3. Tell Quicken whether you want to use the online setup for your account or manually set up your account.

For most banks, the third Quicken Account setup dialog box looks like the one shown in Figure 1-8. This dialog box suggests that you let Quicken set up your account by directly connecting to the bank's computer system. But, in a gesture of courtesy, Quicken also admits that you can manually set up the account. I'm going to suggest, since you're just starting out, that you set up your account manually. You have plenty of time later on to find out how online banking works. (Online banking is really cool, though. Refer to Chapter 6 for more information.) To indicate that you'll manually set up your account, select the Manual button and then click Next.

4. Tell Quicken the name you want to use for the checking account. Then click Next.

You do so by typing a name in the Name This Account text box, as shown in Figure 1-9. By the way, you can be as general or as specific as you want. But remember, brevity is a virtue; be as concise as you can. The reason is that Quicken uses your account name to label stuff within the Quicken window and on Quicken reports. If you use a long account name, the name may not always fit on reports and screens.

5. Enter the ending bank statement date by referring to your bank statement.

When Quicken asks for the ending statement date, enter the date of your last bank statement. This date, by the way, is when you will start using Quicken. Enter the date in MM/DD/YYYY fashion. Figure 1-10 shows the dialog box that Quicken uses to ask for this information.

"Geez, Steve," you're now saying to yourself, "what's MM/DD/YYYY fashion?" Okay. Here's an example. If your bank statement is dated June 2, 2005, type 06/02/2005, or you can type 6/2/2005.

6. Enter the ending bank statement balance by referring to your bank statement.

This balance is whatever appears on your bank statement. This balance is also the amount of money in your account on the date you begin your financial record keeping. If you have $4.16 in your checking account, type 4.16 into the Ending Balance text box.

7. After you type the bank statement balance, click the Done button.

Quicken removes the Checking Account Setup dialog box and redisplays the Add Cash Flow Accounts version of the Quicken Guided Setup window (refer to Figure 1-6). If you want to add another account, simply repeat Steps 1 through 6.

8. After you add the accounts you need - and, again, I think you can start with one or, if you really want, two - click the Next Step button to continue moving through the Guided Setup.

Eventually, you really do finish, although you need to click Next Step another four or five times, depending on how much stuff you've said you want to do with Quicken from the get-go.

9. Click Done and OK.

Quicken will ask you whether you want to set up other accounts for tracking your debts and maybe even your investments. But you know what? Go ahead and skip setting up this other stuff for now. I recommend keeping stuff simple in the beginning. If all you ever do with Quicken is track your bank accounts, you get about 90 percent of the value of the product anyway. And you save yourself a bunch of work.

In the end, voil! The Quicken Home window appears, as shown in Figure 1-11.

Steve's Overview

You don't need to know much about the mechanics of the Quicken interface - the way its windows work - to begin working with Quicken, especially in any chapters in this book in which I cover the basics. I provide plenty of detailed instructions, but I have a couple of quick comments now.


Excerpted from Quicken 2005 For Dummies by Stephen L. Nelson Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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