Introduction

GnuCash is a personal finance tracking program. It can track finances in multiple accounts, keeping running and reconciled balances. It has an X based graphical user interface, double entry, a hierarchy of accounts, expense accounts (categories), and can import Quicken QIF files and OFX files.

Installing GnuCash

Running GnuCash for the first time

Open GnuCash Applications -> Office -> GnuCash Finance Management You will be greeted by the Welcome to GnuCash! menu with three choices. The following list describes these choices.

  • Create a new set of accounts - Runs the New Account Hierarchy Setup "Druid".

  • Import my QIF files - Runs the Import QIF Files Druid.

  • Open the new user tutorial - Opens the GnuCash Tutorial and Concepts Guide.

You can either use a preset hierarchy of accounts, import Quicken files (QIF files) or view the GnuCash Tutorial and Concepts Guide.

  • If you wish to have a basic set of accounts to add account transactions into choose Create a new set of accounts.

  • If you already have Quicken files (QIF files) from another financial application and wish to import them then choose Import my QIF files.

  • If you are a new to GnuCash and just want to be guided though setting up GnuCash then choose Open the new user tutorial.

You will be able to access these options later after you close the Welcome To GnuCash! menu. Instructions to manually access these settings are contained below.

New Account Hierarchy Setup

This helps you to create a set of GnuCash accounts. It will appear if you choose Create a new set of accounts in the Welcome to GnuCash! menu.

Later on if you want to create a new set of accounts go to File ->New -> New File. This will create a new blank GnuCash file and then automatically start the New Account Hierarchy Setup "druid".

New Account Hierarchy Setup opens with a window telling you that you are about to create a new set of accounts and briefly describing what those accounts are used for. The three buttons at the very bottom of the screen will not change while using the Setup "druid".

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the druid and cancel creating a new set of accounts. Any selections you have made in this druid up to this point will be lost.

  • The Back button will bring up the previous screen so you can change a selection made on that screen.

  • The Forward button will bring up the next screen so you can continue though the Setup "druid".

The next screen allows you to select the default currency to use for your accounts.

  • The Currency: drop down list defaults to USD (US Dollar). If you wish your accounts to use a different default currency select one from the list.

  • The Forward button is used to confirm your selection and continue to the next screen.

The next screen is used to choose a hierarchy of accounts to create. You will see a screen divided into three parts.

  • The left upper portion has a list of Categories for commonly used hierarchies of accounts. Select from this list the types of accounts you wish to use. You can select as many of the categories of accounts as you wish.

  • The left lower section has a Category Description that displays a detailed description of the category currently highlighted.

  • The right side has a list of the Accounts that will be created from the selected category.

The next screen allows you to enter opening balances, change your account names and also select if the account is a placeholder account. Placeholder accounts are used to create a hierarchy of accounts and normally do not have transactions or opening balances. Equity accounts also do not have opening balances.

  • The left side of the screen has a list of Account Names. The right side is the Placeholder check box and Opening Balance. After you "click" to highlight the row containing an account, a single click in the Account Name, Opening Balance or Placeholder column will open the field for changes.


The last screen gives you a final list of the three choices to finish the Setup "druid".

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the druid and cancel creating a new set of accounts. Any selections you have made in this druid up to this point will be lost.

  • The Back button will bring up the previous screen so you can change a selection made on that screen.

  • The Finish button creates the accounts you have selected.

The GNUCash main window will open and you will see the list of accounts you created.

Import QIF Files

This Druid helps you import Quicken (QIF) files. It will appear if you choose Import my QIF files in the Welcome to GnuCash! menu.
To start this druid manually go to File -> Import -> Import QIF or press Ctrl-I.
The Import QIF files druid opens with a screen that briefly describes what this druid does and requests the file(s) to import. The three buttons at the very bottom of the screen will not change while using the druid.

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the druid and cancel importing Quicken file data. Any selections you have made in this druid up to this point will be lost.

  • The Back button will bring up the previous screen so you can change a selection made on that screen.

  • The Forward button will bring up the next screen so you can continue though the druid.

The next screen allows you to Select a QIF file to load. The Select button on this screen is used to access the list of files. The Select button brings up the Select QIF File dialog.

  • The left panel allows you to select the top level directory, mounted device, or "bookmark".

  • The Add button allows you to create a "bookmark" in the left panel, for easier access to a file location.

  • The Remove button allows you to remove unwanted "bookmarks" from the left panel.

  • The upper right bar allows you to easily navigate the selected directory structure.
  • The right panel displays the file(s), and directory(ies) available for your selection.

  • The pull down list below the file window filter the files displayed based on the extension selected.

  • The Import button is used to confirm your selection.

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the dialog without using any changes you have made.

Navigate to where you have stored your QIF files and select the first one then click Import. The next screen will display it in the Select a QIF File to Load field.
NOTE If the file you are loading does not have an QIF date listed in it you will see the Set a date format for this QIF file screen. Select the proper format from the pull down list and continue
NOTE If the file you are loading does not have an account name listed in it you will see the Set the default QIF account name screen. Otherwise you will skip this screen and go on to the screen in the next section that shows loaded QIF files.

  • The Account name: field is used to set an account name for this QIF file.

The next screen shows you the QIF files you have loaded. You can use this screen to return to the previous screen and load more QIF files. It will also let you unload any files you have loaded by mistake.

  • The top panel shows the list of QIF Files you have loaded.

  • The Load another file button takes you back to the previous screen to load another QIF file.

  • The Unload selected file allows you to select a file from the top panel and remove it from the list.

The next screen gives a description of the Accounts and stock holdings matching process on the Match QIF accounts with GnuCash accounts screen. This and other informational screens in the Import QIF files druid can be turned off in the On-line Banking & Importing section of the GnuCash Preferences. Please refer to the GnuCash Preferences section of the help for instructions on this.
The next screen lets you Match QIF accounts with GnuCash accounts. You will see a list of QIF account names on the left and suggested GnuCash account names on the right. The New? column indicates if the GnuCash account name will be created by the QIF Import.
To change the GnuCash account to a different one select the QIF account. A dialog will pop up to select another account or create a new one.

  • Select an account from the list to choose a already existing account.
  • The New Account button allows you to add a new account name as a sub-account (child of selected) of the selected account.

  • The OK button is used to confirm your selection.

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the dialog without using any changes you have made.

The next screen gives a description of the Income and Expense categories matching process on the Match QIF categories with GnuCash accounts screen.

The next screen lets you Match QIF categories with GnuCash accounts. You will see a list of QIF category names on the left and suggested GnuCash account names on the right. The New? column indicates if the GnuCash account name will be created by the QIF Import.
To change the GnuCash account to a different one select the QIF category. A dialog will pop up to select another account or create a new one.

  • Select an account from the list to choose a already existing account.
  • The New Account button allows you to add a new account name as a sub-account (child of selected) of the selected account.

  • The OK button is used to confirm your selection.

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the dialog without using any changes you have made.

The next screen gives a description of the Payees and memos matching process on the Match payees/memos to GnuCash accounts screen.

The next screen lets you Match payees/memos to GnuCash accounts. You will see a list of QIF payee/memo names on the left and suggested GnuCash account names on the right. The default GnuCash account used is called Unspecified. The New? column indicates if the GnuCash account name will be created by the QIF Import.

To change the GnuCash account to a different one select the QIF payee/memo. A dialog will pop up to select another account or create a new one.

  • Select an account from the list to choose a already existing account.
  • The New Account button allows you to add a new account name as a sub-account of the selected account.

  • The OK button is used to confirm your selection.

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the dialog without using any changes you have made.

The next screen allows you to Enter the currency used for new accounts. The drop down list defaults to USD (US Dollar). If you wish the new accounts to use a different currency select one from the list.

The next screen gives a description of the Tradable Commodities process on the screen.

The next screen, Tradable Commodities lets you set the exchange, full name, and symbol of stocks/mutual funds or commodities being imported.

A series of screens, one for each of the stock, mutual fund, or commodity, with display the exchange, full name, and symbol. These screens allow you to set the correct parameters.

The next screen gives a description of the Match duplicate transactions process on the Select possible duplicates screen.

The next screen lets you Select possible duplicate transactions. Imported transactions are shown on the left panel and possible matches to each selected transaction are shown on the right.

  • The left panel shows the list of Imported transactions to select from for matching duplicates

  • The right panel shows the list of Possible duplicates for the selected imported transaction. Select the one that most closely matches

The last screen, Update your GnuCash accounts, gives you a list of three choices to finish the druid.

  • The Cancel button is used to exit the druid and cancel creating a new set of accounts. Any selections you have made in this druid up to this point will be lost.

  • The Back button will bring up the previous screen so you can change a selection made on that screen.

  • The Apply button imports the data and creates the accounts you have specified.

You should now have successfully imported your accounts.

How to run Gnu``Cash 1.8.x when your locale is UTF-8

  1. Check that you have the equivalent ISO8859-1 encoding available for your default locale:
     sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales
  2. If your default locale is, say, en_GB.UTF-8, then make sure that en_GB ISO8859-1 is also selected.
  3. In a terminal window, temporarily change your locale to make sure that it works:

     export LANG=en_GB
     gnucash
  4. Check for any error messages about the locale in the terminal window and that in GnuCash (especially in reports) that there are no strange symbols.

  5. Create the following script to /usr/local/bin/gnucash or ~/bin/gnucash to make the changes happen on the fly:

     #!/bin/bash
     # Wrapper to get correct LANG (not with UTF-8) for the application /usr/bin/gnucash
     # Automatically extract MyLocale from the string 'LANG=MyLocale.UTF-8' which is output by locale
     MyLocale=$(locale | grep LANG | cut -f1 -d'.' | cut -f2 -d'=')
     export LANG=$MyLocale
     /usr/bin/gnucash

You can select different financial symbols and formats by setting LC_MONETARY (in .bashrc) but it is easier to change them inside GnuCash in Edit/Preferences/International

Note on getting online share quotes

  1. Make sure that libfinance-quote-perl is installed.
  2. Confirm that an individual quote works using  dump-finance-quote 

  3. Don't try and get currency quotes - at the time of writing, the latest version in the repository was 1.08-1. This no longer works with currencies. Edgy has GnuCash v2.0.1 and a more current version of libfinance-quote-perl, and so the currency quotes work too.

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GnuCashHowTo (last edited 2009-08-05 05:49:16 by duanedesign)