Small feature request: better tab behavior in Split transactions

Christopher Blunck chris at
Sun Jul 29 14:04:45 EDT 2007


I've been using GnuCash since 2004 and love it.  I've talked it up to  
several different people and they're now happy GnuCash users.  It's a  
great tool that fills a huge gap in the OSS community.

All that being said, I'm absolutely pulling my hair out over the  
behavior of "tab" (keystroke), "return" (keystroke), Delete (button  
on the toolbar), and Cancel (button on the toolbar) when journaling  
split transactions.  I'll do my best to describe my frustrations, and  
hopefully this will start a discussion that will result in a ticket  
being that improves the end user experience when journaling split  

Here are some scenarios that cause me great heartburn.  Maybe there  
are workarounds that I'm unaware of?

Issue #1: The tab key behavior.
Steps to reproduce:
1.) Press Split
2.) Create a description for the entire split transaction.  Call it  
"My Credit Card".
3.) Press tab once, and you get to the Action column.
4.) Press tab again, and you're at the Memo.  Tab again to get to the  
account.  Tab another 2 times and you're at "Charge."  Enter 500.
5.) Hit tab.  You are brought to a new line in the split  
transaction.  That's great!  That's what I expect!
6.) Enter a description.  Hit tab to get to the Account, and choose  
an account.  Hit tab and enter 25 for the payment.
7.) Hit tab and you're at the Charge column.  Hit tab again.  THIS IS  

Rather than taking you down to a new subtransaction in the existing  
split transaction it takes you back up to the date column for the  
entire transaction.  This behavior is inconsistent with the behavior  
seen in step #5.  If you press tab on step #5 and you are brought to  
a new subtransaction line why doesn't that ALWAYS happen?

I tried using "return" at the end of #7 to get to a new  
subtransaction.  That gives me a new subtransaction but the account  
is set to Imbalance-USD.  When I enter a memo that I've already  
entered before (e.g. Exxon) GnuCash doesn't auto-populate the Account  
based upon what Account was used the last time I entered that memo  
(Expenses:Auto:Gas).  As a result, the "return" behavior, while it  
solves the problem of creating subtransactions, creates a NEW problem  
of not auto-populating the Account.

Note: I've also tried going down to the bottom of the split  
transaction and hitting "Enter".  You get a blank subtransaction  
line, and the auto-populate of the Account works.  But hitting  
"Enter" at the end of that subtransaction brings you to the line that  
contains the split transaction itself.

The bottom line is that there doesn't appear to be a keyboard only  
way of journalling a split transaction, and that's a huge pain in the  
neck when I'm journalling my credit card statement (it has over 200  
transactions sometimes).  Going from keyboard to mouse and then back  
to keyboard significantly slows me down.

GnuCash 1.x didn't have this behavior.  Please help restore the  
GnuCash 1.x behavior of tabs in split transactions.

Issue #2: Cancel button in a split transaction doesn't work.
This is a usability and interface improvement issue.  "Delete",  
"Cancel", and "Blank" are very similar to non-programmers.  I  
understand the subtleties, as I'm a programmer.  But my Dad wouldn't  
know what "Delete" means vs "Cancel" vs "Blank."  There are lots of  
times that I'm in a split transaction and I want to remove one of the  
transactions involved in the Split.  Since the "Cancel" button has a  
big red X it catches my eye faster than a garbage can.  As a result I  
tend to click the Cancel button when I mean to click the Delete  
button.  Can you maybe disable the Cancel button when you're in a split?

Issue #3: Blank doesn't "blank" a transaction.  It takes you to the  
bottom of the ledger.  I understand that this is intuitive to you  
all, but it's not at all intuitive to an end-user.  If I'm in the  
middle of a 200 transaction split and I hit Blank I'm expecting that  
it will blank out the current transaction I'm on.  I don't expect it  
to take me to the end of the account ledger.

Note that I'm using GnuCash 2.1.1 (from r16107:16109M) built from  
source under OSX.

I love GnuCash, but every time my credit card statement comes in I  
hate journalling it because of the time it takes.  And no, I don't  
care to set up QIF imports of my statements.  The last time I did  
that it didn't work very well at all...

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to your responses to my  
above issues.


More information about the gnucash-devel mailing list