Memos vs. Notes

David J. Van Maren dj at
Sun May 2 17:24:17 EDT 2004

I'm trying to move my wife's small business from Quicken for MAC to GnuCash 
running on OS/X.

She was dutifully filling out the 'payee', 'category', and 'memo' fields in 
all of her register entries.  From all that I can tell, the way she'll be the 
most comfortable with GnuCash is to use the 'Double Line' style, and fill in 
the 'description', 'account' and 'Notes' fields, respectively.

However, the transactions we imported from the QIF file show nothing for any 
of the 'Notes' fields.  Instead, the Quicken 'Memo' field was duplicated and 
mapped into the GnuCash 'Memo' fields, which are only visible in Split mode.

This is particularly frustrating when I enter new transactions in GnuCash, and 
it recognizes the 'Description' field.  It's convenient, of course, that it 
fills in the account and amount fields (still allowing me to edit that before 
entering the transaction).  But it also fills in the 'memo' fields, from the 
transaction that it matched on.  These 'memo' fields remain unaltered, even 
if the account is changed, but since they are never displayed, the 
transaction ends up with bogus 'memo' field contents.

I'm fairly sure that if I ask her to use the 'auto split ledger' mode, where 
these memos are displayed, she'll get confused, as it's a much more complex 

So the best bet seems to somehow massage the data so that the 'memo' fields 
are somehow transferred to the 'notes' field, and left blank.  That way, she 
could use it in double line style, and never look at the memos.

Is that a good choice?  If so, are there any tools for this sort of 
conversion?  If not, am I missing something that can make this easier for 

Thanks for any ideas.

As a complete aside, anyone interested in just how bloody it is to transfer 
Quicken data from a Mac to a Windows box can go to the intuit support site 
for Quicken 2001 for Windows, and look for KB ID# 1657 (you can search for 
1657, and it'll find it).  It's the picture of a kludge, requiring manual 
searching and editing of all sorts of fields, along with manual verification 
of account totals, etc.  Maybe I should know better by now, but I really 
thought Quicken was some of the better commercial SW.  It is incredible.

Thanks again,


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