Tommy Trussell tommy.trussell at
Wed Jun 19 13:22:55 EDT 2013

On Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 7:02 AM, Michael Bach <phaebz at> wrote:

> Hi Derek,
> On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 7:11 PM, Derek Atkins <warlord at> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > Michael Bach <phaebz at> writes:
> >
> >> Dear gnucash Users,
> >>
> >> I dabbled around with gnucash and filled a number of expense
> >> accounts. I must have been very tired, but I inserted all numbers into
> >> the "Rebate" column. Thus those accounts were colored red on the main
> >> account list and I thought that's fine since they are expenses. I
> >> found my error when looking at the Imbalance account.
> >>
> >> So my actual question: Is there an automated / quick way to put all
> >> values from the "Rebate" column to the "Expenses" column for a given
> >> (or list of) account(s)? There is quite a lot of them by now...
> >
> > I'm afraid no, there is no way to modify multiple transactions at once.
> > You'll have to go down each one and fix it manually.  However you should
> > be able to do it relatively easily by using a combination of TAB the
> > Return key.
> >
> > Start at the first transaction, tab out and fix the number by either
> > entering it in the correct column and emptying out the other column, or
> > changing the number to a negative number in-place (tab into the column
> > with the number, hit the left arrow, and then hit the minus key).  Then
> > hit return to record the change and go to the next line.  Lather, rinse,
> > repeat until you're done.
> >
> Thanks for the nice "solution". I made it an exercise of mental
> arithmetic, i.e. doubling the rebate amount in the expense column -
> but yours is much faster of course.

Something Derek didn't mention --

You wrote two things that make me suspect you don't have complete
double-entry accounting going on.

1) You mentioned an amount in the "imbalance" account. You should never see
anything there. That means your transactions didn't balance. Every expense
should be offset by an equal amount of money from one or more current
assets. (For example, you might have given $10 at the orphanage fund-raiser
and entered the $10 under Expenses:Charity, but the money came from your
wallet, so that same transaction would have drawn $10 from Assets:Current
Assets:Cash in Wallet.)

2) You said you were doubling the "Rebate" amount in the "Expense" column,
requiring mental arithmetic. First of all, you can have GnuCash do whatever
arithmetic you need just by typing it... if you need to divide a number by
half you can just type the number and append "*.5" (asterisk decimal five)
to the end of the number and when you leave the cell GnuCash will replace
the number with the calculated value. You can do pretty much all basic
arithmetic, including parentheses. Unlike a spreadsheet, no "equals" sign
is required.

HOWEVER If the numbers are not right I suspect the problem is not
arithmetic but that you're not drawing the money from the right place.

You said "rebates," so I suspect you are trying to enter all the expenses
into the Expense accounts, rather than the Assets accounts. (The column
headings in the Expense accounts are by default named Expense and Rebate,
though you can choose to have them named Debit and Credit as an accountant
would prefer.)

Believe me you will find it MUCH easier to think of all of this from the
"other side" of the transaction. Think about the way you SPENT the money.

Pick up your checkbook and see that you wrote three checks. One for rent,
one for electricity, one for groceries. Open up the account Assets:Current
Assets:BlueMoneyBank Checking (for example)

Enter the information for each check you wrote, with the date, the check
number, to whom the check was payable, and in the TRANSFER column, enter
the expense account (Expenses:Rent  or Expenses:Utilities  or
Expenses:Groceries) and in the Withdrawal column, enter the amount of the
check. When you are through you will see three transactions, one for each
check, showing that you used that particular asset (checking account) for
three different transactions. If you open each of those expense accounts,
you will see the "other side" of the transaction. (OR if you choose to you
can see both sides of each transaction in the check register using the View
menu in GnuCash.)

After entering your checks, you can do the same thing for all your cash
transactions -- look at your wallet and remember you gave $10 to the nun
for the orphanage, spent $5 on a cup of coffee and a pastry, and fed $1.75
into a parking meter at the post office. That's three entries reducing the
amount in your Cash in Wallet account but the transfers might come from
three different expense accounts.

NOTE that you do the same thing for your credit card transactions EXCEPT
credit cards are liabilities, so those transactions go under
Liabilities:Credit Card:GreenMoneyBank Credit (for example). You might have
a restaurant transaction, a car repair transaction, and the $2 per month
the card company charges you and you don't remember what it's for.

NOTE When you PAY your credit card bill, it will probably be a single
transfer from an Asset account, such as the checking account Assets:Current
Assets:BlueMoneyBank Checking and transferring to Liabilities:Credit
Card:GreenMoneyBank Credit (for example).

If you haven't done so, have a look at the Tutorial and Concepts Guide. If
it wasn't copied to your computer when you installed GnuCash, you can find
links to it from

> Best Regards,
> Michael

Hope that helps!

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