Split transactions are killing me

musasabi 1musasabi at gmail.com
Sat Jun 22 09:40:02 EDT 2013

For the benefit of anyone still looking for answers on this:
(btw.. will this show up in google search? Or is this a private mailing list
or something? not sure how it all goes down)

I was frustrated by exactly the same problems as Will. Drove me insane. My
entire transaction disappearing when I press ENTER, numbers appearing and
putting themselves in columns I didnt want them to be in...

But here is what works:

n1. If you at any time press ENTER key, or even click the mouse on the next
line *-after filling in a value-*, GNUcash will try to balance out your
transaction by adding whatever amount it needs to whatever column it needs
to, to immediately balance the transaction.

n1.5 If you press ENTER before filling in any values, gnucash will notice
that this transaction is faulty and will just delete it quietly without
telling you, as if nothing happened. So one rule is Dont press ENTER until
you have filled in all the stuff - *ESPECIALLY*  "Assets:Checking" as the
first line in Transfer column, and *AT LEAST* 1 value. (if you are in
CHECKING as per the tutorial chapter 4)

n2. If you succeeded, under "Transfer" , it will say --Split Transaction-- 
You may then click on that line with the mouse and then click on the "Split"
button in the menu bar above to reveal how it is split.

n3. If you are in the CHECKING ACCOUNT, the first line of the split
transaction must say Assets:Checking or it will be an invalid transaction
and *GNUCASH WILL DELETE IT*. When you first press the "Split" button,
gnucash will automatically fill in that line for you, and put it in the
correct column. we hope. ;D

Workaround STEPS in detail:
1 Go to the line you want and in the "Description" column, type something.
(After tax income split)

2. Move your mouse cursor to the "Split" button in the above menu bar and
click it to reveal 2 more lines.

3. use the down arrow key or your mouse to click on the first split line.
Type the same or similar description. (After tax income)

4. Use down arrow key again or mouse to go to the last split line.. enter a
description. (federal tax)

"Oh noes", you say, you've run out of lines! Not to worry....

5. *THE MOST IMPORTANT PART* use the *UP* ARROW key to go up to the line
above.  Miraculously, a FRESH NEW LINE will appear  BELOW the one your just
typed! (still within the split transaction by the way, unless you pressed
ENTER... dont do that yet) Also, clicking the mouse somewhere *within* the
split area works, but dont click on  a different transaction.

6. Go down TWICE to that fresh new line, add a description (local tax), then
go UP and ANOTHER Fresh new line will appear below "local tax". 

7. Make sure there is one last fresh line below all of yours - gnucash will
need this line to auto-balance the transaction. If you dont give it this
extra line , it will hijack one of your lines and try to use that.

8. When you have enough lines for all your splits, and one extra for
gnucash, start filling in values. When you're done filling in the values on
the left side,  PRESS ENTER and gnucash will automatically use the last line
to put one large amount on the right side to balance it. 

This sort of thing also works with values (not only descriptions) but with
the added frustration of gnucash trying to balance the transaction every
time you enter a value. Then you may have to delete the value which gnucash
entered in order to force it to "fresh-line". its sort of like playing chess
with a two year old who keeps moving YOUR pieces where it thinks they SHOULD
be. Mostly because you cant win an argument with a 2 year old either. But
you get used to it.

I hope this helps someone. I spent half my day just figuring this one thing

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