The Complete Guide to Getting Started with Quicken for Windows

Time To Read 8 MIN READ

Thank you for choosing Quicken for Windows!

In this guide, you'll find out how to:



Activate your Quicken membership

Purchases from

When you purchase a Quicken subscription from, your purchase requires that you create a Quicken ID, or use your existing Quicken ID. This Quicken ID is associated with your subscription membership, so you'll use this ID to activate Quicken.

Sign In screen

  • After you sign in with your Quicken ID, your membership is activated.

Purchases from a retailer (not – a boxed version or download

1. On your computer, go to:

Create account screen

2. Install Quicken on your computer and sign in or create your Quicken ID to setup your profile.

If you already have Quicken 2018, use the same id to login.

Create account screen

3. When prompted, follow the on-screen instructions to enter your 16-digit activation code.

Activate screen



Setup your Quicken Profile

Once you've activated your Quicken Membership, you'll update your Quicken profile and click Continue

Setup Profile

Then, you can select whether or not to sync Quicken data to your Mobile device or to the Quicken web application, by selecting Use Mobile & Web and enter a friendly file name (if you plan on syncing more than one Quicken file to your mobile device, this will help you select the correct files to sync).). If you're not sure if you want to sync to mobile or web right now, you can select Don't use mobile & web, and set up mobile & web sync later.

Sync to Mobile



Set up your first account

To add an account simply tell Quicken where you do your banking and investing. Quicken will then connect to your bank, download your transactions, and give you a spending report. Adding an account also gives you the ability to run reports on income, spending, taxes, and investment performance based on the transactions that you download.

Click Add Account. You can also skip this step and add your first account later by clicking the Add Account Button icon on the Home page.

Create account screen

  • Enter or choose the name of your financial institution (if you have more than one, don't worry—you can add more accounts later) and click Next.

Add checking account

If there is more than one way to connect to your financial institution, Quicken will prompt you to select your preferred connection method, if applicable. Direct Connect may be an option if your bank provides it, but fees could apply. Check with your bank to confirm how to set up your account for Direct Connect.

Select Connection Method

  • Enter your bank sign-in information. Usually, this is the same login you use for your bank's website.
  • If you\/d like Quicken to remember your login information (so you don't have to type it in again when you update your accounts) select the Save this password checkbox. The first time you choose to save a password, Quicken will create a Password Vault, where you can save all of your banking passwords, if you choose. You'll be prompted to create a separate password for your vault. If you choose to save all of your passwords, you can then update all of your accounts with one click.

Add Checking Account

  • Click Connect
  • If you like, you can add a nickname for your account. If there are accounts you don't want to add to Quicken, select Ignore instead of Add.

Add Checking Account

  • Click Next and Finish. Quicken adds your accounts and downloads transactions. Note: Quicken can only download 30-90 days of transactions, as provided by your bank. If you'd like to download more transactions, contact your bank to determine if this is possible.

Account Added

Congratulations! You've just added your first Quicken account!

Your account register looks like this:

Account Register

If you want to add more accounts, just use the Add Account Button icon on the Home page, or go to Tools > Add Account. If you don't, no problem. You can always add more accounts later



Set your Quicken Preferences




Take a tour of Quicken

Quicken is designed to make your day-to-day tasks as easy as possible. Here's a quick introduction to the components and tools you'll use very often.


The account bar is a list of all the accounts you've added to Quicken.
A register is a list of transactions added to an account in Quicken.
The menu bar displays all the tabs to access different features in Quicken.


Add Account Add Account Button Adds new accounts in Quicken.
Update Accounts Update Account Button Downloads new transactions.
Manage Accounts (on the left) Manage Account Button Opens the Account List, where you can edit your account details and make other changes.
Actions Actions Icon (on the right) Opens a menu of tasks, preferences, and reports related to the account register you're working with.
Reminder Reminder Icon Shows reminders for this account in the register. This helps you to see how they affect your account balances.
The Help Icon Icon Opens the Quicken Help in a new window
The Expand Icon icon (upper right side of the title bar) Shows/hides the toolbar and main tabs.

Basic Tasks

Click the account name in the account bar to open its register.
Click a transaction in a register to make changes, or click a blank line to manually enter a new transaction.
Click All Transactions to view all the transactions in all accounts in Quicken.
Click the tabs to access tools and features organized around common financial activities.
Click Help to learn more about using Quicken.
On the upper right side of the Quicken register window, search for a transaction.



Update your accounts

Now that you've set up an account, you'll want to keep your transactions up-to-date. To update your Quicken accounts:

Note: If you selected Save this password during account setup, you will only need to enter the password for your Password Vault.

One Step Update

  • Click Update Now. Quicken downloads all new transactions and updates your account balances.



Categorize your transactions

Categorizing your transactions helps you see where you're spending your money. The good news is that Quicken does most of this work automatically for you!

Quicken assigns categories to your transactions when it downloads them from your bank. For example, if you used your ATM card at Kroger, Quicken knows that Kroger is a grocery store, and it automatically assigns the category Food & Dining:Groceries to the transaction.

In most cases, Quicken can accurately guess the category. In some cases, however, it doesn't recognize the transaction the first time -- for example, your rent check. Quicken also might assign a category to a transaction that you don't want -- for example, during that trip to Kroger you may have bought pet food, which you want to track under the category Pets:Pet Food & Supplies instead of Food & Dining:Groceries. Naturally, you'll want to assign the correct categories to your transactions. Here's how you can categorize your transactions on the Spending tab.

Category List

If the category you want isn't in the list, click the New Category button.



Set up your bills and income reminders

Beyond tracking your spending, Quicken actually makes it easier to spend your money. And we mean that in a good way!

If you're like most people, you have the same bills to pay every month. If you tell Quicken what your bills are, and when you expect income, it can remind you when your bills are due, and project your account balances into the future. This will help you avoid late fees and overdraft charges.

Here's how:

  • Click on Bills & Income tab
  • Click on 'Get Started' in the Bils tab

Add Bills

  • Select ‘Online bill' in the pop-up that appears
  • Choose your biller and enter the credentials in the screens that follows

CHoose your bills

After you set up your bill or income reminders, you can choose to show them in your register, so that you can see what impact your planned spending will have on your account balance. You can do this by clicking on the clock icon on the top of the register.

CHoose your bills



Create a budget

If you've been following along and setting up Quicken as you work through this guide, you now know where your money is going, and where you stand with your upcoming bills and income. Knowing these critical facts about your finances sets the stage for the next huge benefit of Quicken: keeping your spending in line with your income.

How does Quicken do it? A section on the Home tab makes it easy to see if you're coming in under your target or if you're going over budget.

Budget Tab

  • Enter a name for your budget and then OK. Quicken automatically creates a budget for your recurring personal expense categories.

Create a New Budget

  • When you've finished, the Budget Your Spending section on the Home tab shows you how you're doing with your overall spending.

Budget Bar

  • To customize your budget (choose amounts and categories to budget for) just click the Planning tab.



Use the Home tab

The Home tab is a dashboard where you can track your finances and stay on top of your bills.

Quicken gives you the flexibility to customize the default Main View as well as add more views. Simply click Customize and enter your preferences.

Home Screen

After you add your accounts, categorize your transactions, and add your bills and a budget, you can track all of these at a glance on the home tab, to get a quick snapshot of how you're doing.



Use Quicken on your phone or tablet

Quicken on the Web and Quicken Mobile App (iPhone®, iPad®, Android™) syncs with your desktop data and makes keeping track of your money easy while you're on the go. You can also receive alerts and notifications to help monitor your account balances, fees, and spending patterns. All of these alerts are customizable.

Here's how to get started:

On Quicken Desktop:

Mobile Screen

Mobile Get Started Screen

  • Select the checking, savings, credit, investment, or cash accounts you'd like to see on your Quicken mobile app. Mobile Get Started Screen