Learning about categories and tags

What are categories and subcategories?

In Quicken, categories and subcategories are used to classify and group your transactions. This grouping is displayed in reports and graphs, that helps you easily analyze your transactions.

For example, bills and utilities, paycheck, business income etc.

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What are tags?

Tags provide an additional way to classify and group your transactions. They help you to group and analyze all transactions related to a specific event. Let's understand this with an example.

You went for a vacation with your family and you need to keep a track of all the expenses related to this vacation. It's very easy using tags! Just create the tag vacation and associate all your related transactions, from multiple categories, with this tag. Here are some transactions that you might associate with this tag:

  • Dinner: Categorized as Food & Dining
  • Fuel: Categorized as Auto & Transport
  • Clothing: Categorized as Shopping

Later, to see the total cost of your vacation, run a custom report by including all transactions with the vacation tag.

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Differance between Categories and Tags

Categories are used for similar types if expenses. And because only a single category can be assigned to each transaction, category tracking can help you create reports that show you exactly what proportion of your money is going to which kind of expense. Quicken automatically categorizes many of the transactions you download, based on your past categorizations and based on its knowledge of which payees belong in which categories. For transactions that Quicken doesn't recognize, like your rent cehck, for example, you'll need to categorize those manually until Quicken learns that a payment to "Mr. Roper" belongs in the category "Rent".

Tags, on the other hand, let you see how much you're spending for a specific purpose, like a hobby or a vacation. While categories are assigned to similar types of expenses, tags usually get assigned to expenses from different categories. And while you can only assign one category to each transaction, you can assign as many tags to each transaction as you like.

For example, let's say you want to know how much you're spending on a vacation to Florida. You would create a tag called "Florida vacation" and then apply that tag to any expense that's going toward that vacation, like your flight, your rental car, your hotel room, meals, maybe even a new bathing suit and a boat rental. Then, to see how much that vacation cose you, you can go to the Spending Cloud (under the Reports section of the Source list) and click the "Florida vacation" tag. Quicken displays the total for that tag, as well as a list of all expenses that have that tag.

And since you're allowed to use multiple tags for each transaction, you can also assign other tags to some of those Florida vacation expenses, for other tracking purposes. For example, if you're also tracking how much you're spending on your boating hobby, you could not only assign a "Florida vacation" tag to the boat rental, you can also tag it with "Boating hobby," and similarly use the Spending Cloud to see how much you're spending overall on that activity.


  • Each transaction can have only one category.
  • Each transaction can have as many tags as you want. (e.g.: Florida vacation, Boating hobby, Jane trips, Sam trips, Vacation 2010, etc...)
  • Use categories to track different types of expenses.
  • Use tags to track different purposes for which the expenses were used.