A new year often brings a strong desire to reorganize, and, since you’re already so organized you’re using CheckBook or CheckBook Pro, you might feel an urge to do something with the pile of Entries from last year and beyond. If so, here are four paths you can take:
- Do nothing. Recommended.
- Use CheckBook’s Search options or CheckBook Pro’s Folders and/or Smart Folders to access Entries from previous years. Recommended.
- Create new Accounts in the same document, with no Entries from previous years. Some effort, not usually recommended.
- Create a new Accounts document, with brand new Accounts and no Entries from previous years. Even more effort, almost never recommended.
Some wonder if they need to archive or start over because they have several thousand Entries and don’t want to overwhelm CheckBook. It’s OK, though – CheckBook’s Accounts can handle a serious number of Entries – like, tens of thousands – without a problem. If you sort by Date, then, as most do, and don’t scroll back more than a few months, you won’t see your previous years anyway and it’s all the same to CheckBook.
The Search field, at the top right corner of your document window, won’t just find what you type in the field – it also includes several options for showing you just the Entries that match very specific criteria, like a date range. To see last year’s Entries, then:
- Click the magnifying glass on the left side of the Search field to reveal a menu.
- Go down to the Last submenu and click the Year menu item.
You’ll find other options in the menu, like This > Year and Last > Month, and there’s even a Custom Date Range option. These may be all you need to see the Entries for a particular period.
By default, your Search options are reset when you switch Accounts or close your document. To make your Search options more or less permanent:
- Go to the CheckBook or CheckBook Pro menu at the top left corner of your screen and click the Preferences… menu item. The Preferences window will appear.
- Make sure there’s a checkmark next to the Save Search Options When Switching Accounts option near the bottom of the window.
CheckBook Pro’s Folders and Smart Folders
Each Account in CheckBook Pro can have any number of Folders and Smart Folders. Here’s how to make these two powerful features work for you.
Folders are like folders in the Finder, a place where a group of items stays out of the way until you need them. When you move Entries to a Folder, they won’t appear in the Account itself anymore, though they’ll still be part of the Account’s Balance. If you remove Entries from a Folder, it’s just like removing them from the Account – the Entries are gone for good. It’s the same when you remove a Folder – the Entries inside the Folder are also removed.
To create a Folder and move Entries into that Folder
- Click the Accounts button, at the top right corner of the window, once or twice to be sure the list of Accounts is visible on the side of the window.
- Go to the Account menu, at the top of your screen, and click the New Folder… menu item.
- Name the new Folder and click the OK button. If you’re archiving an entire year, you might name it after the year you’re archiving.
- The new Folder will be selected, by default, so click the name of your Account in the list on the side of the window or go to the Account menu, at the top of your screen, down to Go to Account, and select the Account itself there.
- Select the Entries you want to move to the Folder. You’ll probably want to select a date range, like the previous year, so first make sure your Entries are sorted by Date. Now, single-click the first Entry of the date range, so it’s highlighted, scroll until you see the last Entry in the date range, then hold the Shift key on your keyboard while you single-click the last Entry in the date range. All of the Entries in between will be highlighted.
- Drag the selected Entries to the new Folder in the list on the side of the window.
Since the Folder’s Entries are still included in your Balance, you won’t need to do anything else to keep your numbers straight.
Smart Folders are like Smart Folders in the Finder, a saved search that shows you items that match any number of criteria. You don’t move Entries to a Smart Folder. Instead, you set up a Smart Folder’s conditions and, whenever you select that Smart Folder in the future, you’ll see the Entries that match those conditions. Since you’re bound to make changes and add new Entries over time, what you see in a Smart Folder will probably change, too.
Every Account comes with two Smart Folders right from the start, This Year and Last Year, that’ll definitely show you different results one year to the next. In a Smart Folder, This Year means the current calendar year and Last Year means the previous calendar year. You don’t have to set the years or change date ranges because each Smart Folder handles that for you. If the current calendar year is 2023, This Year will show you Entries from 2023 and Last Year will show Entries from 2022. When the calendar year becomes 2024, though, This Year will automatically show you Entries from 2024 and Last Year will show Entries from 2023. These two Smart Folders are often all users need to keep Entries from previous years out of sight until they need them. Just select This Year for your daily work and Last Year when you’re preparing taxes for the previous year and you’re all set.
New Accounts in the same document
To get a fresh start in your Accounts, you might create new Accounts and carry over the Balance from the end of the previous year as the Starting Balance in each new Account. This can get a little confusing, though, since your Total, in CheckBook, or All Accounts Balance, in CheckBook Pro, will be inflated by these extra Accounts. Adjust each of your older Accounts so their Balance becomes zero to bring your numbers in line.
There’re also a few drawbacks to creating new Accounts: Your autocompletion and autofill history won’t be there until the application learns from the Entries you create in each new Account, Schedules will need to be copied to each new Account and their Start Date will need to be adjusted to the next due date, and any custom Account Summaries or Smart Folders will need to be re-created in each new Account. It could be a lot more work than you’ve bargained for. If you want to go this route, though, here’s how:
- Select the Account you want to archive.
- Note the Account’s Balance.
- Create a new Entry in the opposite amount of the noted Balance. For example, if the Balance is $4200.00, create a Debit for -$4200.00. This will change the Balance to zero.
- If you have any Schedules you want to move to the new Account, click the Schedule button, at the bottom of the window, go to the Edit menu, at the top of your screen, click the Select All menu item, return to the Edit menu, and click the Copy menu item.
- Go to the Account menu, at the top of your screen, and click the New Account… menu item. An Account options sheet will appear.
- Name your new Account, enter the figure noted in step 2 in the Starting Balance field, and click the OK button at the bottom right of the sheet.
- If you copied Schedules in step 4, click the Schedule button, at the bottom of the window, click once in the empty list of Schedules, go to the Edit menu, at the top of your screen, and click the Paste menu item. Highlight each Schedule with a single click, click the Change button, at the top of the window, and set the Starting Date to the next due date for that particular Schedule.
- If you have any custom Account Summaries or Smart Folders in the older Account, you’ll need to note the options for each and create new Account Summaries and Smart Folders in the new Account to match.
A new document
To get an even fresher start, above and beyond just creating new Accounts in your current document, you could create a brand-new document. This might be even more work than just creating new Accounts, if you have Schedules or custom Account Summaries or Smart Folders you want to bring over. You’ll follow the same steps as creating new Accounts, with a few extra bits:
- If you’re carrying over data from your older document, you’ll need to know the name and ending balance of each Account. Gather those details before you create the new document.
- Go to the File menu, near the top left corner of your screen, down to New, and click the Document… menu item. Name the new document, choose where to store it (we strongly recommend your Documents folder), and click the Create button at the bottom right corner of the panel.
- You’ll be asked to setup your first Account in the new document. If you’re carrying over data from the older document, enter the name and ending balance of the first Account.
- For each Account you’re carrying over, go to the Account menu, at the top of your screen, click the New Account… menu item, enter the name and ending balance of the Account, and click the OK button at the bottom right corner of the sheet. You’ll now need to return to the older document for any other data you’d like to carry over, like Schedules or Account Summaries. You can copy and paste Schedules, but you’ll need to re-create any custom Account Summaries and Smart Folders. To copy and paste your Schedules, go to the File menu, near the top left corner of your screen, down to Open Recent, and click the second item in the list. Select the Account you want to copy Schedules from, click the Schedule button, at the bottom of the window, go to the Edit menu, at the top of your screen, click the Select All menu item, return to the Edit menu, and click the Copy menu item. Return to the File > Open Recent submenu and click the second item in the list. Select the Account you want to paste into, click the Schedule button, at the bottom of the window, click once in the empty list of Schedules, go to the Edit menu, at the top of your screen, and click the Paste menu item. Highlight each Schedule with a single click, click the Change button, at the top of the window, and set the Starting Date to the next due date for that particular Schedule.
That just about covers the basics of handling a new year. If you need any additional details or get stuck anywhere along the way, please let us know at email@example.com and we’ll be happy to help out!