Qif import and memos

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Qif import and memos

Terry Therneau
 Gnucash 2.0.4, compiled on Fedora Core 4.
 
 I'm trying to import a large qif file, and seem to be losing the "memo"
lines.  This is a serious loss -- I keep a lot of info on that line.
Memos import fine for split transactions, by the way.

As a test of this, I tried out the abc.qif file found in the
doc/examples directory, and see the same issue there.  The very first
transaction has "my memo" as the memo, but it does not appear
in the gnucash register's double line mode.  Where did it go?  I expected
it in the note field.

  Of course, one should not discount user error on my part.
 
  Terry Therneau
 
 
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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
Is it neither in the Txn Note NOR in the Split Memo field?

-derek

Quoting Terry Therneau <[hidden email]>:

> Gnucash 2.0.4, compiled on Fedora Core 4.
>
> I'm trying to import a large qif file, and seem to be losing the "memo"
> lines.  This is a serious loss -- I keep a lot of info on that line.
> Memos import fine for split transactions, by the way.
>
> As a test of this, I tried out the abc.qif file found in the
> doc/examples directory, and see the same issue there.  The very first
> transaction has "my memo" as the memo, but it does not appear
> in the gnucash register's double line mode.  Where did it go?  I expected
> it in the note field.
>
>  Of course, one should not discount user error on my part.
>
>   Terry Therneau
>
>
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Re: Qif import and memos

Terry Therneau
In reply to this post by Terry Therneau
Derek Atkins asked for some more detail on my qif import question.
Here goes:


 I'm coming from an old DOS version of quicken.  A split transaction
 appeared as
  1/10/98  5620  Home Depot  $100.00
  home:remodel  floor tiles   50.00
  tools         sander        50.00
 
 For this both the payee (Home Depot), the accounts (home:remodel and tools),
 and the comments (floor tiles and sander) come across fine.
 
 
   For a non-split transaction, which appears as
   
    1/11/98  5621  Home Depot  $35.00
      glue for floor tiles
      home:remodel
on the screen, I'm not seeing the "glue for floor tiles" part in the
imported file.  
  This is the line that is marked as "M" in the qif file.
 
---------
  In doc/examples/abc.qif, lines 8-15

^^
D8/ 1/97
T3,300.00
NDEP
Pput in more money
Mthis came out of my pillowcase
LOther inc
^^

  I don't see the "this came out...." comment in Gnucash, after importing
abc.qif into a new file.  I would expect it to show up when the register is
in double-line mode.

BTW, the file I'm trying to import has 14508 transactions, so I really don't
want to do any hand annotation after the transfer!  

        Terry Therneau
       
 
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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
Quoting Terry Therneau <[hidden email]>:

[snip]

>  In doc/examples/abc.qif, lines 8-15
>
> ^^
> D8/ 1/97
> T3,300.00
> NDEP
> Pput in more money
> Mthis came out of my pillowcase
> LOther inc
> ^^
>
>  I don't see the "this came out...." comment in Gnucash, after importing
> abc.qif into a new file.  I would expect it to show up when the register is
> in double-line mode.

What about in Split mode on that particular transaction?

-derek

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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
In reply to this post by Terry Therneau
Quoting Terry Therneau <[hidden email]>:

[snip]

>  In doc/examples/abc.qif, lines 8-15
>
> ^^
> D8/ 1/97
> T3,300.00
> NDEP
> Pput in more money
> Mthis came out of my pillowcase
> LOther inc
> ^^
>
>  I don't see the "this came out...." comment in Gnucash, after importing
> abc.qif into a new file.  I would expect it to show up when the register is
> in double-line mode.

For the record, I just tested this, and the memo DOES appear in
the Split Memo.  So if you expand the transaction (by clicking on
the Split button) you'll see these memos.

Arguably in a non-multi-split transaction this might want to go
into the transaction notes, too.

-derek
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Re: Qif import and memos

Jeff Carneal-3

On Feb 12, 2007, at 1:35 PM, Derek Atkins wrote:

>
> For the record, I just tested this, and the memo DOES appear in
> the Split Memo.  So if you expand the transaction (by clicking on
> the Split button) you'll see these memos.
>
> Arguably in a non-multi-split transaction this might want to go
> into the transaction notes, too.

The OP may have to turn on auto-split or some other register view to  
see the memo.

On this same topic, is there currently a way to show the memo field  
in the basic register view, perhaps next to the transfer account?

Jeff
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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
Quoting Jeff Carneal <[hidden email]>:

>
> On Feb 12, 2007, at 1:35 PM, Derek Atkins wrote:
>
>>
>> For the record, I just tested this, and the memo DOES appear in
>> the Split Memo.  So if you expand the transaction (by clicking on
>> the Split button) you'll see these memos.
>>
>> Arguably in a non-multi-split transaction this might want to go
>> into the transaction notes, too.
>
> The OP may have to turn on auto-split or some other register view to  
> see the memo.

That's why I said "click the Split button"

> On this same topic, is there currently a way to show the memo field  
> in the basic register view, perhaps next to the transfer account?

No.  Closest RFE is http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=149241
The 'memo' is tied to the Split, so in a basic transaction (with two
splits), which memo would you show in the regular view?

> Jeff

-derek

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Re: Qif import and memos

Jeff Carneal-2

On Feb 12, 2007, at 2:11 PM, Derek Atkins wrote:

>
> That's why I said "click the Split button"

Er, yeah, that too :)

>
>> On this same topic, is there currently a way to show the memo field
>> in the basic register view, perhaps next to the transfer account?
>
> No.  Closest RFE is http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=149241
> The 'memo' is tied to the Split, so in a basic transaction (with two
> splits), which memo would you show in the regular view?

I'd show the one that belongs to the split pertaining to the account  
register being viewed.  In the transfer[ing|red] account register I  
would show the memo for its split.  This is in effect what is done  
now on the transfer account (for lack of a better term) field in  
basic view mode.

Jeff
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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
Quoting Jeff Carneal <[hidden email]>:

>>> On this same topic, is there currently a way to show the memo field
>>> in the basic register view, perhaps next to the transfer account?
>>
>> No.  Closest RFE is http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=149241
>> The 'memo' is tied to the Split, so in a basic transaction (with two
>> splits), which memo would you show in the regular view?
>
> I'd show the one that belongs to the split pertaining to the account  
> register being viewed.  In the transfer[ing|red] account register I  
> would show the memo for its split.  This is in effect what is done  
> now on the transfer account (for lack of a better term) field in  
> basic view mode.

Except you're not exactly correct here.  In the basic register view
the "transfer acccount" is actually displaying the Account from
the OTHER split.   For example, assume you have a transaction between
Asset and Expense.  You'd have two splits, the Asset split and the
Expense split.  When you view the Asset account you would see the
Asset split, but the register is "smart" and in this case it shows
you the OTHER Split's (aka "Far") Account in the transfer column,
because you already know what the "near" account is:  the near account
is the register account, Asset.

So I still don't have a good answer to "which Split Memo" do we show
in a basic register.   There IS no good answer, which is why I think
it's best to leave it out of the basic register and if you want
to edit it you can expand the transaction and edit the Split Memos
directly.

> Jeff

-derek

--
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       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
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Re: Qif import and memos

Terry Therneau
In reply to this post by Terry Therneau

>> For the record, I just tested this, and the memo DOES appear in
>> the Split Memo.  So if you expand the transaction (by clicking on
>> the Split button) you'll see these memos.
>>
>> Arguably in a non-multi-split transaction this might want to go
>> into the transaction notes, too.

  Arguably?  I think the correct answer is "obviously".  I would never have
thought of treating a transaction, which is not a split transaction, as
though it were a split transaction, in order to see any attached explanatory
information.
   When entering data, I would certainly not create a fake split too add
such info.  
 
   After reading the documentation I found the current behavior completely
non-obvious.  But the first thing to check is my eyeballs --- did I miss
a section that would have given me insight to the comment below?
     
>> On this same topic, is there currently a way to show the memo field  
>> in the basic register view, perhaps next to the transfer account?

> The 'memo' is tied to the Split, so in a basic transaction (with two
> splits), which memo would you show in the regular view?

 I deduce from this that all transactions are a list of transfers, a split just
 means that the number of lines >1.  A note is attached to the transaction,
 and the memo to each transfer?
 
 An answer to the memo display question is to do the same
 thing as the category: show the word "split".
 
  Terry Therneau
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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
Quoting Terry Therneau <[hidden email]>:

>  Arguably?  I think the correct answer is "obviously".  I would never have
> thought of treating a transaction, which is not a split transaction, as
> though it were a split transaction, in order to see any attached explanatory
> information.

I dont think it's actually obvious, or it would have been done that
way in the first place.

>   When entering data, I would certainly not create a fake split too add
> such info.

You're not creating a fake split.  Every balanced transactions MUST (by
defintion) have at least TWO splits:  A Credit split and a Debit split.

>   After reading the documentation I found the current behavior completely
> non-obvious.  But the first thing to check is my eyeballs --- did I miss
> a section that would have given me insight to the comment below?

I don't know.  I dont re-read the documentation regularly.

>>> On this same topic, is there currently a way to show the memo field
>>> in the basic register view, perhaps next to the transfer account?
>
>> The 'memo' is tied to the Split, so in a basic transaction (with two
>> splits), which memo would you show in the regular view?
>
> I deduce from this that all transactions are a list of transfers, a
> split just
> means that the number of lines >1.  A note is attached to the transaction,
> and the memo to each transfer?

Nope, Try again.  A transaction is a list of Splits, each split is a
debit or credit to/from a particular account.  The sum of all splits
must balance to 0.  So each balanced transaction must have at least
two splits.   What most people think of as a "Split Transaction"
means a transaction with at least THREE splits.

> An answer to the memo display question is to do the same
> thing as the category: show the word "split".

That is certainly "an" answer, but one could argue that there are other
answers, too.   Anything that is MORE confusing than not doing it shouldn't
be done, and frankly I think this would add more confusion than it solves.

> Terry Therneau

-derek

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Re: Qif import and memos

Jeff Carneal-2
In reply to this post by Derek Atkins

>> I'd show the one that belongs to the split pertaining to the  
>> account  register being viewed.  In the transfer[ing|red] account  
>> register I  would show the memo for its split.  This is in effect  
>> what is done  now on the transfer account (for lack of a better  
>> term) field in  basic view mode.
>
> Except you're not exactly correct here.

As is often the case.

> In the basic register view
> the "transfer acccount" is actually displaying the Account from
> the OTHER split.   For example, assume you have a transaction between
> Asset and Expense.  You'd have two splits, the Asset split and the
> Expense split.  When you view the Asset account you would see the
> Asset split, but the register is "smart" and in this case it shows
> you the OTHER Split's (aka "Far") Account in the transfer column,
> because you already know what the "near" account is:  the near account
> is the register account, Asset.

I under what you have written here 100%.  No surprise that you are,  
in fact, correct.

>
> So I still don't have a good answer to "which Split Memo" do we show
> in a basic register.   There IS no good answer, which is why I think
> it's best to leave it out of the basic register and if you want
> to edit it you can expand the transaction and edit the Split Memos
> directly.

Ok, so what I don't understand is how this is the conclusion reached  
based upon what you wrote in the first paragraph.

Wouldn't it follow to simply pull the "far" memo just as the "far"  
account is displayed when in basic transaction mode?  If that's what  
is done for the far account, how/why would the algorithm be  
materially different for the memo field?  I'm not saying there is no  
reason, I simply do not yet see it.

Far that matter, in the even that there really is not a good answer,  
the best answer would be to give the user a choice under preferences  
as to which one to display.  I'm not asking anyone to code it... I  
can do that.  But if I'm going to go to the trouble, I'd like some  
indication that it would be committed.

Jeff
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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
Jeff Carneal <[hidden email]> writes:

> Wouldn't it follow to simply pull the "far" memo just as the "far"  
> account is displayed when in basic transaction mode?  If that's what  
> is done for the far account, how/why would the algorithm be  
> materially different for the memo field?  I'm not saying there is no  
> reason, I simply do not yet see it.

Not particularly, because except for the "transfer account", everything
displayed is for the near split and/or transaction!

> Far that matter, in the even that there really is not a good answer,  
> the best answer would be to give the user a choice under preferences  
> as to which one to display.  I'm not asking anyone to code it... I  
> can do that.  But if I'm going to go to the trouble, I'd like some  
> indication that it would be committed.

Preferences are bad..

Besides you can already get to this information by expanding the
transaction!  Just do that.

> Jeff

-derek

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Re: Qif import and memos

Jeff Carneal-2

On Feb 14, 2007, at 9:28 AM, Derek Atkins wrote:

> Jeff Carneal <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> Wouldn't it follow to simply pull the "far" memo just as the "far"
>> account is displayed when in basic transaction mode?  If that's what
>> is done for the far account, how/why would the algorithm be
>> materially different for the memo field?  I'm not saying there is no
>> reason, I simply do not yet see it.
>
> Not particularly, because except for the "transfer account",  
> everything
> displayed is for the near split and/or transaction!

Right.  But how does this make what I'm proposing a Bad Thing?  
Again, it's been done for a good reason on the far account.  It can  
be done also for the memo field.  Those of us who are coming from  
commercial accounting programs are rather used to seeing the memo in  
single line registers, and I haven't yet seen a compelling reason why  
this can't be the case for gnucash.

>
>> Far that matter, in the even that there really is not a good answer,
>> the best answer would be to give the user a choice under preferences
>> as to which one to display.  I'm not asking anyone to code it... I
>> can do that.  But if I'm going to go to the trouble, I'd like some
>> indication that it would be committed.
>
> Preferences are bad..

If you say so.

>
> Besides you can already get to this information by expanding the
> transaction!  Just do that.

This is akin to saying we can already enter transactions manually, so  
why do we need aqbanking or importing?  It saves TIME to not have to:

a) manually split every transactions for which you want to see a memo
b) manually split every transactions for which you want to enter a memo
c) enter simple transactions with memos without having to press the  
enter key 3-4 times per entry like one has to in auto-split or  
transaction view

If you have a valid reason why the algorithm used for showing the far  
account will not work for showing the memo in basic view, I'll gladly  
listen to it and consider the rationale.  But in effect now you're  
saying "get used to it", "there's no good answer" and the like which  
is less than encouraging.

Or maybe I'm alone in wanting this feature... who knows.

Jeff
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Re: Qif import and memos

David Hampton-7
On Wed, 2007-02-14 at 11:22 -0600, Jeff Carneal wrote:

> On Feb 14, 2007, at 9:28 AM, Derek Atkins wrote:
>
> > Jeff Carneal <[hidden email]> writes:
> >
> >> Wouldn't it follow to simply pull the "far" memo just as the "far"
> >> account is displayed when in basic transaction mode?  If that's what
> >> is done for the far account, how/why would the algorithm be
> >> materially different for the memo field?  I'm not saying there is no
> >> reason, I simply do not yet see it.
> >
> > Not particularly, because except for the "transfer account",  
> > everything
> > displayed is for the near split and/or transaction!
>
> Right.  But how does this make what I'm proposing a Bad Thing?  

Because its confusing.  If I see a text note in a basic transaction, how
do I know if that note applies to the transaction as a whole or only to
a specific split in the transaction?  With your proposed change I can't,
because what the register displays will change on a transaction by
transaction basis.  There is no consistent, easily understood rule like
there is today, where the register in basic mode always displays the
comment associated with the overall transaction.  With your changes,
what happens when I edit the text I'm seeing?  Where does the result go?
Is the changed text always applied to the overall transaction, or is it
maybe applied to an individual split?  I frequently have split
transactions where there is no overall transaction comment, but each
individual split is commented.

I think you're proposing a workaround to clean up long after the problem
has occurred.  What you really want is for the QIF importer to promote
comments from a individual split to the transaction as a whole.  If
standard "Quicken" (or whatever program is writing QIF files) behavior
is to only label a single split with a comment, or to label both splits
of a transaction with the same comment, then it makes sense to me that
that comment should be promoted.  If the splits of a transaction in a
QIF file have different comments the it would not be possible to promote
the comment.

David


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Re: Qif import and memos

Derek Atkins
In reply to this post by Jeff Carneal-2
Jeff Carneal <[hidden email]> writes:

> Right.  But how does this make what I'm proposing a Bad Thing?  
> Again, it's been done for a good reason on the far account.  It can  
> be done also for the memo field.  Those of us who are coming from  
> commercial accounting programs are rather used to seeing the memo in  
> single line registers, and I haven't yet seen a compelling reason why  
> this can't be the case for gnucash.

Because:

a) It's not an often-used field
b) The register is already crowded enough
c) We already have precedence for requiring the user to change
   the register view in order to see certain, specific additional
   information about transactions.

>> Preferences are bad..
>
> If you say so.

Not only do I say so, but the HIG says so, too.

Now, once we get the register rewrite in place we /might/ be able to
allow the user to configure their own register views (sort of how
you can configure which columns you see in the Account Tree).  Note
that this is a possibility for something that could happen, but don't
take this as a guarantee that that feature will be implemented.  I'm
just saying that it would be much easier with that implementation.

And honestly, I think you're alone (or in a very very tiny majority)
asking for this feature.  For one thing, as you can see from Bugzilla,
nobody has asked for it for over six years....  So it's probably not
an oft-wanted feature.  I know that I wouldn't ever use it myself.

-derek
--
       Derek Atkins, SB '93 MIT EE, SM '95 MIT Media Laboratory
       Member, MIT Student Information Processing Board  (SIPB)
       URL: http://web.mit.edu/warlord/    PP-ASEL-IA     N1NWH
       [hidden email]                        PGP key available
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