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Notes from a Pocket Quicken Developer

Notes from a Pocket Quicken Developer

By Matthew Von-Maszewski

Hopefully we'll hear more from Matthew on Pocket Quicken's development, usability studies, and connectivity. What follows is a short introduction to Pocket Quicken from someone who literally knows this program from the inside out.

I have personally used Pocket Quicken for over one year now on the HP Palmtops. It is well tuned to the HP Palmtop and has simplified my expense report burden. It saved me for the month my desktop computer (a Macintosh) was shipped and stored by a moving company. It has allowed me to manage tight financial situations and call up financial records in court.

Help and Short Cuts

Pocket Quicken's robust features make data entry easy on the 200LX. In addition, its comprehensive on-line help make it easy to learn and use. In every window and in many entry fields you can press (F1) and have help screens displayed, describing procedures and short cuts you can use for that window or field.

The short cuts include: "QuickFill" which "remembers" previous transactions and completes a new transaction after only a few keystrokes; roll keys (+ / -) are used to change numbers or "QuickFill" selections; date accelerator letters; automatic adding of new Categories and Trips; in list windows (Register, Category, Trip, and Account) automatic search and jump to the closest item when a letter is typed.

Pocket Quicken is especially easy to use if you are familiar with Quicken for DOS or Windows, responding to the standard control keys found in those versions (i.e. press (Ctrl)-(C) for Category list).

These Pocket Quicken short cuts can make transactions very easy to enter. For example, an ATM withdrawal may only need a few keystrokes in the payee field, press (ENTER), change the amount withdrawn or deposited, and press (F10) to save the transaction. A total of six strokes can do it all, and you can do this while waiting on a red light.

The Primary Windows

Pocket Quicken's power is accessed from three primary windows: Account List displays your assets in a list of your accounts and credit cards and their balances; Register lets you view an individual account's transactions; Transaction Entry lets you enter and edit a specific transaction; in addition, there are more than 40 specialty windows that access its extended capabilities.

Business Expense Tracking

You can organize expenses in two ways simultaneously: how money is spent, and on what trip or client it is spent (important for segregating expense reports).

The Transaction Entry window has a Category field that lets you enter how the money was spent (airplane ticket, auto toll, postage, etc). There is a separate Trip field to indicate where that expense was incurred (trip, client, or project).

The word Trip can be changed to Client, Class, or Project from the Options/Group menu to suit your preference. You can set a default Trip using the Options/Group menu and have it displayed anytime you start entries for a new trip. For really complex business expenses, you can divide the transaction amount across several Categories / Trips, using the optional split window, (F3).

Pocket Quicken can be a stand alone product

To support individuals who depend solely on Pocket Quicken, it comes with an account reconcile feature (the Activities/Reconcile menu) and basic report generating capabilities for analyzing spending patterns (Reports/ Category menu) and documenting account registers (Reports/- Transactions & Report/ Balances). Note: these reports print to file only. You must use MEMO to view or print them.

Share and Synchronize Data

The HP 200LX Connectivity Pack lets you share Pocket Quicken data files with the DOS or Windows versions of Quicken. You can also transfer data between two 200LXs via the Infrared port.

The Import/Export feature of Pocket Quicken uses desktop Quicken's standard .QIF file format. This lets you transfer Pocket Quicken data between the 200LX and the PC or Macintosh version of Quicken. It also lets you transfer data between other PC software that recognizes the .QIF format (like Microsoft Money).

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The Palmtop Network with its S.U.P.E.R. (Simply Unbeatable Palmtop Essentials Repository) software is now available under the domain name of hp200lx.net.  

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