Tutorial for: YNAB Suggested skill level: intermediate
Updated: Nov. 10, 2010
- Part 1: Toolkit for YNAB – General Settings walkthrough
- Part 2: Toolkit for YNAB – Account Screen Settings
- Part 3: Toolkit for YNAB – Budget Screen Settings
- Part 4: Toolkit for YNAB – Report Screen Settings
One of the few advantages to the new web-based YNAB (from my personal perspective, of course), is being able to customize many little tweaks here and there. This is accomplished with the help of a handy browser plugin called Toolkit for YNAB. The plugin is available for both Google Chrome and Firefox. It is not available for Safari.
Still write paper checks and missing the Check Number column? That’s a yes and yes from us! Or what about that handy Auto-Distribute button for split transactions in YNAB4? Don’t you miss that like crazy? I sure do. The Toolkit for YNAB delivers these missing features — and so many more.
Watch a full video tutorial here:
Prefer a text-and-screenshots tutorial? Keep reading below….
Toolkit for YNAB – General Settings
- Add a Toggle Splits Button to the Account(s) toolbar
- Add Auto-Distribute Button To Split Transactions
- Add Check Number Column
- Add Split Transaction Keyboard Shortcut — removed
- Auto Adjust Split Transactions
- Automatically Mark Transaction as Cleared
- Bulk Manage Payees — new!
- Change Behaviour of Enter Key on the Memo field When Adding or Editing Transactions — new!
- Change Behaviour of Enter Key When Adding Transactions
- Clear Selection
- Deselect Transactions on Save — new!
- Easy Transaction Approval
- Edit Multiple Flags at Once
- Emphasize Outflows
- Larger Clickable Area for Icons
- Set Custom Flag Names (with Tooltips)
- Show Available Category Balance on Hover
- Show menu When Right Clicking On Transaction
- Show Spare Change
- Striped Transaction Rows
- Swap Cleared and Flagged Columns
- First Day of the Week in Calendar
- Height of Rows in Account Register
- Reconciled Text Colour
- Show Running Balance
- Toggle Scheduled and Reconciled Transaction Buttons
Add a Toggle Splits Button to the Account(s) toolbar
A few weeks ago YNAB updated their software and added a toggle icon in front of each split transaction allowing you open and close the details of split transactions. This new toggle button appears in front of each split transaction (below, left) but each transaction must be individually opened or closed.
The Toolkit for YNAB Add a Toggle Splits Button to the Accounts(s) toolbar setting does just that — adds a button in the toolbar that allows you to open and close all split transactions with a single click (below, right). You can still open and close individual transactions using the default button in front of a specific transaction.
Add Auto-Distribute Button To Split Transactions
Miss the split transaction Auto-Distribute functionality? Me too!
Now you can get it back by turning on the Add Auto-Distribute Button to Split Transactions setting in the Toolkit.
For some reason the folks at YNAB dropped the auto-distribute function when moving from YNAB4 to the new online version. Split transactions now have only the standard 3 button options of Cancel, Save, and Save and Add Another (below, top left).
If your splits don’t exactly add up to the purchase total, YNAB pops up an error message and makes you go back and fix your numbers before you can save the transaction and move on.
The Toolkit for YNAB brings back the very useful Auto-Distribute button (below, bottom left). This feature takes the unassigned remainder and distributes it proportionally between your split entries. This feature is great if you pay sales tax or if you like to round to the nearest dollar amount when dividing up a long receipt between different categories.
Add Check Number Column
YNAB’s developers dropped the Check Number column. The Toolkit for YNAB brings it back.
Add Split Transaction Keyboard Shortcut
YNAB has added this functionality into their core program. Subsequently, YNAB for Toolkit developers have removed this setting from the Toolkit.
Auto Adjust Split Transactions
The Auto Adjust Split Transactions setting is supposed to auto-fill each additional split “with the current remaining amount.”
This setting doesn’t work for me. In the screenshots below, I tried entering the same split transaction with the setting turned off (left) and turned on (right) and there was no difference in the behavior of the split transaction dialog box.
Automatically Mark Transaction as Cleared
The Automatically Mark Transaction as Cleared setting in the Toolkit does just what it says — if you manually enter a transaction, it will automatically be marked as Cleared when you save it.
In contrast, a scheduled transaction that gets automatically entered into your register on the appointed date is not marked as cleared.
Bulk Manage Payees
Best as I can tell, this feature went from being released in the Toolkit to being added to YNAB itself in just a few months. It was added to the Toolkit sometime after my original publish date in April and seems to have been added as a core YNAB feature just a few days ago.
The Bulk Manage Payees is essentially a handy shortcut from the place you’re most likely to realize your list of payees could use a little tidying up — in the Accounts screen.
When you’re entering a new transaction and you click in the Payeefield and notice multiple versions or spellings of the same payee, now there’s a link directly to the payee management tool. Click on that link, do a little housekeeping, then come back and enter your transaction.
Change Behaviour of Enter Key on the Memo field When Adding or Editing Transactions
Like the setting below, this new Change Behaviour of Enter Key on the Memo field When Adding or Editing Transactions setting changes the behavior of the return/enter key while creating a new transaction. By default, without this setting turned on, hitting return/enter while the cursor is in the memo field results in saving the current transaction and automatically starting a new transaction — in effect, the same as Save and add another.
With this setting turned on, hitting the return/enter key while in the memo field will simply move the cursor to the Outflow field — in effect, using the tab key to move to the next field.
As with some of these Toolkit options, I don’t understand the value of this setting. Using the tab key to move from field to field is the best keyboard navigation method and I don’t know why you’d hit the return/enter key while in the memo field anyway. You still have to enter the Outflow or Inflow amount, right? As always, it it fits with your workflow, turn on this setting. If not, skip it.
Change Behaviour of Enter Key When Adding Transactions
To be clear, the Change Behaviour of Enter Key When Adding Transactions is referring to the Enter/Return key on your keyboard (on PCs it’s Enter; for us Mac users, it’s Return).
The default behavior of the Enter/Return key is to Save and Add Another (left, below). By turning on this setting in the Toolkit, you change the Enter/Return key behavior to Save instead.
The Clear Selection setting adds a new option to the dropdown edit menu. This new option allows you to clear all selected transactions with a single click.
Deselect Transactions on Save
The Deselect Transactions on Save setting is a handy, and for my part, appreciated setting option.
Normally, after editing and saving a transaction, that transaction remains selected (highlighted) which requires an additional click to deselect. But with this setting turned on in the Toolkit, transactions are automatically deselected after being edited and saved.
Easy Transaction Approval
The Toolkit for YNAB makes in-line approval of transactions faster, easier, and more efficient with the Easy Transaction Approval setting. *Note the shifts between right click/left click in functionality.
In YNAB, you can approve/match one transaction at a time in register by left clicking the blue icon and clicking Approve Transaction (below, top left). [Right clicking on the icon will bring up the system/browser menu (below, top right).]
With the Easy Transaction Approval turned on, approving transactions is simple. And you can approve multiple transactions at once. Any one of these three actions will quickly approve all selected transactions:
- hitting the “a” key,
- hitting the Enter/Return key,
- right clicking the blue Approve or Match icon in front of the selected transaction(s).
The screenshot (bottom left) couldn’t capture the motion but clearing that transaction required a single right click.
Edit Multiple Flags at Once
By default, you can only edit one flag at a time.
Turning on the Edit Multiple Fags at Once setting in the Toolkit, however, adds a new option to the Edit Menu allowing you to set or remove flags on multiple transactions at the same time.
Emphasize Outflows adds classic accounting-style formatting to all outflows — red font and encased in () parentheses.
Larger Clickable Area for Icons
Implementing the Toolkit’s Larger Clickage Area for Icons results shifting the Clear icon to the right. The shift is minor.
Set Custom Flag Names (with Tooltips)
In YNAB you can flag a transaction any one of six colors (or leave it unflagged). The flags cannot be named though. You can assign a significance to a color but there’s no way to document your system within YNAB itself.
The Set Custom Flag Names (with Tooltips) setting provides the ability to set custom names to flag colors. And if you can’t remember what Blue was meant to signify, hovering over a blue flag results in a tooltip that displays the name you assigned.
However, note the warning the Toolkit developers provide with this setting: “Custom flag names are stored locally in the browser in which they are set and will not be carried over to other browsers/computers. Custom flag names will be lost if browser data is cleared.”
Show Available Category Balance on Hover
In the accounts screen in YNAB, hovering over a transaction results in a pop-up tooltip that simply restates the name of the category. The tooltip simply reiterates the category name.
But if you turn on the Show Available Category Balance on Hover in the Toolkit, hovering over a transaction in the Accounts screen will result in a pop-up tooltip that states the name of the category followed by the current remaining balance in that category.
Show Menu When Right Clicking On Transaction
YNAB is a web-based application. So when logged in to YNAB, you’re seeing your budget but it’s delivered via a browser. This, in turn, means that some controls interact with the browser itself, not YNAB.
One case in point is the right click.
Typically, when you right click on a browser page you get a pop up menu of ways to interact with your browser or operating system (below, left).
But turning on the Show Menu When Right Clicking on Transaction setting converts the mouse’s (or trackpad’s) right click into a shortcut to the YNAB edit menu (below, right).
Show Spare Change
The Toolkit for YNAB’s Show Spare Change setting calculates and displays the “spare change” of any two or more transactions you select. [Honestly, I’m baffled by the intended or perceived value of this setting.]
Essentially, this setting takes the calculated sum of your selected transactions (a built-in) YNAB feature and rounds that amount up to the nearest even dollar amount and shows the difference as “spare change.”
Striped Transactions Rows
In YNAB’s accounts screens, transactions are listed on an all-white background with narrow light gray lines separating each transaction.
If you prefer, you can use the Striped Transactions Rows setting to change the way transactions are displayed. With this setting turned on, the rows alternate between white and light gray.
Swap Cleared and Flagged Columns
This setting is self-explanatory. If you implement the Swap Cleared and Flagged Columns setting in the Toolkit, the cleared column appears on the left side of the Accounts screen — just left of the date column — and the flags will be in the far right column.
First Day of the Week in Calendar
By default, the dropdown calendar function in YNAB starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. This is a standard calendar layout in the U.S.
If you prefer your week to begin on Thursday and run through the following Wednesday, the First Day of the Week in Calendar Toolkit setting makes that change possible. You can make any day of the week the starting day on your calendar.
Height of Rows in Account Register
If your eyesight is excellent and you find the current layout of the Accounts screen a waste of space, the Height of Rows in Account Register setting is just what you’re looking for. Two options are offered in addition to YNAB’s default spacing: Compact (below, upper right) and Slim (below, lower left).
Reconciled Text Colour
Ever wish there were a way to make the reconciled transactions more easily distinguishable? The Reconciled Text Color setting makes that happen.
This Toolkit setting gives you four options for styling your reconciled transactions (in addition to the default setting which only adds a lock icon in the Cleared column.
You can choose between Green (dark green text), Light Gray and Dark Gray (gray text), and Dark Gray on a Green Background (gray text on green background).
Show Running Balance
In YNAB4, users had the option to turn on their accounts’ running balances. In their move to web-based delivery, YNAB dropped that option.
The Toolkit offers the Show Running Balance setting — fixing yet another YNAB programming oversight. And they deliver two different styling options: red text for negative balances (below, left) or plain, unstyled numbers for both positive and negative balances (below, right).
Toggle Scheduled and Reconciled Transaction Buttons
By default, you can choose to include your scheduled transactions and/or your reconciled transactions or hide them by opening the filter menu in the toolbar and then checking or unchecking the filters (below, top left).
The Toggle Scheduled and Reconciled Transaction Buttons adds quick and easy filter toggle buttons right in the toolbar. You can choose to see icons only (below, top right) or icons and text labels (below, bottom left).
Just as with the Toolkit for YNAB General Settings, there are some Accounts Screen Setting options that add a great deal of value to my YNAB budgeting experience.
My husband, Fang, still writes paper checks so I’m happy to have the check number column again. Custom flags, striped rows, and the reconciled/scheduled toggle function all increase my productivity and I’m experimenting with the reconciled text color options. But the Acounts Screen Toolkit setting I appreciate the most is the Auto-Distribute button. I can’t imagine using YNAB without it!
Which Toolkit settings for the Accounts Screen do you use and why? I hope you’ll share in the comments.