8.6. Setting Share Price

The value of a commodity, such as a stock, must be explicitly set. The stock accounts track the quantity of stocks you own, but the value of the stock is stored in the Price Editor. The values set in the Price Editor can be updated manually or automatically.

8.6.1. Initial Price Editor Setup

To use the Price Editor to track a stock value, you must initially insert the stock. To do so, open the Price Editor (ToolsPrice Editor) and click on Add button. The first time a Commodity/Stock is entered this window will be blank except for the control buttons on the bottom. Select the appropriate Commodity you want to insert into the Price Editor. At this point, you can input the price of the commodity manually. There are 6 fields in the New Commodity window:


The exchange market where the security/commodity is traded (in this example NASDAQ)


The name of the commodity, must be chosen from the Select... list


The currency in which the Price is expressed.


Date that the price is valid


One of: Bid (the market buying price), Ask (the market selling price), Last (the last transaction price), Net Asset Value (mutual fund price per share), or Unknown. Stocks and currencies will usually give their quotes as one of bid, ask or last. Mutual funds are often given as net asset value. For other commodities, simply choose Unknown. This option is for informational purposes only, it is not used by GnuCash.


The price of one unit of this commodity.

As an example of adding the AMZN commodity to the price editor, with an initial value of $40.50 per share.

Price Editor

Adding the AMZN commodity to the price editor, with an initial value of $40.50 per share.

Click OK when finished. Once you have performed this initial placement of the commodity into the Price Editor, you will not have to do it again, even if you use the same commodity in another account.


If you have online retrieval of quotes activated (see Section 8.6.3, “Configuring for Automatic Retrieval of Quotes”), you can initialize a commodity without manually making an entry. When you initially add the security in the Security Editor, check Get Online Quotes and save the security. Then, in the Price Editor, click Get Quotes, and the new security will be inserted into the price list with the retrieved price.

8.6.2. Setting Stock Price Manually

If the value of the commodity (stock) changes, you can adjust the value by entering the Price Editor, selecting the commodity, clicking on Edit and entering the new price.

Price Editor

The main price editor window, showing the list of all known commodities.

8.6.3. Configuring for Automatic Retrieval of Quotes

If you have more than a couple of commodities, you will tire of having to update their prices constantly. GnuCash has the ability to automatically download the most recent price for your commodities using the Internet. This is accomplished through the Perl module Finance::Quote, which must be installed in order to activate this feature.

To determine if the Perl module Finance::Quote is already installed on your system, type perldoc Finance::Quote in a terminal window and check to see if there is any documentation available. If you see the documentation, then the module is installed, if you do not see the documentation, then it has not been installed. Installing Finance::Quote

Microsoft Windows:

  • Close GnuCash.

  • You need to have installed ActivePerl

  • Run Install Online Price Retrieval in the GnuCash Start menu entry.

Mac OS X: You need to have XCode installed. XCode is an optional item from your OS X distribution DVD. Run the Update Finance Quote app in the GnuCash dmg. You can run it from the dmg or copy it to the same folder to which you copied GnuCash. It will open a Terminal window and run a script for you which will ask lots of questions. Accept the default for each unless you know what you’re doing.


  • Close any running GnuCash instances.

  • Locate the folder where GnuCash is installed by searching for gnc-fq-update

  • Change to that directory, open a root shell

  • Run the command gnc-fq-update

This will launch a Perl CPAN update session that will go out onto the internet and install the Finance::Quote module on your system. The gnc-fq-update program is interactive, however, with most systems you should be able to answer no to the first question: Are you ready for manual configuration? [yes] and the update will continue automatically from that point.

After installation is complete, you should run the gnc-fq-dump test program, in the same directory, distributed with GnuCash to test if Finance::Quote is installed and working properly.


If you feel uncomfortable about performing any of these steps, please either email the GnuCash-user mailing list () for help or come to the GnuCash IRC channel on irc.gnome.org. You can also leave out this step and manually update your stock prices. Configuring Securities for Online Quotes

With Finance::Quote installed and functioning correctly, you must configure your GnuCash securities to use this feature to obtain updated price information automatically. Whether creating new securities or modifying securities that have already been setup, use the ToolsSecurity Editor, to edit the security and check the Get Online Quotes box. You will now be able to modify the radio buttons for Type of quote source, the pull-down menus to specify the specific source(s) and The timezone for these quotes. When finished editing, Close the Security Editor to return to the Price Editor and click on the Get Quotes button to update your stock prices on the Internet.

The command gnucash --add-price-quotes $HOME/gnucash-filename can be used to fetch the current prices of your stocks. The file specified $HOME/gnucash-filename will depend on the name and location of your data file. This can be determined by the name displayed in the top frame of the GnuCash window, before the -. The file name can also be found under File in the recently opened file list; the first item, numbered 1, is the name of the currently open file.

This can be automated by creating a crontab entry. For example, to update your file every Friday evening (16:00) after the relevant exchange markets close (modify the time accordingly for your time zone), you could add the following to your personal crontab:

0 16 * * 5 gnucash --add-price-quotes $HOME/gnucash-filename > /dev/null 2>&1

Remember that Mutual Fund prices are really Net Asset Value and require several hours after the exchange closes before being available. If NAVs are downloaded before the current days NAVs are determined, yesterday’s NAVs are retrieved.

8.6.4. Displaying Share Value

The main account window, by default, only shows the quantity of each commodity that you own, under the column heading Total. In the case of stocks, this commodity is the number of shares. Often, however, you will want to see the value of your stocks expressed in terms of some monetary unit. This is easily accomplished by entering the main window, selecting the Accounts tab, by clicking on the Titlebar Options button (the small down pointing arrow on the right side of the main account window titles bar), and selecting the option to display the account total field Total (USD). You will see a new column in the main window entitled Total (USD) that will express the value of all commodities in the report currency.

Viewing Stock Value

Viewing the value of a stock commodity in the main window using the Total in Report Currency option.

8.6.5. Selecting Price Source in Stock Value Reports

Most GnuCash Asset reports have options to set/modify a number of parameters for the report. The Options windows is displayed by selecting the report tab then clicking on either the Options icon in the Menubar or selecting EditReport Options. The General tab in the resulting window contains various parameters for the report. One of these is Price Source which of offers three alternatives to determine stock prices in reports:


In the example below, the report is a customization of the Average Balance report in the Assets & Liabilities reports submenu.

Determining Stock Price Source in Reports

Determining the value of a stock commodity in a report by setting the Price Source option.

  • Weighted Average - gives you a graph of the weighted price of all transactions. It will not take into account prices defined in the price editor.

  • Most recent - displays the changing value of your stocks based solely on the most recent price available from the price editor. The price figuring in your stock transactions is not considered.

  • Nearest in time - the graph is exclusively based on the prices available from the price editor. The value of your stock at each step and point in time is calculated based on the nearest available price in the price editor.

An Asset Barchart Report based on the Nearest in time Price Source.

Tracking what value your stocks would’ve had on the stock exchanges.