6.3. Enter Transaction via register

When the Account Register Window for an account is opened the list of transactions for that account is shown. This window has the name of the account on its tab. The menus contain several functions that alter the display of transactions. The Toolbar also contains several functions that are often used when entering or manipulating transactions. These are described in the Section 4.3.1, “Account Register & General Ledger Window” section of this document.

6.3.1. Entering Directly in the Register Window

The register window will look slightly different depending on the style options you have chosen. The following describes entering simple transactions in the basic ledger style. The cursor is placed in the date field by default when the register window is opened.


When working on transactions in GnuCash, be aware that the Enter key and the Tab key behave differently, and perform different actions.

The Enter key moves to the first field of the next split, regardless of which field you are in. If there is no next split, proceeds to the next transaction. In any case, Enter finishes the transaction edit, and any imbalance is posted to Imbalance-CUR, where CUR is the currency of the transaction.

The Tab key moves to the next field in the current split. If it's the last field, moves to the next split, creating a new one if there isn't one. If the split is blank, the Tab key finishes the transaction and posts any imbalance to Imbalance-CUR, as above.

  1. Selecting the small icon on the right of the date field drops down a date selection calendar. Use the arrows to select the correct month and year for the transaction then select the date. Selecting the icon once more will close the date selection calendar. It is also possible to type in the date or part of the date and let GnuCash fill the rest.

  2. Press Tab to move to or select the Num field. Here you can enter a check or transaction number. Pressing + (plus) will automatically advance the number by one from the last transaction to have a number.

  3. Press Tab to move or select the Description field. This field is used to enter either a payee or other description for the transaction. It will automatically attempt to fill the payee name as you type.

  4. At this stage one of two things will happen if tab is pressed. If GnuCash matches an existing transaction the cursor will jump to one of the amount fields, automatically filling in the transfer account. Selecting any field with the mouse instead of tabbing will not automatically fill the transferring account field. If there is no matching (existing) transaction, GnuCash will move the cursor to the Transfer field with only one line of the transaction supplied.

  5. When typing into the account field GnuCash will also attempt to automatically match the account name with an existing account. It does this alphabetically, so typing Ex will match the Expenses section of the account list. When the section is matched, it is possible to move to a child account by pressing : (colon). If after typing Ex you press : then the cursor will move to the first child account in the list. Typing combinations of letters and : will allow movement down the tree of accounts quickly. The triangle icon on the right of the Transfer box can be used as an alternate way of selecting accounts. Up & down arrow keys will also move up/down the displayed list of accounts.

  6. The next field (R) is used for reconciliation. This is described in the Reconcile an Account to a Statement section. Section 5.8, “Reconciling an Account to a Statement”

  7. Press the Tab key to move to the first of the amount fields. The names of the next two columns are different according to what type of account is opened. For example, Bank accounts show Deposit and Withdrawal here, Credit Card accounts show Payment and Charge, and Stock accounts show Shares, Price, Buy and Sell.

  8. Enter an amount for the transaction in the correct fields. When the transaction is "balanced" pressing the Enter key, selecting the Enter icon or going to TransactionEnter Transaction will finish the transaction. Selecting the Cancel icon or going to TransactionCancel Transaction will erase the transaction.

  9. Transactions with just one transfer account will show the name of that account in the Transfer field in completed transactions. (The Transfer field is the fourth (4) from the left in the register display.)

  10. To move to the blank transaction at the bottom of the register, press the Blank Toolbar icon or go to ActionsBlank Transaction.