6.4. Multiple Split Transactions

The register window will look slightly different depending on the style options you have chosen. The following describes entering transactions with multiple splits in the basic ledger style. GnuCash describes as a Split when money is transferred to or from more than two accounts in a transaction. The cursor is placed in the date field by default when the register window is opened.

The multiple account lines will not be displayed in the Basic Ledger unless the Split icon or the ActionSplit Transaction option have been selected.

  1. Selecting the triangle icon on the right of the date field drops down a date selection dialog. 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 to 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 in the Transfer field GnuCash will also attempt to automatically match the 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 small icon on the right of the Transfer field can be used as an alternate way of selecting accounts.

  6. The next field is used for reconciliation. This is described in Section 5.8, “Reconciling an Account to a Statement”

  7. Press Tab 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 the total amount for the transaction in the correct field. Before pressing Tab or Enter read next step.

  9. To enter the additional splits, press the Split button on the Toolbar or select ActionsSplit Transaction. Transactions with more than one split show the text --Split Transaction-- and the Split button will need to be used to show the details.

  10. The display will expand, the titles of the amount columns will be renamed and the Transfer column name will be blank. The first line contains the description and the amount of the transaction. The second line contains the currently opened account name in the Account field and the amount of the transaction. The third line contains the transfer account name in the Account field. If the amount is not balanced, GnuCash will indicate this by placing gray check-boxes in the amount columns with the unbalanced amount in a blank last row.

  11. When one of the short lines is selected, the column titles will change. The very first and last (Date and Balance) columns will have blank titles. Num will change to Action, Description to Memo, the now blank Transfer column will change to Account. The last two amount columns will show the name described in step seven.

  12. The Action and Memo columns are optional to fill out at this stage. Action is used to describe what kind of account transfer is involved. Memo is an additional description of the transfer.

  13. Move to the missing amount field on the third line and fill in the amount. Pressing the Enter key, selecting the Enter icon or going to ActionsEnter will now move the cursor to the next line.

  14. The Account column contains the list of transfer accounts. This column is the one that is used to add splits. The method described in step five can be used to select another account on a blank line. Add as many additional splits as needed.

  15. When the transaction is balanced the gray check-boxes will disappear and the last blank line will not have an amount.

  16. Pressing Enter as described above will jump to the next transaction. Selecting the next transaction will close the split or it can be manually closed by pressing the Split icon or selecting ActionsSplit Transaction.