I have just switched from Quicken to GnuCash. In Quicken, I could start typing any part of the category name and it would auto-suggest based on what I typed. This made it very easy to quickly enter the category without having to use the mouse.

In GnuCash, I can either use the mouse to drop down the full list of categories, or I have to type the entire nested category name. Either option adds a lot of time when entering transactions as I have a lot of accounts (which were categories in Quicken).

To use a simple example, I have an account Expenses:Groceries:Coffee in GnuCash. In Quicken it was Groceries:Coffee.

In Quicken I could start typing Coffee and it would auto-suggest Groceries:Coffee. If I type Coffee in the Transfer field in GnuCash, it doesn't recognize it as an existing account and wants to create a new account.

So, I either have to type Expenses:Groceries:Coffee or I have to use the dropdown list and scroll to the appropriate category. This is very time consuming compared to Quicken.

Is there a better way to enter the Transfer account in GnuCash? I've seen a video where it appeared that someone was entering each word of Expenses:Groceries:Coffee by using just the first letter or two and (I suppose) using a keyboard stroke to have GnuCash enter the rest of that word: Ex--: etc.

3 Answers 3


Another point of note is the use of account codes.

As a bit of background: When a business accountant is "coding invoices" (a process very similar to your expense entering) they almost never use the account name. Instead, they'll have a list of "billing codes" which are tied to the actual target accounts. This feature is enabled in gnucash by default, and can be configured in the settings for each account. Note that any character can be used in the account code (so not just 0-9, but also a-z).

In other words, if you were to enter a code for your Expenses:Groceries:Coffee account as 'cof', then when entering expenses you could simply type 'cof<tab>' in the account field, and it will auto-populate the full account path.


Accounts should autocomplete while you type so typing exp should show your first Expense account, typing colon will jump to the next colon with the current value selected so typing exp:gro:cof should select the correct account (unless you have other similarly named accounts). Once the correct account is shown in the box you can hit tab to move to the next field.


GnuCash 4.0 (released 27 June 2020) contains a number of improvements including exactly the feature sought by Jono.

The previous shortcut methods like typing a recognisable part of the parent account name still work - for example, typing Exp:Gro:Cof should be recognised as Expenses:Groceries:Coffee.

But now in Version 4.0 typing Cof in the Account field will be recognised as Expenses:Groceries:Coffee - or at least it should produce a very short list from which the correct account can be selected.

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