I “upgraded” from Quicken 2006 Premier to Quicken 2009 Premier over the weekend and have been checking it out. I wasn’t expecting any big improvements and yes, the interface has changed to some degree but not as much as some might imagine. I think if I had to describe the new interface in one word that would be redundancy. Redundancy: The user interface of a software application or operating system is sometimes described as redundant if the same task can be executed by several different methods.Quicken has always had the menu bar (at least since I started using it) and then they added the “toolbar” which you could customize, yet it is still mostly a place to put shortcuts for items available in the menus directly above though it can add some efficiency if customized for features the user frequents.Now they have added 9 tabs below the toolbar and 5 of these tabs (banking, investing, net worth, planning & tax) are repeats from the menus directly above. Plus when you open a tab there are sub tabs to navigate, similar to the sub menus. You can hide a few of the tabs as long as they don’t contain accounts and pick which tab Quicken will open on start up.Then there is the account bar or side bar. I personally liked this because I could quickly move from one account to another. The down side was it took up some precious real estate on my screen and especially cramped up the register view. Of course in this day of huge wide screen displays this is less of an issue however I am still using a 17” CRT monitor.The best part is you can choose whether or not to view the toolbar, top tabs or account bar in the program preferences. I have been trying out different combinations and something I do like is when you turn on the account bar and use the tabs it makes the account bar one of the tabs and adds the ability to minimize or hide it with one click. That way once you navigate to the account you want to work in you can maximize the screen. Of course you can toggle the F11 key and get the same results.So I have left the account bar and toolbar turned on and hidden the tabs. Still when you click on the different sections of the account bar or separate accounts the sub tabs appear in the window when it opens. There are 3 or 4 additional tabs (setup, my pages, bills, etc.) that you can still find in the tools menu but if it is something that you really use just add a shortcut to the toolbar and forget the tabs.This new version of Quicken does appear to have been designed to take advantage of the new wide screen displays, however when I open the account list I have to run my 17” monitor at 1280x768 just to fit the complete window on screen. The real problem is that while a vertical scroll bar appears there is no horizontal bar and I have to drag the window back and forth to view it. I have compromised and set my monitor to 1152x864 and just drag the window to the left after choosing the side tab I need.Speaking of side tabs they also have five new side tabs, (to do, guide me, community, tools & services) that provide screen specific help, or so they say. The tool tab has one of the most important links for setting up the program, Quicken Preferences. Of course you can still find it at the bottom of the edit menu also…redundancy.I have already reconciled a couple checking accounts and downloaded transactions to our 3 brokerage accounts at E*trade without issue. It did download about 6 weeks of data that had previously been downloaded but it managed to match up every single transaction correctly and I just needed to delete them one by one to be sure there were no duplicates. So I guess I am set for the next three years,Kurt
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