How to import categories from csv

Hi, is there a possibility to import categories from the csv file? All my transactions are imported correctly, however the category field is lost.

I already tried naming the category column 'Category Group/Category' as well as 'Category Group' for main category and 'Category' for subcategory. I tried a dozen combinations of that. Nothing worked

The categories that I want to import already exists in the app (I entered them manually)

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  • Hi Slate Blue Hail !

    Sorry for the inconvenience!

    Our File Based Import feature currently does not import categories. However, you can still use the Payee Management feature to help categorize your transactions based on the Payee. :)

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  • I just ran into this as well.  This worked fine in YNAB 4 (using column name "Category" and values formatted as "Category Group: Category")  and I rely on it heavily for categories defined by a custom script.  It'd be a major pain to have to go back to doing this manually for cases that don't happen to line up neatly by payee.

    When it's as simple as reading in a specific column, why leave such a basic feature out of the new YNAB?  I'm in a trial now and this is the single biggest thing so far that's making me hesitant to switch.
    The old docs actually put it perfectly: "Looking at past spending can be helpful in determining trends, however, If you import several months of history, you will have to categorize every transaction. This is a time consuming and tedious task with limited value."

    Reply Like 1
    • Gray Snow Are you migrating from YNAB 4 directly? Or are you trying to use a CSV to import into the new YNAB? 

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      • Gray Snow
      • Keeper of the Ledgers
      • Gray_Snow
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chrissy Thanks for the quick response.  I'm using the CSV import feature in the new YNAB. 

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    • Sorry Gray Snow ! Migrating a budget from YNAB 4 works a bit differently, but importing a CSV file doesn't pull in those categories unless the payee is used. 

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      • Gray Snow
      • Keeper of the Ledgers
      • Gray_Snow
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness Thanks for the reply, but what I'm seeing is that even when I have both Payee and Category defined in the CSV file and matching those payees and categories previously used in the same budget, the Category column is ignored and YNAB just auto-assigns a category based on Payee.  I want to define the category based on what's shown in my CSV file like Slate Blue Hail also described above.

      Reply Like 2
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Snow Yes, Support has confirmed that this Lack of Functionality is the way it works.  I ran into the same thing trying to restore a budget from the exported CSV files created by the very same budget.

      You would think that any financial tracking/budgeting program more than a year old would have both backup and restore from backup capability.  You would think that any such program would have the capability to do a "save as" so you can test a theory without messing up your real budget.  You would think that any program that has both import and export functions would be able to import the files it exports without losing any data.

      And in all these cases, you'd be incorrect with respect to YNAB.  Still waiting for restore from backup, import from CSV with categories, and save as functions.   It's annoying, given how much noise there is about API and Zapier, which do not directly affect me at all.  List of features written for API include lots of ways to manipulate and look at data from a YNAB budget, basically nothing addressing long standing basic shortcomings in the program.

      But hey, keep your hopes up.  Maybe one of the API developers will figure out how to import from CSV and keep all the information.  I'd even pay a reasonable price for that, given the near certainty that YNAB isn't going to add the functionality to base program.

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      • Gray Snow
      • Keeper of the Ledgers
      • Gray_Snow
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer thanks for clarifying.  This is a surprise to me coming from old YNAB.  On the topic of holding out hope for developers to make CSV imports work as expected using the API, there's some talk over at bank2ynab about exactly that.  I'm also seeing some weird behavior with it remembering previous imports even when I've deleted them and I'm hoping we can find a way around that too (assuming they tell me that's "actually a feature" as I fear might happen).

      Reply Like
  • I'm in Day 5 or so of the Trial. Excited. Look up file importing and see there is NO WAY TO IMPORT CATEGORIES.

    Um. Huh? So, I have to abandon about a year's worth of work (currently using Tiller) to use YNAB? Um...NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

    Despite all the good work it looks like you have done, ya'll seem somewhat amateurish if you are not interested in on-boarding customers who are currently using your competitors' apps. Really bad business decision. 

    Reply Like
    • Hi Sky Blue Cartridge !

      We encourage YNABers to start from today and not look back, so when you set up an account it will start with today's date. A good budget is a forward looking budget, but you can use the Tiller information as a good starting reference.

      After linking an account, if you decide to import past transactions (since the first of the month, for example) you can change the date of the starting balance transaction. You will also need to adjust the amount of the starting balance.

      Direct Import will only provide historical transactions for a couple of months in the past, at most. If you need additional history, you might consider our File-Based Importing option. 

      I know it sounds daunting, but if you decide to import that past history, the Payee Management feature allows you to categorize transactions based on the payee to make things easier.

      Give that a try and let me know if you have any other questions - I'm happy to help! :)

      Reply Like
  • Thanks, Faness! Sorry about my rant. I have ADHD and it took me about 4 months to get 2019 YTD into my previous money management app. Thinking that all that (excruciating for me) work was wasted in moving to YNAB sent me right over the edge. 

    I have decided to move forward with YNAB, given that everything I have seen is so excellent. Perhaps I can use my historical data as a reference in setting certain particular budget amounts, but I also take your point that a fresh look at the future without the "bias" of my history might provide some interesting and useful insights! 

    Again, I do appreciate your generosity in responding quickly and so graciously. Best wishes to you all. 

    Reply Like 1
    • Sky Blue Cartridge No need to apologize! We know that YNAB takes a shift in thinking and it can be jarring. I'm happy to hear you're moving forward! If you have any questions, or if there's anything we can help with, please don't hesitate to let us know!

      Happy budgeting! :)

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