pdf2qif Convert | Help

PDF2QIF Convert

This Help file covers PDF2QIF Convert, PDF2QIF Convert+, PDF2QIF Convert+ Express, and the PDF+ AddOn for working with scanned documents.

Getting Started

PDF2QIF Convert is a single step financial data translator that extracts financial transactions from downloaded PDF statements and converts them to standard QIF format. PDF2QIF Convert+ adds PDF+, MoneyThumb’s integrated text recognition module to handle scanned PDF statements.See the section on Working with Scanned Documents and PDF+ for information regarding PDF+.

Use PDF2QIF Convert to import transaction data into finance applications when you downloaded statements from your financial institution in PDF format.

To get started first set your date formats with the Settings button. If you will be importing the QIF file into Quicken you should also set the Quicken account name in the Settings dialog.

If you have not already done so, you should download your PDF statment from your bank.

Then select the Convert button to choose a file to convert. This will bring up a standard file chooser to select your PDF Statement. There are two action buttons, plus the cancel button, at the bottom of the file chooser. Use the Preview button to preview how .pdf files will convert, and to assign and verify which column is which before doing the import. Once you have previewed a file, then use the Convert to qif button to do one-step conversion of other files directly to .qif file format suitable, for input into Quicken or other applications.

Whenever opening a file from a different bank or that has a different style, always first use Preview to verify the column setup. Use the pull-down list at the bottom of each column to select the correct type of information in that column. Be sure to select one Date column, one Payee column, and either one Amount column or both Credits and Debits columns. If you have a balance column, the column selection should be blank (to ignore it). You can also choose which transactions to convert. See more about Preview Mode below.

If the PDF2QIF Convert log has an entry that the conversion did not find separate credit/debit sections, then check the plus/minus sign of the entries in the Preview window. If they need to be flipped, then select the checkbox for Switch signs of amounts on output and the amounts will be correctly output to your .qif file.

Select Create qif at the bottom of the Preview Screen to finish the conversion and create your .qif file. Run subsequent conversions of PDF statements from the same bank with the Convert button, select a file and then Convert to qif. Read the .qif file into Quicken using the exact procedure desribed in the section on Importing QIF files into Quicken

Installation

  • Microsoft Windows® full install
    • Download PDF2QIF.exe for Windows, save the file to your computer, and run the installation program by double clicking the file.
    • If you do not have have Java installed it will be automatically downloaded during the installation.

 

  • Mac OS X® full install
    • Download PDF2QIF.dmg for Mac OS X, save the file to your computer. Locate the file in the download area, open it by double clicking, then and run the installer.app by double clicking it.
    • If you do not have have Java installed it will be automatically downloaded during the installation.

 

  • Portable Installation
    • Download PDF2QIF.zip and save the file to your computer.
      • If running on Mac OS X the unzip will be done automatically as part of the download, and PDF2QIFportable.jar should be in your user download folder.
      • If running on other operation systems run zip or winzip on PDF2QIF.zip and extract PDF2QIFportable.jar to a suitable folder such as C:\Program Files\MoneyThumb.
    • Make sure you have Java installed on your computer. If you do not have Java already installed, download it for free at www.java.com.

Entering License Information

On Microsoft Windows, the easiest way to enter the license is to copy the license file PDF2QIF.lic from the product confirmation e-mail to the same folder where you installed QIF2OFX Convert – i.e. C:\Program Files\MoneyThumb\PDF2QIF.

Otherwise enter the license by copying the license string (CTRL-C) from the confirmation e-mail and pasting it (CTRL-V) into the license dialog. To enter the license string manually from within the program select the License button, and paste (or type) the full license code into the dialog.

After you enter your license, your license email will be shown in the program title bar, and in About.

Running PDF2QIF Convert

On Windows or Mac OS X, double click the PDF2QIF Convert icon on your desktop.

You may also run QIF2OFX Convert from the Windows Start Menu, or run PDF2QIF.exe on Windows or PDF2QIF Convert.app on Mac OS X.

If you are running the portable version, run PDF2QIFportable.jar by double clicking it, or starting it as a Java program.


Settings Dialog

Clicking the Settings button brings up the dialog as shown.

 

pdf2qif Convert Settings

 

Account Type

First use the Account Type pull-down menu to select the correct type for the .qif file – Bank, Credit Card, or Investment. All QIF format files must have an account type.

Quicken Account Name

If you are going to be importing into Quicken, you will need to set the Quicken account type and account name. Also see #2 above. Select the correct Account Type from the pull down. For the, Quicken Account Name enter the name of the account in Quicken that you want to import into. It must match exactly, although the matching is not case sensitive. If the account name is not set correctly in the .qif file, then Quicken will refuse to read the .qif file.

PDF Settings

PDF Password

If your PDF statements have a password that you need to enter in order to view them, then use the setting for Set PDF Password. The password is not saved for security reasons, so you need to enter a password each time you start PDF2QIF Convert. However, if you are converting multiple statements that require the same password, the password will be applied to multiple conversions in the same session.

PDF Page Range

If your PDF statement has multiple accounts (such as a checking and a saving account) you can restrict the pages converted so that only a single account is processed. Enter values into the dialog for Only Convert Pages from … to to specify a page range. The first value is the page number of the first page to convert, the second value is the page number of the last page to convert. All other pages will be ignored.

Year

Many banks simply use the month and date for individual transactions, with the year being elsewhere on the statement. PDF2QIF Convert
determines the calendar year from other dates in the statement. If for some reason the year is not found correctly, this setting allows you to override the year which is used. For statements that appear to cross a year-end boundary, this value is the earlier year.

The Spacing Factor is for PDF Statements that have extremely wide or narrow text. PDF2QIF Convert will automatically determine a good value, but if your initial conversion has extra spaces where they shouldn’t be, or no spaces where they should be, this is a way to override the calculated value.

Page Width is used when the PDF Statement has two columns for transactions but has extra text outside the viewable area that is causing the second column to be unrecognized. Use this value to override the page width manually, for example to 8.5. The value is always in inches.

Transaction descriptions need alphabetic characters is normally on. Turn this off if the converter is not recognizing transactions that only have a number as the transaction description or payee.

Allow dates without any separator can be used for banks that use a month-day format of ‘mmdd’, without any space, dash, or slash between the month and day. Setting this option may cause non-date values such as check numbers to be interpreted as dates, so use with caution.

Process statement as a single currency column

This option is used very rarely, but is for the case where your PDF statement has different columns of currency values, but the different columns do not identify debits versus credits. This would be evident when converting the statement in Preview mode. Most statements with multiple columns have one column for credits, one for debits, and perhaps another for balances. This is what the converter expects. However, if your bank created statements with different columns that do not identify debits vs credits then you would need to turn on this option. The only known bank that does this is PNC, where one column is used for checking withdrawals and another for check card debits. When this option is on, all the currency values will be assumed to be in a single column and the converter will rely on the section names or plus/minus values to distinguish credits versus debits. If your bank only has one column of currency values, then this option makes no difference.

Always run PDF+ text recognition (OCR)

Use this option when your statement may already have text from a previous OCR process. See the section on PDF+ for additional information.


Date Formats

PDF2QIF Convert can read and write dates either in US format (month-day-year) or European format (day-month-year). Use the Settings menu to select the date format for reading and writing. The read choice reflects what is used in your PDF statement, and the write choice is what your financial application such as Quicken expects in the .qif file. In most cases the read and write settings will be the same, but it is possible to read dates in one format and write them in the other. Quicken always expects US format dates.

Positive and Negative Charges

Normally credit card statements will have charges as negative numbers and payments as positive numbers. That is what Quicken and other applications expect. Some credit card companies switch things so that charges are positive – showing an increase in your balance – and payments are negative. Use the Settings menu to select Charges are positive, Payments are negative (Switch signs) if this is how your PDF statement reads.

Assigned Column Names

Column names can be preassigned to your conversions. Whenever you use Preview Mode, the column names are saved and automatically assigned to subsequent conversions. See the description of Preview Mode, in the following section. The current column names are displayed in the text box in this section.

Select the checkbox for Use column names to enable or disable the columns from Preview Mode.

Converting the PDF File

QIF2OFX Convert can be run in two modes – Preview Mode and Express Mode. If you are just getting started, then use Preview Mode. If you have run QIF2OFX Convert previously on a similar file and are sure that the columns are correct then it’s faster to use Express Mode.

Preview Mode

Select File, Preview PDF File and this will bring up a file chooser dialog. Navigate to the folder containing the PDF file, select the file, and then select Open at the bottom of the dialog.

This will extract the transactions from your PDF file and bring up a preview window that displays the transactions which were found. First select the correct account type at the top of the window. At the bottom of each column is a selector that contains the name of the data in that column. It may have already been set correctly by PDF2QIF Convert based on column headings in the PDF file. If it’s not correct, use the pull-down to select the correct type of data. Each type can only be used in one column, so types that have already been used will be grayed out. If you have many columns, you can increase the width of the columns of interest by going to the header row and dragging the column separator to increase the width of the column, and of course drag a corner of the window to enlarge it as well. Use the Clear button to empty the column selectors and start over.

pdf2qif Convert Preview

Most credit card statements have the the signs of amounts reversed so that credits are a minus amount, and charges are positive. If separate credits and debits sections were not found, then the preview screen may show credits as negative. In this case the checkbox for Switch signs of amounts should be selected. This will ensure that debits and credits are correctly labeled in the .qif file, and imported correctly into your application. The checkbox for Hide unmapped columns will hide all the columns that do not currently have a name assigned. This is very useful for files that come from PayPal or Stripe that have too many columns for them all to be readable.

The only required columns are the Date, Payee, and depending on whether the transaction amounts are in one column or two, either Amount or both Credits and Debits. If your statement has an Amount column that has positive amounts for both credits and debits then you also need to select a Type column that has the type – typically Credit/Debit or CR/DB. If your PDF statement has a column for ‘Balance”, it should not be used – the entry in the pull down menu should be blank. The Number column is used for Check Numbers, if those are present in your PDF Statement.

To create a Memo that combines two different columns choose Memo for the the first part of the memo, and Memo Add-on for the second part. The text from the two columns will be combined into a single Memo, with a space between the two text strings.

For brokerage accounts, the Action column is the type of transaction such as Buy or Sell, the Security Name, ticker Symbol, and CUSIP are the various security identification fields and the Quantity, Price, Commission, and Total fields describe the transaction.

The column called Use determines whether the transaction will be processed into the .qif file. If you have some transactions that you wish to ignore, deselect the checkbox in the Use column. Use the checkbox at the bottom to deselect or select all transactions.

When the column names are correct select Open at the bottom of the preview window. The conversion will proceed, giving some statistics on how many lines were processed and create a .qif file with the same name. If a .qif file with that name already exists you will be prompted to overwrite it.

Preview Mode column settings will be automatically remembered, and will apply to subsequent Express Mode conversions. To clear Preview Mode, either run a different file in Preview mode or use the Settings button and then uncheck the checkbox for Assigned Column Names – Use column names.

Payee Cleanup

When downloading bank transactions, very often payee names will have extra information such as dates, phone numbers, chain store numbers, transaction type descriptions, and so forth. While in Preview mode, use Payee Cleanup Settings to automatically remove that extraneous information. The Cleanup dialog is side by side with the Preview dialog so that you can specify changes and instantly see the cleaned-up payee names. The cleanup filters will only affect the column selected as Payee or Payee & Memo at the bottom of the dialog.

Payee Cleanup Options

Most of the filter options remove a specific type of text and should be self explanatory. You can also specify up to 100 phrases to be removed. Phrases can include wild cards. Use a question mark (?) to match a single character or an asterisk (*) to match multiple characters at the beginning or end of a word. Some frequently used phrases are in the hints for the first few entries. The best way to specify phrases is to start typing and see how each character that you type affects the payee names in the Preview transactions. If you have many payees you might want to expand the size of the Preview dialog and you can also scroll through the list of transactions while the Cleanup dialog is visible.
To remove phrases such as ‘PayPal *’ or ‘SQ *’ that prefix the actual payee you can either specify a string such as “Paypal ?” or “SQ ?”, or you can remove all special characters and specify a single word removal string such as Paypal or SQ. All phrase removal is case insensitive – for example PayPal, paypal, or Paypal will all remove the word paypal, regardless of how it is capitalized.

If you are familiar with regular expressions, you can also use regular expressions as a removal option. Start and end the removal string with a slash (/) to have it recognized as a regular expression.

Note that filters are applied in the same top to bottom order displayed in the dialog, so that for example a store number such as ‘#2032’ would be removed before special characters, which includes the #.

Express Mode

Express mode can be used for all conversions, although it is highly recommended that whenever converting a csv file from a new source, you should first use Preview Mode to make sure the column setup is correct. Select the Convert button and this will bring up the file chooser dialog. Navigate to the folder containing your input file, and select Convert to qif at the bottom of the dialog

PDF2QIF Convert will run, giving some statistics on how many lines were processed and create a .qif file with the same name. If a ,qif file with that name already exists you will be prompted to overwrite it.

Automation

To run PDF2QIF Convert from the command line or a script simply invoke it on Windows as:

PDF2QIF inputfile.pdf

Or for the portable version

PDF2QIFportable.jar inputfile.pdf

There is no need to specify an output file name, PDF2QIF Convert will use the same name and an .qif extension. The log will be written to a file with the same name and a .log extension, or ERROR.log if the input file name is invalid.

Note that if the output file already exists, it will be overwritten. And if your input file name has any spaces in it, remember to use quotes – for example:

PDF2QIF “input file.pdf”

Working with Scanned Documents and PDF+

This section is only applicable if you purchased PDF2QIF Convert+ or the PDF+ AddOn. Running with PDF+ is virtually identical to running the normal version. In most cases the converter will recognize that the PDF statement does not contain readable text, and will automatically invoke the text recognition module. The main noticeable difference is that the text recognition takes much longer than files that don’t need text recognition.

When scanning documents to be processed by PDF2QIF Convert+ it is best to scan at a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Most scanners should have this as an optional setting. And obviously the cleaner and crisper the document scans, the better the recognition will be. A speck of dirt in the wrong place, such as making a keyword like ‘Debits’ unintelligible can throw off the entire conversion.

After text recognition and conversion, the converter will also automatically refine any transaction date or amount values that appear to be incorrect with Pin Point recognition, and redo the conversion. The number of values refined will be shown in the converter log. If there are still values that appear to be incorrect, the converter log will list the number of lines that should be manually corrected, and identify those lines in Preview mode. Those transactions will be highlighted in yellow, and will have the Use box unchecked.

PinPoint Correction

You can then review the text in those lines, and edit them to make any necessary corrections. Edit like you would a spreadsheet – select the cell and then edit the text in that cell. Sometimes the highlighted lines may be extraneous text that is not a transaction, simply ignore those. If you do edit the lines to create valid values, check the Use box so that they will in included in the output. You can also edit any other text, and if something is missing, even insert a new transaction using the Add Transaction button. If you don’t want to include a line, uncheck the Use box.

In the example above, there were a few transactions where the ‘g’ in ‘Aug’ was fuzzy and was recognized as ‘a’. In this instance one should change those dates to 8/25/2012 and 8/27/2012, and then the statement will be completely correct.

f you are converting scanned documents that had text recognition done by other Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software then you can choose to either use the text from the previous OCR software or use the MoneyThumb’s integrated PDF+ with Pin Point text recognition. The Settings option Always run PDF+ text recognition (OCR) tells the converter to always use PDF+ text recognition. If that box is unchecked PDF2QIF Convert+ will process those files using the searchable text created by your previous OCR. Always running with text recognition will take substantially longer, but will also generally get more accurate results than using the results from other OCR software. That is especially true when compared to free OCR software that may have come with your scanner.

Lastly, there are also a few banks that create PDF statements from images and a very few who create PDF statements with an internal encryption. Bank statements created from images should automatically be processed by PDF+, since no readable text will be found. Statements with an internal encryption will generate unusable text, so , they can only be correctly processed by using the Settings option above. You can recognize these statements by copying and pasting text from your PDF reader to any editing program, and seeing random text characters rather than the text you copied.

Importing QIF files into Quicken

To read the .qif file into Quicken, open Quicken, select File, then from the pull-down menu select File Import, and then QIF File… This will bring up a dialog window.

QIF Import Screen

In the box for Location of QIF file, browse to get the name of the file generated by PDF2QIF Convert. In the line for Quicken Account to import into, select the pull-down and select <All Accounts>. Selecting an individual account will not work. Ignore the warning about not being able to import checking, savings, or credit cards etc. The QIF Format files created by PDF2QIF Convert contain the account name in a format that Quicken does read. Select the appropriate check boxes for the type of .qif file being read. To read transactions for a single account the only box selected should be Transactions.
After importing the .qif file, you will likely need to go to the account register and accept the downloaded transactions into the account.

Trouble Shooting


PDF2QIF Convert Error: Incomplete header…

There are missing columns which are needed to process the PDF file. The date might be missing, there might be a credits column without a debits column, or similar types of missing data. Review the column names in Preview Mode.


Error Message: “No text found in the PDF file”

This error generally means that the PDF file is a image file, not a text based (or searchable) PDF file. Image PDF’s are created when scanning or a small minority of banks create a PDF statement with a few images rather than text. You can verify this by trying to select a line of text while viewing the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat. Depending on the type of PDF file, the selection are will either snap to a line of text, or just be a rectangle following the cursor.

Text Versus Image PDF Comparison

It is also possible that the PDF is encrypted; try to copy/past text from Acrobat to any editor and if the text does not paste correctly, then the PDF is encrypted. In either case you will need PDF2QIF Convert+ with text recognition in order to process this file. You could also use other OCR software, although MoneyThumb’s PDF+ is unique in being optimized for recognizing financial transactions.

Error Message: “No transactions found in the PDF file”

This error can be caused by anything from PDF2QIF Convert not working correctly on your bank’s PDF file to a PDF file that has internal encryption or images that makes it impossible to convert.

A quick test is to verify whether the text in the statement is extractable. Open the statement with Adobe Acrobat, select the text for a transaction, and use Edit, Copy to copy the text to the clipboard. Open any kind of text or document editor (i.e. Notepad, Word, TextEdit, Pages) and paste the text into the program.
If the text does not paste correctly, then it’s an image, or somehow encrypted, and the statement can only be processed with PDF2QIF Convert+. You may need to turn on the Settings option for Always run text recognition (OCR).

If text was processed, there should be a line in the log like “Found 100 lines with a date, 90 lines with a currency value, 80 lines with both.” If this line is missing or the number of lines found is much lower than expected, then the statement has spacing, date, or currency formats that are not being recognized. One thing you can try, especially for scanned documents, is to adjust the Spacing Factor in the Settings menu to a number such as 1.5 or 2.0.

If date and currency values were found, then the formatting of the statement is likely causing a problem. If your statement has multiple sections for different accounts, that can sometimes cause confusion. It can often be corrected by only processing pages for one section of the file at a time. Enter values for Only convert PDF pages from .. to .. in the lower right of the Settings menu.

If transactions are still not being found, you would need to send a test file to MoneyThumb for further investigation. We can send you a procedure to remove personal information from the PDF statement.

Warning Message: “No separate credit/debit sections found. Verify plus/minus sign of amounts”

If the PDF2QIF Convert log ends with this message, then PDF2QIF Convert was unable to find distinct sections for credits and debits in the PDF statement. If your PDF statement has plus and minus signs, then you should check that they are correct and if not, use the Switch sign of amounts setting in the top right of the Preview dialog to switch all credits and debits. If you are running multiple statements from the same bank, use Settings to set the switch signs option for all conversions. If all your transactions are positive numbers, then PDF2QIF Convert was unable to recognize the sections correctly. If all your transactions are positive, then PDF2QIF Convert was unable to recognize the sections correctly. A workaround is to run PDF2QIF Convert twice; select all the credits the first time, and then the debits, switching the Switch sign of amounts checkbox so that the transactions are positive on the first run and negative on the second. Select the checkbox under the Use column to choose which transactions will be processed. The checkbox at the bottom of that column will select/deselect all transactions.

Warning Message: “Credit/debit columns not identified. Verify plus/minus sign of amounts”

This warning is similar to the warning above regarding credit/debit sections, but PDF2QIF Convert did find separate columns for credits and debits, just could not determine which is which. Therefore, you should simply ensure that the debits and credits columns are identified correctly in Preview mode. If the columns in your statement do not distinguish credits and debits, then you should use the Settings option for Process statement as a single currency column.

Transactions have an incorrect year

Most bank statements don’t have the year on individual transactions but have the year in the statement date. This is normally picked up by PDF2QIF Convert. However if the statement date is not present or there are other dates found in the statement, sometimes all the transactions will have an incorrect year. To override the year value found in the statement, specify a year in the Settings menu, using the Year value on the lower right.


No transactions visible in Quicken when you import the QIF file

The most common reason for this is that you need to accept the transactions into the Quicken account register. In Quicken, go to the account register, select the Downloaded Transactions tab at the bottom of the register, and accept the transactions.

If there are transactions showing in the account list, but not at the bottom of the account register, you may need to modify your Quicken preferences. Under the preferences for Downloaded transactions uncheck the top checkbox on the right hand side for Automatically add to banking registers.

Switched Information

If you are importing the QIF file into Quicken or another application and information is switched (i.e. the Payee is what you expected for some other field) then the headers in the PDF file may be mislabeled. Use Preview Mode to correct the column description using the pull-down menus at the bottom of each column. To enter Preview Mode, run the conversion by selecting the Preview button rather than the Convert to qif button.

If your bank statement has one column for credits and another column for debits, then make sure that those columns are correctly labeled.

If your banks statement has all the amounts in a single column and the amounts are switched (i.e. credit card charges are showing up as positive rather than negative) then use checkbox Switch signs of amounts (in the upper right corner of the Preview Mode screen.

Saving the PDF2QIF Convert Log

After PDF2QIF2 Convert has run, you may wish to save the log information to a file. Select the Save Log button. This will bring up a File Save dialog. Simply specify a file name and select Save.

To clear the log information select the Clear Log button.