In mid-2007, the day that I bought my Mac, I also purchased Quicken 2007. I’d written in a past post about how I prefer using Quicken to Money on Windows. While that is certainly true, and Quicken for Windows is a great program, the Mac version falls far short. To be fair, the program does have powerful features and reporting capabilities, but the look and feel of Quicken on the Mac makes me always want to hurry up and be done so I can close it.
The Quicken manual says that version 2007 was made for Mac users, by Mac users. I have to tell you, it doesn’t feel that way at all. It feels very awkward compared to most every other Mac program that I’ve used. Overall, I can truly say it is the only program on my Mac that I take almost no pleasure in using.
My biggest complaint is the speed (or lack of). It is the absolute slowest program on my computer. Its startup and general response time is abysmal. Granted, Quicken 2007 is not universal binary, and must run in Rosetta mode on my Intel Mac. This could be to blame for some of the slow response, but it is worth mentioning that I have not experienced any similar slowdown with Office 2004, which also needs Rosetta.
Visually, I don’t care for the permanent toolbar that is hammered across the top of my screen when Quicken is in the forefront. It is quite bulky and the default set of icons I found to be somewhat unnecessary. Toning the toolbar down to a few useful items took me a while. Another major visual impairment is that my register windows only seem to remember their size and location when they feel like it. All too often, I launch the program to find my checking register scrunched up to a small rectangle for no good reason. In addition, I can find no way to change the default font for my register, which I desperately want to. The Insights window could use many visual improvements, starting with changing the small narrow font, which is the same used throughout the whole program! It looks bad and is sometimes hard to read.
There aren’t enough options to customize the program. One thing that is very annoying is that when I load the program, it asks me if I want to review my upcoming transactions. It asks the same question every time, even though most of the time I leave the upcoming transaction list open anyway. So it is already on the screen when the dumb program asks me at launch if I want to see it. Why isn’t there an option that I can set so that Quicken will never ask me to review upcoming transactions at startup?
The folks at Quicken.com are hush about a 2008 version, although 2008 versions for Windows shipped late last year. The same dull message has been on their Mac product page for months now. It vaguely states that information would be coming at a later date regarding future products. I think Quicken Mac needs a complete top-to-bottom overhaul. Start over with new code with native Intel chip support and a fresh interface. With a new Quicken Online service rolling out, some in the Apple community have questioned the company’s future support for a Mac line of products. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, I have been intrigued with the offerings from iBank and MoneyDance. I haven’t tested MoneyDance, but its feature list is impressive, and I’ve read a 2008 version is on the way. I have actually tried iBank 2, and it is indeed fast and clean. However, the $50 price tag feels way too steep for the simplicity of the program, and I don’t want to shell out more money after buying Quicken last summer. That said, version 3 of iBank is being released as a beta any day now, and looks to be a vast improvement with many new features. I’ll give it a try when it is finalized. By that time, I’m sure I’ll have had enough of Quicken 2007.