Quicken Essentials update cashes in on criticism

Intuit has updated its high-profile Quicken Essentials finance-tracking application with a series of new features that appear to address user complaints about the software that replaced the Mac version of Quicken.

Version 1.5 of Quicken Essentials for Mac debuted Wednesday, with redesigned features Intuit says should more intuitive to Mac users. Transactions now appear on a single line—instead of two, as in previous versions—for easier skimming. The software also now has iTunes-style abilities to add and remove data columns so that users can arrange financial information according to their preferences. Users can also change information on multiple transactions at once, instead of making edits one-by-one.

Other new features include the ability to write and print checks, add attachments to transaction notations, and enter holdings and balances for investment accounts. Another new option: the ability to export financial information to TurboTax. Intuit has also streamlined the process of downloading transaction information into Quicken; users are no longer required to manually assign each transaction to the appropriate register.

The updated program may also appeal to a wider base of users with the new update; Intuit has expanded the number of financial institutions that offer data downloads from 4,000 to 12,000.

Quicken Essentials for Mac is $50. It is available for Macs running OS X 10.5 or later.

Quicken Essentials arrived on the Mac in February after a bumpy road to release. Intuit had first announced plans in 2008 to replace its Quicken personal finance application with Quicken Essentials, but numerous delays pushed the release to 2010. In April, Intuit cut the price of Quicken Essentials from $70 to its current $50 price tag.

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