Formatting a CSV File

Importing CSV files from your bank can be tricky because there's no standard to the way they're formatted, but we're here to help!

Does your bank offer a different file type that ends with .ofx, .qfx, or .qif? They may be called Quicken or Money files on your bank's website. If they do, file-based importing will work best with one of those!

If CSV is your only option, the file will need to be formatted in a particular way before you can import the transactions in YNAB. There are a few ways to do that:

CSV Converter

A fellow YNABer created this (unofficial) CSV converter which may help convert your CSV file from your bank into the format above. Check out these instructions to learn more. You're welcome to give it a try, though we aren't able to support it if it doesn't work for your bank's particular format.

Formatting in a Spreadsheet

The most reliable way to get your CSV file in the right format is to open it in a spreadsheet editor like Google Sheets, Excel, or Numbers. Once you've opened your CSV you'll want to edit the file so it looks like one of the two options below, where there's a column header for Date, Payee, Memo, and Amount(s). 

Your spreadsheet editor may look slightly different from the screenshots above, but you can download and open this sample CSV to see exactly how a properly formatted file appears in your editor. Once you have your file in one of these configurations, save it back to CSV format (usually found in the File menu, under 'Save As' or 'Export').

Formatting in a Text Editor

If you don't have access to a spreadsheet editor, you can open your CSV file in a text editor and make the necessary changes. 

Option 1

In the example below, the first line is the header, the second line is an example outflow, and the last line is an example inflow.

4/10/19,Payee 1,Memo,100.00,
4/11/19,Payee 2,Memo,,500.00

Each field is separated by a comma, so it's important that every field is present in each line—even if your transactions don't fill every field. Always include "Date,Payee,Memo,Outflow,Inflow" header line at the very top. Any field can be left blank except the date.

Option 2

This format has one small variation—the amount is one field instead of two. Outflows are identified by a negative sign in the Amount field.

4/10/19,Payee 1,Memo,-100.00
4/11/19,Payee 2,Memo,500.00

Once your transaction data is formatted correctly, you're ready to import the file!

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