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A Tour of Actual

This article covers the first steps you’ll likely want to take when you first open Actual. The other entries in this section of the sidebar cover different parts of the interface in more detail.

Add a bank account

When first opening your newly created budget file in Actual, it will ask you to add a bank account. Fill out the form and click “Create.” You can add accounts later by clicking the "Add Account" button in the sidebar. If you’d like, you can export some recent transactions from your bank and import them into Actual so you have some data to work with right away. But Actual will also work just fine if you don’t import any transactions from the past.

Set a budget

Once you’ve added your first account, you can navigate to the Budget page by clicking its link in the sidebar. Once you’re there, you can choose categories you’d like to use for budgeting. Some basic categories have been added for you, but you can add more or remove the default ones by clicking the arrow on a category group or a category.

Create your first budget by entering amounts into the “budgeted” column of the categories you want to track. Your starting balance will be available as money to budget (see how budgeting works).

Check back throughout the month

That's it! After you've made some more purchases, check back and import your transactions. After categorizing them, you can see how your spending has impacted your budget.

Related reading: how budgeting works, managing categories

Below is a list of useful links related to Actual Budget.