On this page:
- About the Toolkit for YNAB
- Getting Started with the Toolkit
- Every Toolkit setting from A to Z
- About this User’s Guide
About the Toolkit for YNAB
What is the Toolkit for YNAB?
In super simple terms, the Toolkit for YNAB is a little app that, when installed and activated, adds functionality to or changes the look of YNAB. The Toolkit includes over 100 settings that you can turn on or off or choose from a range of options — everything from changing fonts to adjusting the behavior of the Enter Key when entering a new transaction.
Who’s behind the Toolkit? (and who isn’t?)
The Toolkit is an open source, community-contributed project. That means that anyone is free to dream up and write their own settings and submit them to the (volunteer) project coordinators who have the final say on which settings get added to the Toolkit. A whole bunch of additional volunteers who use the Toolkit contribute ideas for new settings, suggest edits or tweaks, and/or bug reports in existing settings.
I am not affiliated with the Toolkit in any capacity beyond being a Toolkit user and an occasional reporter of bugs.
Is it safe and what does it cost?
First of all, the Toolkit is free. Free to install; free to use.
Second, safety and privacy concerns are real — in general terms about browser extensions, plugins, and add-ons. I’m not in the least bit qualified to make a determination about this extension’s bona fides. The extension is not in any way affiliated with YNAB itself. The Toolkit is not supported or endorsed by YNAB. Each user should decide for themselves if activating the Toolkit is appropriate.
All that said, I’ve never encountered any reason not to trust the Toolkit developers. I use the Toolkit myself and there are a number of settings that I depend on to enchance my YNAB experience and improve my budgeting workflow.
Getting Started with the Toolkit
How to install the Toolkit
And if you’re a Safari user — good news! Yup, the Toolkit is now available in the Apple App store as a Safari extension.
Once you’ve installed the add-on/extension, a new icon should appear in your browser toolbar (top right corner). [Icon is a green square with a white plus sign “+” in Chrome and Firefox; a gray square with a white plus sign “+” in Safari.]
Troubleshooting in Chrome: if you don’t see the Toolkit settings icon
If you’re using Chrome and you don’t see the icon in your toolbar, click on the squiggly blob (puzzle piece?) to access the extension settings popup window and click on the “pin” icon next to the Toolkit extension. That will add it to the list of pinned extensions always visible in your toolbar.
Making & Viewing Changes to your Toolkit settings
Now that the extension (or add-on) is installed and the icon is installed in your toolbar, click on the Toolkit extension icon and then click on “Open Settings.”
Your Toolkit extension will open in a new tab. Now it’s time to choose the settings that will improve your budgeting experience. In the section below (Toolkit Settings – everything from A to Z) you’ll find links to a full list of Toolkit settings. From there you’ll find detailed explanations and screenshots for each setting.
The Toolkit settings are organized into six sections in the Toolkit: General, Account, Budget, Reports, Toolkit Reports, and Advanced. General settings will impact or change every screen in your budget. A setting in the Budget section of the Toolkit will impact only the Budget screen in YNAB. And so on.
Most the Toolkit settings are controlled by on/off slider toggle buttons. If the slider is gray with the dark button to the left, the setting is turned off.
To turn the setting on, simply click on the right side of the slider toggle. When the setting is activated (“on”), the slider is blue and the gray button is on the right.
Some settings, when activated, reveal additional options. Fine-tune your preference by clicking on the circle in front of your desired choice. [These round buttons are called Radio buttons.] The activated option will have a blue dot inside the circle.
A few settings include color pickers. To customize your color choice, click on the icon in front of (to the left of) the setting title. A color picker tool will pop up. You can choose a color from rainbow slider and then further fine tune your color choice in the palette window. Or you can use the dropper to duplicate a color sample on your screen.
Some Toolkit settings apply to your color theme. YNAB currently offers three color themes: Dark, Default, and Classic. Both the Default and Classic themes are based on a white background. The Toolkit treats the two light themes as one, e.g Dark theme or Default/Classic.
Saving & Viewing Changes
Earlier versions of the Toolkit for YNAB had a Save button and in order to see the new settings in effect the user needed to refresh their browser window.
But now all setting changes are saved automatically and most changes show up automatically without requiring a browser refresh.
However, I have noticed that occasionally a change does not happen automatically. If you made a change in the Toolkit and your YNAB doesn’t seem to reflect the change, try a refresh.
If the change still can’t be seen, it’s possible you’re looking in the wrong place or expecting a different behavior than when the setting actually delivers. [Ask me how I know <wink>.]
About this User’s Guide
Why write this guide?
This guide is a personal project. It is an unofficial guide. As I mentioned above, I’m not affiliated with the Toolkit developers. I take full responsibility (and full credit) for the guide’s content.
The way I see it, it takes all types of people to make the world go ’round. I don’t have the skills to code new Toolkit settings. But I am absolutely that person who immediately asks, “oh, what does this do?”
When I first discovered the Toolkit, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of settings and options available and found the setting descriptions to be, well, lacking. So I did what I do best — I took things apart to see what each part did.
I figured others could benefit from my experimentation.
How to use the guide?
I’ve largely borrowed from the Toolkit‘s organization system. Setting descriptions have been filed into one of seven categories: General settings, Account Screen settings, Budget Screen settings, Reports Screen settings, Toolkit Reports Screen settings, Advanced settings, and Other settings.
On this Guide’s archive page you’ll find a full alphabetical list of every single setting plus individual menus for each of the seven categories.
Additionally, if the setting pertains to a specific feature in YNAB (e.g. Goals, Payees, Budget Accounts, Budget Categories, the memo field), I’ve tagged that setting accordingly. So if you’re looking for everything that affects a particular feature or function, you can click on the tag and find all of the setting that might be of interest.
Descriptions & Images
Each setting has been described as clearly as possible — what it does and how it might improve your budgeting experience. Visual aids have been provided (images and animated gifs) wherever possible and appropriate.
Assessments & Opinions
Since this is an unofficial guide, I’ve given myself leeway to voice opinions and be subjective in a number of ways. At the top of each setting’s description you’ll find a little box listing which YNAB screen the setting impacts as well as the following three elements:
Each setting has been classified as either primarily impacting the aesthetics (looks) or the functionality of the You Need a Budget application.
Each setting has a Usefulness Rating from 1 (pretty useless) to 5 (very useful) as well as tbd (to be determined) and n/a (not applicable; usually reserved for settings rendered obsolete by changes to YNAB but still included in the Toolkit).
These ratings are entirely subjective. They are based on my own budgeting experience as well as 8+ years of coaching clients of every stripe dealing with a wide range of financial circumstances. My ratings, though subjective, are based on best practice in the context of human behavior and how much I think the setting helps or hinders positive behavior change and reinforcement.
Used by ESH?
Finally, I also indicate whether or not each setting is activated in my own my Toolkit installation.
A clever observer might notice that my personal Toolkit setting preferences include some things I’ve given low Usefulness Ratings while not including some with high Usefulness Ratings. Just because I consider a setting to be highly useful doesn’t mean it works with my particular circumstances or my workflow.
As always, I encourage you to figure out what works best for you.