Portfolio Manager - Tips and Suggestions

Sorting Columns in the Grid

The list of securities in a portfolio is automatically maintained in alphabetical order by security name. You can easily change the order of the list by clicking on any column header on the grid. For example, to sort by ticker symbol, click once on the Ticker column heading, and the list will look like this:

Note the small upward-pointing triangle in the Ticker column header. This indicates that the list is sorted in ascending order by Ticker. Clicking on the Ticker column heading a second time will sort the list in descending order.

Reordering Columns in the Grid

You can quickly and easily re-arrange the order in which the columns in the grid appear. To do this, click on a column heading, hold the mouse button down, and drag the header left or right to the desired location. As you drag the column heading with your mouse, a red arrow will indicate where the column will be dropped when you release the mouse button. It's much easier to do than it is to describe. Try it!

Customizing Columns in the Grid:

Although a set of columns are shown in the grid by default, you can customize the columns that are displayed (or not). To do this, click on the Properties tab. At the left you will see the list of all the available columns. Check or un-check an item to add or remove it from the grid.

Once you have finished making your column selections, click the Securities tab to return to the grid. Your settings and selections will be remembered between sessions.

Displaying Portfolio Details

This one is really easy! You don't even have to click! Just hover the mouse over the View Portfolio Details button at the upper right-hand side of the screen, and you will see the supplemental detailed statistics for the Portfolio:

Displaying Security Details

Just like the Portfolio Details view, merely hover the mouse over a Security Name (in blue) at the left side of the screen, and the supplemental details for that security will appear.

Open and Closed Positions

The Security Detail View lists the open and closed positions for a security in separate panes of the window:

This helps you to focus on your current holds. Also notice that the gain/loss for each closed position is shown.

Dividend and Interest transactions are maintained on a separate tab. Click on Dividends & Interest to view them:

Displaying Security Details, Part Two

There is a second display of detailed information for a security in addition to the one on the Portfolio View. Again, it's really easy; you don't even have to click. Just hover the mouse over the View Security Details button and it will magically appear:

Transaction Linking

When you have the "Post Transactions To Cash Account" option checked, all of your buy, sell, dividend, and interest transactions are automatically posted to the Cash Account, and they are linked to the buy/sell transaction.

What does this mean? It means that if you modify (edit), or delete a buy/sell transaction, the matching Cash Account transaction will be updated automatically. It is all taken care of for you.

Holding Year-End Values

A question that comes up often as we approach year-end is “how can I hold the year-end values in my portfolios for tax reports”? The answer is “It’s Easy!” - and here’s how to do it:

Sometime after market close on the last trading day of the year, retrieve quotes and enter all of the transactions or dividends, etc. that you have on file, so that your database is up to date. When you receive your December brokerage statements (later in January) you can add the final few entries (see #2 below).

From the main screen, select Database -> Administration. What you will see is a list of all the Portfolio Manager databases in on your hard drive. OK, first notice that the name of your current, active database appears in the line above the list. It also appears in the list in the "Available Databases" window. Current, active means that any transactions, quotes, etc will affect this database and this database only. Now, click on the Copy button. Give your database a new name and description. For example, “Year End 2004". Once you click on the OK button, a new copy of your data will be created, and will show in the database list. You can make this copy (or any other database) your current, active database by highlighting it and then clicking Select.

So, once you have the copy, now what? Well, continue using your current active database until you are ready to prepare your year-end tax reports. Go back to Database Administration and select Year End 2004. Print the reports, then re-select your previous database.

A few important Notes about saving year-end databases

Be sure to create and save the copy of your database on the date you want preserved. Portfolio Manager does not have the ability to go back in time and value a database after that date has passed.

In January, when you receive your brokerage statements for December, there are usually a few miscellaneous transactions that must be entered into Portfolio Manager. Be sure to make these entries both in your current (ongoing) database, and in the Year End 2004 copy. Portfolio Manager only works with one database at a time.

On the main screen just above the list of portfolios, the Portfolio View, and the Securities View, you will see the name of your current active database. When you are working with your databases, always be aware of which database is your current active database, otherwise you might enter some transactions or update quotes where you didn’t intend to.

Printing a help file topic

Speaking of the Help System, did you know that you can print any of the topics just by clicking on the Print button at the top of the screen?

Exporting Reports

Did you know that you can export any Portfolio Manager report into a spreadsheet, word processing document, or pdf file?

First, choose a report, and view it in the Report Preview screen. In the upper left hand corner of the screen, right next to the printer icon, there is an icon that looks like an open envelope. Click on it and a dialog window opens.

Next, specify what type of document you want to create. As you scroll down the list you will see various spreadsheet and word processing format choices. Make your selection, then choose Disk File as the output and click OK.

Now another dialog window will open which enables you to specify the name of the file and into what folder it should be saved. Once you have made your choices and clicked OK again, the report will be exported to a file and placed into the folder you specified. After that, you can open the saved file in your spreadsheet or word processor.

OK, so what if your spreadsheet or word processor isn’t listed? There is a “universal” word processor file format that almost any word processor can read, and it is known as “Rich Text Format”. Try that selection. For spreadsheets, any of the tab or comma-delimited formats should work.

Getting Too Many Quotes?

Do you seem to be retrieving quotes for stocks you no longer hold? When you sell your position in a security, Portfolio Manager displays a pop-up asking if you want to have automatic quote retrieval turned off for that stock. It’s usually a good idea to respond Yes, but this doesn’t turn off the Securities Library switch, since the same security may be present in other portfolios.

There’s a report you can run which will check all these settings for you automatically. From the main screen, select reports -> Automatic quote retrieval settings, and follow the prompts. For additional information see the Help System.

Manual Quotes

Portfolio Manager allows you to enter manual quotes for securities which do not have a market ticker symbol (usually bonds). You access this feature from the main screen by selecting Quotes -> Manual Entry. But, don’t forget that this is a two-step process. First enter the manual quotes as needed, then don’t forget to click on the Update button! All portfolios will be updated.

Selecting Multiple Portfolios for Reports

Did you know that you can run reports for more than one portfolio at a time? Portfolio Manager uses the standard Microsoft Windows conventions for this process. To select a group of portfolios whose names are contiguous, just click and drag to make the selection. To select a non-contiguous set of portfolios, hold down the Control key while clicking on the portfolio names.

“One-Click” Access

The purpose of One-Click access is to allow you to get to the most common functions within Portfolio Manager with just one mouse click.

First, select any portfolio, and display it. The list of the securities in that portfolio shows in the large rectangular box in the middle of the Portfolio View screen. Now, put the mouse cursor anywhere in this box and right-click the mouse. A pop-up menu will appear that looks like this:

Now, you have one-click access to Transaction entry for any security in the portfolio, the Cash account, and the Margin account. You can define a new security; add a security from the library to this portfolio, or delete a security from this portfolio. You can also display and print the Portfolio Notepad. Using this same technique, a similar menu can be accessed from the Securities View, and from the Cash or Margin account views.

Moving a Security

Did you know that you can move a security from one portfolio to another with just one mouse-click? This situation occurs most often when you consolidate brokerage or IRA accounts.

Here’s how to do it. From the main screen, select Security -> Move. Highlight the sending portfolio, the security to be moved, and the receiving portfolio, then click Move. That’s all there is to it. All of the security transactions and data will be moved to the new portfolio. One exception: Cash and/or Margin Account transactions will not be moved. If you need to transfer some cash, then enter a Withdrawal transaction in the sending portfolio, and a Deposit in the receiving portfolio cash account.

You can also move a security to another portfolio and have the transactions be automatically merged with those in the receiving portfolio (for the same security).