checkbookA reader told us his disability is making it tough to balance his checkbook with pen and paper, and he is unhappy with software like Quicken. Here’s an easy way to do it using a free program.

Google the words “Kingsoft Spreadsheet Free” to get a free program that will open Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Then Google: “checkbook register for Excel.” It comes with categories set to go, like “groceries,” which you can change to fit your own purchases. (Maybe you just bought a Rolls and have now become aware of the maintenance costs.)

If you are unfamiliar with Excel, public libraries have lots of books on the subject. There are also many free tutorials on the web. Just Google: “basic Excel tutorial.”


  1. On the recommendation of a widely syndicated newspaper columnist on computers (you), I started using Quicken back in the early days of PC’s. My entries go back to 1987. I eventually moved up to DOS Ver 7, which I am still using on an old Compaq laptop with Windows 98. I don’t think Windows XP has a DOS Prompt. I like the tax “related” category report, to use when preparing my income taxes. And I file it with my return should I ever be audited.

    I would up date, except I would have to go through 4 or 5 versions, one by one, to keep all my data. Do you know a comparable program where I could import all my data direct from DOS Version 7? I see several Quicken clones, but I don’t know anything about which is best.

  2. Thanks for your note. Windows Xp does have a DOS prompt. Click “start,” “run” and type “cmd” but don’t put in the quote marks. If this doesn’t work for your Quicken files, please let us know and we’ll do more research. You can write us at or