November 23, 2010

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Emacs: Recording ledger entries with org-capture-templates

Updated 2014-05-26: Thanks to Greg for the updated link to !

I use John Wiegley’s ledger program to keep track of my personal finances. It’s quick, it’s light, and it lets me slice-and-dice my data however I want. I enjoy opening my ledger file and adding transactions to it. (Particularly if it involves income!) Yes, I’m that kind of weird.

I wanted to make it even easier to add entries. Instead of using C-x C-f to find the file, using ESC > to go to the end of the buffer, and typing in the transactions, I decided to add some of my common transactions to org-capture-templates. Here’s the relevant snippet:

(setq org-capture-templates
      (append '(("l" "Ledger entries")
                ("lm" "MBNA" plain
                 (file "~/personal/ledger")
                 "%(org-read-date) %^{Payee}
  Expenses:%^{Account}  %^{Amount}
                ("lc" "Cash" plain
                (file "~/personal/ledger")
	        "%(org-read-date) * %^{Payee}
  Expenses:%^{Account}  %^{Amount}

I’ve bound org-capture to C-c r using (global-set-key (kbd "C-c r") 'org-capture), so now I can use C-c r l m to create an entry for my MBNA Mastercard. This keyboard shortcut might not seem short to you, but if you think about it as C-c remember ledger Mastercard, it makes perfect sense. =) (Besides, org-capture prompts me just in case I forget.)

Hooray for org-capture!