Purging History

I've used various flavours of Quicken for many years.

In the current MAC subscription version, is there any way to purge history while maintaining the overall integrity of the files and relationships?

That function used to exist in older versions and would help in managing files and records as they do grow quickly.

Best Answer

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2021 Accepted Answer
    No, in Quicken Mac, there is not any functionality to purge or split prior years of data. It's not an omission so much as it is a design decision by the developers. If you care to understand how this came to be and what may lie ahead, here's a long-winded answer to your simple question...

    Older versions of Quicken (Windows, or Mac 2007 and prior) had the ability to separate data by date. The modern Quicken Mac was never built with that capability. The reason cited by the developers is that the databases in the legacy Quicken Mac as well as Quicken Windows were older technologies which were prone to occasional corruption of data, as well as slowing down as the amount of data increased -- and neither of these factors are issues with the industrial database used by the modern Quicken Mac. So they didn't see the need to have people split off their older data. After all, one of the key benefits of Quicken is having all your financial information and history in one place. In Quicken Mac, both transaction registers and reports are designed with date filters to make it easy to just show the current year, or last year, or whatever time period you want, and to filter out older data.

    The developers seemed to believe that users asking for Year-End or Save a Copy functionality were asking for it mostly because they were used to doing it that way, not because the current Quicken Mac had problems retaining all the data. I think that was an accurate perception when the modern Quicken Mac first came out in 2014.

    However, some users have made good arguments over the years for why they might want to split off old data and continue onward without that baggage. For instance, if you used a bunch of categories or tags while your kids were growing up, but no longer need them, you might want to offload the old history and clean up your categories or tags going forward. Or, perhaps you were divorced/windowed/remarried, and a lot of your old accounts or categories bring up memories you don't want to see every time you work in Quicken; splitting off the old data and being able to delete some accounts or categories in the ongoing file would help with that. Or perhaps you used Quicken for years, and now that you're retired, you find these are accounts/categories/tags/payees which applied to your work life which you will never use again and would like to get rid of going forward. 

    So far, the developers have not accepted that there are reasons like these, aside from just file size or "I always did it this way", for building this functionality. So for the time being, you basically have to keep moving forward with one data file, and using date filters if you find the older data to be an annoyance. Unless you store a lot of attachments in Quicken (a practice I don't recommend.. but won't get into here), the file size is generally not too large even after many years. (I have nearly three decades of data in my Quicken data file, and it's about 60 MB in size; Quicken launches and opens the file in about 6-7 seconds.) Whether the developers will eventually decide to do the work to create a way to split a data file is unknown. 

    The above paragraphs are my summary of what has spilled out in this forum over a number of years in two long-running Idea posts asking for this functionality. You can read this one, which is marked by the developers as "Not Planned" and this one, which is marked as "Under Consideration". Add your votes, and just as importantly, add your comments about why such functionality is desirable for you, in those threads. The "why" part is important, because to-date, the developers have not accepted people asking for this functionality because they believed it was unnecessary; comments about why people find it necessary can help change their minds.

    I hope that helps explain where things stand currently and how we got there!
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993

Answers

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    edited November 2021 Accepted Answer
    No, in Quicken Mac, there is not any functionality to purge or split prior years of data. It's not an omission so much as it is a design decision by the developers. If you care to understand how this came to be and what may lie ahead, here's a long-winded answer to your simple question...

    Older versions of Quicken (Windows, or Mac 2007 and prior) had the ability to separate data by date. The modern Quicken Mac was never built with that capability. The reason cited by the developers is that the databases in the legacy Quicken Mac as well as Quicken Windows were older technologies which were prone to occasional corruption of data, as well as slowing down as the amount of data increased -- and neither of these factors are issues with the industrial database used by the modern Quicken Mac. So they didn't see the need to have people split off their older data. After all, one of the key benefits of Quicken is having all your financial information and history in one place. In Quicken Mac, both transaction registers and reports are designed with date filters to make it easy to just show the current year, or last year, or whatever time period you want, and to filter out older data.

    The developers seemed to believe that users asking for Year-End or Save a Copy functionality were asking for it mostly because they were used to doing it that way, not because the current Quicken Mac had problems retaining all the data. I think that was an accurate perception when the modern Quicken Mac first came out in 2014.

    However, some users have made good arguments over the years for why they might want to split off old data and continue onward without that baggage. For instance, if you used a bunch of categories or tags while your kids were growing up, but no longer need them, you might want to offload the old history and clean up your categories or tags going forward. Or, perhaps you were divorced/windowed/remarried, and a lot of your old accounts or categories bring up memories you don't want to see every time you work in Quicken; splitting off the old data and being able to delete some accounts or categories in the ongoing file would help with that. Or perhaps you used Quicken for years, and now that you're retired, you find these are accounts/categories/tags/payees which applied to your work life which you will never use again and would like to get rid of going forward. 

    So far, the developers have not accepted that there are reasons like these, aside from just file size or "I always did it this way", for building this functionality. So for the time being, you basically have to keep moving forward with one data file, and using date filters if you find the older data to be an annoyance. Unless you store a lot of attachments in Quicken (a practice I don't recommend.. but won't get into here), the file size is generally not too large even after many years. (I have nearly three decades of data in my Quicken data file, and it's about 60 MB in size; Quicken launches and opens the file in about 6-7 seconds.) Whether the developers will eventually decide to do the work to create a way to split a data file is unknown. 

    The above paragraphs are my summary of what has spilled out in this forum over a number of years in two long-running Idea posts asking for this functionality. You can read this one, which is marked by the developers as "Not Planned" and this one, which is marked as "Under Consideration". Add your votes, and just as importantly, add your comments about why such functionality is desirable for you, in those threads. The "why" part is important, because to-date, the developers have not accepted people asking for this functionality because they believed it was unnecessary; comments about why people find it necessary can help change their minds.

    I hope that helps explain where things stand currently and how we got there!
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Mike1510
    Mike1510 Member ✭✭
    Good Explanation. Not convinced the developers are "correct". I'll bet the develops are younger, and don't have a good feel for how the life, and therefore the Quicken history changes over time. And that means, that what you see and compare etc.. also needs to change.
  • Grfriends
    Grfriends Member
    Thank you for the explanation. Closing out the year and cleaning the files always works well. Changing the filters is OK. It just is not as clean. the history is nice. If you miss a filter and print, it causes many errors and going back and correcting. Purging keeps it clean and simple. I like clean and simple.
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