Attachments - Quicken 2019 for the Mac

I need to start saving a significant number of receipts- things you typically wouldn't.  So I was considering using the attachment feature in Quicken.  Is anyone using this feature fully/to the extreme?  Where are the files stored?  Are they objects in the database and my database will be bloated?  Or, are they links to the file system?  Does Quicken start slowing down with all the attachments?   Today, I typically scan the doc via an app on my phone, I upload it to my laptop.  The PDF typically ends up in the downloads folder.  I attach it to the transaction then delete the file- is this okay.  Do I need to worry about naming conventions?

Any thoughts and advice would be welcomed. 



  • jacobsjacobs SuperUser
    Brendan, I don't do much with attachments, but I can answer your questions.
    Where are the files stored?  Are they objects in the database and my database will be bloated?  Or, are they links to the file system? 
    They are not objects in the database. They are stored separately. Your Quicken data file is not really just one file; it is what the macOS calls a "package", which is basically a wrapper around one or more files or folders to make it appear to the user as if it's a single file. So inside your Quicken data file, there are actually several folders, and one file called "data" which is the database of your Quicken data. One of the folders inside the data file package is called "attachments", and within that folder is where Quicken created folders for each attachment and stores the actual attachments. You can see this if you Control-click on your data file and select Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Here's mine from a sample data file where I just added two attachments:

    The two Screen Shot files are what I attached to transactions in Quicken. As you can see they are stored like regular files in this folder hierarchy.

    Because of this, adding a lot of attachments will bloat the side of your Quicken data file but not the size of your database. It does mean that file backups of your data file will take longer, because all the attachments are being backed up as part of the backup of the data file -- but it won't make Quicken run more slowly otherwise.

    The real choice you have is whether you want to store all your attachments inside Quicken's data file or not. There are several advantages: from within Quicken, you can open an attachment in one click; you don't need to fuss with file naming or folders to keep track of them, because the Quicken database maintains the link to the files. That said, some Quicken users prefer to keep all their scanned receipts and PDFs outside Quicken. If your drive is being regularly backed up by Time Machine or a cloud backup service, you don't need the bloat of all your receipts inside each Quicken data file backup. If something goes south with Quicken, you may file it easier to find your receipts if you store them externally, using a folder hierarchy and file naming you can navigate on your own (e.g. 2019 > 01 > Home Depot.pdf)

    QMac 2007 & QMac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • BrendanBrendan Member
    edited February 2
    @jacobs  Thank you.   My Quicken 2019 only has a file called data and a folder called locks.  No Attachment folder, or for that matter any other folders.  Other versions of Quicken do.  I have have backups of Quicken 2015, 16 and 17 which have the folder.  And, my old Windows backup/source for my Mac conversion (Quicken 2011) had a folder called Attach.  LOL I guess I missed creating a seperate backup when I upgraded from Quicken 2018 to Quicken 2019.  I noticed your screenshot has Quicken 2016- do you have a current version?
  • BrendanBrendan Member
    edited February 2
    Just noticed this.  When I click on the paperclip on the register line, then click show attachments- I see this.   Looks like this means the attachment is in the cloud.  I was not expecting this.  And, don't feel I could risk not have all of my documentation local with the guarantee (of my control and responsibility) I'll have it for many years.

  • Last comment for now I think.  Why didn't I just Google this earlier?

  • jacobsjacobs SuperUser
    Sorry, the "2016" in my screen shot above is misleading. It's a test file I use which was originally created with 2016 data, I think -- but what you're seeing there is the file name, which n this case has nothing to do with the product year. That screen shot was produced using the latest Quicken 2019 v 5.10.1. I also just retested on another computer with a different data file that had no attachments. The package had an attachments folder which was empty. I attached a document to a transaction, and it showed up inside that attachments folder, just as illustrated in the screen shot above.

    I'm not sure I understand how your Quicken 2019 data file package doesn't have the additional folders. Are you sure you're looking at your live data file? Perhaps someone else here will be able to explain why you don't have the attachments and other folders inside your data file package.

    One thing I just discovered: if you create an attachment and then delete the attachment, the transaction no longer shows the attachment icon. I would have assumed it was gone for good. But I see that inside the data file, it created a folder called 'deleted attachments' and moves the attachments there. So even deleting attachments will contribute to the size of your data file. I'm not sure why Quicken would retain them as I can't see how you could access them from within Quicken, nor a way to "empty the trash" of deleted attachments (unless you came in via Show Package contents and then deleted them in the Finder). Again, perhaps someone more familiar with working with attachments can offer more insight...
    QMac 2007 & QMac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • BrendanBrendan Member
    edited February 2
    Thank you.  I did make sure I was looking at the active file.  Within Quicken, under file, I clicked Show 'my file' in Finder.   Also I used Finder Search for folders called Attachments. The ones in my older Quicken backups are found even within packages.  But no where else.  

    Somehow my attachments are only going to the Cloud. 

    I guess we'll see if anyone else has anything to offer.

    Thank you for your help.
  • jacobsjacobs SuperUser
    I saw that cloud icon under my attachments, too, but it may be misleading; mine were definitely not stored in the cloud, as I could see them on my hard drive, and I don't use iCloud for data storage. I think the cloud icon might appear different if it was in the cloud.

    In one of the related Quicken Help web pages, it explains: "For accounts for which you've enabled mobile and alerts, you can also have one attachment stored in the Quicken Cloud for each transaction. If you are attaching an image to an account for which you've enabled mobile and alerts, Quicken automatically uploads the first image to the cloud." I do not use Quicken mobile & web sync in this file.
    QMac 2007 & QMac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • One more test @jacobs.  

    Mystery may be solved.  Can you look at your package file when you're not in Quicken?  I was in Quicken and saw the structure you did.  When I closed Quicken they all went away.
  • NOTE:  I am doing password protect- so that could be related.
  • jacobsjacobs SuperUser
    Aha! We're getting somewhere...

    Although I've tested it before, I don't normally use password protection on my data file, so I didn't know until looking at it now that this is how Quicken file protection shows itself at the file level. Indeed, when I added a password to my data file, it tells me that the file will be encrypted when not in use:

    And indeed, if I have a Finder window showing the package contents, I can see the folders disappear when I quit Quicken and reappear when I relaunch Quicken.

    So this brings us back to the original question, and my answer, which still proves true: your attachments live outside your Quicken database, but inside your Quicken data file. If you plan to have a very large number of attachments over time, then this may slightly slow your Quicken launch and quit times, since the data file is being decrypted and encrypted. And the data file may grow quite large, since the attachments are stored within the data file. But it doesn't "bloat" the database itself, and shouldn't cause the operation of Quicken to otherwise slow down.

    QMac 2007 & QMac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Thank you for helping me figure this out.  I agree the database itself will be fine, but I am a little concerned about the data file- long term.  I may just come up with a naming convention and folder structure which I was hoping to avoid.  My other option is to give it a month or two and see how many receipts I end up keeping.   

    Thanks again.
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