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Files too big?

Out with the old may not be pleasant if taken personally, but is often necessary with your data files.  To cure slow operation of QuickBooks, Condense Data XE "Condense Data"  purges archaic transactions, as well as inactive list entities (optionally,) but involves major surgery on your files.  Old transactions are deleted, and replaced by monthly summary transactions. The smaller file allows faster access to current transactions.

Preparation is necessary before this surgery, and is better done if you read all these instructions before starting.  The cut-off date is essential.  No detail data will be available before this date. The figure shows the choices available when starting Condense Data. 

The first decision is the cut-off date, the date before which transactions are old.  Condense Data deletes old and inactive transactions.

List entities, such as items or customers, can be removed, but in wholesale manner. If you select Delete inactive customers, any customer will be deleted, if not named in any remaining transaction.  Note that Condense Data reviews memorized transactions but will not delete them. If a memorized transaction names an item or a customer, the latter will not be deleted.  This works both ways.  If you want to delete the customer, delete any memorized transactions naming him.  On the other hand, if he has no current invoices, but you want to keep his name as a customer, a transaction may be memorized for the purpose.

Audit trail data can be purged, all or none.  If you copy the company to old_data this will be no problem.  Audit trails take up a lot of space.

To Do Notes , if marked as completed, can be selected for removal.

Old transactions are deleted.  In addition to being before the cutoff date, an invoice, for example, must be paid off in full.  Then the payments must have been deposited, and the deposits cleared and reconciled, before the cutoff.  All this being done, the transaction is old and eligible for deletion.  In some cases, invoices have been retained, contrary to these criteria.  The reason appears to be a web of partial payments linked when they are joined in deposits.

Credit card accounts should also be reconciled. Estimates should be marked as closed. Time data will be retained, if marked as yet to be billed, or employees not paid.

Inventory transactions will not be deleted.

Old data will be needed for occasional reference.  The best way is (taking company as your company file name) to copy company.qbw to something like Data_96.qbw, as described in Chapter 23 or Chapter 24. This file can be recalled immediately in QuickBooks, but takes the most space.  Alternatives are to back up the file on the hard drive (to a different name) or to back it up onto floppies.  Note that Condense Data forces a backup.

Reports should be run and printed, before condensing, according to Intuits user manual.  Most important is a balance sheet, for the day after the cutoff date.  Then the same reports can be run on the condensed file, for comparison.  The balance sheet and the profit and loss report (accrual basis) should be the same. Cash basis reports and transaction reports are not usable, if affected by condensing.  The manual does not say what to do if the reports do not match, but it would be indicative of problems in the old file.  One diagnostic procedure would be to make a copy of the old data file, and run Rebuild Data on it, and then reports.  The reports after rebuild are likely to be correct, and to match those after condensing.  If they still dont match, try the procedures in the Windows Help chapter, and if necessary, call technical support.

Starting Condense Data requires clicking Window|Close All and then File|Utilities| Condense Data.   Inform QuickBooks of your decisions, and click OK. Condense will force a backup. With the backup done, Condense starts immediately.  With a large file, it may run for several hours, and look like nothing is happening, except the hard drive light blinks every few minutes.  When it is done, run reports and then check them against the reports made previously.

Condense Data seizes full occupancy of the computer.  A bar graph (thermometer) shows progress of the condense process, but there can be no illustration of this graph, in any book.  Condensing locks out everything, including screen capture programs.  Do not expect to run anything else.  Some other messages will appear, stating part of the information presented here.

Making Condense Data work as you expect may take some care.  The process seems to look for excuses to retain transactions.  If any of the following are not done, transactions will be considered active and retained:

Pay off everything to be discarded. Invoices or bills must be paid in full. Two reports, A/R  Aging Detail and A/R Aging Detail, are useful for identifying open transactions.

Reconcile all bank and credit card accounts. 

To be printed box must be cleared on checks and invoices.

Tangles should be avoided.  An invoice may be paid off, but joined in a deposit with another invoice which is not paid off.  The paid invoice will be retained.  Where deposits contain many partial payments of invoices, and each of the invoices has progressive payments included in each of several deposits, a web can be generated.  While all of the invoices may have been paid, this may not be recognized, and the transactions will be retained.

Inventory item transactions will be retained.

After condensing, all new transactions will be entered in the condensed file.  The old file will be used only if you need reports on prior operations.

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Last modified: May 21, 2004