Sunday, April 25, 2010

Converting old Quicken Files for use with Quicken Essentials for Mac

If you've been a Quicken user making the transition to Quicken Essentials for Mac you're probably interested in migrating your old data file. Quicken Essentials for Mac comes with a separate application for translating data files, the Quicken File Exchange Utility. Let's see how well this utility works.

For my test, I set up a test Quicken 2006 data file. In this file I created four accounts:

  • A checking account
  • A savings account
  • A mortgage
  • A brokerage account with a few different stocks

That last account I put in on purpose, knowing that Quicken Essentials for Mac has no ability to manage brokerage accounts. I wanted to know what would happen when the Quicken File Exchange Utility ran into this.

I also set up a couple of memorized transactions and a couple of scheduled transactions, again to see how well the Quicken File Exchange Utility would manage these items.

The Quicken File Exchange Utility comes with an eight page user manual that describes how to migrate from both kinds of Quicken (Mac and Windows) as well as Microsoft Money. Let me take this opportunity to repeat the most important eight words in this manual:

Create a copy of your current data file

Backups are important, people.

The Quicken File Exchange Utility is the only way to open up an old data file in Quicken Essentials for Mac. There's an Import option in the File menu, but if you use it and point it over to your old data file, you'll be prompted to launch the Quicken File Exchange Utility and convert your data file:

When you launch the Quicken File Exchange Utility you're presented with a three-step process (and yet another admonishment to use a copy of your data file).

You're then prompted to identify the data file that you wish to import. I picked my test data file:

and we were off and running. Conversion was quick, and resulted in a new data file:

So, how did it do? The data file retained all four accounts. Both the checking and savings accounts got copied over correctly, as did the mortgage. The brokerage account was copied, but with no data in it. Other details:

  • I had several customized categories, each of which were moved successfully
  • The scheduled transactions were transferred correctly as well, including the scheduled mortgage payment (which was a transfer between the checking and mortgage accounts)

Overall, I'd call this a success. Yes, it's lame that QEM doesn't support brokerage accounts, but it worked as advertised.

One final note -- I've tried this conversion several times with the same data file, and in one iteration I had an issue in which the conversion got stuck, stalling out with a window that said "Copying your file (this could take a while)". I did a force quit, and things were very bad -- not only did I not have a converted file, I could no longer open up my original data file in Quicken 2006. Like I said (and like they warn), use a copy of your data file, not the original.


Anastasia E. said...

I've been a long time Quicken Windows user but haven' upgraded from 2008. Just got a Macbook Pro, downloaded Essentials and converted my data. I can't make any sense of the converted data - it gave me balances that make absolutely no sense! It's a freakin' horror show and I can't decide whether to get my $ back or tolerate it and enter accounts from scratch. And the worst part - no bill pay :(

spence767 said...

Quicken essentials is AWFUL. I got a Macbook Pro, and am spending the extra bucks ($70 for Parallels and $199 for a Windows 7 disc) so I can run my old Quicken windows software.

Data conversion was a nightmare from Quicken 2009. Had to manually get rid of 6 years of spurious scheduled transactions that were backfilled. Online download utility is horrible, with no clear way to edit or re-match online accounts to Q essentials accounts once set up.

Downloaded transactions are just dumped into register with no option to review or manually match to what you have already entered.

I could go on.... DON'T buy Quicken Essentials!!!!

Orenda Institute said...

Don't buy or use Quicken Essentials. Once your data is imported they have only csv export and it doesn't work so well! They essentially trap you in Quicken Essentials! Even their own products cannot read the crazy new format they invented in order to trap you!!!

An awful product from a turncoat company who switched platforms and now abandons the Mac market to a castrated product!


Anthony said...

I've experienced this EXACTLY. Having gone from Quicken version to version (like a good customer), I ended up with 2007 (last version for Mac before Essentials). Then I bought Essentials. Using their process, I converted the file, yadda, yadda, yadda, everything was wrong. When I called for support, they told me the only fix was to reconcile everything from paper statements by hand. I tried to get my money back, but since I waited until my bank no longer supported Quicken 2007, I'm outside of their 120-day window, and I'm screwed. I thought about shelling out the money for Parallels, Windows, and the Windows version of Quicken, but with this kind of service, we'll all be skating on the ice in hell before I do that. What's a good alternative?

Anonymous said...

I had years of personal data in QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions for Windows. When I was given a MacBook as a present from my son, I bought the same product for this new OS. A waste! Files are not transferable.

I was really bummed, but put down my head and started all over in Quicken Essentials figuring I'd keep it simple now that I'm not running a business. Bummer II. My bank, CitiBank dropped free support of downloads for this format so I must now manually enter each line I now copy from a spreadsheat. Oh! I can pay $9.50 or so a month to the bank for a solution.

Stay away from Intuit products. Over the years in business, they were an expensive company with which to deal if you kept up with all their changes.

S.Day said...

I've been a long time Mac/Quicken user and am sorely disappointing with Q/Essentials. It's like Microsoft owns Intuit now. Q/Essentials is cumbersome, not intuitive and just plan hard to use, even starting out converting data was a pain. Took me several times to convert, I finally had to call the help line. So I have a fully functional QE on my Mac, but am sticking with my Quicken 2006. I have to agree Quicken Essentials is flat out AWFUL. They know it too, they sent me a $20 rebate and I did not even ask for one.

Amy said...

I just got a Mac and converted from Quicken for Windows 2010, which I loved, to Quicken Essentials for Mac. It was an easy conversion, but I can't believe how feature-less Essentials is. And hard to read. And just hard to deal with. I miss a lot of the Windows features. So..

I AM getting Parallels and going back to Quicken for Windows. After much research it looks like there is no conversion backwards from Mac to Windows. Luckily it's only been a couple weeks and I'm willing to start with my old Windows file and rekey the last couple weeks worth of transactions. I want off Essentials that bad.

Don't buy Essentials. It has far fewer features than the Windows versions!

Jeff Seaver said...

Nevermind all of the insane nonsense of trying to actually reconcile my data after the conversion - all moot in my case. The Quicken data converter that comes along with Quicken Essentials 2011 won't even RECOGNIZE my old Quicken .qdfm data file at all - it's GREYED OUT! I do love it so - Quicken and Intuit never seem to let me down if I want to see horrible software engineering combined with dirt-poor customer service. Goodbye Intuit, hello iBank and you can kiss another customer GOOD-FREAKIN-BYE!!!

Anonymous said...

If you need to convert a 2007 .qdfm Mac file to Quicken Essentials, move your .qdfm file to your desktop. Select the file, hold down your Control key. Select Show Package Contents. You will see Data File in the Contents folder. Move Data File to desktop. Run Quicken File Exchange Utility and select the Data File on the desktop. Once the conversion is done, a Data File export.qdfx file will be created. This file you will select to Import in Quicken Essentials. if you need assistance, use the Live Chat on Quickens web site. It worked for me.

Doug said...

I've been a Quicken user since 1998 and have upgraded twice, just recently to Mac Lion. I can say that their programmers are the WORST I've ever seen. Twice now they've neglected to include your payee address for the checkwriting part of their program. This is like losing your address book on an iphone. I can't stand this company any more. The new look is so un-intuitive. You need a manual just to do anything. They've"improved" their software so it's just unusable. I really hate this company. Hate, hate, hate.

bhoward said...

I agree - Quicken Essentials is a joke, and a fraud.

Everything that my Quicken 2007 did, Essentials DOESN'T do.

I'l be happy to pay for a real update - but this takes the program back about 20 years.

I'll be asking for a refund.

Bill in Milton-Freewater

Unknown said...

Guys, I don't get it. I've been using Quicken for at least 17 years on my various Macs. I wasn't too impressed with the last versions (last 2007). When I checked Quicken Essentials at its introduction awhile back, I also thought it was a joke. I'm now enjoying version 1.7.1. Also the importing of all those years of data was a piece of cake. My BOA and Credit Union do not charge for downloading. I don't use the app with investments. I'm extremely happy with it.
2 downers - NO manual - The Pickers

Unknown said...

I am at a loss to understand why people hate Quicken Essentials. When it first came out, it was pretty pitiful. After using Quicken for at least 17 years on my various Macs, I was not too impressed with the later versions. I quit at 2007 for which I actually got a refund.
I'm now using Version 1.7.1 and I really like it. Everything works extremely well and fast. I never had a crash in over a year. My BOA does not charge for downloads, neither does my CU. I am NOT at all interested in tracking investments, so that's not a problem for me. The importing of all those years of data was painless and flawless. I do have 2 dislikes. The lack of a manual, and the way the "Pickers" work.