Question: How to move transactions between files.

Mike or Penny Novack mpnovack at
Thu Oct 20 08:36:18 EDT 2016

On 10/19/2016 2:12 PM, Colin Law wrote:
> On 19 October 2016 at 18:53, carlo <carlopel at> wrote:
>> I have transactions going back to 2012, and just make searches, reports,
>> etc. too cumbersome. Do you not have any archive abilities for old
>> transactions?
> Mine go back to 1996. In what way is it cumbersome?
> Colin
But let's say that it is (becoming to large, too cumbersome). It might 
be useful to discuss "prehistoric" bookkeeping, pen and ink on paper, 
and how THAT dealt with this. The reason we call financial records 
"books" is that once upon a time they WERE kept in bound books. Since 
these were of finite size, it would be necessary to migrate to new 
volumes as the original ones got filled up. The USUAL way this was done 
was to begin new volumes each year. After doing a "close the books" a 
new set of books would be opened based on the Balance Sheet report << 
contains just the "standing" accounts as all temporary accounts of type 
Income or Expense have zero balance after a "close the books".>> Of 
course when it was necessary to examine a transaction from a prior year, 
had to drag out the volume for that year.

You can model THAT using gnucash easily enough. And if the purpose is to 
prevent the file from becoming too large/cumbersome, just do it every 
several years instead of every year. The "old" set of books should be 
burned to read only medium so when being looked at can't be changed.

The feature request is in effect to be able to do this after the fact. 
To have the result of having done this a few years ago so only the 
relatively recent transactions are included (the ones most likely to 
need looking at). Actually the feature missing isn't delete the old 
transactions (which would NOT have the desired result) but:
a) close the books as of the desired date
b) create a new set of books based on the Balance Sheet that date (after 
the close)
c) IMPORT all transactions after that date into the new set of books.
That would be the correct operation to have the desired result (valid 
set of books with only transactions after a specified date).

Michael D Novack

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