Question: How to move transactions between files.

Aaron Laws dartme18 at
Thu Oct 20 10:03:39 EDT 2016

On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 8:36 AM, Mike or Penny Novack <mpnovack at>

> 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
Thank you for this worthy articulation of this oft-heard request. I've
heard this idea tossed around several times, and the answer usually comes
down to, "come back and talk to me in a century when your books actually
might be too big." What you have suggested is actually possible to
implement in gnucash should someone be moved to do it, and it could be done
in several ways. Do we have a ticket to this effect? If someone would point
me in that direction, we should capture this coherent strategy there.

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