Question: How to move transactions between files.

Wm wm_o_o_o at
Thu Oct 20 11:13:52 EDT 2016

On 20/10/2016 15:03, Aaron Laws wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 8:36 AM, Mike or Penny Novack <mpnovack at>
> wrote:

>> 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.

I have another way of approaching the problem which is to consolidate
similar transactions for a period.  That way you end up with one
transaction per account pair per day / week / month / year (your choice)
losing detail that was important close to the time but becomes less
significant as time passes.

The practice would be
1. you make a copy of your current gnc file and name it 2016-10-b4-cons
2. consolidate the tx in your live file thus making it fun to use again
3. carry on as a happy user, if you want the historic detail for
reporting purposes you go back to the file in 1.

The sql for this is pretty simple so I'm going to copy it to Sebastien
and see if he and I are heading in the same direction as we sometimes
think well together about this sort of thing.


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