Overstuffed? Condense the size of your company file

Here on the QuickBooks for Mac team, we often talk to users who have been using QuickBooks for ten years or more.  Yep, over ten years! And even if you haven’t been using QuickBooks that long, you may have an active business with lots of transactions. In either of these cases, the company file can get huge. So what do you do?

If your company file has grown too large, you can condense the transactions for a period of time you choose. QuickBooks removes the transactions that aren’t necessary to keep your records current and replaces them with new transactions that summarize, by month, the removed transactions.

How transactions are condensed

When you condense data, you specify an ending date for the period of time you want to condense. This has no effect on transactions dated after the ending date. For example, if your ending date is 12/31/03, all transactions dated 1/1/04 and later remain unchanged in your company file.

Of the transactions dated on or before the ending date, QuickBooks deletes and summarizes only those that have no effect on transactions dated after the ending date.

For example, if an invoice has been paid in full, QuickBooks removes the customer name and the items sold from the invoices and retains the amount in a summary transaction showing income accounts. However, if an invoice is unpaid, QuickBooks leaves the invoice in your file so you can apply future payments to the invoice.

This table gives examples of the situations that cause QuickBooks to retain transactions dated on or before the ending date:

If the transaction… Then this happens:
Has an open balance Unpaid or partially-paid invoices, undeposited customer payments, unpaid bills, unused credit memos.
Is linked to another transaction that has an open balance An undeposited customer payment that you applied to an invoice. Even though the invoice is paid, QuickBooks retains the invoice because it has a link to an open transaction (the undeposited payment).
Is not marked as cleared Unreconciled transactions in a checking or credit card account.
Is marked as “to be printed” Any invoice, credit memo, sales receipt, or check that has a checkmark in its “To be printed” checkbox.

QuickBooks summarizes what it removes

QuickBooks creates summary transactions for the transactions it removes from your file. With the exception of transactions that affect the value of your inventory, you can spot the summary transactions by looking for GENJRNL in the Type field of your registers.

There is usually one GENJRNL transaction for each month in which QuickBooks removes transactions. The transaction amount is the total of the transactions that QuickBooks deleted for the month. For a given month, the register may also show other transactions that QuickBooks did not remove. These are transactions that could be affected by transactions you have yet to enter.


  • How does condensing my company file affect inventory? QuickBooks does not condense any transactions that include inventory items.
  • What about my reports? Condensing your company file will affect reports that include part or all of the period of time you condensed. The main effects are:
    • Account balances. After you condense your data, you can still create reports that summarize financial activity for the period of time you condensed. For example, if you condense last year’s data, you can still create profit and loss reports that compare last year’s results to this year’s. This is because QuickBooks adds summary transactions to your company file to preserve account balances.
    • Transaction detail. After you condense your data, you won’t be able to create reports that show daily detail for the period of time you condensed. This is because QuickBooks removed the individual transactions that would have provided the detail. In addition, you won’t be able to create reports that show balances for individual customers or vendors over that period of time. (As a precaution, QuickBooks creates a backup file in case you need access to the deleted transactions later.)
    • Sale tax reports. QuickBooks retains information about each of your taxable items and your tax vendors so that you can get accurate reports about your tax liability. This is the case even if some of the transactions occurred within the period of time that you condensed.
  • How does condensing my company file affect estimates and time data? QuickBooks removes only those estimates that have a job status of Closed. If an estimate has any other job status (Pending, Awarded, In Progress, or Not Awarded), QuickBooks retains the estimate. QuickBooks deletes time data if it is marked as “billed” or “not billable,” or if its job status is Closed.

How to condense your company file

Now that you know how QuickBooks condenses your data, here’s what you do to make it happen.

  1. Close all your QuickBooks windows.
  2. Choose File > Utilities > Condense Data. (If you track inventory, it’s best to make the date the last day of the month. That way, your average cost for items will remain correct.)
  3. Click OK. A message appears telling you that QuickBooks will make a backup file before it condenses the transactions. The backup file ensures that you will still have a record of the details of any transactions that QuickBooks removes from your company file.
  4. Click OK to create the backup file.

For more detailed steps on condensing your company file, see the QuickBooks Help topic Condensing Data.

About Shelly King

Shelly King works for Intuit as a member of the QuickBooks for Mac team. She’s the Managing Editor for Little Square and its main contributor. Shelly grew up in the South until 1994 when the Internet called her to Silicon Valley. She’s done a lot on the web ever since. Little Square was her idea. Yep, it’s all her fault. See all of Shelly's articles

You can also post your own question to the QuickBooks for Mac community.