File

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The data file of GnuCash has two issues that are being asked again and again:

Where is the gnucash file?

The file name is what you first enter as file name, prefixed with .gnucash if you omitted that in the file name. If you enter "/home/myself/foobar" in the "Save as..." dialog window, the file will be written into "/home/myself/foobar.gnucash" and nothing else. See also FAQ#Q:_Where_is_my_.XML_data_file?

  • However, in addition to the original "foobar.gnucash" file, GnuCash will also save backup files and log files. The additional backup files will be saved as "foobar.gnucash.<TIMESTAMP>.gnucash", the log files will be saved as "foobar.gnucash.<TIMESTAMP>.log". Those files can be deleted regularly if you don't need any further backup. See also FAQ#Q:_What_are_all_these_.gnucash_and_.log_files_filling_up_my_directory?

Note Before gnucash 2.4 the default file name extension was .xac and it was optional. If you didn't specify it in your file name the gnucash file would simply have not extension. The backup files would still have .xac as extension. This was changed to eliminate the confusion this caused (like for example double-click on the gnucash file would not open it).

How can I edit the file?

The file itself is XML data but in compressed form (compressed by the program gzip).

  • This is switched on or off according to the preference setting in Edit->Preferences->General where you can set or unset the checkmark at File compression. By default it is activated.

In order to have a look at your data by a text editor, you need to open a terminal window (console window) and enter the following commands:

mv foobar foobar.gz
gunzip foobar.gz

where you need to replace "foobar" by your actual file name, of course. After these two commands have been entered, you can open the resulting file "foobar" in a text editor.

If you intend to make some manual changes, make sure to have a backup of your original file somewhere in case you get something wrong.

Once you have edited and saved the file, you don't have to gzip it yourself; GnuCash will do this upon the next save.