The purpose of this page is to list hints and tips that may assist users in migrating their books from Quicken to GnuCash.
One of the benefits of the migration is that you gain the full control of your data. The data in GnuCash is stored in an open format (XML, or SQL databases) and accessible to various standard utilities and report tools. This becomes important over time as the operating systems evolve and old Quicken versions are technologically outdated or no longer supported.
Quicken stores data in QDF format. This is Quicken's proprietary format, which is encrypted and not readable by other applications.
- You cannot import a QDF file into GnuCash, and there are no plans to add QDF support.
GnuCash can import data in a number of different formats, but the two most relevant formats for migrating from Quicken are QIF and QFX/OFX.
- QIF formatted data is the primary way to migrate data from Quicken. Quicken provides a way to export data to this format.
- QFX/OFX formatted data can also be used, but not all Quicken versions provide the ability to export into this format. This data format is mostly provided by financial institutions.
One method for migrating data from Quicken to GnuCash is:
- Start by making an account tree in Gnucash. There is an assistant to help you, but it is best to give your accounts the same names as you have used for categories and accounts in Quicken.
- Next export your Quicken data to a QIF format. Save this file.
- From the Gnucash menu select File > Import > Import QIF. Open your QIF file and follow the prompts. Match each category very carefully to your Account tree. Clicking on a highlighted line will allow you to choose from your new account tree. Match as much as you can. Then complete the import process.
- Look at the results and be prepared to alter the account structure and start again if you have too many "Unspecified" entries.
An alternative method is to export your entire data set--including categories and accounts--using Quicken's QIF export. This option is available in many versions of Quicken. If you have this data in the QIF file, Gnucash can create an account structure automatically. After the import is completed, you can edit individual Gnucash accounts and reassign them as needed. Note the advice in the tips below, however.
- Importing from Quicken can be a challenging process--one which grows as your data file grows. If you have a lot of historical data in Quicken, you may find it easier to leave your historical data in Quicken, and start with a fresh set of books in GnuCash.
- Many GnuCash users find that initial attempts at import give sub-standard results, with many transactions being poorly mapped into GnuCash. Cleaning up your Quicken data before exporting it to QIF can be extremely productive. Ensuring that transactions have categories, and that categories are consistently named, can smooth the import process immensely.
- One fundamental difference between GnuCash and Quicken that can take new users by surprise is that GnuCash uses accounts instead of categories, and every category in Quicken gets converted into an account in GnuCash. This is a consequence of GnuCash's double entry accounting.
- Although it is not necessary, you may find it easier to migrate your data if you first create an account tree by exporting your Quicken categories list only, and importing it in GnuCash before any migration of transactions.
- Multi-currency: the QIF specification does not address multiple currencies. Therefore, if your data includes accounts in multiple currencies, you must import only transactions in one currency per QIF file. Pay attention when migrating multi-currency books as GnuCash will create accounts (in case of money transfers, and for categories paid in different currencies) for each currency during the import process. For example, if you import a QIF file where Groceries were paid first in EUR and then in USD, you will end up with two accounts for Groceries - one in EUR and one in USD.
- Investment records: There can be issues with migrating the investment records via QIF, and sometimes an import will fail. If this happens, a more detailed diagnostics of the import process is required. Of particular challenge is the fact that Quicken handles capital gains in ways that do not map in to GnuCash structures well. If you have stocks or mutual fund holdings with sales transactions in them, you will need to monitor the results closely and plan to take appropriate corrective steps.
- It is generally recommended to import smaller chunks of transactions step-by-step. You can divide the transactions by account first and then by a time period (i.e. week or month) and migrate these smaller sections. GnuCash would detect most transfers in this fashion, preventing the creation of duplicate transactions.
- Split memos might not be imported (requires verification).