If you are having trouble with GnuCash, please note that our primary support channels are our mailing lists. The lists are the best place to read about the experiences that other users have had with GnuCash, and there are many experienced users who monitor the lists and answer questions posted there. GnuCash has mailing lists in several different languages.
- Please do not use wiki talk pages to ask for help; use the mailing lists or IRC channel.
- 1 General Questions
- 1.1 Getting Help
- 1.2 Contributing
- 1.3 Troubleshooting and Improvements
- 1.4 Mailing List Questions
- 2 Installation
- 2.1 All Operating Systems
- 2.1.1 Q: What can I do if my Antivirus Software says my Gnucash download is infected?
- 2.1.3 Q: Why doesn't online quoting work?
- 2.1.4 Q: How do I fix a "system error" or "unknown error" when getting stock quotes?
- 2.2 Versions of Linux and other *nix OSes
- 2.2.1 Q: Are there no (more recent) precompiled rpms for my distro?
- 2.2.2 Q: Why does GnuCash start incredibly slowly on a FreeBSD system?
- 2.2.4 Q: I'm having trouble getting GnuCash running on Slackware
- 2.2.5 Q: Why does GnuCash run incredibly slowly on a Unix system using X?
- 2.3 MacOS
- 2.3.1 Q: How to install on macOS?
- 2.3.2 Q: I just installed GnuCash and it refuses to start when I click on it. What is wrong?
- 2.3.3 Q: How can I get context menus on macOS?
- 2.3.4 Q: I just installed GnuCash and all the labels are in Japanese
- 2.3.5 Q: I want to remove GnuCash from my Mac. How do I do it?
- 2.3.6 Q: How do I install Finance::Quote on a Mac?
- 2.3.7 Q: I copied my GnuCash data to a network drive. How do I open it from my Mac?
- 2.4 Microsoft Windows
- 2.5 All GnuCash versions
- 2.1 All Operating Systems
- 3 Configuring and Managing
- 3.1 Basics: Filenames, Directories, ...
- 3.1.1 Q: What's the GnuCash file extension?
- 3.1.2 Q: Where is my GnuCash data file?
- 3.1.3 Q: What are the .LCK and .LNK files?
- 3.1.4 Q: What are all these .gnucash and .log files filling up my directory?
- 3.1.5 Q: Why is my file name getting longer and longer?
- 3.1.6 Q: Gnucash crashed and lost a bunch of my edits. How do I recover them?
- 3.1.7 Q: GnuCash says that it can't obtain the lock for my file. What should I do?
- 3.1.8 Q: I moved/renamed my data file and my reports disappeared. How do I get them back?
- 3.1.9 Q: Why can't GnuCash find my data file anymore? It just says: parser error : Start tag expected, '<' not found
- 3.1.10 Q: I have deleted a gnucash file from my computer. How can I remove that file from the File menu's short list (MRU) as well ?
- 3.2 Questions about Backups
- 3.3 Customizing the Appearance
- 3.4 GnuCash Localization (L12N) and Font Issues
- 3.4.1 Q: I want to use GnuCash in my own language
- 3.4.2 Q: I want to use GnuCash in a different language than my monetary/decimal separator
- 3.4.3 Q: I'm a Mac user and I want to use Gnucash in a language different from my system settings.
- 3.4.4 Q: How get I rid of strange unreadable characters?
- 3.4.5 Q: I dislike some of the new currency symbols of GnuCash 2.6
- 3.5 Using Different Versions, Up And Downgrade
- 3.6 Multiple Computers, Users, ...
- 3.6.1 Q: Can I use GnuCash with multiple users? Maybe via the SQL backend?
- 3.6.2 Q: I'm running GnuCash under GNU/Linux. Can I give another user access to my GnuCash files?
- 3.6.4 Q: I just got a new computer. What should I copy over from my old one?
- 3.7 SQL Database
- 3.7.1 Q: Is there a database backend?
- 3.7.2 Q: Should I use the XML or database backend?
- 3.7.3 Q: Is the Postgres DB / SQL backend supported?
- 3.7.4 Q: Can I open my GnuCash SQL database with another program, perhaps Microsoft Access?
- 3.7.5 Q: Opening an sqlite3 datafile which is on a smb network drive crashes GnuCash
- 3.7.6 Q: Saving to sqlite3 on a smb network drive gives locking errors
- 3.8 Security: Encryption, Password Feature
- 3.9 OS/Distribution Specific Issues
- 3.9.1 [Novell|open]SuSE
- 3.9.2 Windows
- 126.96.36.199 Q: When I try to open my datafile on Windows, I get "Parse error". What happened ?
- 3.1 Basics: Filenames, Directories, ...
- 4 Questions about Using GnuCash
- 4.1 Q: Can I have multiple data files open at the same time?
- 4.2 Q: Somehow I managed to close the account view tab. How can I get it back?
- 4.3 Q: Where is the Gnucash Register?
- 4.4 Q: How can I count the accounts or transactions in my GnuCash file?
- 4.5 Q: Is there a way to merge two accounts into one?
- 4.6 Q: How can I reorder accounts in the account tree?
- 4.7 Q: How do I order transactions in a register so deposits are before withdrawals?
- 4.8 Q: The View menu has an option to not show voided transactions. How do I void a transaction?
- 4.9 Q: I'd like to write my own custom reports. Where should I start?
- 4.10 Q: How do I save the options I have set on a built-in report as a custom report?
- 4.11 Q: GnuCash won't let me save my customized report
- 4.12 Q: How can I save my custom check printing configuration?
- 4.13 Q: How do I set up and track budgets?
- 4.14 Q: When I print a cheque/check, the memo area remains empty... how do I fill that?
- 4.15 Q: Is there book-closing support?
- 4.16 Q: How do I use variables and formula in scheduled transactions?
- 4.17 Q: How do I enter a Return of Capital transaction in GnuCash?
- 4.18 Q: How do I enter ISOs (Incentive Stock Options) that I exercised for a nonpublic company, which are valuable only on paper?
- 4.19 Q: The fiscal year is July 1-June 30, how can I change that?
- 4.20 Q: How can I look at income/expenses/etc. on a monthly basis?
- 4.21 Q: How do I resize my register columns? Why can I not shrink the description column?
- 4.22 Q: I corrected a mistake and now my reconciliation balance is off. How do I fix that and reconcile my account?
- 4.23 Q: I would like to add transactions from the command line with "gnucash --evaluate something". How do I do this?
- 4.24 Q: Why does the Transaction Report 'Sign Reversal' setting not work on subtotals
- 5 Importing/Exporting Data
- 5.1 Q: How do I import my data from ...
- 5.2 Q: How do I get the most benefit from the Bayesian learning algorithm while importing?
- 5.3 Q: Can I import historical prices or quotes?
- 5.4 Q: My bank offers OFX Direct Connect. How do I use that?
- 5.5 Q: Can I connect GnuCash to stock or mutual fund accounts using OFX Direct Connect?
- 5.6 Q: How can I export data?
- 6 Using Business Features
- 6.1 Basics
- 6.2 Set Up, Opening
- 6.3 General Handling
- 6.3.1 Q: Why doesn't the discount from the billing terms show up when I pay an invoice?
- 6.3.2 Q: How can I delete an Invoice, Customer, Vendor, or Employee?
- 6.3.3 Q: Will I be able to delete an Invoice, Customer, Vendor, or Employee in the future?
- 6.3.4 Q: Can I pay multiple bills/invoices/vouchers with a single payment?
- 6.4 Tax Handling: Goods and Service Tax (GST) or Value Added Tax (VAT)
- 6.5 Appearance and printing of Invoices etc.
- 6.5.3 Q: How do I remove the Tax column?
- 6.5.4 Q: My business does not charge tax. How do I remove the Tax total line?
- 6.5.5 Q: I have turned off the Tax Total line. How do I remove the Sub Total line?
- 6.5.6 Q: Can I print Invoices through LaTeX from GnuCash?
- 6.6 Using Multiple Currencies
- 6.7 Country/Region specific
- 6.8 Other known business issues
- 7 Accounting Questions
- 7.1 Q: Can you recommend a book on Accounting?
- 7.2 Q: What are debits and credits?
- 7.3 Q: How do I record my income tax installments and year-end payment/refund?
- 7.4 Q: How do I use GnuCash to calculate VAT?
- 7.5 Q: How do I use GnuCash to do depreciation?
- 7.6 Q: Is there a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) who uses GnuCash in my area?
- 7.7 Q: What's a T-account? What's double-entry?
- 7.8 Q: Is there a way to schedule billing the same way we schedule transactions?
- 7.9 Q: How do I account for loaning/borrowing money to/from a friend?
- 7.10 Q: How do I keep track of capital gains with stocks?
- 7.11 Q: What is meant by year-end closing procedures?
- 8 Developing GNUCash: Source Code Overview
- 8.1 Q: I heard it is too hard to compile GnuCash!
- 8.2 Q: Ok, what devel packages do I need in order to compile GnuCash?
- 8.3 Q: Why is GnuCash written in C?
- 8.4 Q: Why don't you rewrite GnuCash in programming language xyz so that I can contribute easily?
- 8.5 Q: Can I read the doxygen files documenting the API offline?
- 8.6 Q: Can I run GnuCash already in the build dir?
- 8.7 Q: How do I run GnuCash under gdb and get a stack trace?
- 8.8 Q: Why does GnuCash depend on Gnome?
Q: I'm having trouble with GnuCash. Where can I ask for help?
- A: First of all, have you studied the Tutorial and Concepts Guide? If you have and you still have trouble, our primary support channel is our mailing lists, and support is available in several languages. We also have an IRC channel which is usually monitored by at least one developer during business hours in European and American time zones. The IRC channel is almost entirely in English.
Q: How can I contribute to the GnuCash project?
- A: See Contributing to GnuCash for tangible ways you can contribute to the project.
Q: How can I make a donation to the GnuCash project?
- A: See the Donation page for information about how you can financially support the project.
Troubleshooting and Improvements
Q: What are the basics of reporting bugs and requesting enhancements?
- You can find information about reporting bugs at Reporting bugs.
- You can information about enhancement requests at Enhancement requests.
- If you are new to these processes, you might find it useful to consult How To Ask Questions The Smart Way.
Q: Something bad happened; how can I help debug?
- A: First, check some basic system information:
- Do you have enough free space on your saving media?
- Do you have read and write access granted on your data file and its directory?
- For both questions you can usually find the answer using your preferred file manager.
- In the event that GnuCash does crash, experienced users might be interested in examining a Stack Trace. See Stack Trace for more information.
- Besides operating system details, GnuCash has three primary ways of reporting technical detail:
- The user interface itself with
- a status line at the bottom of the main window,
- tooltips, if you hover the mouse over control elements, and
- message boxes and similar dialogs.
- Terminal statements, which are printed to the terminal from which Gnucash was run. To access this information on Windows, KDE, or Gnome, you must run GnuCash from a command shell:
- On Windows, run cmd.exe,
- On KDE, run Konsole,
- On Gnome, run Terminal.
- From this command line, enter gnucash. GnuCash will place any messages in this command line window.
- On macOS, statements which would be sent to the terminal on other systems appear instead on the Console. Run Applications:Utilities:Console and select Console Messages to view any console messages in the right pane of the window. Scroll to the bottom. Look for a message like ....Gnucash Application Path /Applications/Gnucash.app/Contents/MacOS/Gnucash-bin. This is the first of the GnuCash terminal statements.
- GnuCash logs, which contain most error messages. These are placed in a file called gnucash.trace. See Tracefile for more information.
Q: I think I found a bug. How do I report it?
- A: See Bugzilla for an explanation of the bug reporting process.
Q: I really want feature XYZ but GnuCash doesn't have it. How do I get it added?
- A: See Enhancement requests for information on this.
Mailing List Questions
- So in summary: if your browser warns you about this site: please go ahead and enter, it's safe.
Q: Can you please configure the mailing lists so that Reply mails the list?
Q: I can't join or leave the mailing list.
All Operating Systems
Q: What can I do if my Antivirus Software says my Gnucash download is infected?
- A: This is a situation which you should treat very carefully, but calmly. Because the scanners sometimes give false positive results, you should collect more opinions, e.g. by using a service like virustotal.com.
- In the rare case that the service confirms the result of your scanner, let it do its work to isolate or remove the file. Then inform the GnuCash community, preferably with both:
- the full URL of the download source (sourceforge, github, mirror ...), and
- The first checksum should be available on the source website (e.g. README.txt at the bottom of https://sourceforge.net/projects/gnucash/files/gnucash (stable)/<version>). The second checksum must be calculated from your downloaded file (e.g. run
- Verifying the checksum of downloads is always good practice.
- A1: You don't have the gnucash-docs package installed. Install that to the same prefix where you installed gnucash and the docs/tutorial will show up properly.
- If your default Desktop is not Gnome, you may also need to install yelp.
- A2: You ran into a "really stable" [open]SuSE bug.
Q: Why doesn't online quoting work?
- A: See Online Quotes Trouble Shooting.
Q: How do I fix a "system error" or "unknown error" when getting stock quotes?
Versions of Linux and other *nix OSes
Q: Are there no (more recent) precompiled rpms for my distro?
Q: Why does GnuCash start incredibly slowly on a FreeBSD system?
Q: I'm running Debian/unstable, just upgraded, and GnuCash no longer works. How can I fix that?
Q: I'm having trouble getting GnuCash running on Slackware
Q: Why does GnuCash run incredibly slowly on a Unix system using X?
Section "Extensions" Option "RENDER" "off" EndSection
Q: How to install on macOS?
- A: Download the dmg from the links at the top of the GnuCash website and follow the directions at MacOS Installation.
Q: I just installed GnuCash and it refuses to start when I click on it. What is wrong?
- A: Your downloaded copy of GnuCash is most likely either corrupted or quarantined by the MacOS operating system (in later versions like Mojave or Catalina).
First, check /var/log/system.log for complaints about GnuCash. Open a terminal window as an administrator and search this logfile for complaints about GnuCash:
grep Gnucash /var/log/system.log
If you find a vague complaint from launchd about "Service exited with abnormal code: 1" then something is wrong with your GnuCash image or it has been quarantined by MacOS.
To check if the image of GnuCash is corrupted, run the following command from the terminal window (adjust the path to match your GnuCash location):
spctl --assess -vv /Applications/Gnucash.app
If the image is NOT corrupted, you should get output like:
/Applications/Gnucash.app: accepted source=Notarized Developer ID origin=Developer ID Application: John D Ralls (Y9EHT5WMK7)
Otherwise, your downloaded image is corrupted. Go download a fresh copy and reinstall GnuCash.
To check if the GnuCash image is quarantined by MacOS, run the following command from the terminal window:
xattr -p com.apple.quarantine /Applications/Gnucash.app
You may get information like so:
where the browser you downloaded GnuCash with is noted (Chrome in this case). You can forcibly delete this extended attribute from the GnuCash application by running the following command as a MacOS Administrator:
xattr -d -r com.apple.quarantine /Applications/Gnucash.app
Then retry clicking on GnuCash to launch it. It should launch successfully.
- A: In GnuCash versions prior to 3.0, users can access context menus by using Control-click.
- To access context menus in GnuCash versions 3.0 and higher, use a two-finger click on the trackpad.
- With version 3.0, GnuCash changed to use GTK3, which interprets Control-click as a normal click. This is a limitation of GTK3, as described in 797286.
Q: I just installed GnuCash and all the labels are in Japanese
Q: I want to remove GnuCash from my Mac. How do I do it?
- A: Note: These instructions apply to the stand-alone download from the GnuCash web page (and re-distributed by Homebrew). Users of MacPorts should consult the instructions for those distributions.
- * .gnucash (if you've used an older version of Gnucash)
- * .gconf
- * .gconfd
- * .gnome2
- * .gnome2_private
- * .banking (if you've used the online banking features with an older version of Gnucash)
- * .aqbanking (if you've used the online banking features with Gnucash 2.3.9 or later)
- To delete these directories, open Applications:Utilities:Terminal and at the prompt enter
- rm -rf dirname
- for each of those directories.
Q: How do I install Finance::Quote on a Mac?
Q: I copied my GnuCash data to a network drive. How do I open it from my Mac?
Q: Gnucash crashes immediately on startup
- A: This can happen for a variety of reasons.
Q: Is there other information regarding Windows?
All GnuCash versions
Q: GnuCash crashes on startup trying to run an SX. How do I fix this?
- A: We're still trying to track down all the various SX problems. First, you should make sure you're running the most recent release. Second, if you're running the most recent release and still having problems you should file a bug report with all the output on your terminal (you ARE running gnucash from a terminal, RIGHT???). Third, you should backup your data file because the developers may want to see portions of it to help track down this problem. Finally, run:
Configuring and Managing
Basics: Filenames, Directories, ...
Q: What's the GnuCash file extension?
- A: Starting with version 2.3.15, .gnucash is the file extension for new files. Existing filenames will not be changed though and the old extensions are still recognized on most systems.
- Earlier versions did not enforce any file naming conventions or extensions. However, the .xac and .gnc extensions are described in the "shared-mime-info" package used by almost every distro and desktop environment to associate applications with files, and allow the file to be opened when double clicked in a file browser.
- Note: .xac is short for "X-Accountant", the predecessor of GnuCash; .gnc is the "internal" three-letter-abbreviation of GnuCash.
Q: Where is my GnuCash data file?
- A: The answer depends in part on the file format you have chosen for your data.
- If you are using the default xml format, or the sqlite format, the data file is called something.gnucash and is stored in the folder you specified when you saved your file. Note: See the previous question for more information on file naming. For details of file formats see GnuCash XML format and SQL.
Q: What are the .LCK and .LNK files?
- A: These are lock files that GnuCash creates to prevent different users from opening the same file at the same time. GnuCash creates these files when you open your data file, and deletes them when you close the file. (Note: If GnuCash crashes, these files will remain in your system, and GnuCash will warn you the next time you try to open the data file.) If GnuCash is no longer using a given file, you can remove these files safely.
Q: What are all these .gnucash and .log files filling up my directory?
- A: These are backup data files and log files (".log") that GnuCash creates to prevent data loss. GnuCash will remove them after a configurable amount of time (Preferences/General/"Days to retain log files"). In the normal case when your data file is ok and you don't need old versions of the file, you can remove these files safely.
- Note that the backup and log files have a format of <name>.YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.gnucash (or .log). These are backup (and log) files from your data file, <name>.
- Note that .log files are to be used only if you are using an XML backend for the book. With SQL storage, it is not recommended to replay the .log files. The data is always saved to the data store and the possibility of data loss is minimal in that case.
- This topic is covered more broadly in Backing Up and Recovering Data section of the User Guide.
Q: Why is my file name getting longer and longer?
- A: GnuCash creates a backup file by taking the current data file and adding the date/time to the end (YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.gnucash). So if you're using a file named "Foo.gnucash", then you'll get backups of the form:
- Now assume that instead of opening "Foo.gnucash" you open one of these backup files, you make changes to it and then save the file.
- For starters, this means you've just over-written the original backup file which is always a bad idea. Backups should never be changed.
- Secondly since you saved changes, GnuCash will create a backup file based the file you just changed using the same naming system: it adds a date/time extension. Since the file you saved already had such an extension, you end up with a backup file named:
- Repeating this process will add to the file name until it exceeds the operating system limits.
- The fix:
- 1) Don't open a backup file
- 1a) If you DO open a backup file, never simply save it out again, instead use Save As to give it a new name.
- 2) Make sure you're always using your base data file
- 3) If your base data file for some reason is bad, and you need to recover from a previous backup file, copy the backup file over your bad base file, for example:
- cp Foo.gnucash.20100719100214.gnucash.20100719112352.gnucash Foo.gnucash
- and then File -> Open the new file, Foo.gnucash.
Q: Gnucash crashed and lost a bunch of my edits. How do I recover them?
- The first thing to check is that you are, in fact, opening the right file. Look up in the title bar: If it has a long string of numbers starting e.g. 20111011 (2011-10-11, i.e., 11 October 2011) then you've opened the wrong file. If you haven't done this too many times, the right one should still be in the recent list in the File menu. Open it and make sure that you really have lost work.
- If you're sure that you got the right file and that your work is still missing, look at the log files for that data file -- and for any backup files you might have entered data into (Those will have logfiles with names that look like filename.timestamp.gnucash.timestamp.log). Quicklook works on log files, so you can browse the log files in Finder. Find the earliest one for which data does not appear in your data file and select File>Import>Replay Gnucash .log File, then select that log file. Repeat for every subsequent log file.
- Click the save button.
- Go back to work.
- Warning: The log file will not replay business actions. So if you posted invoices or processed payments or did anything else with the business functions, replaying the log will destroy your data! Do not replay a log that has transactions from business feature operations or internal data structures will be completely messed up and you will have lots of trouble cleaning up later.
- If you did lose business feature work the only thing you can do is redo the work by hand and then make sure you click save.
- Save early, save often.
Q: GnuCash says that it can't obtain the lock for my file. What should I do?
- A: There are two ways to get that message: One is to have another instance of GnuCash running with the same file or database open. If you're using MySQL or Postgresql, or if you have your file in a service like Dropbox, the other instance might not be on the same computer. The other way is if GnuCash didn't shut down correctly the last time it quit, and so didn't remove the lock.
- Otherwise, select one of the other buttons.
Q: I moved/renamed my data file and my reports disappeared. How do I get them back?
- Depending on your version of GnuCash, the MRU list is stored in different locations.
- GnuCash 2.6 and newer
- The MRU list files is stored in the default preferences system depending on your operating system.
- Linux and similar
- The MRU list is stored in defaults. This is accessed in Terminal via the defaults(1) command. To remove a particular file (e.g., the fourth) from the list you can say
- defaults delete --app Gnucash "/org/gnucash/history/file4"
- To change it, say
- defaults write --app Gnucash "/org/gnucash/history/file4" "/Users/john/Desktop/MyAccounts.gnucash"
- To display all of the stored Gnucash preferences, use
- defaults read --app Gnucash
- GnuCash 2.4 and older
- Linux and similar
Questions about Backups
Q: How do I backup my data?
- A: See Backup page.
Q: How do I backup my GC environment, including preferences?
- A: See Backup page.
Customizing the Appearance
Q: How do I change the appearance of GnuCash?
- A: GnuCash uses GTK to manage its appearance. GTK is a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces. GTK uses various resource files to manage this.
- Note: Resource files are not created by default, so none may exist on your system.
Q: How do I change the appearance of reports?
- A: The appearance of GnuCash reports can be changed under Edit->Stylesheets.
Q: How do I change the register colors?
Q: Where can I find the GTK resource file?
- A: Both the path to the GTK resource file and the file name used are different for each platform supported by GnuCash.
- Information about the GTK path is available at GTK Configuration locations.
- Information about the GTK files that may exist on your machine is available at GTK file names.
Q: I use KDE, but my fonts look ugly
GnuCash Localization (L12N) and Font Issues
Q: I want to use GnuCash in my own language
- A: See Locale_Settings.
Q: I want to use GnuCash in a different language than my monetary/decimal separator
Q: I'm a Mac user and I want to use Gnucash in a language different from my system settings.
Q: How get I rid of strange unreadable characters?
- A: You need a font in which the respective characters are defined. Your system tools usually offer some font viewer to test them. See Customizing_the_Appearance for guidance on changing font settings in general.
Q: I dislike some of the new currency symbols of GnuCash 2.6
- A: If you really know a symbol is wrong or outdated,
- Don't forget to add a link to a reliable source like wikipedia or your central bank.
- In between and otherwise:
- Tools->Security editor
- checkmark Show national currencies,
- open the CURRENCY tree,
- search the ISO symbol of that currency and click edit,
- replace Display Symbol with your desired text
- and confirm it by clicking OK.
Using Different Versions, Up And Downgrade
Q: Can I exchange Gnucash file with any other version of GnuCash?
- A: Not quite.
Q: Can a new GnuCash release still read my old data file?
- Bugfix releases
- Major releases
- Unstable releases
- A: Here as well, the answer depends on how far apart your releases are.
- Bugfix releases
- Major releases
- This is trickier. In general here as well, GnuCash tries to be at least backwards compatible with its previous major release, although this may not always work. Here are some of the potential problems:
Multiple Computers, Users, ...
Q: Can I use GnuCash with multiple users? Maybe via the SQL backend?
Q: I'm running GnuCash under GNU/Linux. Can I give another user access to my GnuCash files?
Q: I just got a new computer. What should I copy over from my old one?
- A: You need to copy the same files that you'd backup, so see Backup.
- If your new computer runs a different operating system from the old one the configuration locations will be different, see Configuration Locations.
- If you're upgrading to GnuCash 3.x from an older version at the same time as the upgrade, copy the configuration files to the older version location and let GnuCash move them to the new locations.
Q: Is there a database backend?
Q: Should I use the XML or database backend?
Q: Is the Postgres DB / SQL backend supported?
- Some history
- A first PostgreSQL backend was introduced in the 1.6 code line, but it never supported any features introduced since the 1.6 release, especially the Business features and Scheduled Transactions. Even so, modulo those features, the Postgres backend should still basically function, even in the 2.2 release. However, since the 2.0 release, some user-interface elements relating to using the Postgres backend are no longer available; use a
postgres://url from the command-line to access it.
Q: Can I open my GnuCash SQL database with another program, perhaps Microsoft Access?
- The table layouts are documented at SQL
Q: Opening an sqlite3 datafile which is on a smb network drive crashes GnuCash
Q: Saving to sqlite3 on a smb network drive gives locking errors
- For further details about this problem, you can check these links:
Security: Encryption, Password Feature
Q: Is it possible to provide security for GC data using CFS, etc.?
Q: Can you please add a password feature?
- Encrypted filesystem options:
- NetBSD's cgd(4), which is a cryptographic layer for an entire block device
- FreeBSD's geom-based encryption
- Other Solutions:
- Note that if you use the online banking features within GnuCash, you should be aware that your account numbers and user IDs are stored in plain text in your AqBanking settings, which are stored in
- ~/.banking/settings.conf for old aqbanking versions and somehwere in
- ~/.aqbanking/ for newer versions (in various files below this folder)
- You should encrypt this file in addition to your gnucash data file.
OS/Distribution Specific Issues
- A: For some reason SuSE seems always to have bugs relating to the GC docs.
- You may have to use YaST to install the
- yelp and
- gnucash-docs packages.
- In SuSE 11.4 replacing the symlink
- /usr/bin/gnome-help -> susehelp
- /usr/bin/gnome-help -> /usr/bin/yelp
- allows GC Help -> Contents to show as expected.
- You may have to use YaST to install the
- For older SuSE versions: gnome-help has moved from /opt/ to /usr/.
- A: This is the subject of an open bug #645273. The solution, paraphrasing bug report comment 40:
- Click on Start Button
- click on Control Panel
- Select Network and Internet (view by category)
- Click on Internet Options
- Select the Programs Tab
- At the bottom of the tab, select Set Progams
- Select the bottom option "Set program access and computer defaults"
- You are then asked to chose a configuration:
- Scroll up then click on the radio button to use the "Microsoft Windows" configuration.
Q: When I try to open my datafile on Windows, I get "Parse error". What happened ?
- A: There is a peculiarity in GnuCash on Windows when you use the Opening balance tab of the account dialog. If you enter a two-digit year in that tab, the date is not saved properly. Subsequently, when you reopen your datafile afterwards, GnuCash thinks it's invalid. If you encounter such a situation, you can attempt to fix your data file manually.
- Make a copy of your data file and uncompress it (with a tool like 7Zip).
- Look for transaction sections that are missing a <trn:date-posted section>. If you find such transactions, add the <trn:date-posted> section below the <trn:currency> section, like so:
- Obviously, you can enter the date that suits you, but keep the format as shown.
- When all transactions have a <trn.date-posted> section, save your file.
- It should now open with GnuCash again
Questions about Using GnuCash
- We have a specific page, but a few aspects are still not built in there:
Q: Can I have multiple data files open at the same time?
- A: GnuCash doesn't support this within the same instance of the program, but you can open separate instances of GnuCash each with their own data file. There are several methods:
- The easiest way for all OSes except MacOS
- Use your preferred filemanager and double-click the data files you want to open.
- Use the command line or create shortcuts
- The procedure varies by operating system:
- from a Terminal window, enter the following command, replacing 'path/to/your/data_file.gnucash' with the full path to the additional file you want to open.
/Applications/Gnucash.app/Contents/MacOS/Gnucash path/to/your/data_file.gnucash &
- This can also be scripted with a facility such as Automator.app to provide a file selection or installed as a service or workflow to use on Gnucash data files directly.
- Method A
- GUI only, recommended for occasional use:
- Open the first instance in the usual way, and open the first file.
- Press and hold
Shift, click the GC icon or tab on the taskbar, and release
- A second instance of GC will start up. It will try to open the same file that is already open, but will display the "could not obtain the lock" message. Select Open Red-Only.
- When the GC interface appears, select File » Open in the menu and open the second file.
- Method B
- Windows shortcuts, recommended for frequent use:
- Right-click in an empty spot in your Start Menu or on your desktop and select New » Shortcut.
- In the first dialog, type the full path of the GC program and, after a space, the full path of the first GC data file. Example:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\gnucash\bin\gnucash.exe" D:\$\GnuCash\File1.gnucash
- Double quotes are required when the path contains spaces.
- In the second dialog, assign a short display name, such as File1.
- Repeat steps 1-3 for File2.
- You can now double-click either shortcut, or both of them, to work with one or both files at a time. With a file name in the command line of the shortcut, that instance of GC opens that file rather than the most recent file.
- The trailing ampersand detaches the Gnucash instance from the terminal session. You will get your command prompt back to either open an additional data file, or you can simply close the Terminal.app window.
- If you have installed multiple versions of gnucash installed, prefix gnucash by the path to the desired version like /usr/bin from distribution or /usr/local/bin for a self compiled version.
Q: Somehow I managed to close the account view tab. How can I get it back?
- A: A new account view tab can be opened from the menu. This is slightly different depending on the version of GnuCash you are using:
- GnuCash 2.3 and later
- View -> New Accounts Page
- GnuCash 2.2.9 and before
- File -> New -> New Accounts Page
Q: Where is the Gnucash Register?
Q: How can I count the accounts or transactions in my GnuCash file?
- A: If you use
- the xml backend
- with compression enabled: zcat $DATAFILE |grep -c "act:name"
- uncompressed: cat $DATAFILE |grep -c "act:name" on the command line
- an SQL backend: the usual SELECT COUNT(*) ...; in your DBMS
- the xml backend
- for the accounts.
Q: Is there a way to merge two accounts into one?
- 2nd A: Probably no, you must manually change each transaction. However, there are some tricks that can make this process go a little faster. Open one of the account registers and select either View→Style→Auto-Split Ledger (or View→Style→Transaction Journal). This will automatically expand all of the splits for the selected transaction. In the simplest case, each transaction will have two splits, one of them to the current account. You want to change the split assigned to the current account to be assigned to the other account instead. Double click on the account name in the split, which should select all of the text. Now instead of using the drop-down list to select the new account, simply type the new account name, using the built-in auto-completion. For example, to move a split to Expenses:Auto:Repair, you might type
ex:au:r. When you then hit <enter>, the changes will be saved, and that transaction will disappear since it is no longer tied to the currently open account.
Q: How can I reorder accounts in the account tree?
A: Parent/Child Ordering
A: Sibling Ordering
Q: How do I order transactions in a register so deposits are before withdrawals?
A: Enter deposits (debits) first, then withdrawals (credits).
- The Posted Date. This is the one that's visible and editable in the register window.
- The Transaction Description field.
- The Split's memo field.
- The Reconcile field.
- The amount of the split.
- The value of the split.
- The Reconcile Date.
- The GUID identifying the split.
Q: I'd like to write my own custom reports. Where should I start?
- A: See Custom Reports.
- Alternatively, each report can be created in a Scheme file in order to show up as a menu entry.
Q: How do I save the options I have set on a built-in report as a custom report?
Q: GnuCash won't let me save my customized report
Q: How can I save my custom check printing configuration?
Q: How do I set up and track budgets?
Q: When I print a cheque/check, the memo area remains empty... how do I fill that?
- A: Fill in the Transaction Notes field, visible via View -> Double Line mode.
Q: Is there book-closing support?
- A: See Closing Books.
Q: How do I use variables and formula in scheduled transactions?
- A: See Scheduled Transactions.
Q: How do I enter a Return of Capital transaction in GnuCash?
- A: When a security issues a return of capital, the cost basis of the security is reduced. This affects any future calculations of capital gains.
- Remember that a debit (DR) for asset/liability accounts means an increase.
Initial purchase of security (say $1000 of Dodgy Brothers Ltd) Cash at bank (asset) 1000.00 CR Dodgy Brothers Ltd (asset) 1000.00 DR Dodgy Brothers Ltd pays $50 capital return Cash at bank (asset) 50.00 DR Dodgy Brothers Ltd (asset) 50.00 CR
- This reduces the cost basis of Dodgy Brothers Ltd to $950.
Q: How do I enter ISOs (Incentive Stock Options) that I exercised for a nonpublic company, which are valuable only on paper?
- A: Exercised ISOs (Incentive Stock Options) are stock. When you exercise the options, you create a normal buy transaction, using the exercise price as the share price.
Q: The fiscal year is July 1-June 30, how can I change that?
- A: Menu
Edit->Preferences->Accounting Period, details in GnuCash Help.
Q: How can I look at income/expenses/etc. on a monthly basis?
- A: Run the "Income/Expense barchart" report.
Q: How do I resize my register columns? Why can I not shrink the description column?
- A: You can resize columns either by:
- double-clicking on the column header.
- NOTE: The Balance column can only be resized by double-clicking on its header.
- HOWEVER, the Description Column is special. It's designed to always auto-fill to fit the window size. This means that you cannot just reduce the size of the description column, because as soon as you let go it will then resize itself to fill the screen. If you want to reduce the size of the description column, then you should first resize the OTHER columns that you want bigger until the scrollbar appears on the bottom of the window. Then (and ONLY then) will you be able to reduce the description column back to the "full size" of the window.
- This issue has been reported on Bugzilla.
- The behaviors described here are documented in the GnuCash Tutorial and Concept Guide here.
- Reconciliation is purely about the ENDING balance at a point in time. When you reconcile you're saying that at some Date (the reconciliation date) the account has some ending balance X, and you're marking all the transactions that get you to that ending balance from the beginning of time. The starting balance is there to guide you, but has no relevant meaning in the reconciliation process. Actually, that's not 100% true -- the starting balance gives you the total of the already-reconciled transactions from the beginning of time that are already included in the computation. But that's okay, you can still generally ignore it. If you unreconcile a $1 transaction then your starting balance will be off by $1, however all you need to do is re-reconcile that $1 transaction the next time to bring it back into balance.
Q: Why does the Transaction Report 'Sign Reversal' setting not work on subtotals
- A: This is an internal technical limitation.
Consider the following unrecommended, but possible account structure and transactions, and consider sample transaction report:
• Bank [Asset] • Business [Income] • Business:Sales [Income] • Business:Expenses [Expenses]
Transactions as follows:
• 1-January “Sales” • Business:Sales -$100 • Bank +$100
• 2-January “Expense” • Bank -$20 • Business:Expenses +$20
• 3-January “Another Income” • Bank $10 • Business -$10
The Transaction Report for the “Business” account and children produces the following. Note the individual transaction amounts are sign-reversed as expected, but the subtotal amounts are not sign reversed. This is by design.
Date Num Description Memo/Notes Account Amount Business 03/01/2019 Another Sales Business $10.00 Total For Business -$10.00 Expense 02/01/2019 Expense Business:Expense $20.00 Total For Expense $20.00 Income 01/01/2019 Sales Business:Income $100.00 Total For Income -$100.00 Grand Total -$90.00
If the subtotal amounts were sign-reversed, the grand total would *add* 10+20+100 = $130 which is a nonsensical number. The grand-total therefore adds up the unreversed numbers (-10 + 20 + -100) = -90 which is a sensible number indicating $90 profit. In a more complicated scenario, the selected accounts could include Income/Expense/Asset/Liability accounts altogether, and the grand total would include amounts from all relevant accounts. The current strategy of adding up *unreversed* amounts means that addition of *all* accounts within a particular period will lead to $0 due to the accounting equation.
Previously (before 3.0) the subtotals/grand totals were adding *reversed* amounts, which meant, grand total for *all* accounts would be a non-sensical number, depending upon the sign reversal strategy (i.e. credit accounts / income&expense / none). This was incorrect.
An even more complicated scenario exists whereby transactions are grouped by ‘Other account name’. eg asset accounts are chosen as source accounts, yet transactions are grouped & subtotaled according to the corresponding asset/income/expenses accounts.
There is no safe reversal strategy for the above scenarios to the author’s knowledge.
It may be easier to change the Display / Amount display setting to 'double' which will clearly separate Debit/Credit columns, and is likely to produce better subtotal amounts.
Q: How do I import my data from ...
- A: Please refer to the Quicken Migration page.
- A: At this time there is no way to import from Quickbooks, and there are no plans to add that functionality. The Quickbooks QBW data format is a proprietary, non-documented file format. So until someone documents the file format or donates a QBW file parser your best bet for importing your QB data into GnuCash would be to output your data in a CSV format and either import the CSV data directly or convert the CSV to QIF and use the QIF importer.
- A: Please refer to the Microsoft Money Migration page.
- A: Please refer to the YNAB Migration page.
(USA) Discover credit card?
Comma-Separated Values (CSV) or similar?
- A: It is possible to import CSV files into GnuCash using File>Import>Import Transactions from CSV.
- Converting from CSV, TSV, XLS (Excel), or SXC (OpenOffice.org Calc) to QIF
- See the Wikipedia article on the QIF format for more details about the QIF format.
2006-09-27,ONLINE BILL PAYMENT: Bank of Example 123938568,250.00
- The following shell script using awk will emit a suitable QIF:
- The following shell script using awk will emit a suitable QIF:
Q: How do I get the most benefit from the Bayesian learning algorithm while importing?
Q: Can I import historical prices or quotes?
Q: My bank offers OFX Direct Connect. How do I use that?
- A: GnuCash uses libofx/aqbanking for OFX/QFX support. Information on setting up AqBanking for OFX Direct Connect in GnuCash is available at Setting up OFXDirectConnect.
Q: Can I connect GnuCash to stock or mutual fund accounts using OFX Direct Connect?
Q: How can I export data?
- In addition, there are several third party tools available.
Using Business Features
Q: Can you give me a high level overview for business users?
Q: What are the usual Billing Terms?
- A: see Invoicing and payment terms.
Set Up, Opening
Q: Is there a wizard or a description to setup basic business accounts?
Q: How do I set up the individual customers and vendors, with their respective balances?
Q: How do you make the organization name appear on my Invoices?
Q: Why doesn't the discount from the billing terms show up when I pay an invoice?
- A: Billing terms is only partially supported. The date due works but discounts don't.
Q: How can I delete an Invoice, Customer, Vendor, or Employee?
- A: Longer Answer. You can delete them, but it is going to involve editing the XML file yourself. Take a deep breath, it's going to be okay. I'd also just like to note that while this seemed to work fine on my machine, I can't promise you 100% that this will work. Please, please, please backup before you do this. Alright, now that all that is out of the way, lets do it.
- Then run gzip -d accounts.gz. This will create an unzipped file with the name of accounts
- Open up accounts in your favorite text editor.
- The GnuCash xml format is pretty simple, but there is probably going to be a lot of data to wade through. You're going to have to start at the top of what you want to delete and work your way down.
- If you're deleting a Job, you start with the Job, then work down to all the Invoices.
- If you're deleting an Employee, start with the Employee and then delete all the invoices.
- If you're deleting an Invoice, just delete the Invoice.
- The last thing you need to do is clean up the counters in two places. You only can do this if you're deleting the LAST thing that you added. So if you have an employee and it is the last employee you added, you can fix the employee counter. If it is an Invoice and it is the last invoice you added, you can fix the invoice counter. DO NOT CHANGE THE COUNTERS IF WHAT YOU'RE DELETING ISN'T THE LAST THING ADDED.
- In SQL:
SELECT * FROM slots WHERE name="counters/gncInvoice"; ...
- Save your changes.
- Run gzip to compress the file. run gzip -9 accounts. Then rename the accounts.gz to accounts
Q: Will I be able to delete an Invoice, Customer, Vendor, or Employee in the future?
- I'm sorry you don't like it. You're welcome to help fix it.
- [from the mailing list ]
- An invoice may be reused, even for a different customer or vendor.
Q: Can I pay multiple bills/invoices/vouchers with a single payment?
Tax Handling: Goods and Service Tax (GST) or Value Added Tax (VAT)
Q: How do I handle VAT/GST on invoices, and claim VAT/GST rebates on purchases?
|Description||3-account Naming scheme||4-account naming scheme||Tax table|
|Claimable GST you have paid on purchases||Liabilities:GST:Paid||Liabilities:Taxes:GST|
|GST amounts you have collected from customers||Liabilities:GST:Payable|
|GST you have charged/invoiced to customers||Assets:Accounts Receivable:GST||GST|
|GST amounts you have paid to the government||Liabilities:GST:Payments||Tax Expenses:Taxes:GST|
|GST amounts that have been deferred||Liabilities:Taxes:GST:Deferred|
Note: There are also
- which might make more sense to you.
Directions for 3-account naming scheme
- Then, whenever you pay your GST amounts to the government, enter this in Liabilities:GST:Payments.
Directions for 4-account naming scheme
The following are things to note for the four-account naming scheme:
- Not necessary, but recommended is full set of business accounts (of which I use the names here)
The following are directions for the processes you may follow:
- Invoices: Just select "GST" as your tax table for each transaction
Appearance and printing of Invoices etc.
- The default options are found starting at about line 241, which looks like this
- and finishing at about line 325 which looks like this
- Jonnybal 07:57, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Q: How do I remove the Tax column?
- Set the following section in lines 276 to 279 to FALSE (that is #f instead of #t). This means your invoices won't display a tax column for all the line items.
- Jonnybal 07:57, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Q: My business does not charge tax. How do I remove the Tax total line?
- To make this change permanent edit invoice.scm or fancy-invoice.scm as follows. In my invoice.scm its the section beginning at line 286.
Q: I have turned off the Tax Total line. How do I remove the Sub Total line?
- A: In my invoice.scm, its the section beginning at line 419. You will see I have commented out some lines to remove the subtotal line.
Q: Can I print Invoices through LaTeX from GnuCash?
- A: No, not directly. However, other users have created separate tools that can do this for you: http://stefans.datenbruch.de/gnucash/gc2latex.shtml and https://foss.heptapod.net/accounting/gcinvoice. The latter can create invoices from arbitrary user provided templates, not only for LaTeX.
Using Multiple Currencies
A: This probably happens because you have a currency conflict within your invoice or bill.
- To prevent the problem, follow the instructions in the next answers:
Q: How can I set up a customer or supplier in a foreign currency?
A: To set up customers and vendors in foreign currencies do the following:
- If you use multiple currencies with a single Customer, you have two choices:
Q: How can I fix invoices or bills already posted in the wrong currency?
A: To correct this problem with already-posted invoices, do the following:
- Find the invoice. Edit it.
- Unpost the invoice. Click OK at the confirmation dialog
- Click on the Billing Information tab. Look at the value for Currency there.
- If this currency value reveals that you selected the wrong Customer entry, then don't make a change here. (This may occur if you have multiple Customer entries for one multi-currency customer, each with a different currency setting.) Instead:
- Click Cancel to dismiss the Edit Customer dialog.
- Click the "Edit Invoice" button in the toolbar. The Edit Invoice dialog appears.
- Click the "OK" button. The Edit Invoice dialog disappears. Your invoice currency is now corrected.
- Check the Accounts listed in the Income Account column. Verify that each one is in the correct currency for the invoice. Make this check as follows:
- Look at the name of the account.
- Then click on the Accounts tab just below the toolbar. The Accounts list appears.
- Find the account in the list. Select it.
- Click the "Edit" button in the toolbar. The Edit Account dialog appears.
- Under Identification... Security/Currency, check that the currency setting is correct.
- Click the OK button. The Edit Account dialog disappears.
- In the "Post to Account" field, confirm that the Accounts Receivable account selected has the correct currency. If it does not, correct it as follows:
- Under Identification... Security/Currency, check that the currency setting is correct.
- Fill out the other fields (Account name, account code, etc) for the account.
- Click the "OK" button. The New Account dialog disappears.
- Click the OK button. GnuCash posts the invoice.
- In the toolbar, click "Close" to close the invoice.
- GnuCash Bugzilla entries relating to this FAQ entry:
Q: I have a small business in Norway. How do I use GnuCash to meet Norwegian standards?
- A: There is a special page on Accounting your Business in Norway.
Q: Is GnuCash compliant with standards of UK Authorities?
- A: There is a special page on GB/PAS 76
Q: How do I change "Invoice" to "Tax Invoice" as required in Australia?
Other known business issues
Q: Something is messed up in my invoices/payments/credit notes. How do I fix this?
Q: Can you recommend a book on Accounting?
Q: What are debits and credits?
Q: How do I record my income tax installments and year-end payment/refund?
- Let me illustrate by the way of example. First, I'll make some assumptions:
- Year end is December 31, 2004
- Monthly installments of $100.00 are required to be paid
- The tax return is completed and filed on March 31, 2005 along with a cheque for the balance payable
- You will need to add the following three accounts, if you don't already have them.
- Income taxes payable (Liability account)
- Income taxes receivable (Asset account)
- Income tax expense (Expense account)
Q: How do I use GnuCash to calculate VAT?
- A: Frequently discussed on the mailing list, someone please copy answer here...
- "UK company VAT account structure, updated"
- "Handling GST and PST from Credit Card transactions"
Q: How do I use GnuCash to do depreciation?
- A: Please check the chapter about depreciation in the Concept Guide
Q: Is there a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) who uses GnuCash in my area?
- A: If you are an accountant or bookkeeper, add your name and contact info here.
Q: What's a T-account? What's double-entry?
Q: Is there a way to schedule billing the same way we schedule transactions?
- A: No, unfortunately, the business features don't tie into the SX engine.
Q: How do I account for loaning/borrowing money to/from a friend?
- Assets:Money Owed To Me:[Person]
- Liabilities:Money I Owe To:[Person]
Q: How do I keep track of capital gains with stocks?
- See these mailing list messages (and other messages in these threads) for further reference:
Q: What is meant by year-end closing procedures?
Developing GNUCash: Source Code Overview
Q: I heard it is too hard to compile GnuCash!
Q: Ok, what devel packages do I need in order to compile GnuCash?
- A: Instructions for building GnuCash can be found at Building. There, you will find references to OS-specific building instructions.
Q: Why is GnuCash written in C?
Q: Why don't you rewrite GnuCash in programming language xyz so that I can contribute easily?
Q: Can I read the doxygen files documenting the API offline?
- A: At first make sure Doxygen is installed on your machine. After you downloaded and configured (
cmake ...) the GnuCash sources, you can callor
- and then you can open src/doc/html/index.html.
Q: Can I run GnuCash already in the build dir?
- A: Usually you will run make install first and the run GnuCash. But you can also use "gnucash-build-env" to set up the right environment to run from the build dir. So you would need to run:
Q: How do I run GnuCash under gdb and get a stack trace?
- A: See Stack Trace for instructions on running GnuCash under gdb to get a stack trace.
Q: Why does GnuCash depend on Gnome?
- A: GnuCash uses specific Gnome libraries for the following features:
- printing (gnomeprint)
- configuration storage (gsettings (since 2.6)/gconf (2.4 and before))
- graphing (goffice)
- UI support (libgnomeui)
- HTML rendering (gtkhtml)
- Help (yelp)