Quicken Archive Command

Archiving financial data is a personal preference and not a requirement (although backing up regularly is!). Some Quicken users create an archived copy of their data at the end of each year, but you might decide to archive part of the data file once it's a few years old.

The archive command in Quicken makes a copy of transactions prior to and including a date you specify. You don't lose any transactions since archiving in this software does not split the archived transactions off from the original data file. Before you begin, be sure you're working with the data file you want to archive. If you've only been using one data file, this isn't an issue.

How Quicken Archive Works and Getting Started

Start the Archive Process for Quicken Data.

Note: If you're using an older Quicken version, you'll see the Year End Copy window that's displayed on this page. More recent versions display the image in Step 2 of this tutorial.

Start the Quicken File Archive Process

If you're using an older Quicken version:

  1. In Quicken, click on File on the upper left, then File Operations
  2. Click on Year-End Copy
  3. Select Archive and click OK

If you're using a newer Quicken version, you will see the Create a Year End Copy window with two options:

  1. Select this to archive your data while keeping all transactions in your data file: Current Data file, select Do Nothing. My current data file will remain unchanged.
  2. Select this option with a date to remove older transactions from your data file at the same time you archive: I only want transactions in my current data file starting with this date. In the future, you can access transactions that have been cut from your data file by opening the archive file.

Set a File Name and Location for the Archived File

How to archive a Quicken data file.
Quicken 2013 Archive Options for Data Files.

Older Quicken Versions: Quicken assigns a name to the archive file by putting the last two digits of the year at the end of the file name.

Newer Versions: Quicken adds BKP to the file name.

You can change the file name and location no matter what year your version of Quicken is.

Naming a Quicken archive file:

  • Data file names begin with a slash and end with .QDF. Enter a new file name directly between the slash and .QDF.
  • These characters can't be used in file names: * ? | " : \ / .
  • Just as most people accept Quicken's default file name, most simply accept the file location as well. You can change the location by clicking on Browse next to the file name, then navigating your computer's file structure to the location that you want the archive saved in. If you want to save the archive on a CD, USB or other external media source, choose the drive letter after you click Browse. To save the archive file to an online backup service, choose the file folder and/or drive letter your service uses. If you can't figure this out, just save the archive file to your desktop, then move it to the backup service folder or application.
  • Quicken attachments will be archived only if there is enough space available on your computer.

Choose the Date for the Quicken Archive File

Newer and older versions of Quicken archive command windows.
Date Options in Quicken Archive Command. Screen Shot Created by Shelley Elmblad

If you have a newer version of Quicken and you selected the "Do nothing" option discussed in Step 1, follow these instructions. If you selected the other option, skip to the next step.

If you are using an earlier version of Quicken, follow these instructions:

  • Either accept Quicken's archive date for "archive data up to and including" or change the date to archive transactions occurring before and on a date you specify.
  • You can click in the date box and type in a new date.
  • Or, click on the calendar symbol to the right of the date box, then use the arrows on either side of the month to navigate forward and back through the calendar. When you get to the month you want, just click on the day of the month to fill in the date.

Save the Archive File

Shot of a young woman using a laptop while relaxing at home
PeopleImages/Getty Images

Click on OK and the archive file will save. When Quicken finishes saving the file, you will be asked if you want to use the current file or the archive file. You will probably want to continue using the current file, but it's a good idea to select the archive file so you can click around to ensure that your data has been saved according to the choices you made through the archive procedure.

If you choose to take a look at the archive file, you can return to your original data file by clicking on File, then choosing the original file from the list near the bottom of the choices that appear in the pop-up window.

Warning! Don't Change the Archive!

You should not make changes to transactions in a Quicken archive file, just to your original data file. You can ensure that no changes are made in error by setting a transaction password, which will allow for viewing the data but no changes can be made without entering the password. You can also set a file password so that no one else can view the file or make changes to it.