This quick tip coincides with a tip I wrote last year called the Magical Title Bar (click here to read it…and it is a MUST read tip) . However, since I run into many Quicken users who "lose" data, I thought it was time to give Quicken users a tip of their own to help decrease anxiety and increase productivity with this truly legendary program.
When I get the frantic call or show up and see the disgruntled facial expressions, I smile inside knowing that I will almost always be able able to pull their data from their perceived digital hell. And I don't do anything magic, I simply employ the use of the Title Bar and Quicken's "recently used document list". My first question, is "When did you last backup?", followed by "When did you notice that your data was different?"
Then I ask the toughest question of all, "What is the name of your Quicken file?" The last question is usually met with a blank stare by the distraught Quicken user. But here's why the question is an important one; knowing the proper name of the file you are supposed to be working with will help you totally avoid the situation of lost data.
It starts again with the title bar. Take a look at the title bar that I placed in this tip. Like all title bars, it contains (from left to right) the logo of the program, the name of the program, and most imporantly the name of the file you currently have open. Since Quicken encourages users to backup and by default makes backups of your data on its own to a folder called "Backup" in your Quicken folder, keeping a quick eye on the title bar EVERY time you open Quicken is critical. Because of the automatic backups, a Quicken user may accidentally open a backup copy of their data and then start entering new data into it, then open the original copy later and think the original data is lost. For these automatic backups, Quicken will add either a numeral or date to the original name of the file to distinguish it from the main file.
So, when data seems lost, first look at the title bar and see if one of the backup files appears to be open, then click File from the menus and look at the recently opened documents (there will be up to four) listed at the bottom of the file menu. Carefully look at these recently opened documents and choose the one that should be the correct one.
If you might have been working in a backup file, I recommend doing two things:
- Move the most current file to the primary Quicken folder (usually in My Documents)
- Using Quicken's "File Operations" option in the File menu, delete your old file and rename the most current file to something that is descriptive and has NO numbers. Something like "Joe's Checking and Savings Account"
Once you have located and properly named your data file, make sure you glance at the title bar of Quicken EVERY time you open it to make sure that you are working in the proper file. And backup your data file frequently!