I just switched from Quicken to Money Manager EX for tracking my personal finances. Here’s what it took to transfer the data.
Should you try?
Migrating data between the two apps isn’t perfect. If you rarely refer to previous years, consider leaving your data in Quicken. You can still open Quicken and refer to past years even if you can’t import new transactions. This is the easiest option.
However, if you can set aside a few hours to import the data and make the manual corrections (outlined below), consider the benefits.
- You can access to all your financial data in one application.
- You don’t have to remember the date you switched apps in order to find an old transaction.
- You can easily compare spending between the current year and past years.
- Your financial data is future-proofed by moving to an open source application and file format rather than a license-locked product.
Step 1: Export to QIF
QIF is an older file format for Quicken but the one you want to use when moving to Money Manager EX. Unlike the newer Quicken Transfer Format (QXF), QIF is free of patents and license fees, and supported by Money Manager EX. Here’s the steps to export QIF from Quicken Deluxe 2017 for Windows.
- Open Quicken
- File > Export > QIF File…
- Under “Quicken account to export from” choose <All account>
- Under “Include in export” choose all the check boxes:
- Memorized payee
- Account list
- Security list
- Category list
- Choose OK
Step 2: Setup new database
Make sure you are using Money Manager 1.3.5 or later. Older versions won’t import categories from Quicken.
- Open Money Manager EX (version 1.3.5 or later for best results).
- Choose File > New Database.
- Select a file location to save your database.
- Choose Next.
- Choose your base currency (for example “USD/United States dollar”). Also choose a user name.
- Choose Finish.
- In the Add Account Wizard choose Cancel. We want to import accounts rather than create them manually using this wizard.
The next steps delete the preset categories in your new database. If you leave them, you end up with a confusing mix of similar categories from Money Manager EX and Quicken. For example, “Bills” from Money Manager EX and “Bills & Utilities” from Quicken.
- Choose Tools > Organize Categories.
- Choose Expand.
- Manually select the last category and choose Delete repeatedly until all the categories and subcategories are cleared.
- Choose Cancel to close the Organize Categories window.
Step 3: Import
- Choose File > Import > QIF Files….
- Choose Choose file and open the file you exported from Quicken.
- Switch to the Data tab and look at the format of the Date column.
- Under Date Format, choose the date format that matches what you see in the Date column. For me (Quicken 2017, US-English), the Date Format was
- Confirm the Decimal Char matches the decimal character used in the Value column.
- Choose OK.
- Choose Yes to confirm creating missing accounts, payees and categories.
- Choose OK to dismiss.
- Choose Close to dismiss the QIF Import window.
Step 4: Manual corrections
This migration brings over the bulk of your financial data. But you are not finished yet.
Accounts and transactions
Below are some manual corrections I had to make at the time of this writing (June 2020 using version 1.3.5). Review the current list of import issues for other problems that might affect your import.
Edit initial balance for each account.
In the left pane, right click on the account and choose Edit Account. Here you can change the Initial Balance to match Quicken. Tip: You can enter simple calculations in Initial Balance box. Press Enter to solve the calculation.
Mark any closed accounts.
In the left pane, right click on the account and choose Edit Account. Change the account status.
Find and remove duplicate transfers (Bug report).
Look for duplicate transfers of same value and similar dates. In Money Manager EX, transfers begin with a greater or less than sign ("<" or “>") in the payee column. You can filter the transaction list by choosing View All Transactions > Advanced Filter, then choose Category > Transfer.
Fix split transactions with transfers (Bug report).
In my case I was able to narrow down the list of transactions by going to my Cash Account, then View All Transactions > Advanced Filter, then choose Type > Transfer To. The ATM transactions were fine, but I needed to investigate any cash withdraws that were combined with grocery receipts. I made a note of the dates for each of these and fixed them in the checking account.
Confirm final balances in each account.
Compare the balance columns in Quicken and Money Manager EX. The final balance should be the same. If it isn’t go backward to find where they differ.
Specify start of financial year.
From the main menu, choose Tools > Options. Then under General > Financial Year set “Start Month” as Jan. On my computer it showed as Jul initially. Unless you are doing finances for a company that doesn’t follow the calendar year, the start date should always be January 1. This affects the start date for yearly reports and filtering transactions by “current year.”
Your reports in Quicken are not transferred to Money Manager EX.
Money Manger Ex has several reports built in that may cover all your needs. However, you many want to review the list of reports you use in Quicken and recreate any you need in Money Manager EX. For example, I recreated a tax-related report.
Your budgets in Quicken are not transferred to Money Manager EX.
Your investments in Quicken are not transferred to the stock portfolios in Money Manager EX.
Bringing your old financial data into Money Manager EX may be worth it, if you have the time and need.
Import of QIF files makes a few mistakes (as of this writing) but the mistakes are easy to filter down to and fix.
Money Manger Ex has already made improvements to QIF import within the last month. I imagine it will continue to improve in the future.