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Pocket Quicken

Pocket Quicken

Take Control of Your Pocket Quicken File

I have been using Pocket Quicken (PQ) since the 200LX was released in August 1994 and have a pretty good system for interfacing the palmtop and desktop. I have stayed with Quicken for Windows 3.0 on my desktop, since this version does all I need and is still fully compatible with PQ files. Quicken for Windows 4.0 is the last version of Quicken to have this compatibility.

I keep a full Quicken file on my desktop going back eight years or so. My palmtop gets ALL of my entries, but I only keep a three or four month moving "window" in its file. Once my file size climbs to around 200K, I pare it down to the last three months of data and drop the file size to around 110K.

To merge in all my new transactions from palmtop to desktop, I remove my flash card and put it into my Windows 95 machine's SCM Swapbox. The flash card holds the latest backup copy of my PQ file, but I always keep the working file on the RAM disk for speed. Windows 95 recognizes the card as a hard disk and sets it up as the E: drive. I then run the HP Connectivity Pack's merge function to take the last two months of data directly from the flash card. I only take two months because there are balance forwards sitting three months back in the palmtop file and they will throw the balance off.

If you do not have a PCMCIA drive, transfer your PQ file to your desktop's hard drive and merge from there. Do not try to merge or synchronize over a cable connection as data corruption can occur.

The problem with trimming PQ files is that they don't decrease in size. They are supposed to re-use the new space created by the trim for new transactions, but I have not seen that in my use. The file just continues to grow.

Here is my procedure for paring down the file size:

  1. 1. Run Trim to remove everything before three months back.
  2. 2. Make a new blank PQ file in C:\TEMP called XFER. (It's best to use the RAM disk instead of a flash disk for the increased speed.)
  3. 3. Export my checking account file from C:\TEMP to a file called TEMP sending all categories and accounts.
  4. 4. Open XFER and import TEMP.
  5. 5. From here I have macros that handle all the keystrokes for import/export. I go to my just-trimmed PQ file, cursor to the account to export and hit the export macro. When the macro ends, I'm in XFER. I cursor to the account to import into and hit the import macro.
  6. 6. Finally, I run another macro several times to upgrade the last reconciled balances of several accounts in my new file.
  7. 7. I now have two identical files, XFER and the original, except the original is bloated and inefficient. It gets deleted, then XFER is renamed and I'm done.
MACROS

The following are the macros I use. They should be entered as one line in the macro application.

Export to TEMP Place the cursor over the account you want export and run this macro. You will need to modify the date window to start before the latest trim's cutoff date and after the last transaction in your file.

{Menu}{Enter}e{Tab}12/15/96{Tab}4/15/97{Tab}{Alt+O}{F10}c:\temp\temp{F10}{F10}{Menu}{Enter}oc:\temp\xfer{F10}

Import to XFER Place the cursor over the account in the XFER file that you want to import into and run this macro. Change "oldfile" to the name of your PQ file.

{Menu}{Enter}ic:\temp\temp {F10}{Alt+A}{F10}{Menu}{Enter}oc:\quicken\oldfile{F10}

Balance update Place the cursor over the account you want to update in XFER. Switch to the original file, place the cursor over the same account and run this macro.

{Enter}{Menu}ae{Shift+Tab} {Copy}{F9}{Esc}{Menu}{Enter}oc:\temp\xfer{Enter}{Enter}{Menu}ae{Shift+Tab}{Paste}{Tab}{Paste}{F10}{F10}{Enter}{Esc}

Mitch Hamm

mitch@palmtop.net

iPhone Life magazine


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