by Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
Archives by Month

Warning Signs: Is Your QuickBooks File Getting Too Big?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Have you ever had a dream where you desperately needed to run fast (you’re being chased by Sasquatch, say) but your feet just won’t go? Your feet can only go in slow motion?

Is your QuickBooks file slow as molasses?If some of your QuickBooks reports seem stuck in molasses, or it’s taking a minute or more to save an invoice, that’s about as fun as a bad dream.

Performance problems in QuickBooks are one warning sign that your QuickBooks data file is probably getting too big. (How big is too big? We’ll look at that in a minute.)

Another warning sign is when you get random errors or crashes in QuickBooks. It doesn’t crash ALL the time, and you can’t reproduce the problem whenever you want (as if you want to!) But QuickBooks sometimes flakes out and crashes. This is probably related to the file being oversized.

Or maybe there IS one particular process that QuickBooks consistently fails on (backing up, verifying, rebuilding, and upgrading are the most common.) Since we troubleshoot these kinds of database problems all the time, we see lots of QuickBooks data files, and many of the files with these kinds of problems happen to be very large files.  In my opinion, that’s no coincidence.

Here are some comments QuickBooks users have made to us about their large files:

  • “Speed has degraded over the years and causes systems to lock up.”
  • “slow due to too much data”
  • “slowness, occasional crashes”
  • “Generally slow but the file is so huge that when we try to do a tax report it crashes every time”
  • “Cannot upgrade because file size is so big”
  • “Data file is really big, very large number of DB file fragments, cash reports take a LONG time to run, some reports won’t export to excel at all”

So, how big is too big?

Some say that 100MB is the effective upper limit for QuickBooks Pro or Premier files. I don’t agree with that; we talk to people with files in the 100-200MB range all the time who are doing alright.

Really, the proof is in the pudding. If QuickBooks is performing well for you – consistently fast and stable – then your file size is probably fine. Especially if it’s under 250MB. If it’s not performing well, then there’s a good chance it’s getting as unhealthy as that poor guy in the “Supersize Me” video.

Enterprise Series is designed for more simultaneous users, more transactions, bigger lists, and larger files. How big is too big for Enterprise? Again, it’s not a hard line, and the most important issue is how well it is performing. I’d say if the file is bigger than 750MB, or is running into performance/stability issues, then you might look at options to bring the file size down.

What options?  What can be done if my file is showing warning signs?

You can run the Cleanup command in QuickBooks (aka Archive/Condense). This will bring the file size down some, but in many cases not enough to make a difference.

We can supercondense the file, which can reduce its size by 50%.

Or you (or us, or others) can recreate your file from scratch, creating a blank new file and bringing selective information from the old file into the new file. File size reduction of 90% is common here.

The main thing is this: If the performance or stability of your file is becoming suspect, it is good to be proactive and take steps to address the problem sooner rather than later. “Later” in that scenario often becomes “crisis”.

About the author: Shannon Tucker is an accounting database specialist and the President of AccountingUsers, Inc. You can reach him at 719-395-8750 or

2 Responses to Warning Signs: Is Your QuickBooks File Getting Too Big?

    About Your Host:

    Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

    Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
    QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert

    I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.

    QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

    Top QuickBooks blogs to read in 2018
    We've been selected by TSheets as a Top QuickBooks blog to read in 2018!
    Stay updated!

    Sign up to receive our latest QuickBooks Tips, Tricks & News via email:

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    We promise NOT to sell, rent, or otherwise distribute your name and email address!

    FREE 30-Day Trials

    Request FREE 30-day Trials of QuickBooks add-ons for Certified Payroll, AIA Billing & Payroll Wage Management. Save time and increase accuracy on time-consuming error prone tasks; so you get paid on time!

    Free 30 day trials of QuickBooks integrated add-ons for certified payroll, aia billing and weighted-average overtime

    Certified Payroll Training:
    Learn how to complete a Certified Payroll (Prevailing Wage) Report and fulfill your reporting requirements - 2 hour recorded webinar - $99.99. Click here for more info.

    certified payroll requirements webinar
    QuickBooks Training

    Frustrated with QuickBooks?

    QuickBooks Premier ContractorLearn how to get the MAXIMUM possible results from QuickBooks in your construction business! Visit our new QuickBooks training website, Learn to use QuickBooks in your construction business.

    QuickBooks Time Tracking

    Save 10%/FREE 14-day trial!

    QuickBooks Time Tracker