How Well Does the New QuickBooks 2012 Condense Feature Work?


QuickBooks 2012 introduced a new approach to condensing large QuickBooks data files. How well does the new condense feature work? And how does it compare to the results given by third party data condensing services, like those of AccountingUsers, Inc.?

We did some tests to find out.

We used the new condense function in QuickBooks 2012 (using either QuickBooks 2012 Premier Accountant Edition, or Enterprise Accountant 12) and recorded the results. We then ‘supercondensed’ those same original files. We tested “apples to apples” for seven separate QBW files. Some files were QuickBooks Pro and some were Enterprise.

Results? For 3 of the 7 files we tested, the QuickBooks condense function performed pretty well. Those files were reduced in size by 57%, 58% and 73%. When we supercondensed those same (original) files, we reduced the size of the files by 85%, 69%, and 75% respectively.

For another 3 files, the condense command in QuickBooks crashed and could not complete. For all 3 of those files, we were able to supercondense the files, with file size reductions of 74%, 83%, and 87%.

Why did the built-in condense command in QuickBooks crash for those files? We don’t know. We were watching the Windows performance monitors of CPU and memory usage during the attempted condense, and QuickBooks had plenty of computing headroom during the attempted process. Of the files that crashed, one was a 1.6GB Enterprise file, one was a 2.4GB Enterprise file and one was a 400MB Pro file.

In one case, the error message said to rebuild the file and try again. We did. When we tried the condense command afterwards, it crashed again with the same error.

Our last test file had quirky results. The QuickBooks condense command reduced the file size by only 15% but our supercondense method reduced the file size by 95%. Somehow the built-in condense command could only remove 2K transactions, whereas our method removed 131K transactions. This was for a QuickBooks Pro file. The difference in outcomes was extreme but the client was happy with the results we provided — that’s the main thing.

Bottom line: The new condense feature in QuickBooks 2012 definitely works better than the previous versions’ Clean Up command, and in some cases works well. But with some data files it runs into problems and the need remains for third party QuickBooks data condensing services.

15 thoughts on “How Well Does the New QuickBooks 2012 Condense Feature Work?

  • Willy
    First of all you should be performing this task on the machine where the QuickBooks data file lives – if the QuickBooks program isn’t installed on that machine, make a backup and restore it on the local machine – in other words don’t try and do this across the network.

    You can also try the tips found in this post – and if that doesn’t work, you need to hire a professional. I recommend Shannon Tucker, who is an accounting database specialist and the President of AccountingUsers, Inc. You can reach him at 719-395-8750 or

  • Willy

    I am trying to Condense my file in QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Accounting 12.0 and always apper the next message: “QuickBooks encountered en error and was unable to succesfully complete de Condense process. Your company has been restored to its original state.”

    and the process does not finish.

    What can I do?

  • Bruce McConnell


    Karl’s q2q is how I got to this point, as I was intrigued with utilities designed to overcome this problem…
    Just getting through step one to ready the file for BBTU and hopefully DTU is where I am getting stumped by Qbks. Of course they always apologize ‘for the inconvenience”..
    I will rebuild again-and keep you posted.
    Appreciate having someone to help make me feel like I am not alone on this issue.

  • Bruce, one of these folks should be able to help. Good luck, you are in a tough position. Can you do a full Rebuild (File menu -> Utilities -> Rebuild Data) of your data file without any errors or problems? If so you might also want to look into some tools by Karl Irvin, he offers some really great tools, but it’s my understanding that your data file has to be in pristine shape.

  • Bruce McConnell

    Thanks. had crash # 3 just trying to get rid of ALL transactions in step one.
    Then tried ‘partial’removal/condense…same thing.
    Will make contact as suggested to see what if anything I can do besides tudge through IIF file import/exort cleanup, with no history/transactions.

  • Bruce McConnell

    I am currently struggling through same issue with 1.5G file in Ent 12.0. I can see that QBKs will still not get me to reach my ultimate objective. Looking into some 3rd party utility programs for BBal and Data transfer, but need to compress file first to use. Mostly wanting to preserve 1 year for comparison purposes, without he last 10 yrs of unneeded data in the file to keep clogging it up. Seem to be trapped in the ‘All or None’ game. If Qb cannot do reliably, then what steps have others taken.

  • LOL Charlie to the “same track”. I’ve experienced both the crashes and the integrity of the numbers afterwards when I tried it with our own file as my test file. It makes me very concerned, to say the least. I see so many people recommending this new condense {or offering to do the service}. My own personal preference and recommendation at this point it to send the file to the folks who have a proven track record.

  • Hah, Nancy, looks like we were on the same track! I hadn’t seen your article, and just a few days later I wrote one on the same topic (

    Shannon focuses on the degree of shrinking, but that is not the only concern. I hadn’t run into “crashes” like what have been reported here, but in my simple tests I came up with some results that make me worry about the integrity of the resulting compressed data as well. Even if we shrink the file, if the resulting data isn’t good then it isn’t worthwhile.

    I think that in many cases I’m still going to rely on a good third party service, such as Shannon’s, to do the job.

  • Hi Nancy:

    I had similar results. It worked great in Premier and not at all in Enterprise. I contacted support and they told me it was a known problem with Enterprise 2012. I just kept getting the screen that told me to rebuild. I was not successful in condensing the Enterprise file at all. Strange that it doesn’t work as well in the higher end product.

  • Karen,
    I agree, overall the new feature is a big improvement over previous years. But there are still some issues left – I ran into some problems while testing it on our own file and some of my own “test files” – it was one of the reasons I asked Shannon his opinion and I’m so happy that he shared his results!

  • We have had a few clients contact us after the condense feature in 2012 did not work for them. But overall we have heard from consultants and clients that the condense feature in 2012 is a big improvement over prior years.

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