How does Moneydance on the second laptop know that there sync files on the first laptop?

jrs.subs's Avatar


07 Jan, 2018 07:25 AM

I am a long time Moneydance user and have just upgraded my laptop and my husbands to the latest version. And I moved the datafile to the local hard drive as recommended. On the second laptop, I completely uninstalled all previous versions before installing the latest version. When I try to set up a new account using Dropbox folder, it does not see the datafile on his laptop.

The instructions say: "Then select "Open Synced File" and proceed to select the same sync method as selected on the first system. You'll then be prompted to select the data set you'd like to sync."

Does the first user need to give the second user access to the dropbox file that Moneydance automatically creates for Dropbox folder sharing to work? How is the second computer supposed to even know that there is a data set on the first computer that is being shared?

  1. 1 Posted by derekkent23 on 07 Jan, 2018 08:39 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.

    The most flexible sync method is Dropbox Folder.
    This approach is described in
    You need to have Dropbox client using the same Dropbox account installed on both computers.
    Set up this way both computer can see the folder used to sync data “.moneydancesync”.
    Can you confirm this is how your computers are set up?

    Moneydance 2017 has an inbuilt sync engine which allows you to work on the same data set on two computers and on mobile devices at different or even at the same time.

    You have a number of options regarding the syncing method. The syncing method “Shared Folder” is not discussed here. The other two syncing methods need a Dropbox Account, at least the free version. The best and most flexible option is called “Dropbox Folder”. However, if you did not purchase direct, but purchased through Apple, due to one of the restrictions Apply impose on Moneydance, you will have to use “Dropbox Connect” in the following steps. Dropbox Folder requires you to download and install Dropbox Client on all your computers.
    The following is an explanation given by Sean the software developer regarding these two syncing methods, Dropbox Folder and Dropbox Connection.
    “With "Dropbox Connection" Moneydance uses the Dropbox API to talk to the Dropbox service directly. So, you don't need to have Dropbox client actually installed on your computer, but you do need to be online when Moneydance is running in order for changes to be synced. With "Drobox Folder" Moneydance will just read and write files to your Dropbox folder on your computer, which means that you need to have Dropbox client installed and running, but you don't need to be online in order for Moneydance to read and write the changes.”

    When syncing with 2017 you have a primary and a secondary computer. The data set is stored in the default location on the hard drive of your primary computer. See under HELP – SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER. Your data set is a folder not a file. It contains other folders and files. The data set folder is named yourdatasetname.moneydance. In later build of 2017 you are prompted to allow Moneydance to automatically move your data set to the default location if Moneydance detects you have your data set in Dropbox or on another cloud server. If you don’t allow your data to be moved it may become corrupted! DON’T STORE YOUR DATA SET IN DROPBOX or any other shared drive.

    Your second computer does not have the same data set as the primary computer. Its data set is created from data synced via Dropbox folder “.moneydancsync” created automatically by the primary computer. If you are using “Dropbox Connect” and don’t have Dropbox Client installed you can only view the folder Moneydance creates as part of syncing by logging into your Dropbox account.
    The folder “.moneydancesync” may be hidden, so if you are looking for it set whatever your file explorer is called to show hidden File/Folders. The data set has the same naming convention as the primary data set and is stored in the default location on the secondary computer’s hard drive, but it’s not a duplicate of the primary data set. They are not interchangeable. In normal operation Moneydance on your devices reads and writes to the Dropbox folder “.moneydancesync”, creating small transaction files (mdtxn files) in such a way that there should never be any conflicts (at least not to any important files). Filenames are unique and the data is encrypted using your sync key (“Encryption Passphrase”). All changes are recorded in this folder and if any of the changes cause conflicts then they are resolved by checking timestamps that are internal to the file (i.e. not the file modification date).

    Hope this helps.

  2. 2 Posted by dwg on 07 Jan, 2018 09:05 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    G'day Derek,

    I believe the users in this instance may each have their own dropbox account.

    As we know the instructions written by IK assume there is a single dropbox account. However I believe there is a method that can be used that allows each user to have their own dropbox account but also to meet Moneydance's requirement that there be a single shared location. The following thread talks about the configuration:


  3. 3 Posted by jrs.subs on 07 Jan, 2018 10:22 AM

    jrs.subs's Avatar

    Thank you so much - the key was sharing the moneydance sync dropbox folder with the second user.

  4. jrs.subs closed this discussion on 07 Jan, 2018 10:22 AM.

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