The Vicissitudes of Quicken to Moneydance

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dantdavis

10 Nov, 2019 05:57 AM

Ok. I'm ready to move. I did the QIF dance (thankfully I'm still on Quicken 2017) and am majorly impressed by what I end up with in Moneydance.

There are two big issues that I currently see. (I've only been looking things over for an hour or so)

CASH BALANCES are wonky. YES - I know the "Initial balance" bit. All those are fine (now). Most credit cards, cash, and accounts that never interacted with other accounts are beautiful. But with 20 years of data, and with tons of investment accounts that came and went, transfers between accounts (like creating an account, and populating it with securities) totally mess up the cash balance.
This is a pretty big deal as it affects tons of my older accounts that should have a zero CASH balance, but scream "fix me"!

The securities, their amounts, and balances are fine. But Quicken has an "ADD-Shares Added" attribute which specifically says "add shares to this account without affecting the cash balance". I doubt the QIF file tells Moneydance this, so no blame, but sure enough a lot of negative cash balance occurs as the transaction "buys" these shares. In fact it is doubly bad, as it ends up being a BUYXFR in Moneydance, so that ends up doubling the cash change.

Another bit is an account charging an item to its own category. (i.e. a writeoff - I have a CAR category and occasionally depreciate the car by putting in a transaction that just writes off a few thousand bucks on it) - whatever the QIF sends causes Moneydance to create a CARX category that I guess "absorbs" the writeoff. Makes it difficult to figure out, again with years of data.

Thirdly - sometimes it seems the positive/negative is backwards for the Quicken QIF import - so what is a charge becomes a deposit or vice versa. This seems to be a well known issue here, but still a pain to reverse everything by hand. I tried the find/replace extension, but since values are different, it looks like I will have to do each of the "bad" accounts by hand.

As a point of order - what determines for an investment account what goes into register, bank register, and securities detail? Although these seem accurate (other than, again cash balances), I'm trying to figure out Moneydance's categorization for those three tabs.

Overall, I'm impressed, but with 20 years of data, there's a lot of cleanup (mostly cash balances) to do. I'm tempted to just have a transition day that has tons of entries of cash changes to zero and call it quits and move forward since most of the securities and credit cards and such are perfect, but I'm afraid that would ultimately give me nightmares.

Thoughts appreciated.

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  1. 31 Posted by dwg on 23 Nov, 2019 12:24 AM

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    "Actions of the Investment Transaction List" is the list I'm talking about, this is the list that is driving things in Investment accounts, it has been too many years for me to remember definitive if they all look like transaction and all get reflected in QIF files but I think they do. The list of activities that you get in Quicken are not all Actions, for example Corporate Name Change.

    It has been too long for me to remember much about bank type accounts in Quicken, they gave me little problem in migrating them, but in Moneydance registers the so called "Action" field is renamed "Cheque #" and has limited bearing on anything it is mainly a Text field ( there are some embedded instructions available) and you can even add your own text to the list. The bank type registers are little more than a table, with the data and where it appears determining what happens, you do not even have to use the terms DEP or WTH in the transactions, if you do they are just for human benefit.

  2. 32 Posted by dwg on 23 Nov, 2019 12:31 AM

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    FWIW I did my migration from Reckon, Reckon had long removed the export in QIF capability (don't want to make migration easy do we, or preferably even possible) so all was left was to export data as "Excel Compatible Files", translation: badly formatted CSV files, which for investments required a lot of manipulation in Excel to get the data usable and in a structure that could be exported into QIF files.

  3. 33 Posted by dantdavis on 23 Nov, 2019 04:17 AM

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    Thanks for the clarification. I continue to examine the situation.

    And yes, CSV is even worse than QIF.

  4. 34 Posted by dantdavis on 27 Nov, 2019 08:15 PM

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    Many of the Quicken action items don't transfer properly as to cash balances. I've mentioned a few.

    Another one is ContribX actions (to IRA accounts in Quicken). They end up in reverse sign in Moneydance... i.e. the contribution in the account records as a negative cash balance, and in the bank account as a positive value (even though the bank sent the money to the IRA account)

    I can show this via pictures if necessary, but my question is: what is the proper way to resolve this overall - given there are a LOT of IRA contributions over the years.

    I can do this either preprocess (i.e. massage in Quicken) or post-process (i.e. massage in Moneydance). Of course I can't do anything about the import process itself.

    Thoughts appreciated.

  5. 35 Posted by dantdavis on 28 Nov, 2019 05:53 AM

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    This is as much for me as anyone else, as I clean up my files to transfer to Moneydance.

    There are three ways to clean up a transfer, pre-processing (i.e. change your Quicken items to make Moneydance happy), import processing (have the QIF importer do the import in such a way as to fix what isn’t proper), or post processing (i.e. change Moneydance items after the import to make things right).

    First, let me say that the QIF importer from the Quicken QIF file to Moneydance is impressive.
    For me, any accounts which don’t interact with my investment accounts are perfect.
    Credit cards are immaculate, isolated bank accounts are perfect.
    If you don’t have Quicken investment accounts, your import probably went great.

    Even for investment accounts, all investments (stocks, bonds, and so on) – fantastic.
    All correct, at least for me.

    Here’s my issue – Quicken allows LOTS of action exceptions in investments. And one in particular for regular accounts. Moneydance frowns at these. Mostly, the result is that money balances end up being very wonky. Like instead of net worth being POSITIVE $$, it ends up being NEGATIVE $$ in Moneydance.

    So, if over 20 years or so, you just “went with” Quicken, here’s what you may (and I definitely did) have done wrong, according to Moneydance.

    THINGS QUICKEN LET ME DO WRONG

    1. This is the non-investment item. You can put as the category, not a category item, but the account itself… i.e. you just put the account in where normally you’d have a category. I did this often as a note (the charge was zero), or as a write-off… take 10000 off the value of my car, no category, just put it against the account. --- This is a no-no in Moneydance. [They do handle this by creating a bank account called ACCOUNTX, which holds all those values, but hey, it was intended as a write-off – not a new bank account showing you still have that $10000 from your twelve year old car…)
    2. The rest are investment issues. MANY of the actions in Quicken don’t translate to Moneydance – ADDED/REMOVED, DEPOSIT/WITHDRAWAL, (this and that). Let’s deal with what were the major ones (at least for me).
    3. In trying to clean up, my major task was to make all my non-investment accounts “cool”. As I’ve mentioned, the ones that never interacted with investment accounts were cool already. It was the ones that interacted with investments that were a problem. Turns out – Cash Transferred Into/Out of Account (XIN/XOUT) was my friend. Although it took hours, changing any “CASH TRANSACTIONS” to this action type fixed many problems. (Note – I’m doing pre-processing – changing the items in Quicken before the import)
    4. I’ve also created a slush money bank account. Quicken allows you to magically create new funds, new stock shares, etc. with ADDED. It does make sense to me – most of my ADDED were at the “beginning of time” (i.e. when I started using Quicken). Moneydance wants to know where the money came from. So, I just created a potentially infinite bank account with an arbitrary starting value which I keep adjusting. Moneydance thinks that’s cool.
    5. So, I’m currently at the point where all my bank accounts, credit cards, loans are perfect. My investment accounts all have the proper stocks and bonds in them. My balances in my regular bank accounts are cool. It’s just my IRAs that still have funky negative balances. – I can’t use the XIN/XOUT “fix everything” rule – because Quicken IRA accounts insist on those being CONTRIBX entries, which Moneydance doesn’t like. And you CANNOT make a Quicken IRA account a regular account.

    So, I hope to amend this message soon, but maybe this will help someone with a twenty-year history of data to massage it. There is a default answer – since Moneydance did everything else so well – just put in a ridiculously wrong value in the initial value field, live with crazy balances until the present day, and move forward.

    I just can’t do that, and I’m surprised that Moneydance, with all their “this is so wrong in Quicken” accounting principles, seems to think that’s ok.

    So, I continue – IRAs are all that seems to be left to pursue, and then I’m gold.

    I DO plan to move to Moneydance. They’ve done so much so well. But even with the QIF import issues, I now see they could do even better. (Please note: I am VERY aware of the "we can only do what is in the QIF file" limitation. None of my comments above are unaware of this issue.)

    Please note my 1:15pm post on Nov 27 - that's my current action item!

  6. 36 Posted by dwg on 28 Nov, 2019 07:00 AM

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    For me at least you would need to outline how ContribX works in Quicken. This is not something that was in the localized version.

    Does it just transfer the funds from another account and place it in the investment account, Does it transfer the funds then buy a security or ....

  7. 37 Posted by dantdavis on 30 Nov, 2019 07:50 PM

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    [@dwg - Working on a comprehensive discussion of how ContribX works in Quicken and it's impact on a Moneydance import. Hope to post soon.]

    New question:
    Is there any way to easily bring up the raw QIF file import window? (i.e. as if you never created a moneydance file and this is first use)

    I have used the File/New, minimal accounts methodology, but when you import, many of the accounts are not exposed on the SideBar. Given I'm doing a lot of massaging, I have been importing many times per day, and this issue got quite tiring.

    (This is a concern, but I did find a workaround which is to delete the raw last opened moneydance file such that there is no remembered open file, which elicits the initial menu screen, but it seems like there should be a File/Close or something which would allow the same.)

  8. 38 Posted by dwg on 30 Nov, 2019 08:35 PM

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    My Question about ContribX was in order to understand the nature of how Quicken is processing the transaction in order to understand exactly what sort of transaction it is.

    Quicken has quite a number of transactions which are fundamentally the same, some just differ in that they force the assignment of a specific category, some just seem to be there to create an action name that matches the transaction.

    Accounts not appearing the side bar happens from time to time, easy to fix just use the + sign at the bottom of the sidebar and select what accounts you want added to add to the sidebar.

  9. 39 Posted by dantdavis on 01 Dec, 2019 12:37 AM

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    I'm still sussing out contribx and quicken ira files. I have solved pretty much everything else via quicken pre-processing massaging. (i.e always use xin/xout vs anything like "check cashing" in investment accounts, as one example), which enables me to avoid problems with moneydance's decisions about qif importing.

    But with contribx and quicken iras, I'm stumped both ways (i.e. both quicken and moneydance are frustrating me). I'm stumped AT THE MOMENT, I usually figure things out eventually.

    --- Quicken frustration: you can create either an investment BROKERAGE account, or an investment IRA account. I can change things easily in the brokerage accounts. But Quicken insists any money entry into the IRA is Contribx, and any withdrawal is Withdraw (even if I change it to XIN/XOUT, doesn't help.) So I'm stuck with ADDED/REMOVE and CONTRIBX/WITHDRAW.

    --- Moneydance frustration: As I've mentioned before in this thread, Moneydance interprets those entries (however they appear in QIF - and yes, I'm about to dig into those files) in ways that just wreck havoc on the cash balances.

    I've enclosed pictures, but specifically (TRYING to be brief here),
    Moneydance takes ADDED/REMOVE, changes it to BuyXfr/Shrsin and DOUBLES the result. Buy/ShrsIn would at least fix the doubling. The rest is MagicMoney issues.
    Moneydance takes Contribx/Withdraw and creates TWO entries, which offset each other, resulting in a zero cash balance change.

    I've fixed this in brokerage accounts, by using XIN/XOUT in most cases, and creating a slush fund account for all the magic money. But at the moment, I'm stuck on how to change contribx (i.e. a contribution to an ira account), and if I change ADDED to Xin, it also becomes a contribx.

    Ok, I'm never brief. But I hope my explanation made sense.

  10. 40 Posted by dwg on 01 Dec, 2019 02:09 AM

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    The Quicken screen is not overly informative, it looks like a lot of what is going on is hidden, nothing new there!

    The key to understanding it and being able to potentially work out a way of dealing with these transaction is I think to see what Quicken writes to the QIF file for them.

  11. 41 Posted by dantdavis on 01 Dec, 2019 02:17 AM

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    That's where I'm headed - time to dig into the QIF files, I'm afraid.
    Probably not a "report back immediately" concept.

    OTOH, the bit about Moneydance doubling the entries for ADDED/REMOVED is troubling, but we've discussed that, so again, time to look into the QIF files.

    That said, it would be nice if Moneydance would weigh in, as they have already made these QIF import decisions, and could explain why they don't or can't compensate for Quicken idiosyncrasies.

  12. 42 Posted by dantdavis on 01 Dec, 2019 02:37 AM

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    I still have a lot of catchup on QIF format items before I can totally interpret this, but here are the pertinent entries from the pictures above - i.e. what Quicken tells Moneydance...

    !Account
    NDavis Parent IRA
    TInvst
    ^
    !Type:Invst
    D12/27' 4
    NShrsIn
    YS&P 500 Index Fund Member Shares
    I10.56
    Q1,138.244
    CR
    U12,019.86
    T12,019.86
    MIRA 1998/1999/2000: $2000, 2001: $1142, 2002: $1993, 2003: $288
    ^
    D12/29' 4
    NShrsIn
    YS&P 500 Index Fund Member Shares
    I18.180424
    Q7.826
    CR
    U142.28
    T142.28
    MReinvested Dividend @ 18.18 / SHARE
    ^
    D3/ 7' 5
    NBuy
    YS&P 500 Index Fund Member Shares
    I18.410007
    Q190.114
    CR
    U3,500.00
    T3,500.00
    M2004 CONTRIBUTION
    ^
    D3/ 7' 5
    NContribX
    P2004 CONTRIBUTION
    U3,500.00
    T3,500.00
    M2004 CONTRIBUTION
    L[Money Flux - Davis Parent IRA]
    $3,500.00
    ^
    D3/29' 5
    NReinvDiv
    YS&P 500 Index Fund Member Shares
    I17.460503
    Q5.127
    CR
    U89.52
    T89.52
    MREINVESTED DIVIDEND @ 17.46 /SHARE
    ^

    Again, lots of study (by me) necessary, but the result of SHRSIN being doubled and of a CONTRIBX being zeroed out will be at the top of my mind.

    btw - dwg - you may be "just a user", but you've been amazing in kibitzing on this important to me topic - keeping my finances over two decades in order. Thank you.

  13. 43 Posted by dwg on 01 Dec, 2019 04:44 AM

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    Ok Lets see what this is saying.

    The account is an investment account and is named Davis Parent IRA. The first three lines tells us this.

    The data you have fr each transactions is:

    D - Date
    N - Action
    Y - Security
    I - Price per unit/share
    Q - Quantity
    C - Cleared status
    U - Total Amount
    T - Total Amount
    M - Memo

    U & T can be different, how and why I have no idea.

    The first Shrsin transaction is pretty straightforward, I believe the easiest way to handle in MD would be as a Buy with the Initial Balance adjusted.

    The second transaction is technically a Dividend Reinvestment. Given how it handles the other Dividend reinvestment I think it would be handled ok as such but can also be handled as a buy as above

    Yeah! the third transaction is Ok as is, standard Buy transaction.

    Now the ContribX transaction. This is nothing more than a transfer transaction with funds coming from the account Money Flux - Davis Parent IRA.

    The Dividend reinvestment is being handled OK.

    You outlined three ways of addressing data issues:

    - Change data in Quicken
    - Change in the way the importer does things
    - Change data in Moneydance

    The first and third you have been investigating, the second is outside of our control.

    There is a fourth method that should not be dismissed and that is making changes to the QIF file, thus being independent of both Quicken and Moneydance. I'm not suggesting parsing the file and rewriting it, although that is possible, but more of what text editors are good at - global substitutions - I'm thinking substituting NShrsin with NBuy, NContribX with NXfr.

    So in other words making sure the QIF file has action types known to Moneydance and that we know how they will be processed in the software.

  14. 44 Posted by dantdavis on 01 Dec, 2019 06:18 AM

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    Great analysis.

    In this case I have no control of step 1 "change data in quicken" because it is (one of several) an investment ira account, and I cannot do what i have done with all my other "normal" accounts.

    Quicken insists on add/remove contribx/withdraw for investment IRA accounts (actually withdraw works ok, and i can fix that)

    So moving to step 2 (which we both agree i do not control):

    The first Shrsin transaction is pretty straightforward, I believe the easiest way to handle in MD would be as a Buy with the Initial Balance adjusted.

    I TOTALLY agree. Unfortunately, Moneydance makes this a BUYXFR, not a BUY, which doubles the balance impact. I have no trouble changing initial balance, but not on incorrect doubling.

    As for ContribX
    Now the ContribX transaction. This is nothing more than a transfer transaction with funds coming from the account Money Flux - Davis Parent IRA.

    Again, agree. The one unaddressed bit is why does Moneydance "zero out" the transaction with a compensating second transaction?

    Thanks for your thoughts. I truly appreciate bouncing this off of you!

    btw - quicken investment IRA accounts are a one way door - once you choose, you cannot go back to brokerage... (bad word inserted here)

    Finally:
    There is a fourth method that should not be dismissed and that is making changes to the QIF file, thus being independent of both Quicken and Moneydance. I'm not suggesting parsing the file and rewriting it, although that is possible, but more of what text editors are good at - global substitutions - I'm thinking substituting NShrsin with NBuy, NContribX with NXfr.

    Yep, you're brilliant! That's my nuclear option.

  15. 45 Posted by dwg on 01 Dec, 2019 10:33 AM

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    I do not know why Moneydance handles some of transaction actions it does not have the way it does.

    Earlier this year I did identify a number of Quicken types that had Moneydance equivalents or close to, so these could be handled during import, either by substitution or perhaps more nicely by having additional action types aliased to the existing ones and If I recall correctly forcing some general category use during import.

    Shares in/Shares out could be handled within the current limitations by changing them to a buy/sell and creating and using an inactive account for transfer of funds thus preserving Moneydance's double entry rules.

    ContribX looks like nothing more than an TFR, again this could potentially just be an alias.

    So l feel there is potential within the current product limitations to expand what the QIF import function can reasonably do.

  16. 46 Posted by dantdavis on 04 Dec, 2019 07:16 AM

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    I did start a private issues topic about these issues on November 22.

    I prefer to keep private issues private, but I will admit I have been very disappointed with the total lack of response for almost two weeks. (I did a followup message on Nov 30, didn't help)

    You have been brilliant, but I also note that no one from Moneydance has said anything within this topic of almost 50 messages.

  17. 47 Posted by dwg on 04 Dec, 2019 07:41 AM

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    If you are not satisfied with the support you are receiving I can only suggest you do what people should do whenever they are dissatisfied and that is complain to the management.

    In the case of Moneydance that means Sean Reilly and his email is

    sreilly (at) infinitekind (dot) com

  18. 48 Posted by dantdavis on 04 Dec, 2019 06:45 PM

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    Probably the correct way to go at this point. Thanks.

  19. 49 Posted by carey on 06 Dec, 2019 03:55 PM

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    I am not support staff, just a user.

    And a brand new one, sorry.
    I have a little thing for you but I'm not the heavily experience Q users dantdavis is. In particular any securities in my 14 year Q file I don't care about any more so I'm leaving them uncorrected in their (Investment) accounts.
    But I did have to correct some 10 items to make balances in 3 accounts match. Every one had this characteristic: a transfer in Q between 2 accounts which M made into 2 transfers, where Q showed only the one side. In the end I realized since all my Q accounts were reconciled that all the problem transfer transactions were uncleared, making them much easier to locate; the fix is then add a M transaction to undo the balance change in the (uncleared) M transaction side that was added in the import.

    You're probably 'way beyond this but hope this helps.

  20. 50 Posted by dantdavis on 06 Dec, 2019 09:07 PM

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    carey, yes this helps, even if to know I'm still sane as I examine how to get everything right (as I do want to maintain investment/IRA accounts) - just knowing I'm not alone in this process helps.

    As for looking for unreconciled transactions in M, that definitely helps find transactions where some of the problems are, and I did the same as you did to fix them.

    I'm most of the way, my biggest issue now is Quicken IRA accounts where it won't let me change the CONTRIBX to XIN... as most of the Action steps in Investment/IRAs are not recognized properly by M. (In this case Q refuses because they maintain tax records - you can't even cut/copy the transaction, but of course this will be meaningless within M, so I am figuring out how to change it in Q.)

    I created a new Brokerage account, and cut/copy each transaction from a small historical IRA account into that new account. For the CONTRIBX entries, I created a new transaction in Brokerage, and deleted the CONTRIBX in the IRA. At that point I could fix things in the small account, but I stare at some of my IRA accounts that are active with 30 years of data and.... sigh.

  21. 51 Posted by carey on 06 Dec, 2019 11:44 PM

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    Aha we're a community, aren't we.  Had wonderful help
    today from derekkent23 "I'm not support staff".

    I had in 14 years one CONTRIBX screwing me up.  But
    I never really wanted stock coverage, and I've removed
    any Q stock hangover from M.

    My purpose Q->M was actually to get rid of Windows in
    favor of linux (Ubuntu), which Q doesn't support.  I believe
    I have a good chance at succeeding but this is only
    day 5 and I haven't reconciled yet.  So far, so very
    good, with the community's help.  Good luck to you.

  22. 52 Posted by David Long on 09 Dec, 2019 01:13 AM

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    I also had many years of history from Quicken history and had many of the same problems. I ended up editing the initial value of cash accounts to get the correct end balance.
     Security balances were all correct, but I found that where there had been a security split that the balance did not equal the sum of the transactions and that the average cost was incorrect, so made some manual adjustments.
     Since the price history of securities was not transferred some reports do not work.
     Also, since I have foreign exchange accounts and Moneydance stores the exchange rate for each transaction (unlike Quicken which just converts at the current rate which is basically wrong) , my reporting and transfers between currency accounts was not correct.
    Overall very pleased with Moneydance as I have foreign securities and can download prices which cannot do with Quicken. But, will have to keep old Quicken files and app in case I need to go back in time for tax reasons (eg, capital gains). The transfer between Quicken and Monetdance is pretty good, but can probably never be perfect due to the different architecture of the systems, so just have to bite the bullet and make the best of it.

  23. 53 Posted by dantdavis on 12 Dec, 2019 04:55 AM

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    @David Long - I am also pleased with Moneydance. It is so close on QIFimports, and as you say security values are the essential bit. If I were not so specific in wanting an accurate history, just a gigantic initial value in many accounts would "fix" most of the cash balance problems.

    So, I did bite the bullet. Today I achieved my goal. Cash balances now match between quicken and moneydance upon QIF transfer.

    The main issues (preprocessing my Quicken file to achieve this) were to abandon the action steps that Moneydance dealt with such that cash balances were incorrect, sometimes doubly so.

    This would have been easier had it not been for something extremely Quicken's fault - if you created an IRA account vs. a Brokerage account, you lost control over changing the action steps. Fixing that took quite a bit of time. Thank goodness for keystroke memorization apps.

    Moving forward.... my file can now transfer cleanly.

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