Does QuickBooks Have Limits On the Number of List Items and Transactions That Can Be Entered?

Yes. There are 2 kinds of limits: physical and practical. Let’s consider each in turn.

QuickBooks faces these physical limits:

  • 2 billion transactions
  • 10,000 accounts in the GL chart of accounts
  • 14,500 names (customers, vendors, employees, and other names – combined)
  • 14,500 items (which include inventory items)
  • 10,000 classes
  • 100 price levels

The above list highlights the most important physical limits of QuickBooks; it’s not an all-inclusive list. The physical limits of Enterprise Solutions are considerably higher. For details on all of the physical limits of both QuickBooks and Enterprise Solutions, consult this Intuit knowledge base article.

To find out how your own company file stands relative to these limits, press F2 from within QuickBooks to display the Product Information window. On the right side, you’ll see the List Information. In this example, the company file has 134 (out of 10,000) GL accounts, 217 (out of 14,500) total names, and 106 (out of 14,500) Items.

There are important practical considerations as well. According to Intuit, QuickBooks is designed for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees and $2 million in annual revenue. However, those are general guidelines. Bigger firms reliably use QuickBooks. What impacts whether you should use QuickBooks or its more powerful relative, Enterprise Solutions, is the size of your data file today and how that data is expected to grow over the time period for which you want to keep all transaction data in 1 file.

Intuit suggests estimating 2 Kb per transaction and projecting the size of your data file over several years. Keep in mind that a sale paid for with 1 check results in 3 transactions (invoice, payment, and deposit), and each AP transaction results in at least 2 (vendor bill and payment). This estimate does not include the data that list elements themselves (e. g., customers, vendors, or items) will add to overall file size.

In our experience, the performance of QuickBooks can degrade if overall company file size exceeds 100 Mb. Intuit suggests a practical limit of growth of 15 Mb per year (or about 7500 transactions).

As a company grows, QuickBooks includes a utility to remove fully paid and reconciled transactions in a process referred to as “cleaning up.” This process reduces the size of the QuickBooks company file. That’s why it’s important to consider the time period you’ll keep old transaction data in your company file. If you’ll clean up your company file every 18-24 months, the number of transactions you can store without hitting the practical limitations of QuickBooks will be considerably greater.

Some longtime QuickBooks users engage in a process of making a backup copy of a company file and then cleaning it up with a cutoff date. The backup copy preserves history transactions for those rare instances where they may be useful, but the company file for everyday use has been cleaned up and no longer includes stale, fully paid transactions. That results in improved performance.

The guidelines on practical limits we’ve discussed here aren’t unbreakable rules, and the limits are influenced by factors we didn’t mention, most notably the hardware performance of the computer on which you run QuickBooks.

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  1. Is there a workaround for expanding the item master file? I am at the limit and the software prevents deletion within certain parameters. I run a single person business with a continually adding parts list. I recognize the Enterprise package may address this problem but I was hoping for a lower cost solution.

  2. could you tell me why some of my price level list entries will not allow me to produce a price list. I am way below the 100 limit. some of the entries show prices but some don’t.

    please advise

  3. Lucien Osentowski says

    Pardon me but I didn’t find a topic to exactly match my issue.
    I have posted on a couple other popular boards but no one seems to have observed this behavior.
    QuickBooks Premier Manufacturing & Wholesale Edition 2014 with all updates applied
    Two work stations accessing company file on a dedicated server.
    All systems are windows 7 with all updates applied.

    Around the first March of 2014 the company file was running on QB pro 2013 and was 285,720KB in size.
    At that time we upgraded to QB premier wholesale 2014.
    Yes, the company file size is a little large but performance is good and I have run as big as 400MB on this setup.
    It is now June 10, 2014 and the file size is still 285,720KB even thought we have added hundreds of orders, Invoices and banking data. This bothers me as in the past the company file has always increased in size every few days.
    The TLG file does grow on a daily basis. Right now it’s small because of the verifies & rebuilds I have performed in the last month.
    I have run Complete Verify and also a re-build of the database an NO errors were reported.

    Below are the transaction numbers from the last 10 days and over the last 3 months they have steadily increased.
    All the other numbers on the “F2” screen look good. We do not seem to be losing data.

    Date 05/29//2014
    Total transactions: 18531
    Total Targets: 311537
    Total Links: 171753
    DB File Fragments: 8
    Condense last run 01/25/2013

    Date 06/09//2014
    Total transactions: 18794
    Total Targets: 320212
    Total Links: 179377
    DB File Fragments: 3
    Condense last run 01/25/2013

    Again the question is why isn’t the company file increasing in size.
    I have checked and rechecked but can’t see why this is happening.
    Thanks, Lucien

    • Chief Mechanic says

      The answer is simple: a QB 2014 data file is typically smaller than a QB 2013 data file, all other things being equal. Your quoted size of 285,720 Kb around the 1st of March was for QB Pro 2013, per your comment. Your June 10 file size is for QB 2014. You have to compare apples to apples. Further, running a rebuild reindexes the data, and that can sometimes have a file size impact. As long as everything is verified and you’ve checked you aren’t losing data, this isn’t something you have to worry about.

      • Lucien Osentowski says

        Thank You Very Much for your reply and advice.
        Maybe I missed it but it seems to me this type of information should be pointed out in their product releases.
        I’ll post an update in a month or so.

        Thanks, Lucien