Command Line Arguments and Options for ACCOUNTS



Command Line Arguments and Options for ACCOUNTS

This is a technical topic, that will not be relevant to very many users, but we are including it for completeness.


Normally you start ACCOUNTS by double-clicking on its icon on your Windows Desktop. In that case, normally it starts by just running the program's executable file accounts.exe, without any arguments or options on the command line following that. However, there are some situations where arguments are added automatically, and some other situations where you may want to create an alternate icon that adds some options.


ACCOUNTS will process a filename argument, or one or more options, as described below, but never both.


Filename Arguments on the Command Line


ACCOUNTS has several file associations set up for it, which means that if files with certain extensions (the part of the filename after its last period) are opened or run, then ACCOUNTS will be run with the complete path to the filename added as an argument. This is not generally something you would do directly (like by typing a command in a Command Prompt window) but rather happens automatically based on the file association.


The associations for ACCOUNTS are:


.S4ABackup: regular database backup files made with the Backup/Restore Backup Database menu option.

.S4AEncryptedBackup: emailed database backup files made with the Backup/Restore Email Backup menu option.

.S4AIF: transaction import file (most likely a Bank Deposit export from the Software4Nonprofits DONATION program).

.QBO, .QFX, .OFX, and/or .ASO: various extensions for downloaded online banking import files. (Which of these are associated with ACCOUNTS depends on which other programs you already have on your system - if one of those extensions is already in use by another program, like Quicken or QuickBooks, the ACCOUNTS installation program will not override that and will not create a file association.) See also File Associations for more details, and how you can adjust these associations.


So for instance what actually happens when you double-click on a backup file named YourOrganization-2018-09-, or ask to Open it as an attachment in an email program etc., is that the following command line gets automatically run (with variable elements indicated in italics):


"C:\path to executable file\accounts.exe" "C:\path to backup file\YourOrganization-2018-09-"


As long as ACCOUNTS is not currently open, doing this will start ACCOUNTS and cause it to prompt you to restore that backup file.


Options for All Versions of ACCOUNTS


The only option that applies to all versions is /D, which puts the program into "debug" mode. What that means is that it will give some extra technical message boxes in some parts of the program, and do some extra logging to files, such as the debug.txt file found in the directory accessed with the Tools Explore Temp Directory menu option. We would strongly discourage anyone from using this option unless we ask you do so, as part of trying to determine the reason for a problem you are having. (And only a very small fraction of the problems that can occur with ACCOUNTS will be helped by turning on this option, so again, please don't just try it yourself!)


Options for the Web Network Version of ACCOUNTS


The first relevant option is /WNV, which actually causes an installed normal local database version of ACCOUNTS (Standalone or Local Network Server) to open as if it was a Web Network Version. The only time this would be relevant is if you were for some very unusual reason wanting to continue using both a local database version and a Web Network Version on the same computer. If you use this, please be very careful to observe which one you are using, since presumably they will be different databases for different purposes, one of which you only use locally, and one of which you are sharing over the Internet with other Web Network Version users!


The other relevant options for the Web Network Version, which must always be used together, are:


/U "loginEmailAddress" /P "loginPassword"


Using those options causes the entered login email address and password to be automatically entered into the Web Network Version's login window, and the Login button on that window to be clicked, thus doing an automatic login, as long as they are correct of course.


These could be added to a copy of your icon for ACCOUNTS, renamed appropriately, to do your automatic login. Details on how to do that are lower down on this Help page.


Please be aware that if you do add these options to an additional icon for starting ACCOUNTS, you are essentially giving away any security on the program enforced by requiring the entry of the login email address and password. So we would strongly encourage you to only consider using these options on a secure computer, not accessible to anyone that you don't wish to have access to your ACCOUNTS data!


Also there's one tricky issue: if by any chance your login password includes a double quote character, that must be changed to two double quote characters , within the double quotes surrounding it, after /P. So for instance if your login email address was and your password is a234"B567, the options you would use would be:


/U "" /P "a234""B567"


How to Add Options to a Copy of your ACCOUNTS Shortcut Icon


If you do want to create an alternate version of your ACCOUNTS icon with certain options listed above added to it, unfortunately it is not as easy as one might hope. Copying and pasting right on the Desktop just causes problems and creates copies that aren't working shortcuts. Instead, please follow these steps:


1.Open Computer or Windows Explorer.

2.Navigate to where the ACCOUNTS program files are located - most commonly C:\Program Files\ACCOUNTS, or on 64-bit computers C:\Program Files (x86)\ACCOUNTS.

3.Find accounts.exe there, right-click on it, and pick Send To Desktop (create shortcut) from the popup menu.

4.Go to your Windows Desktop. There will now be two icons for ACCOUNTS.

5.Right click on the one you suspect is the new one (generally, the one added at the end of your existing icons) and pick Properties from the popup menu.

6.Change to the General tab in the window that comes up, and make sure that under Location, it says C:\Users\yourloginname\Desktop. If it says C:\Users\Public\Desktop, that is the original icon installed by ACCOUNTS, and you need to exit that window, find the other icon, right-click on it and pick Properties.

7.Still on that General tab, in the editable field at the top for the name of the shortcut, change it to something identifying, like say ACCOUNTS WNV Login if this is for the purpose of adding your login information for the Web Network Version with the /U and /P options.

8.Switch to the Shortcut tab. In the editable field for Target, get your cursor to the end of what is there, add a space, and then add whichever options you want to add.

9.Click OK at the bottom to save your changes.

10.Test both icons to make sure they do what you want!


If something gets messed up and your icons don't work, your best option to fix things is to just re-download and install the desired version from the DOWNLOAD page on the website,, on top of what you have now. That will restore a normal desktop icon for ACCOUNTS, in C:\Users\Public\Desktop.