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Performing a detail file swap for one client

SOLVEDby IntuitLacerte Tax4Updated October 21, 2021

You can use a detail file swap to test for or correct data corruption that may occur in a client within Lacerte. Each client contains data stored in two places: the client database, and the detail file.

Usually, you can use CLPack to repair a database issue. However, if a client is affected by a database issue that can’t be repaired with CLPack, a detail file swap may be necessary to help you recover the rest of the client’s data which isn’t saved to the database.

The client database consist of the Data1.DBF through Data8.DBF and stores two types of information: the Client Information (Screen 1) and Subclient Information, which varies by tax type as indicated below:

  • All Tax Types: Client Information (Screen 1)
  • Individual: Dependents (Screen 2)
  • Partnership: Partner Information (Screen 7)
  • S-Corporate: Shareholder Information (Screen 5)
  • Corporate: Officer Information (Screen 2)
  • Fiduciary:  Beneficiary/Grantor Information (Screen 6)
  • Exempt Org: Officer, Directors, Trustees, Managers (Screen 2)
  • Estate: Beneficiary Information (Screen 2)
  • Gift: Donee Information (Screen 2)
  • Benefit Plan: Participant Information (Screen 16)

All other information is stored in the detail file.

Before you start:

  • Make a note of the client number of the file that’s affected.
  • All of the information on the database screens may need to be re-entered as part of this process.
  • This process won't work to take a return from one year to another year or to change the tax type of a client to a different tax type.

How to perform a detail file swap


In all examples below, the client number affected will be "1000" in the IND module of 2016. Adjust names based on client number, module, and year.

First, you need to perform a detail swap as a diagnostic test to determine if a problem exists in the database or detail file:

  1. Open Lacerte.
  2. From the Client menu, select Add...
  3. Enter a temporary client number, such as "TEST" and click OK.
  4. Return to the Client List.
  5. Browse to the Lacerte data folder for the tax type of the client that's being swapped.
    • For example, for an individual client this might be C:\Lacerte\16TAX\IDATA.
  6. Open the Detail folder.
  7. Find the file for the test client that was created above with the client number as the filename.
    • In this example, this would be TEST.ID6.
  8. Right-click the file and select Rename.
  9. Add .OLD to the end of the file name.
    • For example, TEST.ID6 would become TEST.ID6.OLD.
  10. Find the file for the original client that you're testing, such as 1000.ID6.
  11. Right-click the original client file and choose Copy.
  12. Right-click and Paste the file into the same folder.
  13. Right-click the pasted file and select Rename.
  14. Rename the pasted file from 1000 - Copy.ID6 to TEST.ID6 using the correct client number from step 3.
  15. Return to Lacerte and open the TEST client that was created.

If errors persist, then the detail file is corrupt. Since the database files aren’t the cause of the issue, CLPack or a detail file swap won’t have any effect. You must restore the client from a backup or recreate it from scratch.

To restore the detail from a backup:

  1. Locate a previous version of the 1000.ID6 file (adjust name according to client number, module, and year) from a backup or another folder.
  2. If there is an existing 1000.ID6 in your working IDATA/DETAIL folder, rename it to .OLD.
    • For example, 1000.OLD.
  3. Copy the backup version of the 1000.ID6 file into the DETAIL folder.
  4. Open the client in Lacerte to see if the data contains usable information or is corrupt.
  5. Repeat with older backed up versions, if available, until a usable file is located.

If the TEST client works:

If the TEST client works fine, then this client’s detail data is intact, and their database information may be corrupt. Most database issues can be corrected by CLPack, but those that persist may require a detail file swap.

  1. Run CLPack if you haven’t already. 
    • If CLPack resolves the issue, and your original client 1000 works fine, simply delete the TEST client from your clients list in Lacerte. No other actions are needed.
  2. If you’re still receiving errors after CLPack, open the TEST client. 
  3. Enter the Screen 1 and Screen 2 data (for individual returns; see above to identify the database screens for other tax types).

You’ll need to use this TEST client as your working return going forward. You can renumber it from the Clients tab in Lacerte, if desired.

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