sharing application data among users of the same mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mossback, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. mossback macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    #1
    Hello All. I'm a first time Mac user and I'm having trouble finding the answer to a particular issue I'm having despite searching the forums here and elsewhere.

    Basically, I've set up a new iMac with two user accounts. One for my wife and one for me. One application I've installed is Checkbook for keeping tabs on our bank accounts. While the application is available to both users on the same machine, the account data is not. What I'm wondering is, can I set things up so that both users can utilize the same data from their own account?

    I have found somewhat similar questions regarding sharing iPhoto and iTunes libraries, but not as much for sharing other types of files.

    Many thanks!

    nick
     
  2. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #2
    Not sure who else uses your computer - so can't say if security is a concern or not with your accounting software.

    But - you could either:

    Save it on a common directory via the "sharing" tab under system preferences. (drop-box may be too open on default) So select a folder to share, and Restrict the read/write users to only the accounts you want to have access.

    Purchase or use a USB thumb drive.

    Ditto on a network or external USB hard drive.

    The easiest is to create a shared folder on your OSX partition via Sharing pref pane.

    Edit: Don't forget to move the data file itself to the new location - and change the default directory in the accounting software to recognize this change. Would be a safe bet to back it up before hand. My M$ Money file had 18 megs worth of data - which would suck to lose.
     
  3. mossback thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    #3
    Okay, that makes sense. And only my wife and I will be using the computer so security is not critical here.

    How do I find where the app actually saves the data so that I can share it? I don't see anything in the finder that's obvious. Am I just looking in the wrong place?
     
  4. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #4
    You could look in the preferences for the app itself, see if there is a setting for the save data path. If there isn't, then it would either probably save it into your Documents folder, or else it would probably be in ~/Library/Application Support/App Name/


    Edit: I did some research. Your data is stored in the following file:

    ~/Library/Checkbook/Accounts.plist
     
  5. mossback thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    #5
    swiftaw, thanks for taking the time to find that.

    The thing I don't understand now is how to have the app share one set of data. Is that even possible if the app itself does not have a setting to specify doing such a thing?
     
  6. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #6
    You won't be able to share the same file with 2 open copies simultaneously. (only one user can open it at a time) But by changing your save-directory to a "common area" on your drive - you can open and read/modify the contents regardless of who is logged in.

    You will need the application installed for both user accounts, and the "default save directory" changed to the common area for both accounts. (so they both open and save to the same file)

    I can divulge a little further later on - on lunch break right now and dont' have much time...
     

    Attached Files:

  7. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #7
    The problem with checkbook is that it doesn't give you the option of specifying where it stores it's data.

    I see two potential solutions

    1) Use some kind of synching to make sure the copy of the file in your library folder and the copy of the file in your wife's library folder remains the same.

    2) Replace your wife's ~/Library/Checkbook folder with an alias called Checkbook that points to your ~/Library/Checkbook folder
     
  8. cptpower macrumors regular

    cptpower

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #8
    I was working through a bunch of these problems as well when setting up my new MBP with an account for myself & my wife.

    In the end, I found it to be a whole lot simpler to just have one account for the two of us on the computer. I have nothing to hide from her anyways, so there's no need to separate the two accounts. It saves a TON of headaches too; no worrying about sharing specific files, creating duplicate copies of the same files in iTunes/iPhoto due to importing and "copying to user's library", etc.

    Trust me; its just a heckuva lot easier to have one account, especially for a new user (such as I was), rather than fight through all the other problems.
     
  9. mossback thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    #9
    Guys, thanks for all of your help.

    cptpower, I understand what you are saying. On our previous computers we had just one account for both of us but with all of the different types of work each of us are now doing, it makes sense for us to each have own own desktop with our own settings. It would be ideal, anyway. So far everything is going well expect for a few file sharing issues like this one. But it sounds like swiftaw has a solution by using that alias method.

    swiftaw, would you mind walking me through that process? I'd love to give it a try!
     
  10. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #10
    The Alias thing works - I did it a while back - but it was SO far back, I'm not sure I remember. It's been working solid for 2 years - spanning 2 operating systems.

    I'll see if I can dig it up myself (to help speed up the process for you)

    Okay - this might not work - so I'd say first create a copy of your "finance" file and stow it away in a separate folder for now. (right-click or control-click and select "copy" then paste it to a new folder or location) (just in the you-never-know scenario)

    Now - locate the data file for your finance software. Right click on it, and create an Alias for your data file.
    Take the data file itself (not your Alias) and move it to your common folder or "drop box". (whatever directory both logins can see and modify)
    Go back to the original folder for the software data file - right click on the Alias that is now there.
    Select "Get Info"
    Under that window - Click the "select new original..." button - in the window that pops up - show OSX where your "actual" data file now resides (in the drop box or what not)
    Now that you've located it, and selected "ok" - you should be back in the "info" window.
    Under the "Name and Extension" section - change the name (remove the "alias") so that it is identical to what the original data files name was.
    Close the info box.
    Now - "copy" your alias via right-click. Go into the "drop box" area, paste a new folder - name is not important - and INSIDE that folder, paste a duplicate of your alias. (there is a reason for this)
    Now - try and load your accounting software the way you normally do - verify that it works.
    Log out and head into your other user account - from within the "drop box" drag the folder containing the alias out.
    Dump that alias into the software default-save directory on the this login.
    Verify that this Alias still links to the original file in the drop box - correct the path if it does not (via select new original...). Make sure it is of the SAME name as the original file, and you *should* be all set.

    FYI - this works for me, I'm not using the same software as you - but it works for other software I tested it with. And this same method also worked on my XP install back in the day with Microsoft Money. There probably is a 3 line command that can be done via Terminal - but I'm nowhere near that smart.
     
  11. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #11
    Ok, lets suppose that the file you want to both access is You/Library/Checkbook/accounts.plist

    Navigate to You/Library. Right click on the Checkbook folder and select create alias. This will create an alias called "Checkbook alias"

    Move this alias to Wife/Library

    Now, if wife has a checkbook folder in Library, delete it. Then rename "Checkbook alias" to Checkbook.

    This should be all done. (you might have to change permissions on your Checkbook folder to allow her access)
     
  12. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030

    Big-TDI-Guy

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    #12
    FYI Original Poster - My "Method" (though drawn out and confusing I'm sure) avoids the permissions problem by keeping the original in the "drop box" (which both of you should have full access to by default)

    Swiftsaws method is not wrong by any stretch.
     
  13. mossback thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA USA
    #13
    Guys, I tried both methods and neither of them worked. It's almost as if CheckBook knows the file is an alias and will not open it. Am I out of luck?
     

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