Encrypt Your GnuCash Data On A Mac With A Password

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I’m a huge Mac fan because they are super secure, easy to use, and highly flexible.  I also love open source software like GnuCash since it’s a smart penny pincher’s dream for high quality software at rock bottom prices (aka free).  You may have noticed that GnuCash does not have password protection like Quicken, but there’s an easy way to deal with this on a Mac.

Use An Encrypted Disk Image

Now if you are not a techy and have never heard of an encrypted disk image – fear not.  This is just a fancy way of saying encrypted files and folders.  I use them all the time and they are an ideal way of encrypting sensitive financial data on your Mac.

Create Your First Encrypted Image

Open up Disk Utility by searching with Spotlight or Launchpad and just type “disk utility”. 

Select the Disk Utility program and then enter command-N or File-New-Blank Disk Image

If you were to name the disk image now with the default values, it would not be encrypted.  To save the image as encrypted, change the encryption box to at least 128 bit encryption.  Also change the file size to at least 300 MB and more if you have enough space on your hard drive.  The more the better.

At this point the utility will ask you for a password.  Enter a hard password and press save.  You can save the password in your keychain if desired so that you only need to remember your keychain password to open the encrypted files.

Now save the encrypted folder where you want it on your hard drive.  After it is saved, you can add this to your sidebar of Finder so that it’s easy to find in the future. To do so, select the name of the file you just created.  It will have a .dmg file extension.  Once it’s selected, go to “File”-“Add To Sidebar” and then drag it where you want it in your favorites.

Using Encrypted Images With GnuCash

If you already have GnuCash up and running, all you need to do is to drag your data to the new encrypted image.  The way this works is simple.  An encrypted disk image has nothing in it when you first create it.  After it’s set up you first need to mount the image by double clicking on the .dmg file.  At this point it behaves just like another folder on your computer.  You can add files and folders at will and organize it how you like.


Now all of your financial data will encrypted and you can have peace of mind.  You will need to mount the disk image first prior to launching GnuCash.  If you don’t you will get an error saying that the file cannot be found. 

I hope that you find this useful.

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