Your Roll Call data is the most important aspect of your church database. You can always get the latest copy of Roll Call from our website download page. Your data, on the other hand, is a precious commodity and deserves extra precautionary measures to insure its safety in the event of a hard drive failure, stolen computer, or old-fashioned user error.

You don’t ever want to have to start over from square one. Reentering names. Adding contributions all over again. Sadness and tears.

Fortunately, Roll Call makes it easy to avoid such unfortunate events.

Your Church Database File – Where is that thing?

Within Roll Call’s folder structure sits a single file of utmost importance. This data file (called ROLLCALL.4DD by default) contains every piece of information you’ve entered into your church database software. And as you might guess, this is the main file you need when reinstalling (or migrating) Roll Call to a new computer.

Mac OS X

Applications / Roll Call / ROLLCALL.4DD


C: > By the Book > Roll Call (*Server) > (*Server) Database > ROLLCALL.4DD

*Server designations only present on Server installation and not standalone version.

Now there are a couple of ways you can get this file safely off your day-to-day Roll Call computer. Because that’s the big idea here — that you WANT to get your data to a safe place should your current computer ever crash, be stolen etc.

Even just saving a copy to another folder on your current hard drive is only useful for when you make a mistake and need to revert to a previous state. If your hard drive fails or your office catches fire because you overcooked your hot pocket, you will thank yourself that you got your data offloaded to an alternate storage of some kind.

So where else can we back up our data to and how do we do it? A bit more on that in a moment…

Roll Call Backup Configuration – An Explanation

This feature of Roll Call often goes unnoticed. It sits in the file menu like an unassuming “Data valet”, ready to take the keys and park your truckload of data safely in the parking garage of your choice.

By going to the File > Backup Configuration you’ll get 3 Main Tabs of Flexibility.

Backup church database to cloud with Roll Call


When, Where and What – The Configuration

Roll Call Backup configuration settings

Click to enlarge Configuration Screenshot

The “Scheduler” tab is the When of your backup methods. It tells Roll Call how often and when you would like to make your church database backups. You can make it happen every hour, day, week, month, or even a custom solution.

The “Configuration” tab is the where and the what. This tab lets you specify what to backup (the Data File should be checked).

A little farther down on this same tab you will find the “Destination folder“. Clicking the buttons on the right side of this box will allow you to select a folder on your hard drive.

Now you may be thinking, “You just said we shouldn’t save our backups on the same computer as our Roll Call software!” and you’d be correct. That brings me to my last great tip for this article.

Cloud Backups and Syncing

There exist many great (and often free) solutions on the web for keeping files synced from your hard drive to a “cloud” storage system. Tools like dropbox,, and google drive all offer an app that you can install that will synchronize (basically keep a clone of) a local folder from your hard drive to a cloud folder. The great benefit in doing this is that you not only have a local copy to go back to in the event of an error, but you can download your cloud copy from anywhere you have access to your cloud account.back up your church database to cloud services

So to make this cloud syncing happen, you would choose the “synced dropbox folder” (example: a “Roll Call Backups folder inside your dropbox folder”) as the destination for your Roll Call Backup configuration.

Roll Call will periodically kick out its backup archive to this folder.

The cloud app will sync it back up to the cloud.


Your data is now backed up locally and to the cloud.


NOTE: For more detailed directions on accomplishing this task, please see this FAQ about using Dropbox with your Roll Call Backups.



Outside of By the Book, Josh's superpowers include being a husband/dad, playing guitar, writing songs, and other geekery involving computers and code. He has a hard time passing up a board game of Settlers of Catan.

4 Comments » for Church Database Backups: Roll Call and Cloud Services
  1. Gene McGlasson says:

    What a great post. Very nice job.

  2. Eric Dye says:

    It’s awesome you guys are kicking these out! 😀

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