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Company file compatibility with QuickBooks Desktop when upgrading

Avoid issues and errors when you upgrade your QuickBooks by knowing about compatibility between QuickBooks company files and various QuickBooks versions and editions.

Definition of terms

Before you begin, let's define terms in the QuickBooks language:

Terms Definition
Product Either QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, or Enterprise Solutions (ES).
Version Designated by a year within the product. E.g. QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2016 is a different version from QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2017.
Differentiation within Premier or Enterprise Solutions for different business types:
  • General Business
  • Accountant
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing & Wholesale
  • Non-Profit
  • Contractor
  • Professional services

Company file limitations when upgrading to another product, version, or edition

If you're planning to use a different QuickBooks Desktop product, version, or edition, it is important to know about company file limitations when upgrading.


  • Premier company files may be opened in Pro and vice versa without changing the data in the file.
  • You can upgrade Pro and Premier company files to Enterprise Solutions (ES), but you cannot open ES company files in Pro or Premier.
  • A company file cannot be opened in another region's QuickBooks Desktop version. For example, you will get This file was not created with a US version of QuickBooks if you try to open a company file that was created in a QuickBooks Canada version in a QuickBooks US version.
  • You can upgrade your file from older to newer versions of QuickBooks but you cannot use the upgraded file in the older versions of QuickBooks Desktop. The exception to this rule is if you are using QuickBooks Desktop Accountant and working in an Accountant's Copy. See Accountant's copy overview for more information.
  • When you open your company file in a newer version, QuickBooks asks if you want to upgrade or convert the QuickBooks company file. Generally, a new version will update and convert an older QuickBooks company file, such as from 2016 to 2017. In a few instances, if the QuickBooks company file will not upgrade to the new version, you may need to step the company file through an intermediate version of QuickBooks Desktop.
  • A file created in one edition (Retail, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Accountant, etc.) can be opened with any other edition without affecting the data.

Reminders when upgrading

  • To avoid overwriting files, create a folder labeled Pre-Conversion Backup to save the file in when prompted to save a backup.
  • If you transfer company files between different locations and systems or computers, make sure they are running the same QuickBooks Desktop version and release.
  • You need to manually re-enter transactions in the old backup file if you decide to revert to the old version after using the upgraded one. Since exporting new transactions or merging files are not available in QuickBooks Desktop, you can use different applications for additional solutions.
  • If you install your new version of QuickBooks Desktop on top of the old version, you need to reinstall the old version on a different folder to restore the pre-conversion backup.

To know more about upgrading company files, see Upgrade or convert your company file to a new QuickBooks Desktop version.