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Convert QuickBooks Desktop file to QuickBooks Online

Moving your file from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online? Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get it done.

We also have a video tutorial for exporting your Desktop company file:

Step 1: Review some critical information before converting your file

Wondering if you should convert from QuickBooks Desktop? You may want to review this Guide to Converting QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online before your start.
    • You can only import QuickBooks Desktop data within the first 60 days of your QuickBooks Online company start date. When you import, your Desktop file will replace your Online file and overwrite any existing information.
    • We suggest you keep your data file in QuickBooks Desktop and maintain your transactions on both sets of books until you determine QuickBooks Online is right for your business.
    • Some information may not be imported when you move your file.
    • Make sure you're aware of the import limitations and feature differences between QuickBooks  Desktop and QuickBooks Online.
    • If you are using a QuickBooks Desktop version older than 2016, download and install an updated trial, restore your company file, then use it for conversion.
    • You must be logged in as the administrator in both your QuickBooks Desktop file and your QuickBooks Online account.
    • Start the conversion process from your QuickBooks Desktop company file, not from QuickBooks Online.
    • If you've already turned on Payroll in QuickBooks Online, don't attempt to convert your file.
    • Make sure all of your sales tax filings are current before migrating. You may need to make adjustment entries to sales tax filings after conversion.

    • To be converted successfully, your QuickBooks file must not be over the target limit of 500, 000. To check, press Ctrl+1 on your keyboard, then look for Total Targets.
      If the file is over the target limit, you'll only be given the option to import your lists and/or balances when exporting.  If you're over the limit, send your file to the Data Migration team.

Step 2: Export your QuickBooks Desktop company data

Select your QuickBooks Desktop version to see the instructions.

Step 3: Connect to QuickBooks Online and import your data

  1. Enter your QuickBooks Online login (your user ID is usually the email address you used to sign up), agree to the Terms of Service, and select Sign in.
    User-added image
  2. If you have stock in your file and are importing from QuickBooks Desktop 2016 or later, you will see this screen, otherwise skip to step 3.
    User-added image
    Importing stock? You'll need the Plus edition of QuickBooks Online. Simple Start and Essentials don't have stock-tracking functionality. If you have extensive stock, you can track your product items' quantity on hand in Plus .
  3. Select the QuickBooks Online company you want to import your data into, or create a new one.
    Already created a QuickBooks Online company? Don't create a new company. Just choose the one you created from the drop-down.
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  4. Select OK, got it.
    User-added image
    You’ll receive an email confirmation once the import is done. Note that it can take up to 24 hours.