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Export or import IIF files

If you are using QuickBooks 2019, please see Improved IIF Import in QuickBooks 2019.

Intuit Interchange Format (.IIF) files are used to export or import QuickBooks Desktop data, to and from different platforms, for better management of company records. This article serves as a guide for exporting, importing, and editing .IIF files.

This article is part of a series that covers basic information about .IIF files in QuickBooks Desktop.

Exporting and Importing Limitations

      • You can import transactions, but you cannot export transactions from QuickBooks.
      • There is a maximum number of list entries which QuickBooks can process.
      • Imported IIF files do not create links between transactions.When you import an invoice and its payment, they are not linked after the import. You must link them, and all other pairs, in the Receive Payments window or Pay Bills window. If you need an import solution that links transactions, refer to the Intuit Marketplace for third-party applications.
      • When importing assembly items, you cannot import data in the item's custom fields.
      • You cannot import or export Price Levels set up on a Per Item basis. You can import and export Price Levels set up on a Percentage basis.
      • You cannot use IIF files to export payroll data from QuickBooks Desktop accounting to other products. You can, however, use them to export payroll data from Intuit Online Payroll and Intuit Full Service Payroll to QuickBooks Desktop accounting products .
      • You cannot export from the U.S. version of QuickBooks and import into the Canadian version of QuickBooks, or vice versa.
      • You cannot enter numbers with leading zeros in Microsoft Excel when creating and IIF import file.Work around: Change the format to "Custom" and put a non-numeric character in front of the number.
Important: Intuit does not offer assisted technical support for creating or importing .IIF files. However, there are resources available if you need help:
  • If the .IIF file was created by a third-party application, contact the application's technical support department.
  • Refer to the documentation provided with the import kit you used.
  • Search the QuickBooks Learn and Support site (US) or In-Product Help (Within QuickBooks, press F1 on your keyboard).

Export .IIF files

Steps to export the file

  1. Sign in to your company file as the Admin.
  2. Make sure you are in Single User mode.
  3. From the File menu, select Utilities > Export > Lists to IIF Files.
  4. Put a check mark next to each of the list you want to export then click OK.
  5. In the Export window:
    1. From the Save in: drop-down, choose the location where you want to save the .IIF file (often, this will be your desktop).
    2. In the File name field, delete the asterisk (*) and type a file name.
    3. Select IIF Files (*.IIF) for the file type.
    4. Choose Save.
  6. Select OK to the message that the file was successfully saved.

View the exported file

  1. Go to the location of the file.
  2. Right-click the exported file and select Open With.
  3. Choose Microsoft Office Excel.
  4. If you get the wizard to convert a text file, click Next > Next > Finish.

Edit the exported file

  1. Open the .IIF file.
    1. Open Microsoft Excel.
    2. From the File menu, click Open (if you're using Excel 2007 choose the Office Button > Open).
    3. Choose the location where you saved the .IIF file.
    4. In the file type field, choose All Files.
    5. Select your .IIF file then click Open.
    6. Select Next > Next > Finish in the Text Import Wizard. The .IIF file is now opened in MS Excel.
  2. Make the necessary edits.
  3. Save the changes you made to the IIF.
    1. From the File menu, click Save (if you're using Excel 2007, choose the Office button > Save).
    2. Select Yes on the prompt that appears.
    3. Close Excel.
    4. You will be prompted to save the .IIF file again, click Don't Save.

Import .IIF files

Lists you can import

Chart of Accounts Customer:Job Vendor
Employee Other Names List Customer Type
Vendor Type Class Job Type
Item Payment Terms Payment Method
Shipping Method Customer Message Budgets
To Do Notes Sales Rep Price Level
Sales Tax Code

Transactions you can import

Account beginning balances Vendor bills Vendor bill refunds
Cash sales to customers Cash refunds to customers Credit card refunds to customers
Checks Credit card transactions Credit memos to customers
Deposits Estimates General journal entries
Invoices Payments from customers Purchase orders
Account transfers of funds

Reminders when importing transactions

  • If you're using QuickBooks 2019 and there are issues with the import file, you'll get an error and a message that provides details about the problem, making it easier for you to identify and fix the issue.
  • You cannot undo an import so you must back up your company file before proceeding.
  • You need to set up Accounts, Items, Names, and Sales Tax Items and Names. You can do this either by entering the data directly into QuickBooks OR adding the code to your .IIF file. If you do not set this up, QuickBooks will automatically set up some of the data which may be wrong or unusable. You will end up with the following situations:
    • The A/R account is set up as a Bank account type and you cannot change it to an A/R account.
    • The Customer name is set up as an Other name and you cannot use it on an Invoice.
    • Sales items and Sales Tax items are set up as Service items and they cannot be changed to any other Item types.

Steps to import the file

  1. Sign in to your company file as the Admin.
  2. Make sure you are in Single User mode.
  3. From the QuickBooks File menu, select Utilities > Import > IIF Files.
  4. Locate your .IIF file and highlight it then select Open.
  5. Select OK on the pop up message confirming your data has been imported.