If you are using QuickBooks Desktop for Windows 2019, please see Improved IIF Import in QuickBooks 2019.
Intuit Interchange Format (.IIF) files are ASCII text, TSV (Tab-Separated Value) files that QuickBooks Desktop uses to import or export lists or transactions. These files make it easier to transfer data to and from different platforms to better manage company records in QuickBooks.
Importing and exporting .IIF files in QuickBooks Desktop is easy because QuickBooks Desktop formats the file for you. However, creating .iif files from scratch or adapting data from another program is technically complex and may be difficult if you don't have experience formatting delimited text files. This makes it faster and easier to enter the information directly into QuickBooks Desktop, unless you have very large amounts of data to import.
|Note: Intuit does not offer assisted technical support for creating or importing .IIF files
To get started, you can download and install the .IIF import kit to save time and improve your results. You can also download sample .IIF files to practice or use as templates for importing transactions into QuickBooks.
The IIF import kit
The QuickBooks IIF Import Kit is a reference guide for creating and working with .IIF import files. It contains the following components:
- IIF Import Manual: A .pdf document that outlines common .iif pitfalls and best practices.
- IIF Header Help: The column headings used to import list data.
- IIF Example Files: A folder that contains version-specific .iif transaction examples.
Download and install the .IIF import kit
- Select the Save button to download the IIF_Import_Kit.zip file to your Windows desktop.
- Use WinZip or any compatible file compression utility to extract the contents of the downloaded file. The contents will automatically extract into a sub folder called .IIF Import Kit.
- Open the IIF Import Kit folder to view its contents.
Note: A similar import kit for importing Microsoft Excel and CSV files is also available.
Sample .IIF files
Using the sample file
Recommended: a spreadsheet program that supports a tab-delimited format, such as Microsoft Excel.
- The data will appear in columns that are easier to read and edit.
- Opening the sample files in any text editor is much more difficult..
Use the sample .IIF files as templates for your own data.
- Correct .IIF format must be followed exactly to ensure your transactions import successfully.
- Using the sample files as templates gives you a head start on doing it right.
Importing IIF files into QuickBooks provides only limited error checking.
- Incorrect format may lead to an error or the data will import incorrectly - with no error.
- Always check your data carefully after importing to ensure it is complete and accurate.
Each downloadable .zip file contains:
- A full set of sample IIF files with transaction data only.
- A sample company file backup you can restore in QuickBooks to practice importing transactions.
The downloads are available in two versions--one that uses sales tax, and one that does not.
- Download iif1.zip - If you have the Sales tax preference ON
- Download iif2.zip - If you have the Sales tax preference OFF
Download sample files
- Select the link to a sample file.
- Select Save in the file download window.
- Save the file to a convenient location on your computer's hard drive, such as your Desktop.
- Use WinZip or a compatible file compression utility to extract the contents of the downloaded file. Be sure you note into which folder you extract the files so you can find them.
Individual sample IIF files
- Contain a single .IIF file and a "read me" text file.
- Contain both transaction data and the associated list data (account, customer, item, etc.), which shows how you can combine different types of data in one IIF file.
- Can be used with the sample company file backup to practice importing. Download the company file separately and restore it in QuickBooks.
|Bill payment by cheque
|Bill payment by credit card
|Cash sales with tax1
|Cash sales without tax
|Cheque affecting an account
|Credit card refund
|Credit memo with sales tax charged
|Estimate with sales tax charged
|Invoice with sales tax1 charged
|Invoice with sales tax and group items
|Invoice with no sales tax (sales tax preference off)
|Invoice with no sales tax and group items
|General journal entry
|Sales tax payment
|Sample company file backup with sales tax turned OFF
|Sample company file backup with sales tax turned ON
1 If you have the Sales Tax preference turned on in your company file, download the .iif file with tax even if you are not charging tax on all your transactions (enter a zero in the sales tax column for transactions without tax).
Important: Be sure all accounts in your .iif file are created in QuickBooks before importing. If you import a transaction with an account that is not already created in the QuickBooks data file, that account will be created as a new bank account.
Understand .IIF headers
The file headers in an IIF file tell the program how to import the type of data that follows (i.e. a customer list or a transaction). Each header specifically defines a field in the company file. The file headers are in rows that begin with an exclamation point. The first column in the header must contain a keyword.
In a list import file, the file headers line is usually located in the first row. In the example below for a customer list, the file headers line tarts with !CUST.
|123 Placido Terrace
|Courtney Tool Design
|5223 Hesse Drive
In a transaction import file, there are usually three file header lines that occupy the first, second, and third rows (row 1, 2, and 3 in the example below). The example below shows a cheque transaction in an .IIF file. The file headers lines begin with !TRNS, !SPL, and !ENDTRNS.
How to use .IIF headers
The correct spelling and placement of these file headers are required to prevent errors during import. Also, not all file headers are necessary in an .IIF file in order to import transactions successfully into QuickBooks. Several examples are available in the .IIF Import Kit. For more information:
- From the QuickBooks Help menu, choose QuickBooks Help.
- Select the Search tab
- Type IIF file format, and select the Start Search arrow.
- Select Reference guide to import files.
When you export a list from an existing company, QuickBooks creates an export file header: