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How to use the QuickBooks Online desktop app on your computer

SOLVEDby QuickBooks39Updated 5 days ago

The QuickBooks Online desktop app helps you to access all the features of QuickBooks Online without having to use a browser.

If you use QuickBooks Online often or have more than one account, the QuickBooks Online desktop app makes it convenient to access your company file(s).

In this article, you'll learn how to:



About the QuickBooks Online desktop app

The QuickBooks Online desktop app offers these benefits:

  • Stay signed in: Instead of signing in multiple times a day on a web browser, the QuickBooks Online desktop app lets you stay signed in for an extended period until you sign out manually.
  • Access multiple QuickBooks Online companies: In the QuickBooks Online desktop app, you can access multiple companies simultaneously and switch between them without reloading each company.
  • Navigation map view: You have an option of using a navigation map that is similar to QuickBooks desktop.


Download the QuickBooks Online desktop app

To get started, you'll need a 64-bit computer and be a QuickBooks Online subscriber or an accountant with QuickBooks Online Accountant.

Note: If you’re switching from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, you can contact Support to obtain the app download link.

For Windows

  1. Sign in to your QuickBooks Online Advanced or QuickBooks Online Accountant account.
  2. Navigate to Settings, then select Get the desktop app.
  3. Depending on your settings you may see the app install automatically* and a shortcut to the app placed on your Windows desktop. If not installed automatically, QuickBooks will prompt you to save the file. If prompted, select where to save the file and select Save. Open the QuickBooks Setup file to install.
  4. A shortcut to the app is installed on your Windows desktop*. The app should open automatically after installation. If not, open the app from the desktop shortcut.
  5. On the sign-in screen, enter your user ID and password.
  6. Select Sign in.
  7. Select the company to open. Note: If there isn't a QuickBooks Online company linked to your user ID, an error message displays.

*For French users the installation process occurs in English and the app name remains "QuickBooks Online". To adjust the language, log into your account and select Settings ⚙️, then Account and settings, then Company Settings. Set the Language to "French" and select Save.

  • In QBO, this setting is found in the Advanced tab. This will only need to be done once and the app will recall your preference for that account going forward.

The first time using the desktop app you’ll see an option to select how QuickBooks is displayed on the main homepage (your initially selected option can be changed later). You can assign the display settings as follows:

  • If you switch from QuickBooks Desktop and want a similar view, select Yes, let’s go.
  • If you’re already familiar with QuickBooks Online, select No, go standard view.

After you sign in, the app recognizes your sign-in and opens QuickBooks Online automatically. Unless you sign out, you won’t be asked to sign in again for an extended period of time.

Note: When experiencing issues with the QuickBooks Online desktop app, it's important to rule out any potential issues with the QuickBooks Online browser. If the problem persists while also using QuickBooks Online in your browser, it may not be an issue with the app itself.

For Mac

  1. Sign in to your QuickBooks Online Advanced or QuickBooks Online Accountant account.
  2. Navigate to Settings, then select Get the desktop app.
  3. Depending on your settings, you may see the app install automatically and a shortcut to the app placed on your desktop. If not installed automatically, QuickBooks will prompt you to save the file. If so prompted, select where to save the file and select Save.
  4. Move the QuickBooks App to your Applications folder
  5. Open the QuickBooks Setup file to install. Tip: Drag your QuickBooks icon to your task base for easy future access.
  6. On the sign-in screen, enter your user ID and password. Then select Sign in.
  7. If you see multiple QuickBooks Online companies, select the one you want to open.

Note: If there isn't a QuickBooks Online company linked to your user ID, an error message will display.

8. The first time using the desktop app you’ll see an option to select how QuickBooks is displayed on the main homepage (your initially selected option can be changed later). You can assign the display settings as follows:

  • If you switch from QuickBooks Desktop and want a similar view, select Yes, let’s go.
  • If you’re already familiar with QuickBooks Online, select No, go standard view.

After selecting your company, you’re all set.

After you sign in, the app recognizes your sign-in and opens QuickBooks Online automatically. Unless you sign out, you won’t be asked to sign in again for an extended period of time.

Note: When experiencing issues with the QuickBooks Online desktop app, it's important to rule out any potential issues with the QuickBooks Online browser. If the problem persists while also using QuickBooks Online in your browser, it may not be an issue with the app itself.



Access multiple QuickBooks Online companies

If you have multiple QuickBooks Online companies, you can:

  • Switch to another company without signing out.
  • Open a new tab for each company file.
  • Access accounts in the app that have a QuickBooks Online subscription.

Accountants can:

  • Open multiple clients accounts at once, in multiple tabs, or from a single point.
  • Access client accounts, regardless of the client’s subscription.


Access multiple accounts from a single point

  1. Open the QuickBooks Online Desktop app.
  2. Select the You’re viewing [company name] ▼ dropdown menu at the top right corner. A list of companies displays.
  3. Select the company you want to switch to.


Access multiple accounts from multiple tabs

  1. Open the QuickBooks Online Desktop app.
  2. Next to the tab with your company name, select plus + to add another tab.
  3. Select the You’re viewing [company name] ▼ dropdown menu. A list of companies displays.
  4. Select the company you want to switch to.
  5. Repeat this for all companies you want to have open at the same time.
  6. Select the X on the tab(s) to close individual tabs as needed.


Switch views in the QuickBooks Online Desktop app

You can switch between the Standard QuickBooks Online or Desktop views.

If you used QuickBooks Desktop, you can see your account like you're used to. The Desktop view shows QuickBooks Online processes including sales, expenses, payroll, and reporting in a diagram. This allows you to select the pages you want to work on.

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