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Company file compatibility with QuickBooks Desktop when upgrading

Learn more about company file compatibility to avoid issues and errors when you upgrade QuickBooks Desktop.

Terminology

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 2018 is a different version from QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2019.
Edition 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.

Product
  • 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.
Version
  • A company file can't 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 an older to a newer version of QuickBooks but you can't use the upgraded file in the older version. The exception to this rule is if you are using QuickBooks Desktop Accountant and working in an Accountant's Copy. For more information, see Accountant's copy overview.
  • 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 2018 to 2019. In a few instances, if the QuickBooks company file won't upgrade to the new version, you may need to step the company file through an intermediate version of QuickBooks Desktop.
Edition
  • A file created in one edition (Retail, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Accountant, etc.) can be opened with any other edition without affecting the data.

Reminders

  • To avoid overwriting files, create a different folder labelled Pre-Conversion 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.
  • If you decide to use your previous QuickBooks version, you will need to manually re-enter the transactions you have entered in the upgraded or converted file in the old backup file. Since you can’t export transactions or merge company files in QuickBooks Desktop, you can use a different application as an alternative solution.
  • 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 or old backup.

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

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