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Open and use a secondary company file

Do you want to open two company files at the same time? With QuickBooks Accountant or QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, you can have 2 company files open in 2 different versions of QuickBooks Desktop.

When working with 2 company files, the first opened file is labelled Primary and the second opened file is labelled Secondary. If you close the Primary company file, the Secondary becomes the Primary file.

There are 3 ways to open a Secondary file. While the first company file is open:

  • Double-click the second company file's name.
  • Double-click the QuickBooks icon.
  • Go to the File menu, then select Open Second Company.

Note: Don't use the File menu > Open or Restore Company to open a second company file.


Listed below are the restrictions when opening a Secondary company file. Note that user permissions can't override them.

Restrictions on both Primary and Secondary files

You can't perform the operations listed in the table in either file when 2 company files are open.

Area Restriction
Accountant Menu
  • Manage Fixed Assets
  • QuickBooks Statement Writer
QuickBooks Services
  • Add any QuickBooks Add-ons
App Centre
  • Install Intuit Partner Platform (IPP) applications
Intuit Data Sync (IDS)
  • Set up, reset, or sync data
Internet Connection Setup
  • Set up an internet connection from the Windows Control Panel
Registration and Licensing
  • Register QuickBooks, sync license, change license, unlock to Premier, and add seats
SDK Applications
  • Any application that uses the QuickBooks Software Development Kit (SDK) to connect to QuickBooks
Update QuickBooks Desktop
  • Download an update to QuickBooks. If Automatic Download is on, the updates will be downloaded but not installed until you exit from both files.

Restrictions on the Secondary file

In addition to the operations listed in the preceding table, you can't perform the following operations on the Secondary file if 2 company files are open.

Area Restriction
  • Order cheques and envelopes
  • Set up account for Online Services
  • Import Web Connect file
  • Create Online Banking message
  • Loan Manager
  • Set cheque reorder reminder
  • Participating online institutions
Company Menu
  • Alerts Manager
  • Customer Card Protection
  • Manage Currency
  • Planning and Budgeting Tools
  • Prepare Letters with Envelopes
Complex Passwords
  • Complex Password Setup for Card Protection
Customise Design and Layout
  • Estimate
  • Purchase Order
  • Sales Order
  • Invoice
  • Sales Receipt
  • Credit Note
File Menu
  • All items on the Import and Export sub-menus of the Utilities menu
  • Convert
  • Send Forms
  • Ship FedEx Package
  • Ship UPS Package
  • Shipping Manager
  • Shipping Settings
  • Synchronise Contacts
  • Track or Cancel a Shipment
  • Update Web Services
New Business Checklist
  • All items on the checklist
  • My Payroll Service (all items)
  • Add, Edit, and Delete Payroll Items
  • Create Termination Cheque
  • Edit Filing Methods
  • Edit Payment Due Dates/Methods
  • Entering Time: Use Weekly Timesheets, Time/Enter Single Activity
  • Excel: Client-Ready Payroll Reports
  • Get Payroll Updates
  • Pay Employees
  • Process Payroll Forms, Adjust Payroll Liabilities (Liability Adjustment), Edit/Void Payroll payments, Change New Employee Default Settings
  • Payroll Setup
  • Set up Workers' Comp
  • Start Scheduled Payroll
  • Word: Customise Letter Templates
  • Workers' Comp: List, New Workers Compensation Code, Create/Edit Experience Modification Factor
Printer Setup
  • You can only set up a printer in the Primary window.
QuickBooks Messenger
  • Restricted in the Secondary window.
Template List
  • New
  • Edit
  • Delete
  • Duplicate
  • Active/Inactive
  • Download
Year-End Guide
  • Restricted in the secondary window

Restrictions on QuickBooks Help

You can only open QuickBooks Help (press F1 on your keyboard) in either the Primary or Secondary file.

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