Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Level 3

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

It has been months since I needed to get a backup of a client's Quickbooks Online (QBO) or convert a client to desktop. That said, attempting this yesterday (08/01/18) caused much frustration and ultimately I gave up for the day. In the past, this was a rather SIMPLE task! NOT anymore. Here is what I finally figured out, that NONE of the Intuit dialogue boxes or "help" in QBO or desktop version, will tell you.


1. Open your desktop QB in ADMINISTRATOR MODE! (this is KEY and not mentioned ANYWHERE in the QBO instructions as you are creating/downloading/converting the file!).

To do this, right click the QB desktop icon, and click "Run as administrator." If a company file opens, close it so that you are at the main QB screen to choose what company to open.


2. Open Internet Explorer in ADMINISTRATOR MODE! (again, key and not mentioned by Intuit). Do this the same way as above for QB Admin Mode. Also of note, you MUST USE IE for this process. You cannot use ANY other browser. If you do not have IE, go get it. 


3. AS SOON AS YOU OPEN Internet Explorer, BEFORE you login to QBO, you MUST turn off your pop-up blocker. Attempting to do this AFTER logging into QBO and while you're in the process of converting will serve only to lock up the QBO website!

To turn off the pop up blocker in IE, go to the tools icon, choose Internet Options. Go to the "Privacy" tab. UN-check "Turn on Pop-up Blocker". 


4. Login to your QBO account. Click the gear icon, select "Export Data".


From that point forward, it is pretty self explanatory, and by following the on-screen instructions you should have your desktop backup/working file in no time. It would have saved me HOURS had steps 1 - 3 above been included in the instructions AT the QBO account. Intuit FAIL!


NOTE: I have also posted the above in an Intuit Community conversation under QBXML Conversion. An Intuit employee responded with a link to video instructions, wherein one must click through MULTIPLE videos, wasting quite a bit of time for the same end result. The information should be included AT the QBO site, AS one is downloading.

Community Champion

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

Even the parts that are self explanatory should be reviewed here


Run as Admin is pretty well specified

Level 3

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

John-Pero, the link you provided is NOT provided in QBO DURING the download / conversion process. Nowhere DURING the process are any of the above instructions mentioned. IF Intuit would put SIMPLE instructions AT the screens DURING the process, this would not be an issue for so many people.

Instead there is a bunch of SEPARATE tutorial videos and / or insanely long and too detailed written instructions. Which one ONLY finds when they go searching the internet after wasting hours of unsuccessful downloads/conversions.

Like I said, I have done this many times in the past, but not for quite some time, until this past August. In the past, it was smooth and uncomplicated. Intuit has convoluted the process and not provided easy instructions in the appropriate place (in QBO... AT the download / conversion screens). 

I have posted this solution on more than one conversation and received much appreciation by other community members for the simplicity and ease of these steps.

I am not saying the link you provided doesn't "help." I am saying that it makes it appear much more overwhelming and confusing than it is. Just not necessary.


Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

Hello JT_WA_State,

I'll join in this thread to take care of you. We value customer ideas here in the QuickBooks Community.


Feedback provides clear expectations for current and future performance by strengthening knowledge of what customer's like you want in QBO.


I also agree that adding the labor or payroll cost in the Project Profitability report would help customers track the income and expenses of a certain project.

I've passed your thoughts to our Product Developers so they’ll consider adding the export instructions during the process.  I'd appreciate it if you could also send this as feedback to our product engineers. Your input would be a big help in getting this implemented.

Here’s how:

To send feedback in QBO:

  1. Click the Gear icon.
  2. Choose Feedback.

To send feedback in QuickBooks Desktop:

  1. Click Help at the top menu bar.
  2. Select Send Feedback Online.

Please reach out to me if there is anything else I can help you with. I'll always be here to assist you. Have a good one.

Level 3

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop



Thank you for your response and proactive actions of forwarding this suggestion.


I have sent feedback as you suggested.

Level 1

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

I think I have the IE and QB desktop under control but when I go to online QB and the gear (for settings), there is no download showing.  Do you know how to locate the download button?

QuickBooks Team

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

Thank you for joining the thread, @DMH.


First, ensure that you're using Internet Explorer when doing the process. Then, click the Export data tab so you'll have the option to download the company data.


Here's how:


  1. Go to the Gear icon, then select Export data under Tools.
  2. Select the Reports or Lists you want to export.
  3. Click on Learn more link under the Moving to QuickBooks Desktop? section.
  4. Tap on Download company data under Moving to QuickBooks Desktop? window.
  5. Hit Get Started to continue the process.


For additional reference about converting QuickBooks Online data to QuickBooks Desktop, check out this article.


Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm always here to help. Have a good day!

Level 1

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

I got back on the download project, read your email and have the article in hand.  I followed all procedures but in QB Online, settings, tools, there is no Export Data choice to make.  Why is the choice not there?  Is it something the client did not pay for?  Is it because my user does not have some special permission?  The choice is not there regardless of the point I am at in QB such as Dashboard or Accounting.  When I select tools, there are 8 choices and Export Data is not one of them.  Angelyn-T or anyone, an email response with help would be greatly appreciated.   [email address removed]

QuickBooks Team

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop

Hello there, DMH,


Great job for following the steps provided by my colleague in this thread.


It's recommended to log in to QuickBooks Online as the master administrator when exporting data to the Desktop version. Other users who don't have permission can't perform the process.


Since you aren't seeing the Export data option under Tools, I suggest contacting the master admin of the account. Then, ask them to change your access when necessary.


Once you are permitted, you can then follow the steps above or visit this link: Export and convert your QuickBooks Online data to QuickBooks Desktop for detailed steps and screenshots.


Let me know how this goes by commenting below. I'm always right here to help.


Thank you and stay safe!

Fiat Lux - ASIA
Level 15

Converting or Downloading Quickbooks Online File to Desktop


If you still hit the wall, check our profile and send your email address in a private message. We may help to migrate your data. 

Sign in for the best experience
Ask questions, get answers, and join our large community of QuickBooks users.
Sign In / Sign Up

Need to get in touch?

Contact us