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Level 2

Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

I can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina (OS X 10.15). When I try, the program locks up and nothing happens. I've tried over and over. Fortunately, I have another Mac that is still on Mojave (OS X 10.14). When I export from the Mojave Mac, QB asks for a password, then shows the export progress, and it works as expected. I would be furious right now if I didn't have the Mojave Mac, as I just purchased and migrated to QB 2020 two weeks ago, and needed to get my books to my accountant today.


Is anyone else having this Catalina export for Windows issue? At some point, I intend to update my other computer to Catalina, but I can't do that if I'm worried QB will not work. Note that I tried exporting some data from the Catalina Mac, and that worked fine.

QuickBooks Team

Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

Thanks for contacting the QuickBooks Community, @RM16.

QuickBooks Desktop for Mac 2020 R2 (or later) is compatible with Catalina. Technically, exporting data to Windows should work using this new macOS. 

See this resource for the details: System requirements for QuickBooks 2020.

Since you’re unable to do so, let’s perform a few troubleshooting solutions. Make sure to update the program to the latest release before performing the process. 

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the QuickBooks drop-down menu and pick Check for QuickBooks Updates.
  2. Click Install Update.
  3. In the pop-up, tap Install and Relaunch.
  4. Wait for the update to complete.

Take a look at this article for more information: Update QuickBooks Desktop for Mac.

Additionally, I also recommend updating your Windows to the latest version to ensure the success of the export process. You can reach out to their support for assistance.

Please check out this article for the steps in switching from Mac to Windows for reference: Convert a QuickBooks for Mac file to QuickBooks for Windows

If you have additional concerns, let me know in the comment section. I’m here to help. Have a good one!

Level 2

Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

I have the current version of Quickbooks, I made sure before posting my comment.


You mentioned "updating your Windows," but that's not related to my issue in any way. If you meant updating my Mac, it's also running the most current version of Catalina.


I'm flabbergasted by the instruction at the link that says to prep for windows you should "Remove any memos longer than 50 characters or contain special characters like !@#$%^&*"! My Quickbooks file is for my 20 year old company, and there appears to be thousands of memos (and many do have characters listed, I'm unsure if any are over 50 characters)! The process of going through thousands of memos and adjusting hundred of entries could take days! Does the fact I just exported fine from my other Mac, and also exported to Windows every year for 20 years mean this is an unnecessary step? Intuit needs to add a feature to do this step automatically if it's truly an issue, because you can't expect a user to scroll through thousands of entries to find and delete possibly hundreds of number signs, etc.! 


Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

Let's run a test to check for specific data issues, RM16.


Running the Verify and Rebuild tool helps detect any issues in your company file and corrects them.


Please ensure a backup copy of your QuickBooks company file beforehand. Just go to File and select Back Up.


To run the tool:

  1. Go to the File menu and hover over Utilities.
  2. Select Verify Data.
  3. Then, let the tool check your file for data issues.

If the tool detects an issue, rebuild the file by following these steps:

  1. From the File menu, choose Utilities and select Rebuild Data.
  2. Select OK in QuickBooks Information window and wait for the tool to repair your file.
  3. Once done, click on OK.

Otherwise, repair the file manually if QuickBooks doesn't find any problems.


You can follow further instructions outlined in this article: Resolve data damage with your QuickBooks Desktop company file.


If you encounter any specific error messages while exporting, refer to this article that will help: QuickBooks Desktop export troubleshooting (Mac, IIF, & One-Click).


Keep us posted once you've tried the recommended solutions above. We'll be waiting for your reply. Have a good day.

Level 2

Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

Can anyone address the fact that the export works fine one one computer (Mac 10.14), but not on the other (Mac 10.15), with the same data


Note that I use the verify data option before exporting.

Kayla H
QuickBooks Team

Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

Hi there, @RM16.


I'm happy to assist with this issue.


I see that you've gone through the troubleshooting steps listed in the previous comments and having the same issue. I believe there may be an application issue. Each computer operates on separate applications and could be preventing you from exporting successfully if this is broken. I suggest uninstalling QuickBooks and trying again with a clean install. Please follow the instructions listed below.


  1. Close Quickbooks completely.
  2. Go to the Finder menu, then select Applications.
  3. Drag the Quickbooks icon to the Trash.

When the application has been uninstalled successfully we need to remove PLIST files. 



  1. Go back to the Finder menu.
  2. Hold down the Option key, then click Library.
  3. Open up the Preferences folder.
  4. Find the PLIST files that contain, then move them to the trash as well. (Note: xx is the version of Quickbooks you're using.)
  5. Empty Trash.

System PLIST

  1. From a new Finder window, open the Macintosh HD.
  2. Go to Library, then Preferences folder.
  3. Find PLIST files that contain, then move them to the Trash. 
  4. Empty the trash.

Once this has been completed, reboot the computer and then Install QuickBooks. Please have the license number and product code ready before the installation.


Feel free to reach back out anytime, I'm only a click away.

Level 9

Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

I don't know why export to windows would work on Mojave and not on Catalina.  We haven't had any repots of this. You say this is the same company file. Is it the same version of QuickBooks on both machines?  The most recent version is R3 which is visible if you select the QuickBooks application in the Finder and choose File->Get Info (its also in the QuickBooks->About Dialog). 


The plist cleaning may help - give that a try.  Other than that, reach out to me at qbforum1 (at) (where (at) is the at sign).  Include a link to this thread. I'm on the engineering side and will reply and, with your help, try to get to the bottom of what's going on and issue a fix if necessary.

Level 2

Can't export from Quickbooks for Mac 2020 to Windows using Catalina

Since I managed to export a file for my accountant, and I'm fairly busy otherwise, it may be some time before I try the suggested fixes (starting with plist file). But yes, I've got the current version (R3) of QB on both computers (I always check for updates immediately if I encounter an issue).


Referring to the support page with steps to take before exporting, do you know if the problems caused by special characters in memos (or memos over 50 characters) would cause an issue for exporting from Mac, or an issue for importing on Windows? Or any insight? As mentioned above, manually making these changes would be a huge task for me.

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