Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Coming back to QuickBooks Mac from QuickBooks Online - What to Expect

Scale comparing QBO to QBD


After three years, QuickBooks for Mac gets an update. This month, QuickBooks for Mac 2019 finally arrives. With such a long gap in-between the releases, many of you moved to QuickBooks Online and may now wish to return. Yet, what about your company data file? Can it come back and how difficult will that be?



The biggest difficulty is getting past the fact that there is no direct route to get from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks for Mac. You will need to export your data into QuickBooks for Windows and then convert that file into QuickBooks for Mac. Even though the process appears complicated, you can still get your data back into QuickBooks for Mac.



The following step will get you started on the standard conversion process. After reading this overview, you should have enough information to choose if conversion is right for you. Follow this sequence to help guide you.


*Note: Alternatively, you may wish to have QuickBooks Data Services perform the entire conversion for you, however, certain fees may apply. Contact support to have them initiate a Data Services case on your behalf.


Windows and IE


The first part of the conversion ONLY works with Internet Explorer. With that said, in Windows 10 it is easy to mistake the Microsoft Edge browser icon with Internet Explorer.




error.png    Should you use the wrong browser, prepare to receive this message:




Internet Explorer does not show on the application listing, but it is a built-in feature and does not need installation. To locate it search for “Internet Explorer,” and you should find it.


Where's the Export?


Select the Company Settings Gear Icon, in the upper right portion of the screen, to access the Export Data Feature.




Answer the QuickQuestion with QuickBooks Desktop in order to begin the wizard:



Important: If you're using a trial version of QuickBooks for Windows to facilitate the conversion, you may need to briefly open the Activate window. Please see this community post

Heads up - most Important information that will not come over


Some information simply cannot export and will need to be re-created. The export wizard should determine which data items you currently use in QBO that do not carry over and notify you before continuing. Please take note prior cancelling your QBO Subscription to be sure to either print or view the following if you want to re-create the data in Desktop. View the complete list, but some of the more common items are:

  • Budgets
  • Recurring templates are called memorized transactions in Desktop and are used to easily enter repeating transactions
  • Customer Credit Card information does not export for security reasons
  • Locations is not a feature in QuickBooks Desktop editions and therefore cannot be recreated
  • Statements cannot be exported, unfortunately, yet can be recreated in QuickBooks Desktop
  • Estimates


error.png    A note about lists...


The character limits did not appear to an issue for this particular file. All accounts and names came over for Chart of Accounts, Customer, Vendors and Employees

Items: Everything came over except for Bundles, which is a collection of items and services typically sold together. Those had to be recreated as Group Items in QuickBooks for Mac.



Discrepancies (The Big Reports)


Within the QBO test file, the Profit and Loss for the last fiscal year showed most Income Totals Matched. COGS was off by about $5,000 and so was Gross Profit, but that can be explained with how inventory is calculated. QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks for Mac both use the Average Cost method to calculate your inventory whereas QuickBooks Online uses the “First-in-first-out (FIFO)“ inventory management method.


Take note, expense totals closely match what shows in QuickBooks Online.


For the Balance Sheet, Accounts Receivable was off by about $5,000 which also skewed total current assets. However, individual asset accounts matched such as Undeposited Funds, Retainage Receivable, Checking, Savings, Petty Cash. In the end, the Total Assets were lower by about $2,000 from QuickBooks Online, but they did balance with Total Liabilities.


QBWin to QBMac

The process and differences migrating from QuickBooks for Windows into QuickBooks for Mac is even easier and less intrusive. You can save your Windows file as a Mac backup, using a special utility built into QuickBooks. Then simply restore the backup into your new QuickBooks for Mac 2019. Follow this guide for more detailed steps.


End-to-End Process

On average, the entire process may take hours*, including:

  • Requesting the export file from QBO
  • Installing a trial version of QuickBooks for Windows 2018
  • Importing the file into this version
  • Exporting to a QuickBooks for Macintosh backup file
  • Installing QuickBooks for Macintosh 2019
  • Importing the backup file from QuickBooks for Windows

*Times may vary depending on file size.


The entire process is not instantaneous and may seem complicated, but it is easier if you remember the sequence and follow the process: QBO-->QBWin-->QBMac. It certainly appears easier than starting from an old backup or starting completely over for that matter. For an easy to follow guide, please see the Visual Guide for Export.


For the complete and detailed explanation of the conversion from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks for Mac, see Export data file from QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks for Mac.

For a more comprehensive list of limitations of converting from QBO to QuickBooks Windows, please read Export Limitations – QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop.

For a detailed explanation of converting from QuickBooks Windows to QuickBooks for Mac, please read Convert a QuickBooks Mac file to QuickBooks Windows and back again.











See Also
Data structure when converting your QuickBooks for Windows file to QuickBooks Desktop for Mac

Version history
Last update:
‎October 25, 2018 11:53 AM
Updated by:

Great article @BrandonT!   Thank you for letting us know the steps.


After reading this, I would actually recommend if a customer wanted to make the transition back to QB Mac, I would recommend the following:


  1. Wait till their fiscal year end and then start a new file. 
  2. Use their balance sheet from their tax return as their opening entry. 
  3. Abandon QBO.

But to be honest, I would probably convince them to stay in QBO first!  :cathappy:



@lynda Thanks for your comments. You bring up an excellent point about fiscal year end. Sage advice indeed ~BrandonT


Someone told me that the Quickbook 2021 cannot run in the Apple M1 Chip,  It only can work in Intel.  

Is it true?

I'm here to help share information about how you can work well with QuickBooks, @vin2021.


We have set a set of requirements that must be met in order for QuickBooks to work efficiently. And the name of a processor, like Apple M1 Chip or Intel, isn't on the list.


This means and I can assure you that QuickBooks Desktop for Mac will work as long as your desktop meets these requirements: Desktop for Mac 2021 System Requirements.


I'm adding this reference with the tips and topics you can use while keeping your business growing with us:



It'll always be my pleasure to help if you have any other concerns besides QuickBooks tasks and navigations. Please let me know by clicking the Reply button and leaving a comment below. Have a good one!

Need to get in touch?

Contact us