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Company file compatibility between QuickBooks Desktop versions

Let's define the terms Version and Edition in the QuickBooks lexicon:

  • A product is either QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Premier or QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Solutions (QBES).
  • A version is designated by a year within a product. QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2015 is a different version than QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2016.
  • An edition is a differentiation within QuickBooks Desktop Premier or QBES for different business types:
    • General Business
    • Accountant
    • Retail
    • Manufacturing & Wholesale
    • Non-Profit
    • Contractor
    • Professional services


Upgrading to other versions

You must upgrade your QuickBooks company file to work in newer versions of QuickBooks Desktop. This is not difficult, but you must be aware of the following:

  • 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 2015 to 2016. In a few instances, if the QuickBooks company file will not upgrade to the new version, you may need to step the company file through an intermediate version of QuickBooks Desktop.
  • You can upgrade data files from older versions of QuickBooks to newer versions of QuickBooks, but you cannot revert data files to work in older versions of QuickBooks Desktop  .
  • The only exception to this rule is if you are using QuickBooks Desktop Accountant and working in an Accountant's Copy. See Using an Accountant's Copy between multiple versions/years of QuickBooks.
  • You can upgrade Pro and Premier data files to QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise Solutions (QBES), but you cannot revert QBES data files back to the lower products.
  • A file created in one edition (e.g. Retail, Manufacturing & Wholesale, Accountant etc.) can be opened with any other edition without affecting the data in the file.
  • Premier files may be opened in Pro versions and vice versa without changing the data in the file.
  • Canadian, UK or other international company files cannot be opened in the US version of QuickBooks. Attempting to do so will result in the error "This file was not created with a US version of QuickBooks".
Additional information:
  • Before updating or converting a company file, QuickBooks Desktop requires you to make a backup of the existing file in case you need to revert back to this file and or to the older version of QuickBooks. We recommend saving this file in a safe location with a name that is recognizable as the pre-conversion backup, for example: John Smith Car Repair - QB2010.QBB. For more information see Update (convert) your company file to a newer version of QuickBooks Desktop.
  • If you transfer company files back and forth between locations, be sure both locations are running the same version and release of QuickBooks Desktop.
  • If you update or convert a company file, enter transactions in the converted file, and then decide to revert back to the old version and old backup file, you will need to be manually re-enter those transactions. There is no way to export the newer transactions into the older file or to merge these files using QuickBooks Desktop.  Additional solutions may be available at Marketplace.Intuit.com.

If you installed the newer QuickBooks Desktop version on top of the older version, you will need to reinstall the older version of QuickBooks Desktop in a new folder, instead of the default folder. For example: C:\PROGRAM FILES\INTUIT\QB 2010 PRO. You can then restore the old, pre-conversion backup.
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