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Back up company files overview

You can save backup copies of your QuickBooks files to protect them against accidental data loss. Backup copies are important insurance—if you lose data for any reason, you can restore the data from your backup copy.

If your company file is synced with Intuit online services, follow these guidelines to determine your best backup option.

Ways you can back up

If you need to email a copy of your company file, use a portable file instead.

Local backups and the backup wizard

How you can manage local backups.

You can:

What gets saved in a backup?

A backup file contains everything you need to re-create your company file and QuickBooks environment, including all of the QuickBooks files (templates, letters, logos, and images) related to your company file. QuickBooks also backs up your Financial Statement Designer, Cash Flow Projector, Business Planner, and Loan Manager files if you are using these features. The backup file is saved with a .qbb extension.

Note: Certain payroll forms are restricted from being backed up. Find out more about payroll forms and backup.

Back up to:

Set a local backup schedule to:

Set local backup options to:

Common questions about local backups:

  • Can I back up or restore data for a specific date range?

    No. QuickBooks backs up all data within a company data file.

  • How can I change the company file that I'm backing up?

    QuickBooks backs up the company file that you're currently in when you open the backup and restore wizard. To change the company file being backed up, open that company file first and then select Save Copy or Back Up from the File menu.

  • Do payroll tax forms get saved with backups?

    If you tell QuickBooks you will Save & Close, and you make a backup of your QuickBooks company file, QuickBooks does not save the form as part of the backup.

    If you need to send a backup to your accountant or bookkeeper

    Preferred method: QuickBooks recommends that you print a copy of your form and fax it to your accountant. If you are subscribed to QuickBooks Enhanced Payroll, you can archive a copy as a PDF and e-mail it to your accountant.

    Advanced method: If you need your accountant or bookkeeper to review and edit payroll tax forms you started and told QuickBooks you would Close & Save, you must send the folder that contains your saved form(s) along with your backed-up company file.

    Follow the instructions carefully to avoid losing your work and having to create your forms again.

    1. Go to the directory where you saved your company file. Look for the folder called " Tax Forms," where "" is the name of your company file. For example, in the image below, if your company file is called "Sample Company", the name of the folder is "Sample Company Tax Forms."

    2. Tell your accountant or bookkeeper to place the Tax Forms folder in the same place on their computer that they put your company file. (QuickBooks will not be able to locate and open your form(s) if the folder is not in the same place as your company file.)

    3. When your accountant or bookkeeper returns your company file to you, remind them to return the Tax Forms folder as well; otherwise, you will not receive any edits they made to your forms.

    See also

  • Do I have to go through the entire wizard every time I want to backup?

    No. If you've backed up once before and don't need to change any of your option settings, you can click Finish in the wizard at any time to run the backup using the preexisting settings.

  • When do I use a backup vs. a portable company file?

    Use backups to protect against accidental loss of data

    To safeguard your QuickBooks data against accidental loss, create regular backups of your QuickBooks company file. The backup contains everything you need to re-create your company file and QuickBooks environment, including all of the QuickBooks files (templates, letters, logos, images, and so on) related to your company file.

    In case of accidental loss or damage, you can use the backup file to restore your company data. A backup file also includes a transaction log (.tlg file) which Intuit Technical Support can use to recover transaction data if damage or loss occurs. Unlike a portable file, a backup file is very large and cannot be emailed. It is not recommended as a means of moving company data, unless you have a new computer and need to move all of your related files as well. The backup file is saved with a .qbb extension.

    Use a portable company file to email or move your data

    To email or move your company data, create a portable company file. A portable company file is a compact version of your company file, small enough to be sent by email or saved to portable media. Use a portable company file whenever you need to copy your company data to another location or send it to another person.

    Unlike a backup file, a portable file contains only a compressed version of the company file financial data—it doesn't contain related files such as letters, images, templates, and so on. It also doesn't contain a transaction log (.tlg file) and is not always the best option for a synced company file. The portable file is saved with a .qbm extension.

    See also

  • Can I merge a backup into another file?

    No. Backups cannot be merged.

    If you need to exchange data with your accountant, consider using an Accountant's copy instead.

See also

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