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If you've been using another financial software product, and you'd
like to import information from that product into QuickBooks, you can do so
if the product allows you to export to a spreadsheet or text file.
This topic describes how to format information in a spreadsheet and save it
as an import (IIF) file that QuickBooks can read. Using an IIF file, you can
import information for your QuickBooks lists, budgets, and transactions. When
formatting the IIF files, you may want to refer to the Reference
Guide to Import Files.
If you already have a correctly formatted IIF file, go directly to step 10 below.
The easiest way to see and understand the format QuickBooks needs
to import data is to export some of your QuickBooks lists to IIF files and view
the resulting file in a spreadsheet. If you don't already have a QuickBooks
company, you can export lists from the sample data (sample_product-based business.qbw
or sample_service-based business.qbw).
Open the spreadsheet that contains the data.
Move the contents of all the cells in your spreadsheet one column to the
right so that the first column is blank.
Move the contents of all the cells down by one row so that the first row is
Check the structure of the spreadsheet. If it contains more than one type of
list—or a mixture of lists, budgets, and transactions—make sure
that each type of information has its own block in the spreadsheet. The blocks
should follow each other vertically. Insert a blank row of cells to separate
For example, if you have a list of customers and a list of vendors, all the
customer data should be in one block and all the vendor information should be
in another block.
In the first cell in the blank row above each block of information, enter
one of the keywords shown in this table. Be sure to include the exclamation
Type this text...
If the block contains...
Details about your chart of accounts.
A customer address or phone list.
A vendor address or phone list.
A list of employees.
A list of names you'd like to add to QuickBooks Other Name list.
A list of general classifications you'd like to add to QuickBooks Class
A list of customer classifications you'd like to add to QuickBooks
Customer Type list.
Details about the line items you use on sales and purchase forms.
Messages you'd like to add to QuickBooks Customer Message list.
A list of payment methods you'd like to add to QuickBooks Payment Method
A list of shipping methods you'd like to add to QuickBooks Ship Via
A list of payment terms you'd like to add to QuickBooks Terms list.
Details about activities you timed with the QuickBooks Timer. Works with
QuickBooks Timer data.
A list of upcoming "to do" tasks you want QuickBooks to remind you
A list of vendor classifications you'd like to add to QuickBooks Vendor
For example, if the spreadsheet contains a list of customers and a list
of vendors, the structure of the spreadsheet would be as follows:
42 [List of customers]
44 [List of vendors]
Fill in the remaining cells of the first column with the keyword you entered
in the first row for each informational block. This time, omit the exclamation
In our example, the first column would look like this:
Complete the first row for each list by adding the headings that QuickBooks
expects to find for that type of information. To see a list of the headings you
can use, click the type of information you are importing:
Chart of accounts
Payment Method list
Ship Via list
Customer Type list
To Do list
Vendor Type list
Customer Message list
Distribution lines in
Other Names list
Activities timed with the QuickBooks Timer
For example, the first row for a list of vendor names, addresses, and phone
numbers would look like this:
30 !VEND NAME ADDR1 ADDR2 ADDR3 ADDR4 ADDR5 PHONE1
Make sure that the content of the columns in each block matches the headings
you just added:
If you have a vendor's entire address in one column, you need to break
it up so that the first line of the address appears under the ADDR1 column, the
second line under the ADDR2 column, and so on.
You may have some columns that are filled with information, but you could
find no heading that matched the information. In this case, consider moving the
material in those columns to the NOTES column.
Save the spreadsheet as a text file. (The columns must be separated by tabs
or commas.) Add an .IIF extension to the filename.
Start QuickBooks. Go to the File menu, choose Utilities, choose Import,
and click IIF Files. Enter the name and path of the file you just created. Click OK.
QuickBooks adds the data to your company file, updating any lists as needed.
For example, if you have imported a list of vendors, QuickBooks adds the new
vendor names to your Vendor list.
Reference Guide to Import Files
Importing transactions to QuickBooks