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Back up company files overview

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

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

Note: If you need to email a copy of your company file, create a portable file instead.

Create a backup of your company file

To do this task

  1. If you haven't opened the backup wizard yet, choose File > Create Backup.

  2. To create a backup online using Intuit Data Protect, select Online Backup.


    To back up your company file to a flash drive, CD, DVD, or network drive, select Local Backup.

    Important: Don't store routine backups on the same hard drive where you store your company file. If your computer's hard disk fails, you may lose your backup as well as your company file.

  3. Click the Options button. Use the Backup Options window to tell QuickBooks:

    • Where to save your backup

    • How often to remind you to back up your company file

    • Whether to check your company file for damage before creating a backup

    Learn more about these options

    Then click OK.

  4. Choose whether to:

    • Save the backup now

    • Save the backup now and schedule future backups

    • Only schedule future backups

    Learn more about scheduling backups

    If you want to save the backup to a flash drive, CD, or DVD, insert it now. Click Next.

  5. If you chose to save the backup now, in the Save Backup Copy window, change the name of the backup, if necessary, and click Save.

    If you chose to save the backup now and schedule future backups, or if you chose only to schedule future backups, create a backup schedule. Then click Finish.

Common questions about local backups:

  • 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're using these features. The backup file is saved with a .qbb extension.

    Note: When using the Online Backup feature, only QuickBooks files are backed up. Images, logos, letter templates, and log files aren't included.

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

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

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

  • Can QuickBooks back up mulitple company files at one time?

    QuickBooks only 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 choose File > Create Backup.

  • 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

  • Can QuickBooks create a backup without setting options every time?

    Yes. 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 back up using the current 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 QuickBooks merge a backup into another file?

    No. Backups can't be merged.

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

See also

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