Exporting From QuickBooks Online to Desktop

While Intuit has made it easy to convert from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online, the same surely cannot be said of the reverse. Here we list the actual steps necessary to accomplish an export.

First, you must meet the prerequisites in Exporting from QuickBooks Online Prerequisites

Next, review these 24 categories of limitations.

And finally perform the steps below:

Steps to Request Export

  1. Login to your QuickBooks Online company
  2. Click the Gear icon next to your company name
  3. Choose "Export Data"
  4. For why you're exporting, choose the radio button labeled "Going back to QuickBooks Desktop"
  5. For the screen titled "Which reports and lists do you want to export," do not choose any of the choices. instead choose "Learn More" under the text "Moving to QuickBooks Desktop"
  6. For the screen titled "Exporting to QuickBooks Desktop," choose "Learn More" under the text "Download company data ." You can ignore the message "You'll need a computer running Windows 7...Internet Explorer 32-bit" as we have found Windows 10 with Internet Explorer 11 64-bit to work just as well.
  7. For the screen titled "Export Overview," review the prerequisites and limitations and choose the "Get started" button
  8. For the screen titled "Step 1: Prepare to export," choose "Install" under the text "Install ActiveX Controls"
  9. For the screen titled "Why do I need to install this activeX control," review the text and choose "Install ActiveX Control Now" button
  10. For the screen titled "Installing our ActiveX Control," you should see "This website wants to install the following add-on: 'qboax11.cab' from 'Intuit, Inc.' on the notification bar. Choose "Install."
  11. For the screen titled "User Account Control," you'll read "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device [qboax11.html. Choose "Yes"
  12. You should now see "ActiveX control xinstalled"
  13. Next, we'll add qbo.intuit.com as a trusted site through Internet Explorer. :
    1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools in the upper right toolbar or click the Tools icon and select Internet Options.
    2. Click the Security tab
    3. Ensure that "Enable protected mode" is unchecked.
    4. Select the Trusted Sites zone.
    5. Click the Sites button.
    6. Under "Add this Web site to the zone:" type https://qbo.intuit.com
    7. Click Add and then click OK.
  14. If you have not previously enabled popups, you can do so now by following these steps:
    1. Click the Tools menu on top. (press the ALT keyboard key if not visible)
    2. Choose Pop-up Blocker and click Always Allow Pop-ups from This Site....
    3. Click Yes in response to the confirmation message.
  15. Click the "Continue" button
  16. For the screen titled "Step 2: Select your Data", choose the radio button labeled "All Financial Data"
  17. Note the message Exporting can take up to 12 hours, but is usually less. When your QuickBooks for Windows file is ready, you'll see a message or activity on your QuickBooks Online home page." Choose "Continue." Note: We have never seen the export process take anywhere near 12 hours; it is usually just a few minutes.
  18. For the screen titled "Step 3: Request your Data," review the limitations and choose "Continue"
  19. For the screen titled "We'll email you as soon as your file is ready to be downloaded from the QuickBooks homepage," enter your name and email address. Then choose "Continue"
  20. You'll see the message: "Thanks for your request. We'll email you shortly once your request is ready."
  21. Look in your Inbox for an email with the subject "QuickBooks Online: Company Data Ready for Download"
  22. The email will advise as follows:

    Please go to https://qbo.intuit.com/ and
    log on to <your company name>
    Click the task or to do item called "Download the company file created on 04/27/2020"
    Follow the onscreen instructions.
    
  23. However, in our experience, the task never shows up on your task list and you must perform these steps instead, as if you were going to repeat the process:

Steps to Download

  1. Login to your QuickBooks Online company
  2. Click the Gear icon next to your company name
  3. Choose "Export Data "
  4. For why you're exporting, choose "Going back to QuickBooks Desktop"
  5. For the screen titled "Which reports and lists do you want to export," do not choose any of the choices. Instead choose "Learn More" under the text "Moving to QuickBooks Desktop"
  6. For the screen titled "Exporting to QuickBooks Desktop," choose "Learn more" after "Download company data ."
  7. For the screen titled "Export Overview," choose the "Get started" button
  8. For the screen titled "Step 1: Prepare to export," choose "Continue"
  9. For the screen titled "Step 2: Select your Data", choose "All Financial Data" and then "Continue." (you're making the same selections as in the first pass).
  10. The next screen is where you can download your file. You should see the message "You already have a file waiting to be downloaded."
  11. Choose "Continue to Download" button
  12. For the screen titled "Step 4: Create a QuickBooks for Windows company file", follow the instructions regarding opening QuickBooks Desktop and closing any existing company files.
  13. Then click the "Download" button
  14. You'll see a "Save your company file to" dialog and be asked for a filename which defaults to "export_company.qbxml"
  15. Choose the "Save" button
  16. You'll see instructions on accepting certificates in QuickBooks Desktop. Choose the "Convert Now" button.
  17. You may see a dialog titled "Internet Explorer Security" with the message shown below. If so, disable protected mode" under Tools > Options > Security then restart Internet Explorer and resume from the heading Steps to Download above.:

    A website wants to open web content using this program on your computer
    This program will open outside of Protected mode.
    Internet Explorer's Protected mode helps protect your computer.
    If you do not trust this website, do not open this program.
    Name:  QuickBooks
    Publisher: Intuit, Inc.
    
  18. You'll be prompted to "Create new QuickBooks file." This is finally the name of your QuickBooks for Windows Desktop file. Enter a name that describes your company such as Acme Landscaping and choose the "Save" button.
  19. Your computer will switch to the QuickBooks Desktop application and you'll see a dialog like this:

    An application is requesting access to the following QuickBooks company
    file: Acme Landscaping
    Access may include reading and modifying QuickBooks data as well as
    enhancing the QuickBooks user interface (where applicable).
    THE APPLICATION CALLS ITSELF
    Microsoft Windows
    CERTIFICATE INFORMATION
    Description:
    Developer: Microsoft Corporation
    Developer identity has been verified by:
    Microsoft Code Signing PCA 2010
    QUICKBOOKS SOLUTIONS MARKETPLACE
    Learn about applications that integrate with QuickBooks
    Do you want to allow this application to read and modify this company file?
    No
    Yes, prompt each time
    Yes, whenever this QuickBooks company file is open
    Yes, always; allow access even if QuickBooks is not running
    Allow this application to access personal data such as Social Security Numbers and
    customer credit card information. Tell me more
    Continue... Cancel Help
    
  20. Choose the radio button "Yes, prompt each time" and "Continue..."
  21. You'll see another dialog titled "Access Confirmation"

    You have chosen to grant the application
    Microsoft Windows
    access to the QuickBooks company file
    Acme Landscaping
    only for the current QuickBooks session.
    Access rights:
    - Read and modify QuickBooks data
    (NOT including personal data)
    - Enhance the QuickBooks user interface
    Done Go Back
    
  22. Choose "Done"
  23. You'll be returned to Internet Explorer and should see the text "Congratulations! You completed the process needed to move your data to QuickBooks for Windows."
  24. to make sure your data is accurate, switch to QuickBooks Desktop and run a "Profit and Loss" report and "Balance Sheet" report.

And that's all there is to it :)


Ben Humphreys is a software developer and accountant based in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
He can be reached AT (904) 430-5887 or e-mailed at brh@bhent.com.


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Used with permission under the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Agreement.