Moving files over from QuickBooks Desktop Pro/Premier? This article is part of our content on migrating to QuickBooks Online.

If you are using a company file from QuickBooks Desktop 2012 or earlier or if your company file is on a USB drive, you must download an updated trial from QuickBooks Desktop trial links and restore your company file, then follow the steps below to import.

Step 1: Review some critical information before converting your file

  • See the pre-conversion check-list or for the UK, all the steps below and more can be found in the full UK guide; Your Data File Conversion Guide (UK Only)
  • You can only import QuickBooks Desktop data within the first 60 days of your QuickBooks Online company start date. Your QuickBooks Desktop file will also replace your entire QuickBooks Online file and overwrite any existing information.
  • You must be an Administrator user in both your existing QuickBooks Desktop file AND in your QuickBooks Online account.
  • Your QuickBooks file must be under 350,000 targets (NOTE: file size does not matter and the UK file can be up to 500k targets). If you are over this limit, you will only be given the option to import your lists and/or balances.
  • To understand key differences and unsupported features prior to moving, see Import Limitations - QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online.
  • Update your payroll in QuickBooks Desktop before migrating, and if necessary, run payroll in QuickBooks Desktop prior to migrating. It may take several days to get payroll running correctly in QuickBooks Online, and may take additional time if you are setting up employees with direct deposit.
  • Ensure all of your sales tax filings are current before migrating to QuickBooks Online. You may need to make adjustments entries to sales tax filings after migration.
  • Add the following sites to Internet Explorers' Trusted Sites (from the browser box, select Internet Options > Security > Trusted Sites:
If you are in Canada If you are in the UK

Step 2: Export your Desktop company data

  1. Open QuickBooks Desktop.
  2. Select Company > Export Company File to QuickBooks Online

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  3. Enter your QuickBooks Online login credentials (User ID is usually the user's email address), agree to the Terms of Service, and click Submit.

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  4. If you have inventory in your file, and are importing from QuickBooks Desktop 2016 or later, you'll see this screen, otherwise skip to step 5.

    If you need to import inventory from your QuickBooks Desktop company file, or if you have extensive inventory that requires tracking, sign up for QuickBooks Online Plus. The Easy Start and Essentials don't have this functionality. You can enable tracking Quantity on Hand in the Company Settings of your QuickBooks Online Plus file after migration

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  5. Pick the QuickBooks Online company you want to import your data into, or choose to create a new company.

    If you have already created a QuickBooks Online account, choose that account from the drop-down. Do NOT create a new QuickBooks Online company.

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  6. Select OK, Got it. We'll email you when we're done!

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Step 3: Connect to QuickBooks Online and import your data

  • You'll receive an email from with the subject: Congratulations! Your data is now available on QuickBooks Online when your file is available in QuickBooks Online. This conversion process usually takes 20-45 minutes depending on file size; however, it can take up to 24 hours. Once the import is completed, sign in to your QuickBooks Online account.
  • See our post conversion checklist (Canada or UK) for next steps on getting started with QuickBooks Online

Is your data import unsuccessful?