In some cases, you may need to convert the Quickbooks Mac Desktop file into a Quickbooks Desktop for Windows file to complete an import to QBO. This is known as round tripping. Round tripping is a term used for the process of sending a QuickBooks for Mac file to an accountant with QuickBooks Desktop for Windows. Due to the difference in the type of database that each program uses, there is not an Accountant's Copy feature available in QuickBooks Mac Desktop. As a result, round tripping is sometimes necessary in order for an accountant to make changes to a Mac client's company file.

Starting in QuickBooks Mac Desktop, follow this basic flow:

  1. Client saves a Back Up to QuickBooks Desktop for Windows.
  2. Backup file is transferred to the accountant, preferably using a secure transfer method.
  3. The accountant makes changes as needed and uses Copy Company File for QuickBooks Mac Desktop, which is then transferred back to the client.
  4. The client restores the back up into QuickBooks Mac Desktop.


While QuickBooks for Windows can create a backup for QuickBooks Mac Desktop and vice versa, there are some restrictions:

  1. Be sure your QuickBooks Mac Desktop and your accountant's QuickBooks Desktop for Windows are the same year and the latest release for that year. For example if you have QuickBooks Mac Desktop 2015, be sure your accountant is using QuickBooks Desktop for Windows 2015. If you use different years, you may have issues updating your file to later versions or round tripping in the future.
  2. CRITICAL:  Once you have made the backup for Windows, do not upgrade QuickBooks Mac Desktop either to a newer year, e.g., QBM 2015 to QBM 2016, or to a newer release, e.g., R4 to R5.
  3. You must have the administrator password to complete the roundtrip process.
  4. While the accountant has your file, do not enter data into your Macintosh file. Otherwise, you will have to reenter the data when you receive your file back.
  5. Because QuickBooks for Mac does not have internal payroll, we suggest that you do not process payroll in the QuickBooks for Windows version of the file. The subscription information, payroll settings and payroll data that you enter will be lost when the file is converted back to QuickBooks for Mac. If payroll is to be used in Windows, you will need to enter the service key into company file manually in the QuickBooks for Windows version. If e-filing and/or e-paying taxes and forms, you need complete the e-file setup in the Payroll Setup.
  6. You cannot roundtrip to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions (QBES) because QBES cannot produce a QuickBooks Mac Desktop backup.
  7. Users may be prompted to change password when converting a .qbb file created using QuickBooks Mac Desktop. If the user or accountant changes the password to meet the QuickBooks Desktop for Windows password requirements, they should use the new password created by the accountant to convert the file back to QuickBooks Mac Desktop.

Because QuickBooks Mac Desktop does not have all the features of QuickBooks Desktop for Windows, some data is lost when a QuickBooks Desktop for Windows file is converted to QuickBooks Mac Desktop. See our article on opening your company file on your Mac for a complete list of data that does and does not convert from QuickBooks Desktop for Windows. 

Back to the Top

Prepare your Macintosh file

Due to the OS differences and the conversion process, your QuickBooks Mac Desktop file requires some file preparation.
  1. Update your version of QuickBooks Mac Desktop to the latest release. 
  2. Check for any special characters in the file name and Company Name, such as !@#$%^&*. If there are any, rename the file and remove the special characters. 
  • Note: Company Name is under QuickBooks menu > Preferences > My Company.
  1. Open the file in QuickBooks and delete all memorized transactions and memorized reports.
  2. Resort your lists.
  3. Rebuild and then Verify your company file.
  4. Run the Custom Transaction Detail Report, changing the date range to All and enabling the Memo Column:
  • Go to Reports > Custom Transaction Detail Report.
  • In the Modify Report window, click the Dates drop-down arrow and select All.
  • Under Columns, click to select the Memo column. A checkmark appears when the column is selected.
  • Click OK to run the report.
  1. Check for any memos with names that are longer than 50 characters or that contain special characters such as !@#$%^&*.
  2. If any are found, edit the transactions and remove the memos. Rebuild the file again.
Back to the top

Convert your Macintosh file to a Windows file
  1. Open the company file in QuickBooks Mac Desktop.
  2. If you did not rebuild your file while preparing it, rebuild your data file now.
  3. Go to File > Export > To QuickBooks Desktop for Windows.
  4. Choose a name and location for the file and click Save (this creates a file with the extension .qbb).
  5. After the backup for Windows is created, you can click Show File in Finder to locate the file on your computer.
  6. QuickBooks also creates an Instructional PDF file in the same location with the same name as your company file.
  7. This backup for Windows can be opened in QuickBooks Desktop for Windows.
  8. After the backup is complete, rename the company file so that you do not overwrite it when the updated copy is returned.
  9. Send the backup to the Windows machine using whatever method you prefer (e.g., dvd, external hard drive, flash drive, FTP web site, or secure transfer service).
  10. Once the backup file for Windows is on the Windows machine, open QuickBooks Desktop for Windows.
  11. Go to File > Open or Restore Company.
  12. Click Restore a backup copy (.qbb) and then click Next.
  13. Click Local backup and then click Next.
  14. Browse to the location of the backup for Windows and click Open.
  15. When asked to update the file to the new version, type yes and then click OK.
  Back to the top

Convert your Windows file to a Macintosh file
  1. Update your version of QuickBooks Desktop for Windows to the latest release.
  2. Open the company file in QuickBooks Desktop for Windows.
  3. Resort your lists.
  4. Rebuild and then Verify the data file.
  5. Go to File > Utilities > Copy Company File for QuickBooks Mac Desktop.
  6. Save the file wherever you prefer (this creates a file with the extension MAC.qbb).
  7. Send the copy for Mac to the Mac computer using whatever method you prefer (e.g., dvd, external hard drive, flash drive, FTP web site).
  8. Once the file is on the Mac, open QuickBooks Mac Desktop.
  9. Go to File > Restore > From a Disk. 
  10. Select the copy for Mac, and click Open.
  11. QuickBooks will ask if you want to restore a QuickBooks Desktop for Windows file, click OK .
  12. Enter a name for the restored file, and then click Save.
Back to the top

Conversion Errors

Cannot open the file in Windows

If you see either of these errors when opening the file in QuickBooks Desktop for Windows:
  • Error C=116
  • Error (-14113, 0)

Open your file in QuickBooks for Mac; resort your lists and run the Rebuild Data Utility. Try to convert again.

Cannot open the file in Macintosh after updating QuickBooks Mac Desktop

If you see the message: Cannot Import the Roundtrip file. This file was originally created with another version of QuickBooks Mac Desktop. Please import it into the version with which it was created.
  1. Download and reinstall your previous version and release. See Download & Install QuickBooks Desktop to download.
  2. Restore the backup from Windows.
  3. Convert your restored data file to your newer version of Quickbooks Mac Desktop.
Back to the top HOW12998