What is a QuickBooks Desktop Portable Company File?

  • It is a compact copy your financial data.
  • It is often used to send financial data by email or portable media such as external/flash drive
  • Portable copy or .qbm file does not include letters, logos, images and templates
  • It does not contain a transaction log (*.tlg) file
  • QuickBooks Desktop re-indexes your file when restoring a portable company file, so it is an effective tool for resolving data problems
  • Ensure your QuickBooks is up to date before following the troubleshooting steps below.
  • All versions of QuickBooks require you to log in as the Admin to create and return a portable copy. If you give someone a portable copy, this person will gain access to all areas of QuickBooks. They will have the ability to add or modify your transactions. They can also change your Administrator password.
  • Instructions for creating or restoring portable files vary depending on the QuickBooks Desktop version you use.
  • If you are trying to resolve data problems, do no overwrite the original file while restoring the portable copy. The best practice is to rename the original file before restoring the portable company file.
  • If you are sending your company file to your accountant, consider using accountant's copy. Refer to Accountant's copy in QuickBooks Desktop: Overview

Create a portable company file

  1. From the File menu, click Create Copy.
  2. Select Portable company file and click Next.
  3. Select the location where you want to save the portable copy (Example: Desktop).
  4. Click Save and OK.

Restore portable company file

  1. From the File menu, click Open or Restore Company.
  2. Select Restore a portable file and click Next.
  3. Select the portable copy (company name.qbm) and click Open.
  4. Read the message on Where do you want to restore the file and click Next.
  5. Choose the location where you want to restore your portable file.
    Quick tip: You can change the name of the portable file to prevent it from over writing your existing file. You can add a date (mycompanynameJan2020.qbw) or version (mycompanynameV2.qbw.
  6. Click Save.

Unable to create or restore a portable company file

Solution 1: Copy the QuickBooks company file on the desktop

  1. Open the folder where your file is saved.
  2. Right click the file and select Copy.
    • If you are creating a portable file, copy the .QBW file
    • If restoring a portable file, copy the .QBM file
  3. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Paste.
  4. On your keyboard press and hold the Ctrl key then double click the QuickBooks icon to get the No Company Open window.
  5. Try creating/ restoring a portable file.

Solution 2: Try to work on a sample file

  1. On the No Company Open window, click Open a Sample File.
  2. Create a portable copy using the sample company file and save it to your desktop.
  3. From the File menu, select Close Company/Logoff.
  4. Try to restore the portable copy of the sample file that you saved on your desktop.
If you are able to create and restore the portable copy of the sample company file, your company file is damaged.

Solution 3: Repair your QuickBooks Desktop Installation

See Repair QuickBooks article for detailed instructions.

Solution 4: Perform clean installation of QuickBooks Desktop

Reinstall using clean install means you are reinstalling QuickBooks on a brand new folder within the default location.