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QuickBooks Tips Blog

Converting QuickBooks for Mac to Windows

Posted by Alex Viau on Feb 17, 2014 7:00:00 AM

A common theme I have with a lot of Mac users is that they believe QuickBooks for Mac is the same thing as its Windows counterpart. I hate to break it to you but it isn't. Because of this common misconception with clients we bring on board I do a lot of conversions from QuickBooks for Mac to QuickBooks for Windows. The conversion either goes two ways...
  • We install QuickBooks for Windows on a windows based computer
  • We install parallels with QuickBooks on the existing Mac to keep their software on their existing machine
Whichever way you choose the process is still the same to convert the QuickBooks Mac file to a QuickBooks Windows file. It requires preparing the company file in the Mac file (the bulk of your time) and then importing the compressed conversion file.
Preparing the company file
  • Ensure you have the administrator password before beginning
  • Move the company file to the desktop to localize it
  • Rename company file to just letters (no special characters allowed!)
  • Open the company file and delete all of the memorized transactions and memorized reports (these will not import)
  • Resort all of the lists in Quickbooks
  • Verify and then rebuild the company file by going to File>Utilities. It will ask you to save down a backup. If the verify utility fails, rebuild the data and then verify the file again. This should solve any issues.
  • Run the Custom Transaction Detail Report in reports list (Change the date range to all and enable the memo column, this will give us EVERY transaction and every line item associated with every transaction in your company file)
    • Sort the report by memo
    • Export this report to excel
    • Insert a column next to the memo column
    • Enter custom function =LEN(select the memo cell) … this will show how many characters are in the cell
    • Delete or change all memos with 50 or more characters in QuickBooks to make it 49 characters or less
    • Search for each of these special characters individually !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, * with ctrl-f in the excel file, delete the characters in the QuickBooks file that you find in the excel export
  • After this has been completed verify and rebuild the file again
Convert the File From QuickBooks Mac to QuickBooks Windows
  • In the QuickBooks for Mac file go to File > Back Up to QuickBooks for Windows
  • Save down the file to your desktop, it will have an extension .qbb (The file will also generate a handy PDF guide as well!)
  • Transfer this newly generated file to the windows computer with QuickBooks installed (I usually just save to the desktop)
  • Open QuickBooks on the Windows machine and go to File > Open or Restore Company...
  • Click Restore a backup copy (.qbb) and then click next
  • Click Local Backup and then click next
  • Select the file you just transferred
  • Follow the prompts and say yes when it asks to update the file to the new version
  • To ensure the process has been done correctly definitely double check your Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss by showing All Dates
You should be good to go now on your Windows computer with QuickBooks. If you do have any problems converting please let me know, I'd love to hear the following from you to better understand what's going wrong...
  • What year QuickBooks are you running both on your Mac and PC
  • What operating system are you running on both your Mac and PC
Very rarely is it the case (and has yet to be) where we convert a Windows QuickBooks file to a Mac file. We always highly advise against this when folks ask which version of QuickBooks should I buy. Good luck with this one and make sure you take your time, one missed transaction will cause headaches during this process.

Topics: QuickBooks Conversion, QuickBooks Mac, Converting QuickBooks, QuickBooks Parallels