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Exporting a Copy of Your QuickBooks Online file

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Certified QuickBooks Online AdvisorOne consideration if you’re using QuickBooks Online is that you are storing your company’s mission-critical data on Intuit’s server.

They insist that it’s stored in multiple locations, with backups, and that all are encrypted. So I’m not really concerned about someone breaking into my file, but what I AM concerned about is that there is no way to go back in time, if something unexpected happens with my transactions (read: I make a big fat mistake…but I’m a ProAdvisor so that never happens to me…).

If I were using QuickBooks Desktop, I could always go into a backup file from a few days ago and restore it. But with QuickBooks Online, you don’t have that option, because it doesn’t make local backups.

Here’s what you CAN do!  Periodically, in QBO go to the Gear > Tools > Export Data.

This procedure will create a version of your financial data that you can view on a Desktop copy of QuickBooks. If you’re on a Mac, you can also use QuickBooks Desktop’s utility to convert the file for viewing on a Mac.

This won’t allow you to change your data and then re-upload it, but at least you can sleep soundly knowing that if anything happens to Intuit, your company is not lost.

An issue, though: When I tried this for the first time, it didn’t work, and I had to call QuickBooks Online support. Internet Explorer has several security settings that prevent the download and conversion from working. Here are the steps I had to take.

  1. You do need to be on a PC using Internet Explorer to make this happen.
  2. Press and hold ALT+T to get to the Tools Menu and then go to Security and uncheck Enable Protected Mode.
  3. Add https://qbo.intuit.com to the Trusted Sites.
  4. Go to Privacy then click on Advanced button. On Advanced Privacy Settings window, check the boxes for Override automatic cookie handling and Always allow session cookies.
  5. On the Privacy tab, click the checkbox for Turn On Pop-up Blocker then add qbo.intuit.com. Make sure to uncheck the checkbox for Turn On Pop-up Blocker afterwards.
  6. From Tools in IE, go to Compatibility View Settings then add https://qbo.intuit.com and check the checkbox for Display All Websites in Compatibility View.
  7. On the Advanced tab in Internet Options, unclick the checkbox for Enable Enhanced Protected Mode.
  8. Close then re-open IE.
  9. From the Tools in IE, go to Internet Options then Security tab. Click on Custom Level then disable the Enable XSS Filter and Scripting of Java Applets.
  10. Continue with the download but please make sure that the desktop version is open to the No Company Open screen.

When you’re done with the download, don’t forget to put back steps 3, 4, 6, and 8 or you will open your PC to viruses.

58 Responses to Exporting a Copy of Your QuickBooks Online file

  1. Joe March 26, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    THANK YOU, it worked. At first I could not get the Convert Button to show up, I looked everywhere online how to fix this to issue to no avail. You laid it out perfectly, thanks for your post!!

  2. Pete May 11, 2016 at 5:18 am #

    Does this still work?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock May 15, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

      It sure does! But you still have to use Internet Explorer. Microsoft Edge may not work. After you upgrade to Windows 10, do a search for IE and take it from there.

  3. Nancy June 9, 2016 at 10:53 pm #

    Hi Alicia,

    I couldn’t find company>more>export data on my QBO, where exactly is this?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock June 10, 2016 at 10:43 am #

      Hi Nancy,

      This article was written in 2013, so the menus changed. Thanks for alerting me so I could update it! You’ll find the command under the Gear > Tools > Export Data.

      Alicia 🙂

    • pat January 6, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

      Did not work for me. I even had Microsoft remote into my computer for 2 hours with no avail.
      This is why for over 30 years use QB desktop…

      • Alicia Katz Pollock January 10, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

        I don’t think Microsoft would be able to help you with this, since it’s not a Microsoft program. I suggest working with Intuit support instead!

  4. Rudi July 27, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    It seems this option isn’t available anymore. I’m using QuickBooks Online Essentials. Can you confirm if this is available in QuickBooks Online Plus?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock July 27, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

      Hi Rudi, It’s still there; I see it on mine. Are you looking under the Gear for Export Data?

      • le October 5, 2016 at 7:04 am #

        Hi Alicia, Is that option available on QBOA as well? Because I don’t see it!! It is just import Data

      • Alicia Katz Pollock October 5, 2016 at 8:24 am #

        It’s under the Gear, specific to the company file and not QBOA. Make sure you’re in the company file and it should be there. You also may need to be a Company Administrator or the Accountant, not a regular user. I’m not sure why you’re not seeing it. Call me at 971-235-7119 if you want to do a screenshare, or you can call support. ~Alicia

  5. Kristian Irr August 27, 2016 at 8:15 am #

    so i exported it and got an email to login and download the data by selecting the task “download”. But, i cant find that?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock August 27, 2016 at 8:35 am #

      Go back into Export Data again, as if you were starting over. Partway through the process it will recognize that you already have an export available, and give you the opportunity to download it.

  6. Joe Vassallo Gatt November 3, 2016 at 4:33 am #

    After dong this operation, will I be able to restore the back up copy and use it using QB 2016?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock November 3, 2016 at 7:58 am #

      Hi Joe, yes, you can open this copy in the Desktop version of QuickBooks!

  7. Charlie November 10, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    If I have uploaded invoices and reciepts into quickbooks online as attachments, are those accessible from the export? I am trying to figure out if I need to attach them to the transactions AND save them on my harddrive, or if the exports would effectively save them for me.

    • Alicia Katz Pollock November 10, 2016 at 10:53 am #

      Hi Charlie, You know, no one has asked me that question before! If you have a folder of attachments on your hard drive, definitely hold onto them! I’m honestly not sure if the export creates an Attachments folder like the one used in Desktop. I want to say that yes, it will maintain the links, because I’ve seen uploaded files restore the attachments to QBO, but I am not 100% sure it works the other way. ~Alicia

  8. Matt November 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm #


    I have QBO and am trying to convert over to PRO 2017. My company has outgrown QBO.

    I have been trying to export this file now for a few weeks and ive tried a million different things, but it will not convert over.

    I am on a windows 7 machine and have IE11. Ive went though all the above mentioned steps.

    If I do the compatibility mode step my screen goes white. (I can’t see anything on the web page).

    When I hit convert with pro open to the no company selected page it gets to about 6 percent every time and completely crashes and asks me to try it again.

    I have calls into support but constantly get the run around. Is there any light you can shed on my situation? Have you head of this issue before?


    • Alicia Katz Pollock November 16, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

      Hi Matt, Have you tried it on more than one computer? It may be something to do with your specific computer system, especially since it’s Windows 7. If you’d like, I can give it a try. It usually takes a half hour, $60, although occasionally it can take longer. ~Alicia

  9. Lyn November 23, 2016 at 1:00 am #

    Hi Alicia, we are using QB Pro online 2013 and we don’t have the export option. Gear > Tools > Export Data? Please help

    • Alicia Katz Pollock November 23, 2016 at 7:49 am #

      Hi Lyn,

      QB Pro 2013 isn’t the Online version, it’s one of the Desktop versions, so these instructions won’t work. There’s nothing to Export! What is it you’re trying to do?


  10. Raj February 21, 2017 at 3:01 am #

    Hi Alicia,
    I am a Bookkeeper and I was sent some Bank Accounts by a client, I need to work on QB and prepare the Accounts, and export it. I am confused as to use which version. I have QBO Accountant, however the client is not my direct client and the client data is sent to me by another Bookkeeper who has subcontracted the work to me. Pl advice which version of QB I can use to do this work and export it back to the main Bookkeeper

    • Alicia Katz Pollock February 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm #

      Hi Raj, You need the Bookkeeper to add you as a member of their Team and then assign the client to you. Then the Client’s company file will show up when you log in.

  11. Tisha February 24, 2017 at 7:10 pm #


    I have followed all the steps and it appears that my desktop version is not finding the file, it will say there is an open window of Quickbooks running and it will use that one but nothing happens. I have ensured all company files all closed on Desktop version. I am running a QB Accountant Desktop 2015. I pretty much can get through all the steps of downloaded, converting, picking the file location of where I want it saved and thats as far as it goes. Any help would be great!

    Thank you

    • Alicia Katz Pollock February 26, 2017 at 9:41 pm #

      Try restarting your computer, and also run any updates on your copy of QuickBooks. I’ve also seen an occasional hidden window. There is a popup that sometimes doesn’t pop up asking you to approve the permissions. If you try all these things and still can’t get it, contact me and I can do the honors for you.

  12. Gekke Henkie March 10, 2017 at 11:48 am #

    Hi Alicia,

    I read all above comments, and followed all the prerequisites (32-Bit, IE11, Company Admin, all security settings, etc.), but when selecting the Gear-icon in QBO, there is no ‘Export Data’ option, only an ‘Import Data’ option. Am I missing something here?

    Edit: Nevermind, I just found out that the Canadian version does NOT allow you to export/keep/backup/close/convert your own company data at all… I’m speechless…

    • Alicia Katz Pollock March 13, 2017 at 11:04 am #

      Hi Gekke, Be sure to submit Feedback (under the Gear) to let the team know you need the Canadian version to export, too!

  13. Stephen B March 10, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

    Do you think this would be a viable way to transfer a qbo account to a new qbo account? For example, downloading it to the desktop version and then uploading it back into a new qbo account.

    • Alicia Katz Pollock March 13, 2017 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Stephen, It’s exactly the way to transfer one QBO account into a brand new one!

  14. Cheryl April 4, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

    I have converted my QBO to the point of having the QBXML file. How do I convert it to a QBW file? In QB2017 the Utilities – Convert only highlights the “from Quicken” or “from Peachtree”. How do I open my QBXML file in QB 2017 desktop?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock May 9, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

      Hi Cheryl, After you do the QBO export, it prompts you to convert the file. It sounds like you stopped the process before clicking that button!

      • Mike H August 3, 2017 at 11:20 am #


        I cannot, for the life of me, get QBO to give me the prompt to convert. I’ve followed all the instructions regarding the settings for Explorer. Is there supposed to be a pop up window with a “convert” button? It finishes the download and leaves me with a “Finish” button to press, which just takes me back to the Dashboard. So, I’m left with a .qbxml file that I can’t do anything with.

        Any advice before I sample the joys of Quickbooks Support?

      • Alicia Katz Pollock August 27, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

        Hi Mike, Sometimes the window is hiding behind other windows. Look in the taskbar at the bottom of your screen and see if QuickBooks has an orange line under it, or another indicator showing that a dialog box is open and waiting for you.

  15. andre April 23, 2017 at 11:31 pm #

    I have sucessfuly conducted the export functions from Quicbooks Online (QBO) and upload to Quickbooks Premire. But when i look at my P&L and Balance sheet, I notice that only 5 of my 6 customers data have been exported. I have redone the export function several times and QBO keeps omitting this 6th customer. I go back and make sure all is in line to allow for proper export where this customer is “active” and all task for this customer is “active”. This is my longest serving customer with the most data so without this customer the exported information is useless as the P&L and Balance sheet are off-wrong in QB premier with this customers data missing. I am going out-of-my-witts trying to figure out why theQBO system won’t inlcude this customer in my exports from QBO each time I re-do the export. Also the QBO login landing main page keeps showing the “task at the top of main screen” to do export even after you have completed export action. Not sure if this has anything to do with it and if I somehow need to “clear a cache in QBO aomewhere” and then re run the export. Among many this tried already include I have alread clearing the cache in my internet browser and making sure customer data meets export requirements…any suggestions????..does the export function have a data-export limit and will omitt all data to be exported after that limit???

    • Alicia Katz Pollock May 9, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

      Hi Andre,

      That’s definitely unusual. You can either call QBO support, or we can book an appointment for me to take a look. If only one customer isn’t importing, I would recommend calling support first, since they’ll want to know what’s going on. ~Alicia

  16. LARRY PRALL May 24, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Is the export file a QBB file so that it can be restored like other QBB files?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock May 24, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

      Hi Larry, It makes a regular QBW file that can be opened in QuickBooks Desktop.

  17. Traci October 3, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    I have done everything listed and requested data export (waiting to receive email). If this data exports correctly, will I have to convert it to desktop before bringing it back to QBO? I’m trying to use this method to move a current client (I’m a ProAdvisor) over to one of the 5 for $5 accounts. I also have a potential client that is using desktop that I will be bringing into QBO as a 5 for $5 customer. This is a maddening process.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Alicia Katz Pollock October 4, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

      Hi Traci, The process specifically converts it to desktop; that’s second half of the procedure after you go back in to QBO’s export the second time. You can then bring it back into QBO into a new file using the Convert to QBO menu item in QB Desktop. Technically, you’re not supposed to use the 5 for $5 accounts for already-existing QBO clients, but there’s nothing in the process that would stop it from working.

  18. James Radovic November 8, 2017 at 11:26 am #

    I am a 16 year QB user and want to create a new company with only the last year’s data. I am on QB Enterprise 18.0 QB told me to find an out side person to create the data for this and load it into the new QB company. I was told by QB I have too much data created over too many years to have a stable system, so they said to start a new company. Any suggestions how to get the data from 2017 loaded into the new QB Company so I can proceed on?

  19. David February 24, 2018 at 10:56 am #

    I followed all the procedure. And got as far as downloading and clicking the convert button. Nut nothing happens. I left the computer on for a couple of hours and the company file does not appear…

    • Alicia Katz Pollock February 25, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

      Hi David, If nothing shows, check to see if the window is hiding behind others. Sometimes it also takes a couple tries. You do have to do the steps in the exact order, right down to which windows are open.

  20. Lin S. March 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm #

    God bless you for this. After quite a bit of frustration, this worked like a charm. I would hug you if I could. Thank you so much!!!

  21. Cynthia May 14, 2018 at 11:54 pm #

    Hi Alicia,

    I have a UK QBO, i want to transfer the data to QB Desktop, but when i go export, its only showing Export to Excel then it downloads as attachment, please advice

    • Alicia Katz Pollock May 17, 2018 at 12:06 am #

      Hi Cynthia, I’ve never worked in the Canadian Version, but it sounds like you’re clicking on the Export button at the top of a report, not the Export Data choice under the Gear. It’s possible your version doesn’t have it, but I can’t imagine that’s true.

  22. Rina June 21, 2018 at 3:47 am #


    I took the back up of Quickbook online. I got notification from website saying that the task is ready. I followed the instructions and downloaded the file on my desktop. I cannot find the file on my desk top. when I try to download it second time it says the file already exist. Can you tell me what the steps to follow after downloading file? how do i find the file?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock July 2, 2018 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Rina, Follow all the steps very carefully. Make sure you have QuickBooks Desktop open to the Choose a company screen. The conversion happens as part of the wizard, but if you don’t have the application open it can’t proceed.

  23. Leslie October 12, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

    Hi Alicia,

    I am trying to do on a mac – I thought since your original post was 5 years ago this would now be an option but I am advised there was a problem and to try again later.

    Do you have any other suggestions?


    • Alicia Katz Pollock October 14, 2018 at 3:41 pm #

      Hi Leslie, It’s true, the only way to do Export from QBO is by using Internet Explorer on a PC. Even that’s difficult these days, as IE doesn’t even come on all PCs anymore. It’s a service I do provide, although these days what I usually recommend is subscribing to ChronoBooks, which creates backups that you can export.

  24. Michale Danayan April 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi Alicia,
    My name is Michael. I am new to quickbooks online, actually I am new to quickbooks completely. I was looking for a tutor on quickbooks. That I can pay and get some questions and detailed answered. Do you offer that kind of service?

    • Jef Black April 14, 2019 at 1:36 pm #

      Hi Michale,
      Alicia offers a wide variety of QuickBooks classes and self paced courses, as well offering 1 on 1 time for QB review and assessments. Please feel free to view her schedule or book an appointment. https://learn.royalwise.com/page/show/75365

  25. Quickbook Support May 9, 2019 at 11:19 pm #

    You can try to solve this problem by following these simple steps:

    When you try login to your QuickBooks online Mac app, then it starts running into looping cycle. To resolve this issue, you can follow few steps:

    Quit the application by making right click on the app icon and, then on Quit.

    Now, launch the application by keep pressing on Function (ctrl) key. This will make you to have a prompt to reset this app.

    Now, go through the instructions to reset this application on your system.

    Now, again launch the application.

  26. Cindy May 24, 2019 at 7:36 pm #

    My QuickBooks Desktop is on a dcloud server. When I try to convert the QB online file it comes up with an error, could this be because it can’t find the QB desktop on my computer?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock July 18, 2019 at 10:42 am #

      Hi Cindy, yes, your QB Desktop file has to be saved on your computer in order to do the conversion. Simply make a copy and move it to your desktop!

  27. Judy Lindenmeyer June 13, 2019 at 11:44 am #

    I’m trying to pull a company copy from QBOA for one of my clients prior to shutting down one of their company’s. I tried this and it gave me excel downloads of the reports/lists but no company backup. Any suggestions?

    • Alicia Katz Pollock July 18, 2019 at 11:58 am #

      Hi Judy, QBOA only exports Excel files, but you can go to qbo.intuit.com/app/exportqbodatatoqbdt to use the legacy tools on Internet Explorer, which creates a QBDT file. ~Alicia

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