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Intuit Interchange Format (.IIF) files


Intuit Interchange Format (.IIF) files are ASCII text, CSV files that QuickBooks Desktop uses to import/export lists and to import transactions. The .IIF import and export utilities are on the QuickBooks Desktop File menu.

Importing and exporting .IIF files created by QuickBooks Desktop is fairly easy because QuickBooks Desktop formats the file for you. However, creating .iif files from scratch or adapting data from another program is technically complex and may be difficult if you don't have experience formatting delimited text files. In that situation it may be faster and easier to enter the information directly into QuickBooks Desktop unless you have very large amounts of data to import.

Detailed Instructions

The import kit is probably a good choice if you think you're ready. The detailed .iif header information may help, too. If you're not sure, you can also look at the next section for more information.

Importing information through .iif format can be tough so you should:

Download the IIF import kit to save time and improve your results

The QuickBooks Desktop IIF Import Kit is a reference guide for creating and working with IIF import files. It contains the following components:

  • IIF Import Manual: A .pdf document that outlines common .iif pitfalls and best practices
  • IIF Header Help: The column headings used to import list data
  • IIF Example Files: A folder that contains version-specific .iif transaction examples

Note: A similar import kit for importing Microsoft Excel and CSV files is also available.

Install the QuickBooks Desktop IIF Import Kit:

  1. Download the kitDownload button image
  2. Click the Save button and save the file to your Windows desktop.
  3. Use WinZip or a compatible file compression utility to extract the contents of the downloaded file. The contents will automatically extract into a sub folder called IIF Import Kit.
  4. Open the IIF Import Kit folder to view its contents.

You may also wish to download the sample .iif files below

These downloads contain sample Intuit Interchange Format (IIF) files that you can download to practice or use as templates for importing transactions into QuickBooks Desktop.

Using the sample IIF files:

  • Recommended: a spreadsheet program that supports a tab-delimited format, such as Microsoft Excel:
    • the data will appear in columns that are easier to read and edit.
    • Opening the sample files in any text editor is much more difficult..
  • Use the sample IIF files as templates for your own data:
    • Correct IIF format must be followed exactly to ensure your transactions import successfully.
    • Using the sample files as templates gives you a head start on doing it right.
  • Importing IIF files into QuickBooks Desktop provides only limited error checking:
    • Incorrect format may lead to an error or the data will import incorrectly - with no error.
    • Always check your data carefully after importing to ensure it is complete and accurate.
  • Each downloadable .zip file contains:
    • A full set of sample IIF files with transaction data only.
    • A sample company file backup you can restore in QuickBooks to practice importing transactions.
  • The downloads are available in two versions--one that uses sales tax, and one that does not:

To download sample IIF files:

  1. Click the link to a sample file.
  2. Click Save in the file download window.
  3. Save the file to a convenient location on your computer's hard drive, such as your desktop.
  4. Use WinZip or a compatible file compression utility to extract the contents of the downloaded file. Be sure you note into which folder you extract the files so you can find them.

Individual sample IIF files:

  • Contain a single IIF file and a "read me" text file.
  • Contain both transaction data and the associated list data (account, customer, item, etc.), which shows how you can combine different types of data in one IIF file.
  • Can be used with the sample company file backup to practice importing. Download the company file separately and restore it in QuickBooks Desktop.
Transaction Type File Name
Bill bill.iif
Bill payment by check bill_payment.iif
Bill payment by credit card bill_paymentcc.iif
Bill credit bill_credit.iif
Cash sales with tax1 cash_sales_with_tax.iif
Cash sales without tax cash.iif
Check affecting an account check.iif
Credit card refund credit_card_refund.iif
Credit memo credit_memo.iif
Credit memo with sales tax charged credit_memo_with_sales_tax.iif
Customer payment customer_payment.iif
Deposit deposit.iif
Estimate estimate.iif
Estimate with sales tax charged estimate_with_sales_tax.iif
Invoice with sales tax1 charged invoice_sales_tax_charged.iif
Invoice with sales tax and group items groupitem_with_salestax.iif
Invoice with no sales tax (sales tax preference off) invoice.iif
Invoice with no sales tax and group items groupitem_without_salestax.iif
Item receipt item_receipt.iif
General journal entry journal.iif
Purchase order purchase_order.iif
Sales tax payment sales_tax_payment.iif
Statement charge statement_charge.iif
Transfer transfer.iif
Sample company file backup with sales tax turned OFF iif_sample_company_file_no_tax.qbb
Sample company file backup with sales tax turned ON iif_sample_company_file_with_tax.qbb


1If you have the Sales Tax preference turned on in your company file, download the .iif file with tax even if you are not charging tax on all your transactions (enter a zero in the sales tax column for transactions without tax).

Important: Be sure all accounts in your .iif file are created in QuickBooks Desktop before importing. If you import a transaction with an account that is not already created in the QuickBooks Desktop data file, that account will be created as a new bank account.

Detailed information about .iif headers

The file headers in an IIF file tell the program how to import the type of data that follows (i.e. a customer list or a transaction). Each header specifically defines a field in the company file. The file headers are in rows that begin with an exclamation point. The first column in the header must contain a keyword.

Header placement

In a list import file, the file headers line is usually located in the first row. In the example below for a customer list, the file headers line starts with !CUST.









New Cell Abercrombie, Kristy Kristy Abercrombie 123 Placido Terrace


CUST Courtney, Ed Courtney Tool Design 5223 Hesse Drive

In a transaction import file, there are usually three file header lines that occupy the first, second, and third rows (row 1, 2, and 3 in the example below). The example below shows a check transaction in an IIF file. The file headers lines begin with !TRNS, !SPL, and !ENDTRNS.
















TRNS CHECK 3/3/2010 Main Checking ArchCo Gas



SPL CHECK 3/3/2010 Fuel Courtney, Ed



SPL CHECK 3/3/2010 Auto Repair




How to use IIF headers

Note: The correct spelling and placement of these file headers are required to prevent errors during import. Also, not all file headers are necessary in an IIF file in order to import transactions successfully into QuickBooks Desktop. Several examples are available in the IIF Import Kit. For more information:

  1. From the QuickBooks Desktop Help menu, choose QuickBooks Help.
  2. Click the Search tab
  3. Type IIF file format, and click the Start Search arrow.
  4. Select Reference guide to import files.

When you export a list from an existing company, QuickBooks Desktop creates an export file header:















HDR QuickBooks Premier

Version 20.0D

Release R6 1 1/1/2010



Need more information?

Importing and exporting data using .iif format can be very tricky. Learn more about .iif format:

What you can do with iif files:

  • Export lists from one QuickBooks Desktop company file and import them into another
  • Import lists or transactions into QuickBooks Desktop from another program
  • Export list to and Import data from the QuickBooks Desktop Pro Timer.
  • Share data between different QuickBooks Desktop editions and platforms (such as QuickBooks Desktop Pro, Premier, and Enterprise)

Lists you can import

Chart of Accounts Customer:Job Vendor
Employee Other Names List Customer Type
Vendor Type Class Job Type
Item Payment Terms Payment Method
Shipping Method Customer Message Budgets
To Do Notes Sales Rep Price Level
Sales Tax Code    

Transactions you can import

Account beginning balances Vendor bills Vendor bill refunds
Cash sales to customers Cash refunds to customers Credit card refunds to customers
Checks Credit card transactions Credit memos to customers
Deposits Estimates General journal entries
Invoices Payments from customers Purchase orders
Account transfers of funds    


  • Imported IIF files do not create links between transactions. When you import an invoice and a payment for the invoice, they are not linked after the import. You must link them, and all other pairs, in the Receive Payments window or Pay Bills window. If you need an import solution that links transactions, refer to the Intuit Marketplace for third-party developers.
  • You must be in single-user mode to import or export data.
  • Only the QuickBooks Desktop administrator can import or export data.
  • You cannot use IIF files to export payroll data from QuickBooks Desktop accounting to other products. You can, however, use them to export payroll data from Intuit Online Payroll and Intuit Full Service Payroll to QuickBooks Desktop accounting products.
  • You can import transactions but you cannot export transactions.
  • The amount of imported data. Refer to maximum number of list items and transactions QuickBooks Desktop can process for details.
  • You cannot import or export Price Levels set up on a Per Item basis. You can import and export Price Levels set up on a Percentage basis.
  • You cannot export from the U.S. version of QuickBooks Desktop and import into the Canadian version of QuickBooks Desktop.
  • When importing assembly items, you cannot import data in the item's custom fields.
  • You cannot enter numbers with leading zeros in Microsoft Excel when creating and IIF import file. Work around: Change the format to "Custom" and put a non-numeric character in front of the number.

Technical Support:

Intuit does not offer assisted technical support for creating or importing IIF files. However, there are resources available if you need help:

  • If the IIF file was created by a third-party application, contact the application's technical support department.
  • Refer to the documentation provided with the import kit.
  • Search the QuickBooks Desktop knowledge base, which also includes In-Product Help.
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