The trick to Downgrade QuickBooks Files..

Ever came to this situation where you might have to downgrade your QuickBooks Company file a higher version to lower version or Enterprise to Pro/Premier?

It can happen on multiple situations, to list a few as example.  Your accountant had opened the file in QuickBooks 2014 & send it back to you & you have QuickBooks 2012. or Somehow you started with Enterprise but then realized that you don’t need those extra features & want to downgrade for cost cutting,  There could be end number of reasons.

In this article i am sharing some hidden tool of QuickBooks & the trick to convert your Enterprise to pro/Premier or downgrading a higher version of QuickBooks file to lower version.

Disclaimer:  As per Intuit file downgrade is not possible but this trick worked for me therefore i am sharing it with the world. if you want to try this then make a copy & then work on it.

Facts : First you need to understand the data in a QuickBooks File. In broader term it contains two elements TRANSACTIONS & LISTS.

Plan of Action :  Intuit is correct we cannot downgrade the file. so the trick is to export the lists & transaction from your existing company ( higher version ) then create a new company to which you want to convert (lower version ) & import the LISTS & TRANSACTION in your new company file in lower version.

Lets get started with the trick..

  • Open  your existing company file.

Once the file is open out task is to export the LISTS & TRANSACTIONS & to do that we need to access the hidden tools of Quickbooks. The Hidden tool is under the HELP menu but needs a special key-stroke to access it.

  • Go to help About QuickBooks.


  • Once done you will get to this screen.


  • Once you are on this screen press CLRT & tap on “9” three times.  Once done go back to help menu & you will have the QuickBooks Hidden tools as shown in the pic below.


There are a lot of options but for now lets concentrate on exporting the LISTS & TRANSACTIONS.

  • go to HELP- Tech Support-Export- Export Lists which will take you to the screen shown below.4

I would advice to export off the lists which has been used on this file. Once exported save it somewhere on your desktop.     ( this would be in IIF format.) Once done you need to repeat the same steps to export the transaction.


  • HELP – TECH SUPPORT – EXPORT – EXPORT TRANSACTION. & save it on your desktop. ( this would be in IIF format)

once both lists & transaction are exported we are done with this version of QuickBooks. Now open the lower version of Quickbooks in which you wanted to convert or downgrade & create a new company file.

Once a new QuickBooks file is created in a lower version our task now is to import those TRANSACTIONS & LISTS. but before we do that we need to make a small change on those exported IIF files as if you try to import them in you will get get an error shown below.


to avoid that open the IIF files in Excel & delete the 2nd file as shown in the picture below & save the changes.


Once you are done deleting the 2nd lines from both the IIF files. (LISTS & Transactions) open your new company file & export the LISTS first followed by Transaction.

  • Go to FILE – UTILITIES – IMPORT – IIF Files.


It will take some time depending on the size of the IIF files.


Once done It will give you the prompt that the import is successful..


Once imported you are ready to work on the same file but in a lower version.

Hope this trick works for you.

Please comment with a short description of the problem, if you are not able to downgrade using these steps. i would love to work on those issues..


242 thoughts on “The trick to Downgrade QuickBooks Files..

  1. It worked for me from enterprise 2012 to pro 2014 using export and import after Help+ctrl+9+9+9, do not use the Utilities Import ( geting errors on every line that has ENDTRNS on it) ……using the other import every thing moved ok clicking yes every time it says something about a journal bla bla

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m getting the same error with the ENDTRNS lines. What is the “other import” mentioned by Ialejo1270?


  2. Thank you so much for posting this.
    Before I transferred the transactions from Enterprise Solutions Accountant 12 to the lower Quick Books Pro 16, I recorded all payments from all customers and I deposited all payments.

    Receive Payments
    All charges to each customer are shown. Customer Balance shows all charges ever charged to the customer. Credits are shown in an equal amount for each customer.

    Record Deposits
    Payments to Deposit pops up
    All payments and deposits show up on the Payments to Deposit screen off setting each other with a zero balance.

    Is there a fix to show the customer balances at zero and remove all the payments to deposit?


    1. Hello Tom.
      sounds tricky, Hoping you have prepared the enterprise file before export. here is what i want you to try. Once the blank file is created in Pro 2016 go to the preference and uncheck the option for the payments going to Undeposited fund by default and try the import again.
      This might help


      1. Hello Ronald,
        what do you mean by ‘prepared the enterprise file before export’ ?
        I am facing the same problem; tried unchecking the option for the payments going to Undeposited funds before importing IIF files, still, after importing all payments for all customers come out un-applied to the invoices they were applied to in the Enterprise.
        I tried to import from Utilities and from Tech support hidden thingy -same result.

        How to prepare the Enterprise file before the export so that when imported all payments are kept applied.


      1. How to open iif file in excel i am having trouble open with…doesnt give me option to open with excel…although i have it…even tried to open in excel and tried to locate file that way as well …. unfortunately only one file i was able to import without having to open as excel first…


      2. Right click on the iif file and select ‘open with’ excel. If you don’t see excel the browse through the program files folder and locate the excel file.


  3. This worked!! I converted a 2015 file to 2012 format so my client could restore it in his 2014 version. My section worked so far, hopefully he can restore the 2012 backup with no problem.

    Thank you!!!


  4. I’m trying to go from Enterprise 2013 to Premier 2016, but there are so many “duplicates” and blanks I’d have to press enter key about 35,000 times and QB crashes before i get past 20%. Do i need to upgrade Enterprise to 2014 or 2016 to get this to work?


  5. After exporting the two files, the instructions should say to delete the second line in each file (not the second file in each file). You should also tell people how to open an IIF file in Excel. You have to save the file someplace, open Excel, change default files types from “All Excel types” to “All File Types”, find the file and open as delimited.
    After deleting the second line, you have to save as IIF file but Excel puts txt on the end…so after after saving, you’ll have to rename as *.iif (to get rid of the txt on the end).
    Also, I was not able to open a “blank file” with QB…had to fill in some kind of info about the business so it could select a default chart of accounts. Doesn’t seem to make any difference but maybe you should just say this, instead of create a blank company file….


      1. i had the same problem. I had to change the file extensions for this whole thing to work, once i did that the icons changed automatically and everything worked great. Also, i was confused as whether i should delete the first 2 lines or just the second one.


  6. My computer crashed and I purchased a new one. After installing my QB Enterprise Solutions it will not let me activate. Is there a way to bypass this?


    1. No way to bypass it. But its pretty easy to activate it, During the activation process you need to use the same phone number or the same zip code which was primarily used to register the product or else simply call Quickbooks registration line to bypass that and activate it through activation code.


  7. Ok, I created a new company in QB Premier 2015. I exported an IIF file of the vendor list from the utilities in QB Enterprise 2012 and imported it successfully to QB Premier 2015. I was (finally) able to use your trick to get to tech support to export an IIF file of the transactions (it doesn’t work if you use the 10-key to type “9”). I deleted the lines as you noted above. I also deleted the the chart of accounts, etc. that was included in the transactions list that I did not want to import. NOTE: the only transactions I am trying to import are the vendor bills and related payments. Now the issue…when I imported the file, I received an error message that you cannot have a blank transaction. When I looked at the referenced lines, the items that did not import were the payments that we made to vendors. I decided to look at the register to see whether the payments were noted there and just not “linked” to the vendor invoice. When I did this, I had seven items created as “bank” and added to the chart of accounts. I also checked the real bank accounts and the balances have all changed. Did I do something wrong? Is this because I created my own chart of accounts instead of importing it from the other file? Do I need to start over? I have two companies I’m having to downgrade. I started with the company with the least amount of transactions. It has about 70 transactions I can enter manually; however, when I get to the bigger company, this would be much more cumbersome. Any suggestions?


  8. This mostly worked for me, but all my bill payments and deposits since I started using Quickbooks about a year ago are gone. I tried to pay the bills again using “pay bills.” It records the cheques, but does not mark the bills as paid.


      1. Thanks. I’m still struggling with this. Can you give me some direction as to what kinds of edits I need to make?


      2. I should also mention that I’m getting the “can not record blank transaction error on the lines to do with Bill payments, just like the commenter below.


  9. Thank you so much for this trick! I was able to convert most of the transactions (Enterprise to Premier) except for the Accounts Payable payment transactions. I have these error messages: “You cannot record a blank transaction. Fill in the appropriate fields and try again.” “Can’t record invalid transaction.


      1. I have the same problem – thousands of transactions got imported successfully, but anything related to either Accounts Payable or a bill payment came up as an error. Would be amazing if you have a solution for this; otherwise, will just have to go through and fix manually. Thx!


  10. This worked perfectly, except the bank balance is off, and there are 6 years of deposits in the bank deposit screen. Is there an easy fix?


  11. I recently had a client who started a new database, instead of using the one that she had…then she wanted me to just “import” her new entries into the old one (that I still had)….By the time I got those entries converted, I could have probably just “entered” them at least four times or more…..I know there are third parties who sell tools to do this but are there any “easier ways” for the rest of us? Who can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars to buy a tool from a vendor? Seems like there should be a better way!


  12. Thanks, this works well for lists and transactions (ok, some errors on transactions).
    However I have a lot of Timesheet data I need to transfer. The older software (2013 ent) crashes when I try to export the time IIF. The resulting file has data till middle of last year.

    Any suggestions? Is there another way to export the data. Really don’t want to re-enter 1 year of data.


      1. Close, check file, try, crash, repeat.

        Each time a diff number of records.

        5th time lucky!!

        Just for anecdotal purposes: On Quicken (not quickbooks) the “repair function” screws your file up every time you run it until unusable. The chat tech support pretty much told me as much and to only use it on backups just to see …

        I’m pretty squeamish about running any fix on Intuit files now.

        Thanks again. Saved me $300 from using an online service that does the transfers.


  13. Hi, have exported my files from Quickbooks 2006-2007 and imported them in to Quickbooks 7.4 for Windows, thank you for posting this.
    Everything worked fine and all transactions are correct except the Years in the Date columns are 20 Years set back. i.e. 2009 now appears as 1989, this is not a big problem but if there is a fix a would appreciate it very much.
    Thank you again for your efforts in helping.

    Dieter Ducke


      1. Hi Ronald, and thank you for taking the time to answer.
        I purchased Quickbooks 7.4 in the Year 2000 how can this then be an upgrade?
        Best regards



  14. THANK YOU!!!! IT TOOK A FEW MINUTES TO DO!!!!! I converted my Enterprise 2015 QuickBooks files to 2016 Accountant Premier Desktop.


  15. Thank you, thank you so much. It worked after I import the list and transactions in support tech. I thought i have to input it all again. Thanks a lot 🙂


  16. Thank you so much I imported the list but it did not import the Transaction it gave a message this import file was created by a newer version of QuickBooks. this can not be imported could you advise me what can i do ?


  17. Let me just say that from one tech genius to another tech genius… I am humbled. And amazed. HOW in the world did you figure out the back door?

    I understand if you want to keep that some dark secret mystery of the black arts of computing but I am truly amazed and I’ve been doing PC support work for 32 years!

    I haven’t step through your whole procedure but I did get into my Enterprise Accountant v14 and have exported some test files and I see just what’s going on. I’ve been trying to hack, slash, burn and extort data out of QB Enterprise for years. I’ve scoured the internet and have never heard of this Control+999 hack anywhere.

    I am at the feet of a 10th Degree Black Belt of QuickBooks. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ronald! Thank you! I successfully downgraded from Quickbooks Enterprise 2016 to Quickbooks Pro 2016 with zero issues. We do not use payroll, so I cannot offer commentary for those who had issues with that.

    I believe the IIF file produced via the File –> Utilities –> Export menu is the same as that produced via the hidden Help menu. HOWEVER, the TRANSACTIONS (the more important part) CANNOT be exported via the File menu. So your key-combo to show the hidden “Tech Support” on the Help menu was an absolute life saver!

    As an aside, if someone does not have Excel, any text editor can be used to remove the 2nd line from the IIF files.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Ronald, I am trying to convert my Enterprise 7.0 into Premier 16. I was able to export the lists into Premier with no problem using the “utilities- export- list”. When I tried to export the transactions using the CTR+999 instead of opening “Tech Support’ menu it opened “Debug” menu?! with a list of about 50 options to choose from… none of them “export transactions”. Can you please help me on this?


      1. there were several changes i had to make though cuz i am running QB15 with a new version of EXCEL with windows 10. Was trying to put an item list updated in 15 onto 14 accounts.


  20. Hi Ronald, thank you for this post. I have been able to import most of my data. With regards to payroll, I have employee info, however no list of previous transactions. Any suggestions?


  21. I have my data in QB Enterprise15. I tried to import the List.iif file into QB Premier 2016 using your method. I am getting this message,
    Error Line 2015, You cant change the Type of a name or add duplicate name”

    This line is in the EMP row. This employee is also a Sales rep.

    Please help me


  22. Hi, I am moving from Enterprise 2015 US to Enterprise 2013 UK. I have successfully imported the LIST file. Is there a workaround to import TRANSACTIONS iif file from US version to UK version?


  23. did anybody go around the payroll issue?? payroll is not being imported and yes Payroll is turned on but no payroll transactions are coming through!


  24. Success! Just completed transfer from QB Enterprise platinum 2014 to Premier 2017. You have saved us hundreds n hundreds. May you be blessed, blessed and more blessed for all your generous efforts!


  25. Ronald, Amazing, what to say do not have words to thank you for the information provided. You have decoded the trick of transactions exchange from one version of QB to another.


  26. Hello,
    I was able to export and import the Lists with no issues, but the transactions give me the “Can not record a blank transaction. fill in the appropriate fields and try again”. I verified the data before exporting from Enterprise 14. The error line is the ENDTRANS line. I have tried importing using the tech import from the help menu and also from the utilities menu with the same results. When I looked at error line I noticed it is the first set – line 4280 is TRANS line 4281 is SPL and line 4282 is the ENDTRANS. after the ENDTRANS the rest of the row is blank.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Thank you so much for your fantastic instructions. So far I have been able to successfully downgrade four QB files, and couldn’t have been able to do it without your help. The last file is proving to be a bit problematic, as it has over 800 bill payments. The other files I downgraded had so few, I was able to reconstruct them without issue. However, the prospect of having to reconstruct 800 bill payments is overwhelming. Is there a preference that preserves this link, like there is with the Customer payments? Or is there a way I could massage the data in the IIF file before importing?
    Thank you for your time!


  28. Wow, been held hostage on a windows xp machine for years running a QB Enterprise Retail 5.0. This is a lifesaver. Want to go to a newer pro version.
    Question 1, on the export of lists screen. Do you recommend clicking multiple buttons and export one large IIF file or do an export of each type thus creating multiple exported lists and having to import them all?
    Question 2. i’ve been told we have too many names for the pro or premier products.
    our enterprise file has 86 accounts;
    25,037 Names, 24k customers, 541 vendors, 14 employees
    Items – 5560.
    if so, can we only export recent transactions or recent customers?

    thank you very much!


    1. It’s always better to export the lists one by one, how ever you may try doing it together. Make sure you resort the lists and make the names inactive which you no longer need.
      Some adjustments might be required to match the number. Hope this has answered both the questions. This should work or else shoot me a mail directly at


  29. Following your instructions, exporting from QB Ent 2014 and Importing in QB Pro 2017 skips payroll activity. Any suggestions?


      1. Nope. No payroll transactions transferred and deposits are “unapplied” to the invoices. Even updated the original file to ENT 2017 and then tried to go to QB Pro 2017. Same result. Any suggestions?


  30. I have an IIF file with transactions. When I open it in excel the ‘text import wizard’ pops up.

    step 1 asks if I have headers (which the file does)…do I click that box?
    step 2 asks what are the delimiters (tab, semicon, comma, space, other) and also ask if I want to treat delimiters as one
    step 3 asks column data format – general, text, date….

    From here the excel display shows line 1-3 as headers, line 4 as blank, line 5 as column headers, and then after that the detail.

    Is this correct? So far nothing is working for me.

    Please advise


  31. Hello; this was a great post. I might have found a bit of a glitch or if you know a way around this: it does not seem to work when using multi-currency. When importing, it puts all of the transactions into the home currency, even though they were exported in different currencies. Any ideas on this?


  32. Hi Ronald, I am downgrading from Quickbooks Enterprise solutions 15 to Quickbooks Pro. I have read your great blog and was able to get some pieces of the file to work however all of my payroll data is missing except employee names. When I open the .IFF file in excel it looks like the columns are not properly aligned with the data so I am thinking this needs something more then what I am capable of. Can you please let me know what options may be available? I have 17 years of data and reports in the system.


  33. Thank you for showing us this trick. Everything worked fine as far as the data is concerned. The issue we are having is the other users in my office can’t login to the downgraded version. Only my username can log in to the downgraded versions. We are using virtual servers with a hosting service and went from 2015 Ent to 2017 PAE editions. When the other users’ log in they get a message that they have to open the file in Enterprise Edition or receive an H505 error. Any ideas as to why that happened and how to fix it would be most appreciated.


    1. That’s great that the trick worked for your file. Try to delete and recreate the users and then try again from workstations. Or else something must be messed up in the networking which has to be checked.


  34. Hi Ronald,

    downgrade worked for me, but all payments on the invoices appears as available balance for each customer.
    Any suggestion??


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