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Learn What is IIF File with this Ultimate Guide

    what is IIF file

    Are you wondering what is IIF File and how it is indispensable? Consider this in-depth guide and get the necessary answers to all your questions regarding a QuickBooks IIF File.

    QuickBooks application is an excellent addition to the accountants’ toolkits as it allows for seamless accounting and bookkeeping tasks. In addition, automation makes it easier for users to streamline accounting operations and simplify tasks. QB enables users to import and export transactions and lists. For that, they use IIF files. Do you wish to know what is an IIF File? Keep reading this blog till the end and understand everything about the files.

    Are you wondering how to utilize IIF files to import and export lists and transactions? Does it feel troublesome to handle these tasks? Let our QB specialists step in and take over the situation. Ring us at 1.833.802.0002 and enjoy a smooth QB experience

    What are IIF Files?

    What are IIF Files

    What are IIF Files

    If you know what is a IIF file, it stands for Intuit Interchange Format (.IIF) files. These files are ASCII text and TSV (Tab-Separated Value) files used by QuickBooks Desktop to import or export lists and transactions. These files simplify transferring data to and from different platforms to handle the company records better in QuickBooks.

    Importing and exporting the .IIF files in QB Desktop are straightforward because QB Desktop formats the file for you. However, technical complexity arises while creating .iif files from scratch or adopting data from another program. Further, this process becomes highly challenging when the user has nada experience formatting delimited text files. These files make entering the information into QB Desktop easier and quicker. Unless large amounts of data are involved, these files can help.

    To begin with, what is an QuickBooks IIF File, users must download and install the .iif import kit to save time and boost the results. Sample .iif files are also available for download to practice or utilize as templates to import transactions into QuickBooks.

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    Tasks Possible with IIF Files

    Intuit Interchange Format (.IIF) files are proprietary cross-platform text files facilitating better QB Desktop company data management. The general tasks users can perform with IIF files are as follows:

    1. You can export the lists from a QB Company file to import them into another.
    2. Users may import lists or transactions into QuickBooks from another application.
    3. You can facilitate exporting lists to and importing data from the QuickBooks Pro Timer.
    4. Further, sharing data between different QuickBooks editions and platforms like Pro, Premier, Enterprise, or between Mac and Windows is possible.

    The specific tasks allowable by what is an IIF File QuickBooks include the following:

    1. You can edit your lists in bulk.
    2. Facilitate importing your vendor’s IIF files and updating your costs’.
    3. You can update other list entries.
    4. Let the PayPal transactions import to QuickBooks.
    5. You may copy a budget to a new data file.
    6. Further, you may also remove a budget before importing multiple budgets.

    The IIF Import Kit

    The IIF Import Kit

    The IIF Import Kit

    When you avail of IIF files for exporting and importing lists and transactions, you get a QuickBooks IIF Import Kit. It is a QuickBooks reference guide to help you create and work with .IIF import files. The import kit comes with the following components:

    • IIF Header Help: Get assistance setting the column headings used to import list data.
    • IIF Import Manual: This manual appears in a .pdf document outlining the typical .iif pitfalls and best practices.
    • IIF Example Files: This folder holds version-specific .iif transaction examples.

    Downloading and Installing the .IIF Import Kit

    Here’s how to download and install the .IIF import kit:

    1. Visit the official Intuit website for the .IIF import kit.
    2. Download the kit and tap the Save button. The file will save to the desktop.
    3. WinZip or other compatible file compression utilities can extract the downloaded file contents. These contents will pull into a subfolder named .IIF import kit automatically.
    4. Access the IIF Import Kit Folder to view its contents.

    Details about the Sample IIF Files

    Here are some details about using the sample IIF files:

    It’s recommended you use a spreadsheet program supporting a tab-delimited format like MS Excel.

    • You’ll see the data arranged in columns, which is easier to read and edit.
    • If you open your sample file in any other text editor, it will be much more challenging.

    Using sample files as templates for your data

    • Know what is IIF File format and ensure to use it correctly for successfully importing transactions.
    • When you use the sample files as templates, it kickstarts your journey in the right direction.

    Only limited error-checking is required when you import files into QuickBooks

    • If you use incorrect formatting, you’ll see an error. Otherwise, the data may get imported incorrectly without showing an error in the files.
    • Ensure to verify your data carefully after importing to check its accuracy and completeness.

    You’ll find the following in every .zip file:

    • A complete set of sample IIF files with transaction data only
    • A sample company backup file, which helps you restore data in QuickBooks and practice importing transactions.

    Further, the downloads have two versions with sales tax differences as follows:

    • If you have Sales tax preference ON, you can download iif.zip1.
    • If the Sales Tax preference is OFF, download the iif.zip2.

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    Steps to Download Sample Files

    Here’s how to download the sample files:

    1. Tap the link to your preferred company file on official sources.
    2. Hit the Save option in the file download window.
    3. Store the file in a convenient location on your device’s hard drive, like the desktop.
    4. You can use WinZip or a compatible file compression utility to extract the downloaded file’s contents. Ensure to note into which folder you extract the files to find them easily.

    Individual Sample Files: Traits

    The Individual sample IIF files have the following characteristics:

    • They contain one .IIF file only and a “read me” text file.
    • The file has transaction data and the associated list data (account, customer, item, etc.). It shows how to combine various kinds of data in a single IIF file.
    • You can practice importing these files with the sample company file backup. You should download the company file individually and restore it in QuickBooks.
    Type of Transaction Name of the File
    Bills bill.iif
    Paying bills through check bill_payment.iif
    Paying bills via 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 affects an account check.iif
    Credit card refund credit_card_refund.iif
    Credit memo credit_memo.iif
    Credit memo plus sales tax charged credit_memo_with_sales_tax.iif
    Customer payments customer_payment.iif
    Deposits deposit.iif
    Estimates estimate.iif
    Estimate having charged sales tax estimate_with_sales_tax.iif
    Invoice having charged sales tax* invoice_sales_tax_charged.iif
    An invoice containing sales tax and group items groupitem_with_salestax.iif
    An Invoice with no sales tax ( or sales tax preference off) invoice.iif
    Invoice without sales tax and group items groupitem_without_salestax.iif
    Item receipts item_receipt.iif
    General journal entries journal.iif
    Purchase orders purchase_order.iif
    Sales tax payments sales_tax_payment.iif
    Statement charges statement_charge.iif
    Transfers transfer.iif
    Sample company file backup having the sales tax disabled iif_sample_company_file_no_tax.qbb
    A sample company file backup having the sales tax ON iif_sample_company_file_with_tax.qbb

    *If the Sales Tax Preference is ON in the company file, download the .IIF file with tax even if you aren’t charging taxes on all the transactions. Type a zero in the sales tax column for transactions without taxes.

    Essential Note: Ensure all accounts in the .IIF file are formed in QB before importing. When you import a transaction into an account not created in the QB data file, the account will be started as a new bank account.

    Understanding .IIF Headers

    The file headers in an .IIF file are important for the program to know how to import the following data type, such as transactions or a customer list. Every header defines a field in the company file specifically. The file headers begin with an exclamation point in rows. There must be a keyword in the first column in the header.

    Header Placement

    You’ll find the file headers line, usually in the first row in a list import file. In the following instance, for a customer list, the file header line begins with !CUST

    Serial No. A B C D
    !CUST New Cell BADDR1 BADDR2
    New Cell Lever, Johny Johny Lever 123 Washington Street
    CUST Cox, Courteney Courteney Tool Design 6228 Marine Drive

    Usually, three file header lines occupy the first, second, and third rows in the transaction import file. The following instance is a check transaction in an .IIF file having file headers lines beginning with !TRNS, !SPL, and !ENDTRNS.

    A B C D E F G
    3 !ENDTRNS
    4 TRNS CHECK 3/3/2020 Fuel Gas ArchCo -70
    5 SPL CHECK 3/3/2020 Auto Repair Ed, Courteney 10
    6 SPL CHECK 3/3/2020 Main Checking 60

    Ways to Use .IIF Headers

    It’s crucial to use the correct spellings and place the headers accurately to prevent errors while importing. Moreover, you need not use all the file headers in an .IIF file to import transactions successfully into QuickBooks. Various examples are available in the .IIF import kit for reference. Get more details as follows:

    1. Tap the QuickBooks Help menu.
    2. Hit the Search tab.
    3. Type IIF file format and click the Start Search arrow.
    4. Choose the Reference guide to import files option.

    When exporting a list from an existing company, QB creates an export file header as follows:

    A B C D E F G H I
    2 HDR QuickBooks Pro Version 20.0D Release R6 1 1/1/2020 79323

    Summing Up

    We hope this detailed guide regarding ‘what is IIF file’ has helped you understand some crucial points about the file. If you still require technical assistance to learn to use the file, do not hesitate to call our QB specialists at 1.833.802.0002.

    You may also read like to read:- What is QuickBooks Migration Tool


    Are there any import and export limitations for IIF files?

    Yes, the limitation exists with regard to exporting transactions from QuickBooks. Importing is possible, but exporting is not. Here are some crucial points:

    • Only a specific number of list items can be imported.
    • Transactions do not get linked when you import IIF files.
    • Importing data in the item’s custom fields is not possible while importing assembly items.
    • Exporting or importing price levels set up per-item basis isn’t possible.
    • IIF Files can assist in exporting only the payroll data from Intuit Online Payroll/ Intuit Full Service Payroll to QuickBooks Desktop.
    • IIF Files cannot be exported from one country’s QuickBooks version to another, for instance, the US to Canada.
    • When creating an IIF import file, users can’t enter numbers with leading zeroes in MS Excel. However, you can format the column cells Custom as a workaround.


    Can you detail the lists and transactions I can import?

    Here’s a glimpse into the lists and transactions for import:


    Lists Transactions
    • Chart of Accounts
    • Budgets
    • Employees
    • Vendor types
    • Items
    • Customer and job types
    • Shipping methods
    • To dos
    • Price levels
    • NotesSales reps
    • Sales tax codes
    • Other names
    • Payment terms
    • Customers and customer: jobs
    • Customer messages
    • Vendors
    • Payment methods
    • Classes
    • Cash sales to customers
    • Deposits
    • Credit memos to customers
    • Account transfers of funds
    • Invoices
    • Vendor bills
    • Cash refunds to customers
    • Estimates
    • Account beginning balances
    • Credit card transactions
    • Payments from customers
    • Vendor bill refunds
    • Credit card refunds to customers
    • General journal entries
    • Checks
    • Purchase orders


    How do you copy a budget to a new data file?

    Here are the steps to take to copy a budget to a new data file:

    1. Open your first data file and create your budget.
    2. Follow the steps to export the budget to your desktop.
    3. Exit the first data file and visit your second data file.
    4. Execute the steps to import the budget file into the second data file.

    Hopefully, these steps will help copy your budget to a new data file successfully.

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