Roundtrip: Convert a QuickBooks for Mac file to QuickBooks for Windows and back again

QBPros does not recommend that you perform a “round trip” of data from QuickBooks for Mac to QuickBooks for Windows, and back to QB for Mac. There are data loss issues associated with doing so. We have posted this as a reference for some of the steps that might help those who want to convert from QuickBooks for Mac to QuickBooks for Windows permanently.


A common situation for QuickBooks for Mac users is that their accountants do not have Macintosh computers on which to run QuickBooks for Mac. They have only Windows computers that run QuickBooks for Windows. To send their data file to their accountant, their only option is to use roundtripping:

  1. Client opens their data file in QuickBooks for Mac.
  2. They save a Back Up to QuickBooks for Windows.
  3. They send the backup to their accountant (but not by e-mail, which is not secure).
  4. When the accountant has made all of the needed entries, she makes a Copy Company File for QuickBooks Mac and sends it to the client.
  5. The Client restores the back up on their Macintosh computer.

Be aware the QuickBooks for Mac does not have accountant’s copy functionality at this time.


We have have automated this process such that QuickBooks for Windows can create a backup for QuickBooks for Mac and vice versa. However, there are some restrictions:

  1. Be sure your QuickBooks for Mac and your accountant’s QuickBooks for Windows are the same year and the latest release for that year. For example if you have QuickBooks for Mac 2012, be sure your accountant is using QuickBooks for Windows 2012. If you use different years, you may have issues updating your file to later versions or roundtripping in the future.
  2. Once you have made the backup for Windows, do not upgrade QuickBooks for Mac either to a new version, e.g., QBM 2012 to QBM 2013, or to a new release, e.g., R4 to R5.
  3. You must have the administrator password to complete the roundtripping process.
  4. While the accountant has your file, do not enter data into your Macintosh file, else you will have to reenter the data when you receive for file back.
  5. Because QuickBooks for Mac does not have internal payroll, we suggest that you not do payroll in the QuickBooks for Windows version of the file. The subscription information, payroll settings and payroll data that you enter will be lost when the file is converted back to QuickBooks for Mac. You will need to enter the payroll service key into the company file in the QuickBooks for Windows version. If e-filing and/or e-paying taxes and forms, you need complete the e-file setup in the Payroll Setup.
  6. You cannot roundtrip to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions (QBES) because QBES cannot produce a QuickBooks for Mac backup.

Because QuickBooks for Mac does not have all the features of QuickBooks for Windows, some data is lost when a QuickBooks for Windows file is converted to QuickBooks for Mac. See our article on opening your company file on your Mac for a complete list of data that does and does not convert from QuickBooks for Windows.

Roundtripping from Macintosh to Windows to Macintosh
Prepare you Macintosh file

Due to the OS differences, your QuickBooks for Mac file requires some file preparation.

  1. Update your version of QuickBooks for the Mac to the latest release.
  2. Check for any special characters in the file name, such as !@#$%^&*. If there are any, rename the file and remove the special characters.
  3. Open the file in QuickBooks and delete all memorized transactions and memorized reports.
  4. Resort your lists.
  5. Rebuild your company file.
  6. Run the Custom Transaction Detail Report, changing the date range to All and enabling the Memo Column:
    1. Select the Reports menu and select Custom Transaction Detail Report. The Modify Report window opens.
    2. Click the Dates drop-down arrow and select All.
    3. Under Columns, click to select the Memo column. A checkmark appears when the column is selected.
    4. Click OK to run the report.
  7. Check for any memos with names that are longer than 50 characters or that contain special characters.
  8. If any are found, edit the transactions and remove the memos. Rebuild the file again.
Convert your Macintosh file to a Windows file

  1. Open the company file in QuickBooks for Mac.
  2. If you did not rebuild your file while preparing it, rebuild your data file now.
  3. Go to File > Back Up to QuickBooks for Windows.
  4. Choose a name and location for the file and click Save (this creates a file with the extension .qbb)
  5. After the backup for Windows is created, you can click Show File in Finder to locate the file on your computer.
  6. QuickBooks also creates an Instructional PDF file in the same location with the same name as your company file.
  7. This backup for Windows can be opened in QuickBooks for Windows.
  8. After the backup is complete, rename the company file so that you do not overwrite it when the updated copy is returned.
  9. Send the backup to the Windows machine using whatever method you prefer (e.g., dvd, external hard drive, flash drive, FTP website).
  10. Once the backup for Windows is on the Windows machine, open QuickBooks for Windows.
  11. Go to File > Open or Restore Company.
  12. Click Restore a backup copy (.qbb) and then click Next.
  13. Click Local backup and then click Next.
  14. Browse to the location of the backup for Windows and click Open.
  15. When asked to update the file to the new version, type yes and then click OK.
Convert your Windows file to a Macintosh file

  1. Update your version of QuickBooks for Windows to the latest release.
  2. Open the company file in QuickBooks for Windows.
  3. Resort your lists.
  4. Rebuild the data file.
  5. Go to File > Utilities > Copy Company File for QuickBooks Mac.
  6. Save the file wherever you prefer (this creates a file with the extension .qbmb.
  7. Send the Copy for Mac to the Mac computer using whatever method you prefer (e.g., dvd, external hard drive, flash drive, FTP website).
  8. Once the file is on the Mac, open QuickBooks for Mac.
  9. Go to File > Restore > From a Disk. (This is different for QuickBooks for Mac 2013.)
  10. Select the copy for Mac, and click Open.
  11. QuickBooks will ask if you want to restore a QuickBooks for Windows file – click OK .
  12. Enter a name for the restored file, and then click Save.


If these steps do not resolve the issue, you can read discussions and post messages and questions relating to your issue on the Intuit QuickBooks Community site for free or you can contact a technical support agent for additional guidance. Fees may apply.

Roundtripping errors


Cannot open the file in Windows

If you see either of these errors when opening the file in QuickBooks for Windows:

  1. Error C=116
  2. Error (-14113, 0)

Open your file in QuickBooks for Mac; resort your lists and run the Rebuild Data Utility. Try to convert again.

Cannot open the file in Macintosh after updating QuickBooks for Mac

If you see the message: Cannot Import the Roundtrip file. This file was originally created with another version of QuickBooks for Macintosh. Please import it into the version with which it was created.

  1. Download and reinstall your previous version and release.
  2. Restore the backup from Windows.
  3. Convert your restored data file to your newer version of Quickbooks for Mac.


                  KB ID# HOW12998