How to Import
Quickbooks IIF Files?

I'll walk you through the steps on how to import Quickbooks IIF files. The format and structure of the IIF file is the key. If you don't have the correct format, you can never get through the import Quickbooks process because of errors. That's why, you have to familiar yourself of this format.

There are two types of data that we can import. List (i.e. Customer list, vendor list, etc.) or transaction (invoice, check, etc.). How will the program know if you will be importing a list or a transaction? The file headers in an IIF file tell the program how to import the type of data that follows.

The file headers are in rows that begin with an exclamation point. The first column in the header must contain a keyword. The table below shows the list of keywords that you can use:

!ACCNT Details about your chart of accounts.
!CUST A customer address or phone list.
!VEND A vendor address or phone list.
!EMP A list of employees.
!OTHERNAME A list of names you'd like to add to QuickBooks Other Name list.
!BUD Budget details.
!CLASS A list of general classifications you'd like to add to QuickBooks Class list.
!CTYPE A list of customer classifications you'd like to add to QuickBooks Customer Type list.
!INVITEM Details about the line items you use on sales and purchase forms.
!INVMEMO Messages you'd like to add to QuickBooks Customer Message list.
!PAYMETH A list of payment methods you'd like to add to QuickBooks Payment Method list.
!SHIPMETH A list of shipping methods you'd like to add to QuickBooks Ship Via list.
!TERMS A list of payment terms you'd like to add to QuickBooks Terms list.
!TIMEACT Details about activities you timed with the QuickBooks Timer. Works with !TIMERHDR.
!TIMERHDR QuickBooks Timer data.
!TODO A list of upcoming "to do" tasks you want QuickBooks to remind you about.
!TRNS Transactions.
!VTYPE A list of vendor classifications you'd like to add to QuickBooks Vendor Type list.

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.

Sample Customer IIF Import

If you have downloaded the IIF Import Kit, you will find there the IIF Header Help folder that lists the column headings that you can use for each list type (i.e. Customer list, Vendor list, etc).

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. You can also download sample import Quickbooks IIF files here.

Sample Check IIF

Once you have the correct format for your IIF file, the next step is to save it with .iif extension. If you are using Microsoft Excel to create the IIF, you can save it by going to File > Save As command then make sure that the Save As type is set to Text (Tab Delimited) then enter the .iif in the File name box as show below:

Save As IIF

Now that you are familiar on how to format and save your IIF file. It's time to import Quickbooks IIF file we created. To import Quickbooks, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Quickbooks
  2. Navigate to File > Utilities > Import > IIF Files
  3. The Import window will appear. Select the IIF file that you saved.
  4. Click Open.
  5. Click OK when the message "Your data has been imported successfully"

And that's it! You just made your first import.

Sample Transaction 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 how to import Quickbooks IIF files. Download the company file separately and restore it in QuickBooks.
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