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QuickBooks 2019 IIF Import

QuickBooks Changes

Intuit has significantly changed how QuickBooks 2019 (and Enterprise 19.0) import IIF files. When importing, QuickBooks now optionally, and by default, imposes many more rules and restrictions in an effort to ensure that the import will succeed. Unfortunately this new error checking also brings many new restrictions, some of which are very unhelpful. There are also errors which stop QuickBooks from importing normal and valid IIF files.

As a result, IIF files created with older versions of our apps will not import using the QuickBooks 2019 default import steps.  We’ve made changes to accommodate QuickBooks. However, there are remaining issues you may run into. As a result, we recommend the steps below when importing using QuickBooks 2019.

Import Options

Luckily, QuickBooks now offers two ways to import: These are the new default method and the older method you may have have been using with older QuickBooks versions. This second method is rather hidden behind a scary-looking link.

The QB 2019 options, seen here, are to use the very-tempting blue Import IIF button or the link below it “Import if for me. I’ll fix it later”:

The IIF Import button imports using the new and restrictive error checking method. IIF files created with older releases of our apps will not import using this method.  There also several bugs and unnecessary restrictions, and we keep finding more of them.

The Import it for me link uses the method you (may have) been using safely with IIF files our apps create for many years. IIF files created with older releases of our apps will work with this option.  You may need to use this option in order to get around bugs with the new method and for a growing list of specific cases that represent valid data in QB but  are no longer allowed using the new method.

Other Notes

Importing now closes all windows on the desktop (there is no way around this).

Using the new import method is slow and takes about 10 – 20 times longer than the Import it for me method.

Known Bugs

Here are some of the new unwanted restrictions and also some impossible-to-explain-away bugs, including:

  1. When importing time records, QuickBooks may error and indicate that the related employee address is invalid – even though you are not importing changes to the employee.
  2. When importing time records, import will fail if classes are used and the class values are not dated (?!?!?) – even though the class list is not a list of dates!
  3. QuickBooks ignores the Send Later (email later) status for sales forms and will not set it.
  4. QuickBooks will not import reverse/credit lines on transactions. For example, you can’t import a return line item on an invoice, a line that reduces the invoice total.
  5. It will not import 0.00 amount invoices (and perhaps other sales) even if the details of the invoice are non-zero.
  6. Document numbers are incorrectly limited to 12 characters though much larger values are actually allowed in QB.
  7. Phone numbers on name records are incorrectly limited in length (which will often cause the extension to be omitted) while much longer values are accepted in QB.
  8. If you attempt to include a semi-colon (;) on a record in the IIF file, QB stops reading the line at the semi-colon.  If there are required fields after that, the import fails.  If optional fields, then they are not imported and you will lose data.
  9. If you attempt to include any characters with a computer-ascii value larger than a tilda (~) plus one, QB imports it as a “?” character – while all other QB versions work just fine.  Characters include “€‚ƒ„…†‡ˆ‰Š‹ŒŽ‘’“”•–—˜™š›œžŸ ¡¢£¤¥¦§¨©ª«¬­®¯°±²³´µ¶·¸¹º»¼½¾¿ÀÁÂÃÄÅÆÇÈÉÊËÌÍÎÏÐÑÒÓÔÕÖ×ØÙÚÛÜÝÞßàáâãäåæçèéêëìíîïðñòóôõö÷øùúûüýþÿ” and higher end characters which QB does in fact support using both the old IIF import and the user interface.


Use the Import it for me option! – the link on the import dialog

  • This is the option all older versions of QB offer and is safe.
  • The “I’ll fix it later” text suggests you’ll have to fix something, but that misleading and is unlikely to be the case, especially when using our apps correctly.
  • Avoid the bugs and limitations noted above.

Download and install the latest release of the app(s) you’re using. 

  • Start here to download: BRC Get the Latest Free Product Releases
  • The latest releases of our apps will create IIF files that are different than older versions and are more compliant with the new Import IIF option (though we still can’t work around some of the bugs above.)
  • These releases also contain the latest code, feature changes, and fixes to other unrelated issues.


If you choose to use the new Import IIF option, which is not recommended

  • Be prepared to be stopped by issues that are not really issues.
  • If there are issues, QuickBooks will create a copy of the IIF file with error notes. You can open it in Excel for review. You may be able to deal with this issue or you may want to send us a support request so we can review your files.