QuickBooks File Types and Extensions

Did you know that there are at least 40 different file extensions in QuickBooks®? Those are just the ones that I found when researching this article – I am sure there are many more!

There are extensions for everything from Loan Manager and Financial Statement Designs to Online Banking and Images. There is even one called LGB which stands for Little Green Box. This file contains encrypted information on user names and passwords.

Here is just a sampling of the file types and extensions in QuickBooks.

It is important for accounting professionals to understand the different file types and file extensions involved with QuickBooks®.

There are five (5) main file extensions used for holding transactions and data for a QuickBooks® company file. The table below describes these file extensions.

Extension

File Type

Description

.QBW

 

QuickBooks® for Windows company file

This is the main file type for a QuickBooks® company file. All of your data is entered into this file.
.QBB QuickBooks® backup file

 

 

A backup file is a compressed file containing everything you need to recreate your company file and QuickBooks® environment. Use a backup file to safeguard your QuickBooks® files against accidental data loss. When you create a backup, QuickBooks® starts a log of transactions (.TLG) that you have entered since the last time you backed up. To open a .QBB file, go to the File menu and click Restore.   Double-clicking the file and choosing Open from the File menu will NOT restore or open a backup file.
.QBM

 

QuickBooks® Portable company file This is a compressed file that contains all of the data of a QuickBooks® company file, but not the database indexing, so it is much smaller than the .QBW or .QBB files. It is useful for transferring data through the Internet because the data file size is much smaller than any of the other file types and it can be restored to the full .QBW on the receiving end.
.QBX

 

Accountant’s Copy (Export File)

This is also a compressed file format and it is used specifically for transferring a file from an end user (client) to an accountant for review. This includes a Dividing Date which prevents the client from creating transactions on or before this date.

.QBA

 

Accountant’s Copy (Working Copy)

When the accountant opens a .QBX file they must restore and convert it to a .QBA file in order to enter transactions and run reports.

It is important to assess the client’s needs and determine which file type is appropriate for the situation. It will depend on the type of work to be performed, the condition of the client’s current data file, the nature of their operations and a number of other factors. If you have a solid

understanding of the different file types and options available, then you can make a more informed decision on how to best serve the needs of your client.

QuickBooks® also uses many other file extensions to access or store other types of data associated with QuickBooks®. The table below describes a few of these file extensions. It is not an all-inclusive list.

Extension

File Type

Description

.QBW.TLG

 

Transaction Log File for QuickBooks® company file

 

When you backup a company file, QuickBooks® starts a log of transaction that you have entered since the last backup. In case of accidental loss of data, Intuit Technical Support can use your most recent backup in conjunction with the transaction log file to recover your data. This log file is also used if you sync your QuickBooks® data with certain online services using Intuit Sync Manager. This allows ongoing syncs to happen much more quickly than the initial full upload of QuickBooks® data into your online service. Note: A manual backup (not an automatic backup) is required to ‘reset’ the .TLG file. If the .TLG file is too large, create a manual backup.
.QBA.TLG

 

Transaction Log File for Accountant’s Copy


When you backup an Accountant’s review copy, QuickBooks® starts a log of transaction that you have entered since the last backup. In case of accidental loss of data, Intuit Technical Support can use your most recent backup in conjunction with the transaction log file to recover your data. Note: This file is created during backup provided that you have set a verification level.
.QBY

 

Accountant’s Copy (Import File)

When you (the Accountant/Consultant) are finished making changes in an Accountant’s Copy, you provide the client with a .QBY file to be imported into their company file. Note: This file only includes the changes made by the Accountant and not all of the transactions of the company.

.IIF

 

Intuit Interchange Format file

 

You can import and export lists and/or transactions using text files with an .IIF extension.

.ND

 

QuickBooks® Network Data file

 

A configuration file that allows access to   the QuickBooks® company file.  Note: DO NOT DELETE this configuration file.

.DES

Form Design Template file

This file type is created when you export a form design from the templates list.

 For a printable list of file types and extensions, click here.

This article of QuickBooks Tips and Tricks was based on the 2012 version of QuickBooks.

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