How to create/restore a Portable Quickbooks File?
Create/Restore a Portable file in Quickbooks: Step-by-Step Instructions
A Quickbooks portable company file (QBM) provides a compact, efficient copy of only your financial data. It is often used to send your financial data by email or portable media such as a flash drive. Unlike a Quickbooks backup file (QBB) or a Quickbooks Company file (QBW), it does not include letters, logos, images, and templates. It also doesn’t contain a transaction log (.tlg file), which can be used to restore transaction data with the help of a technical support agent.
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How to create a Portable Quickbooks File?
In Quickbooks, Select File > Create Copy.
Select Portable company file (QBM) and click Next.
Click the Save in drop-down arrow and select Desktop.
Click Save and OK twice.
How to Restore a Portable Quickbooks File?
In Quickbooks, go to File > Open or Restore Company…
Select Restore a portable file and click Next.
Select the portable file and click Open.
Browse to the location where you want to save the restored file. (You may want to check with your IT support to make sure you are saving the Quickbooks data file to the correct location).
A reader has asked us what the best way is to send a copy of their QuickBooks data via email. QuickBooks offers a variety of ways to send or save copies of your data including a Backup Copy, an Accountant’s Copy, or a Portable Company file. The Portable Company file is a special, highly compressed, version of your data that is perfect for emailing in most cases. In many cases the compression ratio maybe 20 to 1 or higher. The result is a much smaller file containing all of your data that can be sent via Email without difficulty.
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To create a Portable Company file
From the File menu, choose Save Copy or Backup.
Select the option to Create Portable Company file, as shown in Figure 2.
Follow the on-screen instructions to Browse to a location to save the file. I recommend that you save this file to your ‘desktop’, this makes it easier to find when you need to attach it to your out-going email.
By default, QuickBooks will name your file the same name as your Company file but will add (Portable) to the name and also change the file type to a .QBM file. (.QBM is the file extension for the Portable File format).
QuickBooks will display several messages as it goes about creating the company file. Upon completion QuickBooks displays the message shown in Figure 3.
You can now open your Email program, compose your outgoing message, and attach the QuickBooks Portable Company (.QBM) file to your email. In most cases a Portable Company file is small enough that it can be transmitted attached to an email without any problem.
As a side note, creating a Portable Company file and then restoring that file is an effective way to reduce database fragments. This process re-indexes the database as a whole, and in some cases may serve as a method to repair some (but certain not all) file corruption. But those procedures are a ‘what if’ for another day.
QB-Mac Does Not Offer a Portable Company File
QB-Mac only offers a Back-up file, it does not offer either the Portable Company File or Accountant’s Copy (file) types which are available in the ‘Windows’ versions of QuickBooks.
Can I Trust a Portable Copy of my Data? It’s so Small!
When we repair QuickBooks damaged files, or supercondense them, we usually ask that people transmit them to us in the form of a portable copy.
Why? Because it’s by far the smallest kind of backup of your data that you can make. QuickBooks might take a 1GB Enterprise QBW file (native format company data file) and create a portable copy that is perhaps 150MB. Much faster to send electronically!
Some people worry about that, though. More than one person has asked me “Are you getting all our information if we send that kind of file?”
The answer is yes. The portable copy contains all your raw accounting information.
How can it be so small, then? It’s because the portable copy doesn’t have any internal indexing in it. The indexes are recreated when you restore a portable copy, and the file size of the QBW returns to ‘normal’. That is why restoring a portable copy takes a long time relative to a regular QBB backup; QuickBooks has to reindex the file.
Portable copies are a great format to send files electronically, or to back up to a USB drive or online drive that has limited space.
Sometimes QuickBooks files will get corrupted in such a way that a portable copy cannot be created — you’ll get an error when trying to create one. Otherwise, it’s a reliable method of backing up your QuickBooks file.
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Accountant’s Copy File Transfer
Intuit offers a file-transfer process you can instigate through QuickBooks and complete through the company’s file servers. To use this procedure, you create an Accountant’s Copy, a process you begin from the software’s File menu. You establish a dividing date that essentially freezes all transactions before it and leaves more-recent activity live so you can continue to work on and add to it. Once the program creates your file, you provide your name, email addresses for you and your accountant, a password your accountant must use to access the file you send and an optional note. When the file upload completes, your accountant receives an email message that includes a download link through which to access your file. This process relies on file encryption and password protection, a combination that can provide good protection if you choose a highly secure password or passphrase.
Any website can include an FTP upload area through which authorized users can log in to upload documents. If your accountant incorporates such a service on his website, he can provide you with log-in credentials that enable you to connect through special software — often freeware or inexpensive shareware — that handles the file-transfer process. Some FTP servers accept uploads through a Web browser, enabling you to avoid installing a new program on your computer. The downside of this approach lies in the need for your accountant to provide data security for the storage area and the prospect that you must notify him each time you upload a file. Ask your accountant what security provisions he uses on his server before you opt for this method.
If you use a file-sharing service such as Dropbox or Box, you can upload your file and provide your accountant with a link through which to access it. The problems with this approach can include risks to the security of your confidential financial information if you fail to protect the document and accidentally upload it in a public area of your online storage space. You also risk damage to your file itself if you and your accountant attempt to work on it simultaneously from the online storage area. These file-sharing services can provide an acceptable means of conveying a large document so another party can download it, but database-driven programs such as QuickBooks don’t support the use of cloud sharing as a means of networking their data files among multiple users.
A secure portal provides an online storage space, protected by password log-in credentials, that enables an accounting firm to establish an individual confidential storage “bin” for every client. Each time one of the firm’s practitioners adds a file to a client’s storage area, that client receives an emailed notification. Some portals also enable two-way file transfer so you and your accountant can send files to each other through the same online-transfer process. The confidentiality of this functionality can help comply with laws governing the transfer of personally identifiable information. Your accountant must weigh the cost of the service against its advantages and decide whether it merits implementation. This type of transfer system provides the best protection against online data risk, short of conveying the file on a disc or flash drive that you deliver in person.