QuickBooks

QuickBooks and Office 2016

Written by Charlie Russell

OK, it is here, Microsoft Office 2016. Will it work with QuickBooks? I have been playing around with it for a short time and the results are mixed. Some things work, some don’t! Let’s take a look at what I have come up with so far.

This article was updated on 12/10/2015

Microsoft Office 2016

I’m not going to go into detail as to what is new in Microsoft Office 2016. You can find that out at this Microsoft website. In addition, Randy Johnston talked about it in his article on Windows 10 and Office 2016. As Randy points out, most of the features seem to relate to collaboration, and so they don’t have a huge impact in the way that I work with the products. I don’t see a compelling reason to hurry over to updating my Office 2013 installations.

However, it still is very important for accounting professionals to understand how the new version of Office will affect products like QuickBooks, which closely integrates with Microsoft Office. Even if you don’t upgrade yourself, you will start to run into clients using the new product very soon. Be prepared!

How do QuickBooks desktop products integrate with Microsoft Office?

  • Creating mail-merge documents with Microsoft Word
  • Exporting reports to Microsoft Excel
  • Importing data from and exporting data to Microsoft Excel
  • Creating spreadsheets with QuickBooks Statement Writer
  • Attaching reports as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets as well as PDF forms to Outlook email messages.

QuickBooks and Office 2016

I didn’t test every variation of QuickBooks to check on Microsoft Office 2016 compatibility. I focused on the two most current releases, QuickBooks 2015 and QuickBooks 2016.

Mail-merge documents with Microsoft Word: This worked quite well with both QuickBooks 2015 and QuickBooks 2016. Great!

QuickBooks mail merge with Microsoft Office 2016

Exporting reports to Microsoft Excel: I had no trouble with this feature in both QuickBooks 2015 and QuickBooks 2016. Note that updating existing exported reports also works well. Great!

QuickBooks and Office 2016 Excel report

Microsoft Excel data exports and imports: Exporting data such as the item list to Excel works fine. Both the formatted template and advanced imports also work as expected. Great!

Exporting QuickBooks to Microsoft Office 2016

Importing from Microsoft Excel

QuickBooks Statement Writer: This worked about as I would have expected, with a minor issue that didn’t seem to cause any problems.

In QuickBooks 2015 you get the same error message about incompatibility as you would if you had Microsoft Office 2013 installed. QuickBooks Statement Writer is only set up to work with Office 2010 or older. However, as I outlined in my article Make QuickBooks Statement Writer Work With Office 2013, you can patch some files and newer versions of Office to get it to work. This same patch works with Microsoft Office 2016. Great!

QuickBooks Statement Writer and Microsoft Office 2016

The QuickBooks 2016 installer should do the same patching, so it should let QuickBooks Statement Writer work with Office 2016. It did, but only after some extra steps. In my test I got this message, which is odd because I don’t see that with Office 2013.

QuickBooks Statement Writer 2016

After clicking the Install Now button I got this error message:

QuickBooks Statement Writer install error

However, after all of this was done, QuickBooks Statement Writer 2016 worked with Microsoft Office 2016 without any problems that I’ve come across. Great!

Attaching items to Microsoft Outlook: There are a couple of ways that QuickBooks interacts with Microsoft Outlook. You can attach a report exported as an Excel spreadsheet to an email message, or you can send forms/reports as PDF attachments. Unfortunately, this is where Office 2016 might not work. In my initial tests I got this error message when trying:

Cannot send an email attachment

In systems where I ran into this problem, when I looked at the Send Forms preferences I found that Microsoft Outlook wasn’t even one of the options listed as being available.

QuickBooks Send Forms preference

I did make sure that Microsoft Outlook was the default mail client. I went through all of the steps that we usually take when we see that Outlook isn’t listed as an option here: repairing Office, repairing QuickBooks, trying the Microsoft registry fix. Nothing helped.

Update 12/10/2015: Initially I ran into these problems with QuickBooks 2016 and QuickBooks 2015 with the first releases on Office 2016 on test systems. Nothing but trouble. About two months later I tried again, on a different computer system. This time I had a later revision of Office 2016, and a later revision of QuickBooks 2016. This time it all worked, at least with QuickBooks 2016 R3. I cannot say that everyone will be successful, but at least in some cases you should be (and make sure you have the latest updates to the products).

My Recommendations

Updated 12/10/2015.

Intuit’s system requirements websites don’t list any version of QuickBooks as being compatible with Microsoft Office 2016 at this time, even the recently released QuickBooks 2016 product. That isn’t surprising, as Intuit usually starts final testing with any new Microsoft product after the public release (since Microsoft tends to make changes right up to the last moment). It can take time for them to make adjustments. I’m hoping that they will come up with another patch like the one for Microsoft Office 2013 soon (right, Joe?).

My recommendation is that unless there is a strong reason for you to move up to Office 2016, don’t rush into it now if you are using QuickBooks. If you need to, though, everything should work fine other than Microsoft Outlook, in general as long as you have up-to-date software (including QuickBooks 2016). If you have older software, you may have problems. Looking at specific versions of QuickBooks:

  • QuickBooks 2016: Everything should work other than although you might have problems with Microsoft Outlook.
  • QuickBooks 2015: Everything should work (other than although you may have trouble with Microsoft Outlook), but you will need to patch your system if you want to use QuickBooks Statement Writer.
  • QuickBooks 2014: I didn’t test it, but there is a reasonable chance that everything should work other than Microsoft Outlook and QuickBooks Statement Writer. I’ve not tried the patch for QuickBooks Statement Writer with QuickBooks 2014, so I don’t know if that works there. To be honest, QuickBooks 2014 is not my favorite version of the product, and I’ve been moving all of my clients off it and up to QuickBooks 2015, which is more stable.
  • QuickBooks 2013: Since QuickBooks 2013 isn’t listed as being fully compatible with the older Microsoft Office 2013, I wouldn’t recommend that you try Office 2016 in this case. I didn’t try it myself, but it is quite a bit older than Microsoft Office 2016. Odds are not in your favor.

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About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been the managing editor and primary writer for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011. Charlie can be reached at [email protected]

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.

44 Comments

  • Hi Charlie,

    Thank you for analyzing the usability of Microsoft Office 2016 with Intuit QuickBooks apps.
    Hope Intuit appreciates your efforts and considers the findings. Your support of Intuit is stellar.

    Glad to hear Mail-Merge documents with Microsoft Word 2016 worked quite well with both QuickBooks 2015 and QuickBooks 2016. Good. Hope others will share their findings.

    Thanks,

    Tamra

    Tamra Groff, Senior Consultant, GASC/GHFG

    • Responding to Charlie “Attaching items to Microsoft Outlook”
      We have QB Enterprise 2015 and we have it installed on 10 PC’s. Our data is on the server and all computers have windows Microsoft office and or use Office 365. One PC does exactly the same thing when trying to email out of QB. Our IT person could never figure out why only this machine is doing it. Updated yesterday to QB Enterprise 2016 – problem I have on one computer – cannot attach items to customer in customer list. I am sure we will eventually find a solution.

      • First step is to try a “repair” of the Word installation. If that doesn’t do it, then a “repair” of the QB installation. Also note if the system with problems is using 64 bit Word or not (best to use 32 bit Word).

  • Thanks for the review. I am looking forward to Office 2016, but will wait a few months so that other add-ins catch up. I wish that Intuit would separate account numbers from the name when exporting to excel. It is such a tedious task to separate manually.

  • Charlie, I have struggled with Statement writer, was really hoping 2016 QB and Office would finally connect without additional steps. Outlook has never been a favorite, so this is just another reason stick with Google. All good to know. Thank you

  • Thank you for the review Charlie. Regarding the outlook problem, sometimes, installing outlook will not update the WIN.INI file for Simple/Extended MAPI depending on the hidden administrator permissions. Many Windows applications check for the WIN.ini entries. If users can add the entries manually, it can solve the Outlook problem. Here are some details in a Microsoft KB article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/141061.

    • Thank you, Harihara. Unfortunately, in this particular case, the WIN.INI file has the proper MAPI statements.

      Note also that in a general sense, WIN.INI was only used in very old versions of Windows, for 16 bit products. It is still there for backwards compatibility, but it is unlikely (but not impossible) that Intuit is looking there.

      • Do you have any update on when QB 2015 will fix this issue with email? I think that they are doing this on purpose because they want you to subscribe to their email service at a cost. I have to save all of my emails to a pdf file in order to send them to the customer through email hence, our own domain. My company presence is important to us when we send out any communication. I really hate open a web mail account to send invoices to my clients.

        • Just don’t move up to Office 2016…

          Intuit doesn’t want people to move to their email service. In fact, they would like to get people off of it and have it be retired. They don’t make any significant money from it in relation to the cost of keeping it going.

          It is just that they always take a long time to get support for new versions of Microsoft products.

          • It’s too late. I already upgraded to Office 2016. I had the same problem in Office 2013 which is why I upgraded. Well, it’s not the only reason but I thought assuredly, QuickBooks would work in the new version.

            I will just continue to save my invoices and statements as pdf’s in a separate file until they fix it.

          • If you have been having problems with Outlook integration with QB and Office 2013, then there is most likely a problem with your system. That should work fine, I use it all the time. Those kinds of things are hard to diagnose in blog comments, though. It takes hands on the system.

  • Though I am not using Office 2016 yet, I always appreciate that you test it out for us Charlie and let us know what works and what might not.

    • Same thing that Harihara was referring to earlier in this thread. In my test systems (several that I’ve tried) the WIN.INI MAPI settings are already set as outlined in that Intuit KB article. None of the Intuit-listed fixes handle things for me.

      Office integrations tend to be really sensitive to a variety of things. It is entirely possible that It is just an issue with my test systems. I don’t have any clients who are using Office 2016 yet, so all I have are my test systems, and none of them work.

      If you have found that some version of QuickBooks is working with Outlook 2016 for you, congratulations! I’m glad to hear that you got it to work. What nationality/version/year/revision of QuickBooks were you using, and what version of Windows? And, was this a new, clean installation of Office 2016, or an upgrade of an older version? In my test cases all were upgrades from Office 2013.

      So many variables!

      • Thanks for your excellent article. I am running Quickbooks 2015 and Office 2016 32 bit (fresh install), and the win.ini fix worked for me. So it’s probably worth a shot!

        On another point, do you know if Quickbooks will ever add the option of creating email templates in HTML instead of plain text?

        • You never know what Intuit is going to do with QuickBooks – and if I have a preview from them then I’m covered by a non-disclosure agreement until they release the update. However, I can say that what you are looking for isn’t going to come out in the very near future. Best I can say is “send them feedback”, through the option in your Help menu. They do look at that.

  • Charlie,
    I switched to 64-bit Office when I moved to Office 2016, and am having a devil of a time with everything in QB 2016, including QODBC and QSW. While I can export to Excel, I’m trying to use Power BI to do more of the real time reporting – and if I can’t effectively use QB with 64-bit Excel 2016, that’s a problem for me. Right now, I’m improvising by running QB 2016 and Office 2013 in a Window 7 virtual machine, but this isn’t a good long term solution. Do you have any insights into how I can run Office 2016 64-bit and still use QODBC and QSW?

    Thanks in advance for your response, and I hope to see you at a future visit to sunny California.

    Best regards, Brian

    • I generally never work with 64 bit Office because so many of the addons don’t seem to work with any but the 32 bit version. Last I looked, even Microsoft recommended that most people stick with 32 bit versions. I wonder if they are still saying that?

      What specific issue do you see with QODBC and QSW? Error messages? Just not working? QB crashing?

      And why the heck are you working with QB 2016 now, in the R1 release? Too soon, in my opinion. Note that there are issues with 2016 R1 and SDK addons in some cases, depending on the type of query you are making.

    • Holding off for a while makes sense, but you can’t always hold them off forever. And, I tend to deal with clients who come to me AFTER they have done the upgrade, which is why I look into these things.

      I’m still running Windows 7 for my production system, and my wife’s computer is on Office 2013. I moved up to Office 2016, unfortunately, and it is still a bit of a headache.

    • Traci, I’ve just updated the article. I have been able to get Outlook to work with Enterprise V16 on my system now. There are updates to both Office and QuickBooks since the time I wrote this article. It is still risky, though, I can’t say for sure that every system will be successful.

  • Thank you very much for your useful article. I have a minor quibble. It looks like you provided an update dated 12/20/2015 which is 3+ days in the future as of my place in the timeline. Can you tell me if this will work for those of us who are not time travellers and can you please also tell me this weekend’s lotto numbers?

    Thanks again and please forgive my attempt at weak humor.

    • Sometimes your registry is just too messed up for these things to work. If you haven’t already, try doing a “repair” on your QuickBooks installation (through your Control Panel). Might work, might not. Other than that, I can’t say much more without hands on the system.

  • As of the R10 QuickBooks 2015 update, integration with Outlook 2016 and at least Excel 2016 no longer appear to be working. Have spent several days trying to resolve this. Wondering if anyone has learned any more about this situation?

    • I’m running that combination to manage my own business and don’t have any problems here, so it isn’t something that is going to apply to everyone. Integration between QuickBooks and Microsoft Office tends to be a bit sensitive to things. The standard first step is to do a “repair” of your Office installation, which resets the registry keys that are needed.

  • Running QB Enterprise 16 In server environment with a peer to peer network so my second computer has access to data file. Upgraded to Outlook 2016 and list email and several other functions in QB. The non-server computer works fine with Outlook 2016. Any suggestions

    • “lost” I assume?

      Usually the first step is to do a “repair” of your Office installation in your Windows control panel. That will reset the registry keys, which usually is the issue. If that doesn’t do it, a “repair” of your QuickBooks installation. If those don’t work, it is more complicated. Those steps take care of this issue in most cases.

  • I can not export to Excel 2016 from my QB Pro 2015. I have been told by QB it is not “at this time compatible”. I am going to repair both items and see if that will help. This is a real problem.

    • 64 bit Office, or just 64 bit Windows? There rarely is a need to run 64 bit Office. In fact, Microsoft usually recommends that you use the 32 bit version on a 64 bit machine, due to incompatibility issues. That may not be the issue, though. I haven’t tested the 64 bit version of Office lately.

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  • I am having issues creating and exporting a state SUI file and state w2 file to excel 2016. I have both Enterprise 2015 and 2017 on windows 10 and excel 2016. Everything is updated and current. I can export a report to excel but not the aforementioned files. QB says that you cannot export to excel 2016 and it is not compatible but it had worked in July. I am getting the run around from them and am afraid I won’t be able to file state w2’s at the end of the year. I am so confused.

    • Being “up to date” doesn’t always fix things, as your registry can be affected.

      The solution you refer to, editing with WIN.INI file, does come up in rare situations. Generally we would only see this in older computer systems, ones that had a much older version of Microsoft Office installed. But, thanks for pointing that out. That Intuit KB article was written after this article was originally posted.

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