How to Import Customers, Vendors or Items Into QuickBooks POS

Questions? Call us at (800) 609-0788.

We’ve had a number of people asking how to import items into QuickBooks Point of Sale. QuickBooks Point of Sale (POS) includes an import template that can be used for importing items, customers, pictures and/or vendors. These things can be imported from any Excel file but we have seen occasional problems when the Data Import Template is not used. To access the template click on the File drop-down menu and highlight the Utilities menu (this menu is NOT available in the free version of QuickBooks POS). On the sub menu click on Import. Now the fun begins.

  • NOTE: You MUST have Excel installed on the system in order to follow these steps.

The first screen is just informational – click Next

On the second screen select what it is that you’re importing (only one can be selected).

On the third screen you tell QuickBooks POS what type file you are importing from. I recommend using the Default template and that’s the method we are going to describe here. Click Next

On this fourth screen click the button to open the Import Template. This will open the Excel template that Intuit designed for importing data into QuickBooks POS.


In the lower left corner you will see tabs for the four worksheets that make up this template. The first worksheet includes information about the other worksheets and some guidelines. I recommend that you read them over so you are familiar with the way the worksheets are set up. There are separate worksheets for importing Customers, Vendors and Inventory.

We are going to pick on Inventory as that seems to be what most people call about so click on the Inventory tab in the lower left corner.

You will see that there is additional information at the top of the spreadsheet. Below that are the column headers located on row 10. Data entry will start on row 11. DO NOT CHANGE THIS! Don’t make changes to any of these import template worksheets other than to add the data you are importing.

You can copy and paste the information from an existing Excel file or enter the information manually into the various cells.

The first column is for an Item Number. You can copy your item numbers here if you have a specific way you number your items otherwise it can be left blank and POS will automatically assign item numbers.

The second column is the Item Name and is a required field. Everything MUST have an Item Name.

Next is the Department Name column. Again, this is a required field and cannot be left blank.

The rest of the sheet is pretty self explanatory but there are a couple columns that have caused problems for some people. Those are:
Alternate Lookup – may be left blank but if something is entered here it MUST be unique.
Vendor Name – The vendor must already be in POS or on the Vendors tab of the Import Template.
Price/Cost columns – All of these columns are numeric. That means NO $ in the field. Numbers and decimal point only!

If you need to save your work and continue later, DO NOT rename the template or save it to another location. When POS is told to use this template to import data, it will look only in the default location and only for default file name.

Once the spreadsheet is ready you can save and close it.

The next screen in the import process concerns possible duplicate items. If this is an initial import and you have no items in POS you can ignore this screen. If you already have items in POS, make your selections from the 3 drop-down menus based on your preferences.

When you click Next, POS is going to go through a test import. The next screen you see will tell you how many items POS recognized in the template, how many will be added to your items list and the number of items that will be updated. It will also tell you if it found any errors or not. If errors are found, go back and correct them. If no errors were found, I recommend checking the box at the bottom of the window labeled Backup the company file before importing. This way if something goes wrong you can always restore the backup to get back to where you were with no loss of data.

When all the information on this screen matches with what you expected for number of items AND it tells you that there were no errors found, you are ready to click Import.

You will be prompted for a location for the backup. Normally I recommend the default location.  Once the backup is complete POS will start actually importing items. When it’s done the progress screen will show you how many items were added and how many were updated.

Click Close and you’re done! I recommend reviewing your items list to make sure that everything imported as expected and as always, if you have any questions, concerns or problems call us at (800) 609-0788.

This same basic process holds true for importing customers or vendors as well.  Just be sure to place your mouse on each column header for information pertiment to that column.

Please note that you cannot import into the free version of QuickBooks POS.  There is a possible work-around though. Once you’ve registered your FREE QuickBooks POS you can go to the Help drop-down menu and from there unlock the 60 day trial of the Pro level. Once that is unlocked you will have access to the Utilities menu and the ability to import.

Download your FREE POS here or call us at (800) 609-0788 for details.