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I've received a 'template' for an IIF file for Quickbooks transactions, and there's like seventy-bazillion fields in there, lots of which I never even user. It's a tab delimited file, with the following lines--field headers for transactions and respective splits for those transactions, followed by an end-of-transaction marker.

!TRNS FIELD1 FIELD2 FIELD3 ... FIELD48
!SPL  FIELD1 FIELD2 FIELD3 ... FIELD48
!ENDTRNS
TRNS FIELD1_DATA FIELD2_DATA FIELD3_DATA ... FIELD48_DATA
SPL  FIELD1_DATA FIELD2_DATA FIELD3_DATA ... FIELD48_DATA
ENDTRNS
...

What drives data to a particular field? Is it the field header with corresponding data, or is it the tabular position relative to the head of the line? E.G., Let's say all I have to import is the data in FIELD1, FIELD3 and FIELD5: Would I need

 by header:
 !TRNS FIELD1 FIELD3 FIELD5
 !SPL  FIELD1 FIELD3 FIELD5
 !ENDTRNS
 TRNS FIELD1 FIELD3 FIELD5
 SPL  FIELD1 FIELD3 FIELD5
 ENDTRNS

or

 by tabular position:
 !TRNS FIELD1 FIELD2 FIELD3 FIELD4 FIELD5
 !SPL  FIELD1 FIELD2 FIELD3 FIELD4 FIELD5
 !ENDTRNS
 TRNS FIELD1_DATA FIELD2_BLANK FIELD3_DATA FIELD4_BLANK FIELD5_DATA
 SPL  FIELD1_DATA FIELD2_BLANK FIELD3_DATA FIELD4_BLANK FIELD5_DATA
 ENDTRNS

Alternately, if it were a comma delimited input, would I need:

DATA1,DATA3,DATA5 

or

DATA1,,DATA3,,DATA5

Anyone have any experience with what Quickbooks is doing?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

My experience is that either of the two file organizations that you show in your examples will work. Which one you use is kind of a matter of personal taste.

If you don't need a particular field, you can certainly omit its fieldname item from the !TRNS or !SPL row (and thus omit the corresponding data values from the body of the file). This definitely simplifies and slims down the file.

Alternatively, you can keep the fieldname items for the unneeded fields, and supply empty data cells (i.e., nothing before the tab character that gets you to the next cell, or before the newline that gets you to the next row) where a row includes one or more of those unneeded fields.

I actually prefer the latter approach, even if results in files that are "wider" than they strictly need to be, since (to me anyway) preserving all the field names effectively documents them; and if I discover later that I really do need one of them, it's already there waiting for me.

I manage the content of my IIF files using Excel, which makes things easy. Just save as tab-delimited and change the extension to .iif. If you're using a text editor to prepare your files, I can appreciate that you may find it easier to omit the unneeded columns.

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