[SOLVED] Quickbooks import error invalid line 15114

How to fix your QuickBooks error when importing IIF file and getting invalid line 15114!

Oct 5, 2023 | Read time 7 minutes


When I was working for a recent client, I came across this quickbooks desktop error that they were having:

[ERROR] Invalid line [15114]

This was happening when I was working with importing a IIF file into quickbooks.

Ok.. so what the heck does this mean?? Pretty much means that our IFF file is stuffed.

Generally to fix this, we need to clean up any special characters, remove extra spaces/ tabs, make sure that the date formats are correct.

After a bit of digging around I have created a checklist of things to try to be able to fix this error.

My .IIF file looks something like this:

TRNS   GENERAL JOURNAL 3/1/2009 EXPENSES   450 J290301 EXPENSES no name
SPL   GENERAL JOURNAL 3/1/2009 OTHER PAYABLE   -450 J290301 EXPENSES no name
; [ERROR] Invalid line [15114];              

Note about importing and exporting with .IIF files

In QuickBooks, .IIF (Intuit Interchange Format) files are used for importing and exporting data. The .IIF format allows users to import or export data to and from different parts of QuickBooks, such as lists and transactions. This can be particularly useful for businesses that need to move large amounts of data without manually entering each item.

You can import or export various types of data such as:

  • Chart of Accounts, Customers, Vendors, Employees, Items, Transactions (like invoices, checks, bills, etc.)

The [ERROR]Invalid line 15114 is most likely due to incorrect formatting of the downloaded file.

Make sure the mapping is correct then re-import the file.

Check that there are no special characters

Occasionally, when your data contains special characters like (+) or (&) this could stuff up your import. Make sure to go through your IIF file and clean those out.

Keep in mind that if you are moving between Mac and Windows, sometime it inserts special characters as well - eg spaces or caret returns that do not like like spaces.

I would open up the file in a text editor and check for random Unicode characters.

Break up the IIF file into smaller chunks

One way that I found effective was to break up the file. This way we can slowly isolate where the error is occurring and address the issue.

In one of my cases, I had to break a large IIF file into files with half a dozen each and imported each one separately. I found out in the end it was due to incorrect dates.

A few more things for you to check:

  • Ensure that fields are separated by tabs; removing tabs can lead to errors.
  • If you’re repeating the NAME on the SPL row, ensure it represents a Customer. Incorrect naming can cause issues. -T he date format aligns with your computer’s settings. Typically, it should be either MM/DD/YYYY or MM/DD/YY in the US. Avoid using formats like M/D/YY which is not supported!
  • It’s recommended to include the TRNSID and SPLID columns in the second position, even if they’re empty. Excluding them can occasionally lead to issues."

Limitations of importing IIF files

When importing IIF files, keep in mind the limitations that it has. Make sure that the list of transactions you are importing fall under the following transaction types:

Chart of Accounts, Employees, Vendor types, Items, Shipping methods, To dos, Notes, Sales tax codes,Customers and customer:jobs, Other names, Classes, Payment terms, Customer messages, Sales reps, Vendors, Customer and job types, Payment methods, Budgets, Price levels, Account beginning balances, Cash sales to customers, Checks, Deposits, Invoices, Account transfers of funds, Vendor bills, Cash refunds to customers, Credit card transactions, Estimates, Payments from customers, Vendor bill refunds, Credit card refunds to customers, Credit memos to customers, General journal entries, Purchase orders

Additionally keep in mind the limitations of IIF files when importing:

  • There’s a limit to the number of list items you can import. Refer to the guidelines on the maximum number of list entries.
  • IIF file imports don’t automatically link transactions. For instance, post-import, you’ll have to manually link an invoice to its corresponding payment.
  • To establish transaction links, navigate to the ‘Receive Payments’ or ‘Pay Bills’ sections. Alternatively, third-party applications can assist in importing and linking transactions.
  • When importing assembly items, data in the custom fields of the item cannot be imported.
  • Price levels set on an item-by-item basis cannot be exported or imported.
  • Only Core, Premium, and Elite Standalone Payroll allow the use of IIF files for exporting payroll data.
  • IIF files can’t be transferred between different country versions of QuickBooks, such as from the US to the Canadian version.
  • When generating an IIF import file in Microsoft Excel, numbers with leading zeros cannot be inputted. However, you can overcome this by setting the column cells to ‘Custom’ format.

If indeed you find that the IIF file limitation is present, consider using alternative ways to import such as CSV.

Final thoughts

Overall if you encounter the error [ERROR] Invalid line [15114] , this means that you have corrupt data somewhere in your IIF file.

The fix for this is generally to go over the file and remove special characters, remove extra spaces or tabs, make sure that the dates are correct.

If that does not work, my technique is to break the file into smaller chunks and import them separately. We can then narrow down the transaction with the error and inspect it more closely for a fix.

👋 About the Author

G'day! I am Ken Ito a software engineer based in Australia. I have worked as a software engineer for more than 10 years ranging from roles such as tech lead, data analyst to individual contributor. I have experience in creating code (python, javascript) to extract data from PDFs for ETL and financial statement analysis for accounting purposes.

During those years, I have worked for Government departments, companies like NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone), Bupa and not-for-profit organizations.

Follow along on Twitter and LinkedIn

See also

Step by Step to convert your scanned PDFs to Excel without losing formatting.

3 Ways to Convert Pdf to Excel Without Losing Formatting

Sep 21, 2023

Step by Step to convert your scanned PDFs to Excel without losing formatting.

Top 5 tips to fix Xero import bank statement errors.

[FIXED] Xero import Bank Statement CSV errors

Oct 4, 2023

Top 5 tips to fix Xero import bank statement errors.

Best ways to convert your scanned PDFs to Excel format.

3 Ways to download Lloyds Bank Statements as CSV

Oct 3, 2023

Best ways to convert your scanned PDFs to Excel format.