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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
After clicking the Install Now button I got this error message:
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:
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.
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).
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 thanalthough you might have problems with Microsoft Outlook.
- QuickBooks 2015: Everything should work (
other thanalthough 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.