Helpful Tips for QuickBooks Users

Helpful Tips for QuickBooks Users

NOTE:  This article was initially posted on Intuit ProLine News Central which is a great source of news about the industry, Intuit, ways to grow your business and be more productive and more.  There are many links to knowledgebase (KB) articles with more information and details about the topic.

QuickBooks is a great program and I love to learn new tips to help me or my clients.  I wanted to share some tips that may help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of you and your clients when working with QuickBooks. 

Tips on Working in QuickBooks

  1. Open Windows List – helps navigate efficiently between windows (View > Open Windows List to enable it).  Then Window > Close All before you exit QuickBooks will help it start faster.
  2. Change dates forward or backwards is easy with the + or – key.  Plus, there are numerous keyboard shortcuts which can improve efficiency when working with dates and many other things – search for keyboard shortcuts in QuickBooks Help for a complete list.
  3. Built in Calculator – in an amount field, using the =, +, * or / keys will bring up a calculator.
  4. On any transaction, hit Control+Y to see the journal entry for the transaction.  This is especially helpfully in QuickBooks Pro since the Journal button is not available.
  5. Customize the Home Page and Icon bar for clients to remove unused icons and add frequently used icons.   Customize the home page via Edit > Preferences and help clients avoid clicking on the wrong thing by removing unnecessary icons.  Right click on the icon bar to customize it for frequently used tasks and reports.  You can add tasks and reports to the icon bar by clicking on View > Add to Icon bar.
  6. Create a Profit & Loss by Month – change the dates as desired and in the Columns field (at the top of the report), change it to month.  Now you’ll have a P&L by month with a year to date column too.   Create a multi – year report by changing the dates as needed and then change the column field to Year.

Tips on Working with QuickBooks Files

  1. Clear files in the No Company Open window – when a company file is open, go to File>Open Previous Company> Set number of previous companies and change it to 1 (or whatever).  This will clear out all the files except for the most recent file (or whatever number was selected).
  2. Product Information Window – when a company file is open, hit F2 to see the Product Information Window with a lot of useful information.  It is helpful to look at the file size and DB fragments.  If the file size is somewhat large (between 500 MB or more) and the client is experiencing performance or data integrity problems, then it may be time to consider a new data file.  If there are a large number of DB fragments (greater than 100), then create and restore a portable company file and then defrag the hard drive if needed.
  3. Portable Company File – when you create and restore a portable company file, it re-indexes the data file.  This often fixes data integrity problems and defrags the file too.  According to Carlos Garcia, Intuit Service and Support Specialist, creating and restoring a portable company file one time is just as effective as the old method of rebuilding the data file multiple times.  However, rebuilding your data should always be considered as a first resort when dealing with data integrity issues.
  4. Clean up company data – many people use this to try to reduce file size.  However, in QuickBooks 2009 and older versions, it actually increased file size since it wrote everything to the audit trail.  In 2010, it was changed and now it does help reduce file size.  How much file size reduction will depend on if there is inventory and other factors.
  5. Re-sort lists – sometimes lists are not alphabetical or there are missing customers or other problems which can be fixed by re-sorting the list.  Right click on a list to re-sort it or re-sort all lists at once by going to the Payee field in the Write Checks Window, click Control+L, click on the Name button and select Re-sort List.

Finally a feature that is well known but not used enough – F1 for Help.  Carlos mentioned that more people should remember that there is a lot of great information in Help and it is a good resource.  You can search for knowledgebase (KB) articles at Intuit QuickBooks Support too.  I hope these tips will help you and your clients work more efficiently and effectively with QuickBooks.

QuickBooks is a great program and I love to learn new tips to help me or my clients.I wanted to share some tips that may help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of you and your clients when working with QuickBooks.

Tips on Working in QuickBooks

1.Open Windows List – helps navigate efficiently between windows (View > Open Windows List to enable it)

2.Change dates forward or backwards is easy with the + or – key.Plus, there are numerous keyboard shortcuts which can improve efficiency when working with dates and many other things – search for keyboard shortcuts in QuickBooks Help for a complete list.

3.Built in Calculator – in an amount field, using the =, +, * or / keys will bring up a calculator.

4.On any transaction, hit Control+Y to see the journal entry for the transaction.This is especially helpfully in QuickBooks Pro since the Journal button is not available.

5.Customize the Home Page and Icon bar for clients to remove unused icons and add frequently used icons.Customize the home page via Edit > Preferences and help clients avoid clicking on the wrong thing by removing unnecessary icons.Right click on the icon bar to customize it for frequently used tasks and reports.You can add tasks and reports to the icon bar by clicking on View > Add to Icon bar.

6.Create a Profit & Loss by Month – change the dates as desired and in the Columns field (at the top of the report), change it to month.Now you’ll have a P&L by month with a year to date column too.Create a multi – year report by changing the dates as needed and then change the column field to Year.

Tips on Working with QuickBooks Files

1.Clear files in the No Company Open window – when a company file is open, go to File>Open Previous Company> Set number of previous companies and change it to 1 (or whatever).This will clear out all the files except for the most recent file (or whatever number was selected).

2.Product Information Window – when a company file is open, hit F2 to see the Product Information Window with a lot of useful information.It is helpful to look at the file size and DB fragments.If the file size is somewhat large (between 500 MB or more) and the client is experiencing performance or data integrity problems, then it may be time to consider a new data file.If there are a large number of DB fragments (greater than 100), then create and restore a portable company file and then defrag the hard drive if needed.

3.Portable Company File – when you create and restore a portable company file, it re-indexes the data file.This often fixes data integrity problems and defrags the file too.According to Carlos Garcia, Intuit Service and Support Specialist, creating and restoring a portable company file one time is just as effective as the old method of rebuilding the data file multiple times.However, rebuilding your data should always be considered as a first resort when dealing with data integrity issues.

4.Clean up company data – many people use this to try to reduce file size.However, in QuickBooks 2009 and older versions, it actually increased file size since it wrote everything to the audit trail.In 2010, it was changed and now it does help reduce file size.How much file size reduction will depend on if there is inventory and other factors.

5.Re-sort lists – sometimes lists are not alphabetical or there are missing customers or other problems which can be fixed by re-sorting the list.Right click on a list to re-sort it or re-sort all lists at once by going to the Payee field in the Write Checks Window, click Control+L, click on the Name button and select Re-sort List.

Finally a feature that is well known but not used enough – F1 for Help.Carlos mentioned that more people should remember that there is a lot of great information in Help and it is a good resource.You can search for knowledgebase (KB) articles at Intuit QuickBooks Support too.I hope these tips will help you and your clients work more efficiently and effectively with QuickBooks.

5 thoughts on “Helpful Tips for QuickBooks Users

  1. Jessica Hiles

    I did not know about ctrl-y showing the journal entry for the transaction. That will help alot! (I am in QB Pro) Thanks!

  2. Brenda Hindmarsh

    I have a client with a slow data file, I think creating the portable data file maybe just what is needed to help it out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. D Paulen

    Hi Michelle,
    I am all set with my business all legal entities in place. I am so glad I found you and all your information you have provided. You really motivated me to do this business. I am getting all your links and will continue to follow them. I hope you keep up the prices you charge because a person doesn’t get educated for nothing. Keep up the good work and keep sending the info for QB!

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