The Multi-Instance feature will save you time and improve your efficiency by allowing you to have two instances of QuickBooks open at the same time. This means you can have two different company files open at once! Now when you are working in a QuickBooks file and need to open another file to check on something for a client, you can open the second file without closing the first. Perhaps you are working with two related companies; now you can actually copy and paste information from one file into the other since they are both open. Maybe the client data file is too large so you create a new data file. Now you can work in the new file but have the old file open to refer to as needed.
Multi-Instance is available in QuickBooks Accountant 2011 and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions 11.0. It must be two different files that are opened at the same time – it does not allow the same QuickBooks file to be open twice.
Several people ask how to open a second file in QuickBooks 2011 Multi Instance. They look for a menu option or some preference but that isn’t how you open a second file. To open another instance of QuickBooks, you can start the program again or double-click on a file to open it. You can also open a data file from within the QuickBooks File Manager, which can be opened from the Accountant menu. You do not go to File>Open or Restore as this will close the file currently open to open another file in the current instance of QuickBooks. You will see the following when you launch the second company file.
You will notice that there are some exceptions or restrictions to the functionality when you have two company files open. To remove any restriction, simply close one of the two instances of QuickBooks. Click on Learn More to go to the Help menu for full details, or you can find them here: http://accountant.intuit.com/mi.
When there are two company files open, you will see Primary or Secondary in the title bar as shown below.
Notice that in the Secondary instance above, the desktop color is different from that in the Primary file. If you (or your client) will be using two files regularly, then you may want to change the color of the desktop to visibly help identify the different files. You can change the desktop color by going to Edit > Preferences > Desktop View > My Preferences > Color Scheme. This can help prevent confusion and clearly identify the files.
As previously noted, there are some limitations when two files are open simultaneously, and a warning message will appear if a feature is restricted. To remove the restrictions simply close one instance of QuickBooks. Most of the restricted functions are not used on daily basis and should not prevent users from going through their normal workflow.