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Become a QuickBooks power user in 11 simple steps

Yardena Arar | April 16, 2013
There's a reason QuickBooks remains the most popular small business accounting software. Intuit has spent 13 years honing its features, after all. Because there's a new version every year, however, you might not be up to speed on everything you can do to make QuickBooks easier and faster to use.

There's a reason QuickBooks remains the most popular small business accounting software. Intuit has spent 13 years honing its features, after all. Because there's a new version every year, however, you might not be up to speed on everything you can do to make QuickBooks easier and faster to use.

Whether you're building reports or seeking shortcuts to summon key information, these tips will save you time and keystrokes. Each tip is labeled with the QuickBooks edition year in which it first appeared, going back to QuickBooks 2010. Anything older is simply shown as pre-2010.

Make QuickBooks follow your preferences

QuickBooks offers a huge number of options in its Preferences window, which you access from the Edit menu. For each Preference item, you get tabs for personal and company options. The personal options apply only to the current user, while company options appear to all users. It's worth clicking on both tabs to see all of your customization choices.

1. Choose your desktop (QB2010)

The default flow chart that appears when you first fire up a new copy of QuickBooks looks like something from an accounting class, but fortunately you're not stuck with it. In Preferences, Desktop View you can opt for another startup screen, such as the popular Company Snapshot, by going to the window you'd prefer and then clicking the Save current desktop radio button. Alternatively, you can have QuickBooks simply save the windows you're working in when you shut it down by clicking Save when closing the company. In this same window, you can also choose between either the default option, keeping multiple windows open when you work, or the only one at a time option (when you open a window, the previous one automatically closes).

2. Speed up searches (QB2012)

QuickBooks' search feature lets you find items in either your company file or the program's help files. By default, a search field appears in the top icon bar (summoned in View, then the Top icon bar), but under Preferences, Search you can remove it, and also specify whether you want a company or help file search. (By default, QuickBooks lets you choose from a drop-down menu below the search filed every time you initiate a search.) In the Company tab, you can also specify how often QuickBooks should index your company file so that searches will reflect recent entries. QuickBooks recommends indexing at 30-minute intervals, but since indexing can slow down the program, you might want to opt for longer stretches. When you do need to find a recent transaction, you can always click the Update Now button in this window.

3. Find old messages (pre QB2010)

 

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