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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.

QuickBooks by default has a bunch of reminders that you can turn off by checking a do-not-show-this-message-again box in the message. But if you want to bring them back, just hop to the General preferences window and click the "Bring back all one time messages" box. Here you can also have QuickBooks use the Enter key to tab between fields, show (or suppress) clipped text in ToolTips, choose between using today's date and the date of the last transaction for new transactions, and much more. The 2012 and later versions give you the option of running QuickBooks in the background in order to speed up its launch.

Work better with data and reports

4. Add or edit multiple list entries (QB2011)

Say you need to update a QuickBooks list, anything from customers and vendors to services and parts. The Add/Edit Multiple Entries under the Lists menu item provides several handy ways to do so. By displaying list data in a spreadsheet-like grid format, it allows you to insert, remove or move around columns and paste copied Excel cells, in addition to simply typing in new entries. A Copy Down command that appears when you right-click a cell will fill out the rest of the column with the contents of the cell. However, use carefully as it will overwrite any previous contents.

5. Modify a report before it runs (pre QB2010)

QuickBooks makes tweaking reports super easy, but you don't have to wait for the report to open before making changes. Go to Preferences, Reports, and check off Prompt me to modify report options before opening a report. From then on, when you choose a report, you'll get a window with its options before you run the actual report. If your data sets are large, this can be a real time saver.

6. Auto-refresh reports in Excel (QB2012)

Many QuickBooks users like to export report data to an Excel spreadsheet, where they can make tweaks ranging from format changes to adding formulas. QuickBooks some time ago made creating the spreadsheet easy by putting an Excel button at the top of reports, which brings up a window with exporting options. You can even set some Excel options before exporting the data by clicking the Advanced button.

The problem with this in earlier editions is that refreshing the tweaked spreadsheet with new data from QuickBooks could be messy. Formatting changes, for example, were not applied to the new data. The 2012 edition of QuickBooks upgraded the Excel export functionality to address at least some of these issues. Once you've created an Excel workbook with exported data, QuickBooks creates a menu item in Excel that lets you update the spreadsheet without even running QuickBooks.


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