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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.

The process still isn't perfect: QuickBooks even adds a sheet in Excel workbooks created using the export feature to explain some of its limitations. However, it can make life easier if you like to massage QuickBooks data in Excel.

Find shortcuts and menu customizations

7. Play favorites (QB2011)

QuickBooks has so many standard reports that finding the ones you use regularly from its menus can get annoying. You can avoid menu surfing by designating reports as faves by clicking on the heart icon underneath any report--standard, memorized, or contributed--in the Report Center. After that, it will show up in the Favorites tab in the Report Center, and there's even a Run favorite reports command for getting all those reports to update with a single click.

8. Customize the icon bar (pre QB2010)

The standard QuickBooks interface is loaded up with icons to items you may never need, and sometimes the ones you want are missing. You can make the icon bar more relevant to the way you use QuickBooks by adding or removing icons in the Customize icon bar window by choosing View, then the Customize icon bar. Or, create new icons by clicking the Advanced button in that window.

9. QuickBooks product info (pre QB2010)

The QuickBooks product information window provides a wealth of statistics and other details you may need for tech support or other issues. Among other things, you can find out when you installed your copy, the exact release number, license information, details about the number of users and list items, and much more. Access it by pressing the F2 key on your Windows PC.

10. Pop-up calculator (pre QB2010)

If you need to do some quick math on the fly while creating an estimate, a sales order or an invoice, there's no need to exit the QuickBooks form. With your cursor on any dollar amount field, simply click one of the +, -, * or / keys (for addition, subtraction, multiplication or division), and a tiny calculator window will appear.

11. Lots of keyboard shortcuts (pre QB2010): People who prefer keyboard shortcuts to clicking around graphical menus and windows have lots of options in QuickBooks, many dating back to its DOS origins. For example, CTRL-F summons the detailed Find window for tracking down specific transactions; CTRL-R produces the register associated with the current transaction. There are also tons of context-sensitive shortcuts that only apply for specific data types--for example, if you're working in a date field, hitting Y changes the date to the first day of the current year. To see complete lists of keyboard shortcuts, start by going to the QuickBooks help page on this topic. From there, you can access lists for all shortcut categories: General, Dates, Editing, Help Windows, Activities, and Moving Around a Window.


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