QuickBooks Shortcuts: A list of key combinations for QuickBooks that make commons tasks quicker.

  • Quickly Closing All Open QuickBooks Windows – To close all open QuickBooks Windows quickly, click on Window on the menu bar, and then Close All.
  • Using the History Button – The History button shows you all the transactions related to the one you are currently viewing.  For example, view any invoice that you know is paid, then click on History button.  You will then see the payment details on your screen instantly.
  • Keys that help you save lots of time when working with dates – T = today’s date; M = first day of the month you are working in; H = last day of the month you are working in; Y = first day of the year; R = last day of the year; + = move the date forward by one day; and – = Move the date backward by one day.
  • Chart of Accounts Shortcut – CTRL+A brings up the Chart of Accounts right away.
  • Closing QuickBooks Shortcut – ALT+F4 closes QuickBooks software.
  • Calculator Shortcut – When working in a register, you can use the = to bring up the calculator when adding or subtracting from an account.
  • Memorized Transaction Shortcut – CTRL+T will bring up your Memorized Transaction list immediately.

Getting Things Done Fast with QuickBooks Keyboard Tricks

If you are accustomed to using your mouse to navigate your way through QuickBooks, you may not realize that there are faster ways to get your work done in QuickBooks. Typically your hands are already on the keyboard, so take advantage of the shortcuts built into the application to save you time. Using this technique might also help minimize wear-and-tear on your wrists. In this article we’ll explore a variety of ways that you can quickly carry out tasks in QuickBooks.

Shortcut #1: Edit fields in a flash

Typically you use the Tab key to move between fields, but it might be more efficient to change the setting and use the Enter key instead. To do so, choose Edit, Preferences, and then General. Select Pressing Enter Moves Between Fields, as shown in Figure 1. Keep in mind that if you change this setting, you’ll have to either press Ctrl-Enter to save a record, or navigate to the Save & New button and then press Enter. While setting that option, make sure to also choose Automatically open drop-down lists when typing. This will allow you to type the first couple letters of a list item, and then use the arrow keys and Enter key to choose the desired item.

Figure 1: You can set QuickBooks to use the Enter key to move between fields.

Sometimes you may need to make revisions within a field, such as a description. You can navigate from word to word within a field by using Ctrl-Left Arrow or Ctrl-Right Arrow. You can also press the End key to jump to the end of a field, or the Home key to jump to the beginning.

Most other shortcut keys that you’ll use with fields are contained on the Edit menu, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: The Edit menu contains a veritable treasure trove of keyboard shortcuts.

Shortcut #2: Speed up everyday tasks

Press Ctrl-W to display the Write Checks window, or Ctrl-I to display the Invoice window. Within a transaction window, press Ctrl-N to create a new transaction, or Ctrl-P to print. Ctrl-Q allows you to create a QuickReport on a selected transaction or list item. Ctrl-J will display the Customer Center, although for some reason the Vendor and Employee centers don’t currently warrant their own keyboard shortcuts. As you work in QuickBooks, you may encounter a stack of open transaction, list, and report windows, as shown in Figure 3-simply press Esc repeatedly to clear the decks.

Figure 3: Overrun with QuickBooks windows? Press the Esc key as needed to close extraneous windows.

Shortcut #3: Try these Register tricks

Press Ctrl-R to display the Use Register window, and then press Alt-Down Arrow to display the full list. If you simply press the Down Arrow, then your cursor will jump to the OK button. Within a register, press Ctrl-PgUp to move to the first previous month in the register, or Ctrl-PgDn to move to the next month in the register. Press Ctrl-O to copy an entire transaction within a register, and then press Ctrl-V to paste a duplicate of the copy. Or, press Ctrl-E to edit a transaction in the register. Conversely, Ctrl-D allows you to delete transactions.

You can also press Ctrl-G for certain transfer transactions to view the register of the corresponding account. QuickBooks doesn’t maintain a register for income and expense accounts, but you can use this to follow transfers between bank accounts, for instance. Similarly, you can press Ctrl-H on certain transactions to view their transaction history, as shown in Figure 4, or press Ctrl-Y to display a transaction journal. This is a report that shows you the debits and credits that comprise the transaction, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 4: Press Ctrl-H within a register to view transaction history.

Figure 5: The Transaction Journal displays the debits and credits that make up a transaction.

Shortcut #5: Level your lists

Only two lists have their own shortcuts: Ctrl-A for the Chart of Accounts, and Ctrl-T for the Memorized Transaction List. You can use Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn to navigate to the top or bottom of a list. Press Ctrl-E to edit a record within a list, or Ctrl-P to print the entire list. As with transactions, Ctrl-D will delete a list item-you’ll receive the warning shown in Figure 6 if you attempt to delete an account that has a balance, though.

Figure 6: Accounts with open balances cannot be deleted.

Shortcut #5: Make a date

Incremental dates (and check or invoice numbers, too) can be moved up or down by pressing the + and keys. Even better, laptop users can press the = key, instead of Shift-Equal to access the + sign. Navigate forward and backward in time by keeping these three words in mind: week, month, and year. Press W to move back one week, or K to move forward one week. Do the same with M or H and Y or R to move forward or back one month or year at a time. Within a date field, press Alt-Down Arrow to display the calendar without having to click with your mouse. Other date tricks you may find helpful are pressing [ or ] (the square bracket keys) to move to the same date in the previous or next week, or ; and (the semicolon and apostrophe keys) to move to the same date in the previous or next month. If all of these date tricks are making your head spin, just press T in a date field to return to today’s date.

Shortcut #6: Customize your start-up

Usually QuickBooks automatically opens the last company that you accessed, but it won’t do so if you hold down the Ctrl key while you open QuickBooks. Also, if you share a computer with a coworker that frequently leaves many windows open, hold down the Alt key while you open QuickBooks to start with a clean desktop. You can also press the F2 key to display a dizzying array of data about your QuickBooks company, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Press F2 to display a wide array of technical details regarding your QuickBooks company.

Add/Edit Multiple List Entries Simplifies Record Changes

Data entry and modifications in QuickBooks can be tedious. Beginning with QuickBooks 2010 Pro Edition and above, that job got a lot easier. The Add/Edit Multiple List Entries tool does just what its name implies: It lets you add entries to your lists of customers, vendors, services, inventory parts, and non-inventory parts. It also makes changing one or several of them quick and easy.

Using this feature, you can:

  • See customized views of your list data
  • Enter missing information
  • Create new entries from duplicates of existing ones
  • Do a mass change of a whole column
  • Copy and paste records from Excel

There are myriad applications for this tool. You could use it, for example, when you’re changing Preferred Vendors for a group of items and you don’t want to have to edit each individual item record. Or, when the area code for select customers or vendors has changed. You could use it if you’re adding an inventory item that’s just slightly different from another, or when your accountant tells you to change the name of an account.

Building the perfect view

To get started, click Lists | Add/Edit Multiple List Entries. In the screen that opens, click the arrow next to the List box and select the type of data you want to see, like Customers. Then select the group that you want displayed by dropping the View list down. Click the Customize Columns button. This window opens:

Figure 1: Make sure your columns are correct and in the right order.

The list on the left represents all possible column labels. To make the list on the right reflect what you want to see in your table, highlight the correct item and use the Add or Remove buttons and the Move Up or Move Down buttons. When you’re satisfied, click OK. The table will change to display those columns in that order.

TIP: You may have a lot of empty space between columns. To close those gaps, put your cursor on the faint vertical line that separates two column names. A cross-like symbol will appear. Drag it left or right until the columns are positioned well.

Let’s say that a customer commissions a new job. Since so much information will remain the same as in previous jobs, you can duplicate her record. Highlight the last entry in her list of jobs and right-click. Select Duplicate Row. The new entry will contain her default information, except the name will change to DUP [NAME OF PREVIOUS JOB]. Change that phrase to the name of the new job and click Save Changes if you’re done.

Figure 2: It’s easy to duplicate an entry’s information.

Mass changes

You may occasionally want to make the same change to a subset of records. Say a city’s zip code changed and you want to find the customers affected. You’d open the Customers list, click on the View arrow and select Custom Filter. Then:

  • In the Search list, choose from All, Active, etc.
  • In the For box, enter the common attribute, like the zip code.
  • Click on the arrow next to the in box, and tell QuickBooks where you want to search (address fields, all common fields, etc.).

Figure 3: You can search for a group of entries that share a common characteristic.

  • Click Go. QuickBooks will display a list of all of the matching entries.
  • Make your change to the entry at the top of the list, then right-click on it. You’ll see this menu:

Figure 4: The Copy Down command changes all entries in a column to match the top one.

Establishing Preferences in QuickBooks

QuickBooks was designed to serve the needs of millions of small businesses. To do that, it had to include the tools and processes suitable for a wide variety of companies. But Intuit recognized that every organization is unique, so your copy of QuickBooks can be customized in ways that make it work best for you.

You could just dive in and start adding records and transactions but doing some setup first is highly recommended. If you don’t, you may run into some issues later, such as finding that some features you need haven’t been turned on, for example, or that QuickBooks is simply not doing some things the way you do. The good news is that you can change many of these.

Getting There

QuickBooks refers to these options as Preferences. You will find them by opening the Edit menu and selecting Preferences.

Figure 1: To start customizing QuickBooks so it works best for you, open the Edit menu and choose Preferences.

As you can see, the left vertical pane contains a list of Preference types. Click on any of these to change the option screens to the right. Always click the tabs labeled My Preferences and Company Preferences to make sure you see everything that is displayed for each type (sometimes one will have no choices).

Setting up Reminders

Let’s look more closely at one set of Preferences: Reminders. It’s very important that you visit these screens when you begin using QuickBooks. Depending on how big your company is and how complex your accounting processes are, there may be things you need to do every day, like pay bills and follow up on overdue invoices. It would be nearly impossible for you to do everything on time if you did not ask QuickBooks to keep track of critical dates and remind you of them.

Click Reminders in the left vertical tab. You will see one option under My Preferences. Do you want QuickBooks to show Reminders List when opening a Company file? If so–and this is a good idea–click the box in front of that line if there is not a check mark there already, and then click Company Preferences.

Here is where you will tell QuickBooks whether you want to see summaries or lists for each reminder, or neither. You can also specify how much advance notice you want for specific tasks by entering a number of days. QuickBooks comes with default settings, but you can easily change these.

Figure 2: QuickBooks comes with default settings for Reminders, but you can enter your own Preferences here.

As you can see, it is easy to specify your Company Preferences. Click the appropriate button under Show Summary, Show List, or Don’t Remind Me. If you’ve requested a reminder, delete any number that appears in the box in front of days before or days after and then enter your own.

Critical Areas

Make sure that you look through all of QuickBooks’ Preferences and change any that don’t fit your company. Some simply have to do with the way QuickBooks displays information and how it functions, but others have direct impact on your accounting work. As always, call the office if you have any questions.

You will probably want to visit many of the options under Preferences because each may have numerous options. Here are several examples of what you might want to consider:

  • Accounting. Do you want to use account numbers and classes?
  • Checking. Which accounts should QuickBooks automatically use for tasks like Open the Pay Bills, Open the Make Deposits, and Open the Create Paychecks?
  • Finance Charge. Will you be assessing finance charges on late payments from customers? What is the interest rate, minimum finance charge, and grace period?
  • Items & Inventory. Do you want inventory and purchase orders to be active?
  • Multiple Currencies. Does your company do business using other currencies?
  • Payments. Can customers pay you online? What methods can they use?
  • Payroll & Employees. Will you be processing payroll using QuickBooks?
  • Sales & Customers. Do you want to use sales orders? How should QuickBooks handle invoices when there are time and costs that need to be added?

You can see why it is important to study QuickBooks’ Preferences early on. It will help you avoid unnecessary roadblocks and ensure that your company’s needs are reflected well in the software.