Customizing the QuickBooks
You can personalize
QuickBooks in several ways, to help you work the way you want to work. You
can choose to use (or not use) the Icon Bar, the Open Windows List, the Home
page, and you can set personal preferences for several different areas in
QuickBooks. In this article, we’re going to show you how to hide or view
various tools, how to customize the Home page, and how to set several of the
available personal preferences. We’re not going to show you absolutely
everything you can do with each tool, but we will cover the major actions
you can take.
The Icon Bar
After you work in Windows
programs for awhile, you get used to buttons up at the top of the screen
just below the menus—buttons that act as shortcuts to commands you use
regularly. In QuickBooks, these buttons appear on the Icon Bar.
You can display or hide the
Icon Bar by opening the View menu and clicking Icon Bar. If
you saw a check to the left of the command when you clicked it, then
clicking the command hid the Icon Bar. If you didn’t see a check to the left
of the command, then clicking the command displayed the Icon Bar.
You can add buttons to the
Icon Bar, remove buttons you don’t use from the Icon Bar, change the picture
or text for a button, move a button to a new position on the Icon Bar, and
group buttons by adding separator lines between buttons. Open the View
menu and click Customize Icon Bar to display the Customize Icon
Bar dialog box shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Customize the buttons that appear on the Icon Bar from
When you click the Add
button, QuickBooks displays the Add Icon Bar Item dialog box you see
in Figure 2. Select the item you want to add, and, if you want,
change either the label or the description.
Figure 2. Add a button to the Icon Bar.
You also can add a button
to the Icon Bar to open any window in QuickBooks. Suppose, for example, that
you have more than one checking account and want different buttons to open
the registers of each of your checking accounts. While viewing the register
for the appropriate account, open the View menu and click Add to
Icon Bar. In the Add Window to Icon Bar dialog box that appears,
you can again, change the label or description of the button.
The Open Windows List
OK, suppose you’re not a
“button bar” type of person. Suppose, instead, that you often work with lots
of open windows and need to navigate between them—and you find opening the
Window menu and clicking the appropriate window really cumbersome.
The Open Window List is for you. Open the View menu and click Open
Window List. QuickBooks displays the bar you see on the left side of
Figure 3, which displays a list of all open QuickBooks windows. In Figure
3, all of the listed windows are minimized at the bottom of the screen.
Figure 3. The Open Windows List.
From this window, you have
“one-click” access to all open QuickBooks windows; you can click any listed
open window to switch immediately to that window.
Setting Personal Preferences
QuickBooks contains a large
number of personal preferences that you can set in the Preferences
dialog box. Open the Edit menu and click Preferences. For each
category listed on the left, you’ll find two tabs: My Preferences and
Company Preferences. You may not find options on each tab for each
category, but, if you poke around, you’ll find a large variety of settings
that you can change.
For example, when you click
Checking on the left, you’ll find that you can use the My
Preferences tab to define the bank account you want to use by default
whenever you open the Write Checks, Pay Bills, Pay Sales
Tax, or Make Deposits windows (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. Select the bank account you want to use whenever you
open specified windows.
On the Company
Preferences tab, you can, for example, choose to print account names on
vouchers and change the check date when you print checks to the date you
print the checks rather than the date you entered the transaction in
You can set so many options
to control the behavior of QuickBooks that we can’t properly cover them
here. We urge you to click each category and review the choices on each tab.
If you are unsure about the function of an option, click the Help
button in the Preferences dialog box. QuickBooks help provides
specific information on almost every option.
Working with the Home Page
QuickBooks 2006 contains
the new Home page, shown in Figure 5, which tries to help you see how
your business tasks fit together by organizing tasks for customers, vendors,
employees, banking, and overall company activities. Within each group of
tasks on the Home page, you’ll see arrows pointing between tasks; the arrows
intend to indicate the order in which you may perform tasks. To display a
task’s window, you can click its button on the Home page. As you point at
any button on the Home page, QuickBooks displays a ToolTip describing the
The new Home page in QuickBooks
You can open the Vendor
Center, or Employee
Center by clicking a button at the left edge of the Home page
for the appropriate task group or by clicking the appropriate button on the
Tip: You can hide and display the new Navigation
Bar that appears to the left of the Icon Bar like you hide or display the
Icon Bar. Open the View menu and click Navigation Bar. The
Navigation Bar also contains buttons to display the
Center, the Vendor
Center, the Employee
Center, and the Report
Center. And, you can drag the Navigation Bar below the Icon Bar to make
more room for the icons on the Icon Bar.
From the Account
Balances list displayed on the Home page, you can see balances for bank
and credit card accounts; QuickBooks updates these balances automatically as
you work. To open the register for any listed account, double-click anywhere
in the row of the account you want to view. And if you want to hide these
balances for privacy, you can click the minus button beside Account
Balances. You also can set user security so that the Account Balances
list does not appear on a user’s Home page.
You can customize the tasks
that appear on the Home page. Click the Customize Home page and set
preferences link below the Account Balances list. QuickBooks
opens the Preferences dialog box, displaying the Company
Preferences tab of the Desktop View category (see Figure 6).
You can add or review features
from the Home page.
Remove the check beside any
listed feature to remove it from the Home page. You can remove the grayed
out features from the Home page if you first disable their related features.
For example, to remove the Enter and Pay Bills feature, you must
first disable Inventory; click the Inventory link at the bottom of
the page to switch to the Company Preferences tab of the Purchases
& Vendors category. Then, remove the check from the Inventory and
purchase orders are active box. When you click the Desktop View
category to switch back, QuickBooks will prompt you to save the change to
your settings. After you save the change, the Company Preferences tab
of the Desktop View category will reappear and you will be able to
remove the check from the Enter and Pay Bills feature.
If you like to have
something like the Home page available but don’t want to look at it all the
time, you can change your preferences so that QuickBooks does not display
the Home page each time you open your company.
From the My Preferences
tab of the Desktop View category, remove the check from the Show
Home page when opening a company file checkbox and click OK. The
next time you open your company, the Home page will not appear.
When you want to see the Home page, click the Home button on the
QuickBooks is flexible
enough to provide you with a variety of options, to customize the way you
work to suit your work style.