Navigating QuickBooks

Navigating Quickbooks doesn’t have to be complicated. How you navigate depends on your personal preferences and what works best for you. As with many software programs there are different ways to access the various features of Quickbooks.

Header Menus

The header menus at the top of the program window are the starting point for navigation in Quickbooks. They give you access to all the features of the software with just a few clicks. Learning where everything is, or more specifically where the things you need are located, can be overwhelming in the beginning. I have found it easiest to learn the menus as I need them instead of trying to memorize where everything is.

Using the header menus can be a bit tedious for items that you access on a regular basis. For example, calling up a report requires you to go to the ‘Reports’ menu and navigate to the correct sub menu to produce the report you want. In the same way, viewing your checking account register means you need to go to the ‘Lists’ menu and open the ‘Chart of Accounts’ and then choose the account from the list.

Because I use Quickbooks on a daily basis I want to be able to quickly open windows and navigate between them in a way that is easy and keeps my work flowing smoothly. There are some ways to shorten the process of navigation in Quickbooks. One of those ways is through use of the icon bar which sits just below the header menus.

Icon Bar

The Icon Bar can have an icon for almost any part of Quickbooks. For example, if you use your bank account register frequently or want quick access to a report you refer to often, you can have quick access to them by placing icons for them on this bar. Space is limited but sufficient enough for the use of most small businesses. The Icon Bar can be customized by choosing ‘Customize Icon Bar’ from the ‘View’ menu.

When you begin using a company file for the first time, Quickbooks pre-populates the Icon Bar to make it easy for you to get started. I find the icons for the Customer, Vendor and Employee Centers very useful, but prefer to delete some of the other icons it places there. You have the option of showing a label with each icon or leaving it out to create a bit more space. Although I am familiar with the icons I use, I prefer to leave the labels visible and keep them short.

It is easy to add windows to the Icon Bar. Most can be added but you will find a few that cannot. To add a window such as your bank account register, you first need to open that window. In this case you would go to the Chart of Accounts in the ‘Lists’ menu or to the ‘Use Register’ feature in the ‘Edit’ Menu and open that account. Once the account is open in a window, go to the ‘View’ menu at the top of Quickbooks and choose ‘Add Account to Icon Bar’. This will open a window that will allow you to choose an icon and label it as well as give it a description.

Open Windows List

Often while working with Quickbooks, I have multiple windows open at the same time. I can switch between windows in different ways. I could minimize the current window and maximize the one I want to use; I could go to the ‘Window’ menu and choose from a list of open windows; I could choose it from the icon bar if there is an icon for it; or I could use the header menus to bring the window to the front again.

By far, my preferred method of navigating between open windows is by using the ‘Open Windows’ list. This is a list I choose to keep open while working in Quickbooks. It appears on the left side of the screen and can be re-sized. I have found it to be the quickest and easiest way to work with multiple windows. It is opened by going to the ‘View’ menu and choosing ‘Open Window List’.

There really is no best way to do navigation in Quickbooks because everyone has different preferences to how they work. Hopefully the information I have provided here will get you started and help you find the method that works best for you.