According to Bonnie Biafore, author of QuickBooks 2010: The Missing Manual, QuickBooks 2010 doesn't introduce any earth-shattering enhancements. Yet, a few of its new features are handy and welcome timesavers. Read on for details about Bonnie's favorite new features in this important update.
My Favorite New QuickBooks 2010 Features
by Bonnie Biafore
The Favorites menu
The QuickBooks 2010 menu bar has a new entry, Favorites, which is an easy-to-access spot for your favorite commands, windows, and reports. Out of the box, the Favorites menu has one entry: Customize Favorites, which opens the Customize Your Menus dialog box. The dialog box name is a misnomer--it lets you customize only the Favorites menu. However, the list from which you choose is a mind-blowing smorgasbord of every command from every QuickBooks menu and submenu along with every built-in, customized, or memorized report in your company file.
To add a command to the Favorites menu, select the command in the Available Menu Items list and then click Add to plop the command into the Chosen Menu Items list. You can move entries up or down in the list to display them in the order you want. Click OK to close the dialog box.
Adding and editing multiple list entries
When you're on a mission to modify customers, vendors, or items, the Edit dialog boxes are too tedious, and importing records is usually overkill. The new Add/Edit Multiple List Entries command has some great shortcuts for adding and updating values in the customer, vendor, and item lists. Take your pick: type values in cells, paste information from an Excel spreadsheet directly into a table, or copy values between records:
- Type values in cells. Click the cell for a field and the usual text editing commands are at your disposal.
- Copy and paste values. Copying and pasting data from an Excel spreadsheet is a great data entry timesaver. The Add/Edit Multiple List Entries command lets you copy and paste from one cell, a range of cells, one row, or one column in the table to another. For example, if a customer with several jobs moves its main office, you can copy the Bill To cells and paste them into the cells for the customer's jobs. Or you can copy values from billing address cells into shipping address cells.
When you paste Excel data into existing records, QuickBooks overwrites the existing cell values. To create new records from pasted Excel data, select the first empty row in the Add/Edit Multiple List Entries dialog box and then paste the data.
- Copy values down a column. The Copy Down shortcut command makes quick work of filling in several cells in a column. QuickBooks copies the value in the cell you select to the cells below it in the column, overwriting any existing data.
Other handy tools in the dialog box let you insert or delete lines in the table, duplicate a row to create a new record that's strikingly similar to one that already exists, or clear all the values in the column. Right-click within the table and choose Insert Line, Delete Line, Duplicate Row, or Clear Column.
The command goes by different names depending on where you find it in QuickBooks 2010. On the Lists menu, choose Add/Edit Multiple List Entries and then in the List drop-down menu, choose the list you want to work on. In the Customer Center, Vendor Center, or Item List window toolbar, choose Excel, and the choose Paste from Excel.
But that's not all. You can display only the entries and fields you want to edit:
- The View drop-down list includes several choices for filtering the list. For example, you can choose Active Customers to see only active customers in your company file.
- Typing a word, value, or phrase in the Find box is like applying a custom filter to the list, except that QuickBooks searches all fields. For example, if you type 555 in the Find box and click the Search button (which looks like a magnifying glass), QuickBooks will display records that contain 555 somewhere in the record, whether it appears in the company name, telephone number, address, or account number fields.
- To make pasting data even easier, you can customize the columns in the table to match the columns and column order in your Excel spreadsheet. (Or, you may prefer to rearrange the columns in your spreadsheet before pasting data.) Click Customize Columns to open the Customize Columns dialog box.
- To sort the entries in the table, click the column heading for the field you want to sort by. QuickBooks initially sorts the records in ascending order (from A to Z or from low to high numbers). Click a second time to sort by descending order.
After you make your changes, click Save Changes. QuickBooks saves all the entries that have no errors and tells you how many records it saved. If any entries contain errors, like a value that doesn't exist in the Terms list, the dialog box displays only the entries with errors and changes the incorrect values to red text. Fix the errors and then click Save Changes once more.
Find reports in the Report Center
The QuickBooks 2010 Report Center offers some great new ways to find the reports you want. You may never have to look further than the Favorites tab. You vote for your favorite reports so they appear on the Favorites tab in the Report Center. Whenever you select a report in the Report Center, a "Mark as Favorite" icon (a white star with a yellow border) appears. Simply click the icon, and QuickBooks adds the report to the Favorites tab and turns the star yellow to indicate a favorite report. Similarly, the Memorized tab lists all the reports you've memorized, and the Recent tab lets you quickly return to and re-run your last several reports.
If you don't know which built-in report you want, you can use keywords to narrow the field. For example, if you know you want to see how much equity you have in your company, in the Search box at the upper right of the Report Center, type equity. A Search Results tab appears with a list of reports that include equity, such as Balance Sheet Standard, Net Worth Graph, and Balance Sheet Prev Year Comparison.
The Reports Center now offers three ways to review available reports:
- The List View is the most effective way to review what reports have to offer. Select a category, and the title of each report and the question it answers appear in a space-saving list. To use this view, click the List View icon, which looks like three horizontal bars.
- The Grid View displays thumbnails of each type of report in the selected category so you get an idea what the report looks like before you run it. Click the Grid View icon, which looks like four small boxes in a grid, to display this view.
- The Carousel View, which QuickBooks selects out of the box, is a memory-hogging piece of eye candy. It's pretty, but not all that useful.
Online banking interface choices
QuickBooks 2009 introduced a new Online Banking Center, which made some online banking tasks easier. But it turned recording multiple transactions into a nightmare. To play it safe, QuickBooks 2010 offers the QuickBooks 2008-era Online Banking Center for folks who liked online banking the way it was and the QuickBooks 2009 Center with the problems fixed. You can switch between Register mode (the old style) and Side-by-side mode (the new style), although it's best to pick the one you like and stick with it:
- Side-by-side mode. The best feature of Side-by-side mode is that you can match downloaded transactions to any transaction in your company file without leaving the Online Banking Center. For example, you can match a downloaded deposit to an open invoice or a paid invoice where the money is sitting in the Undeposited Funds account. Or you can simply add the downloaded transaction to QuickBooks.
- Register mode. If you thought that QuickBooks 2008's Online Banking Center was just fine, you can continue to use it. The Register mode lets you see your full account register when you're matching transactions, which is helpful if QuickBooks doesn't find a matching transaction. You can scroll through the register and correct a discrepancy that prevented the program from finding a match. In Register mode, you can create aliases to rename payees, similar to the Side-by-side renaming rules.
Detach the Help window
Anyone who uses QuickBooks Help knows that the QuickBooks Help window has been an ill-mannered bully--until now, that is. In QuickBooks 2010, you can finally detach the Help window from the right side of the QuickBooks main window, position wherever you want, resize it, and minimize it. It might not sound like much, but this enhancement means you can see reasonably-sized QuickBooks windows and Help topics at the same time. Even better, the QuickBooks main window doesn't change size just because Help is open.
To teach the Help window some manners, choose Edit-->Preferences and then, in the Preferences dialog box, click the Desktop View icon. Turn on the "Detach the Help Window" checkbox and click OK.
Here's how the Help window works once you've detached it:
- Move the Help window. Drag the Have a Question? title bar to the new location. The next time you open the Help window it conveniently appears in the same location.
- Resize or widen the Help window. Hover the cursor over any border of the window until it changes to a double-headed arrow and then drag in the direction that you want the size to change. The next time you open the Help window, it opens to the size it was when you last closed it. (If you widen the Help window when it's attached to the QuickBooks main window, it narrows the main window. However, when you close the Help window, the program restores the main window to its original width.)
- Minimize the Help window. If you want to focus on the task at hand click the Minimize button in the upper right corner of the window. To restore the minimized Help window, click the Have a Question? button in the Windows taskbar.