Starting with QuickBooks 2011 we have three options for emailing invoices (etc.). I would like to review these options, as I continue to hear from people who don’t understand how they work.
This is one of my favorite improvements that came out in QuickBooks 2011, as it gives you a lot of flexibility. You now have three optional methods – using the QuickBooks E-mail server, using Microsoft Outlook, or using your own Web Mail account.
(This article was updated on 12/28/2011)
If you select Edit and then Preferences in QuickBooks, you will find the Send Forms preference. The settings you want are in the My Preferences tab – so keep in mind that any settings that you make here are unique to the QuickBooks user login that you are using.
Once your email accounts are set up properly, check the To be e-mailed box in your invoice and make sure that you have a valid email address in the customer record. Click the Send button at the top of the form and the Send Invoice window will open.
If you are using Web-Mail and you set up multiple email accounts you can select the one to use from the dropdown list.
This option has been around for a number of years. If you select this, your email message is sent out using the Intuit email service. The big change in QuickBooks 2011 is that this is a subscription service that you have to pay for in one way or another. Usually you get this as a part of another subscription, such as a Payroll or Intuit Merchant Services service.
I usually recommend that you do not use this option for a number of reasons:
- You are dependent on the Intuit email servers – and sometimes these servers are off line. This year the out-of-service issues have been minimal and short lived, but last year Intuit did have problems that took them offline for multiple days.
- You don’t get a copy or record of the email that was sent. You don’t really know, for certain, that the email went out, and you don’t have a “sent” folder that you can look at. You have to assume that the email was sent out. However, if you use this message, if you enter your own email address in the Bcc field you will get a duplicate copy of the message, which confirms that it went out.
- Your email may be delayed. Once you send the email by clicking the Send button in the program, there can be a considerable delay until your client actually receives the message. In the past I noticed that some messages were delayed by over two hours, although that wasn’t always the case. I’m an impatient person, I want the emails to go out immediately!
- You cannot edit the email message or add any other attachments. Once you click Send, the message is gone.
There are some advantages to using this method, of course, if you are using Intuit QuickBooks Billing Solution. You can have Intuit mail a physical copy of the invoice with a return envelope and a remittance slip (wish they had that on invoices printed directly from QuickBooks!) for a fee.
QuickBooks Web Mail
This is an option that was added in QuickBooks 2011, in response to MANY requests. The name is a bit misleading to some people. “Web mail” is usually considered to be an email account that you only access through a web browser – such as Google gmail or Yahoo mail. However, you can use this method with many other email systems. My own email is set up via a web hosting company, which can be accessed via Outlook or browser. If you know your settings, you can set up many email accounts to use the “Web mail” option.
However, note that this can be a bit tricky. I see many complaints from people who thought that they had it set up properly but that it just won’t work.
To start, select Web Mail and then click the Add button.
For the Email Provider you have options for Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail/Live and Others. In my example I set up a Gmail account (with some details blurred for privacy).
Email ID would be your full email account, such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”. If you select Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail/Live and you enter a valid email address, QuickBooks will automatically fill in the server name and port info for you. It is interesting to note that for Yahoo they have a special server set up just for Intuit clients. If you don’t see intuit.smtp.mail.yahoo.com then you most likely do not have the latest update to QuickBooks, and you may run into problems.
The most common problem here is not entering a full email address. (Updated 12/28/2011): The second most common problem here is the Port – many ISP’s such as Comcast are starting to block port 25, which used to be the default Port. If you have trouble connecting with port 25, try port 587 (as I show in the screen shot above) as this is the “mail submission port”.
The first time that you send an invoice with this account the program will ask you for a password. If you enter the correct password the email will be sent and QuickBooks will remember it for the future.
I prefer this method over QuickBooks E-mail but there are still some drawbacks. You may see the outbound message in your “sent” folder, but you might not, depending on the service you use. Email messages go out immediately, which is good, but you still can’t modify the message or add another attachment.
If you use this you may want to use the Bcc field as I discussed earlier.
If you want to use another email system, such as a HostGator account, select Others. You will need your “SMTP” mail server details to fill in the blanks.
This can be a bit tricky in some cases. Your Email Id is usually your email address, not your user name for remote login to your account. Picking the right Port is also critical. Your email provider should be able to get this information for you.
Again, the program will ask for your password the first time you send an email with this. This usually is your email account password, but in some cases it can be a remote login password that is different.
QuickBooks and Microsoft Outlook
If you use Outlook, this is the best email method.
- It is easy to set up, if you have Outlook installed you don’t have any complicated settings in QuickBooks.
- You get a copy of the email message in your Sent folder.
- You should be able to modify the message and add other attachments before the message is sent.
If you don’t have Outlook as an option in the Send Forms preference then either you don’t have Outlook installed or you have a problem with your Windows Registry. QuickBooks looks for a registry key to see if Outlook is installed, and sometimes that registry key is missing or is compromised. If you have Outlook installed, but aren’t given the option to use it, perform a “Repair” of your Microsoft Office installation and reboot your computer. That normally resolves the problem.
When you send the form an Outlook message window should open, and you will be able to edit the message and add other attachments. That is one of the primary reasons that I prefer using Outlook to send these emails.
In some installations (not always, I’m not sure why this happens), when you click the Send button you won’t see the email message open for editing. This happens if you don’t have Outlook open on your desktop at the time you send the message, so all you have to do is to keep Outlook open while working with QuickBooks.