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QuickBooks Keyboard Shortcuts

July 18, 2012 | By | 57 Replies More

Some people just hate taking their hands off of the keyboard to use the mouse. It slows you down! If you use the Windows desktop version of QuickBooks there are a lot of keyboard shortcuts that can help you work more efficiently and navigate the program without using the mouse. Some of the shortcuts even help you reach features that can be hard to find! Here’s my list of keyboard shortcuts – let me know if you have any to add to the list.

In many cases the shortcut is a combination of keys. You’ll hold one key down (like you would the “shift” key to get an uppercase letter) and then press another key (or two). In the tables below I’ll show both keys separated by a dash. For instance,   Ctrl-N would mean hold the Ctrl key down and then press the letter N.

This article was updated on 1/9/2014

Please note that there are major differences in the user interface between QuickBooks versions from 2013 and later and those from before 2013. Some of the changes relate to shortcuts, although most of these shortcuts are the same between versions

Editing QuickBooks Transactions and Lists

When you are working with a transaction such as an invoice or bill, you can manipulate the transaction itself, and the detail lines, in several ways. If you are working on a list (item list, customer list, etc.) some of the same keys will work. Note that there are occasional transactions where some of these keys won’t apply:

Ctrl-Del Delete the selected line in a transaction
Ctrl-Ins Insert a blank detail line in a transaction
Ctrl-N Create a new transaction or list item
Ctrl-D Delete the current transaction or list item. Please note that you cannot reverse this once done, usually
Ctrl-E Edit an item in an item list, or in a register
Ctrl-O If you are looking at a check in the write checks window, or in the check register, use ctrl-O to copy the check. You can then use ctrl-V to create (paste) a copy of that check if you are in the check register
F5 Refresh List. You only see this if you are in multi-user mode, when you have a “list” open. This will force QuickBooks to go back to the database server and retrieve the latest copy of the list. If multiple users are editing the list this may be useful. Note that all lists that are open at the time should be refreshed.

If you have a transaction or list window open, look at the Edit menu, it will show you the shortcuts that are available for the window you are working with.

Opening QuickBooks Windows and Lists

From any point in QuickBooks you can quickly open a variety of windows and lists with just a keystroke.

Ctrl-W Opens the write check window to write a new check
Ctrl-Q Open a Quick Report for a list item when you have selected the item in the list
Ctrl-Y Open a transaction journal for a transaction, if you are viewing the transaction
Ctrl-J Open the customer center
Ctrl-A Open the Chart of Accounts
Ctrl-I Open the create invoice window to create a new invoice
Ctrl-L Open a list – if the cursor is in a field that has a dropdown list, such as selecting the item in an invoice detail line, this will open the list associated with that dropdown
Ctrl-U Use the list item if you have just used ctrl-L to open the list from a transaction. This is a very useful feature that many people aren’t familiar with. See a more detailed explanation in my article on Improved List Selection
Ctrl-R Most transactions have a register associated with them. This opens the register for the transaction you are looking at
Ctrl-G This is an odd one I’m still figuring out. If you are in a register for an account, entering ctrl-G will take you to the register for the “transfer” account associated with the line you have selected
Ctrl-F Opens the find window for the list or transaction type you are working with. This is the old-style Find, not the new Search feature (F3)
F1 Opens the Help window
F2 Displays the Product Information window, which has a large amount of information that can be very helpful when diagnosing problems in QuickBooks (Ctrl-1 is an alternate)
F3 Starting with the 2011 version, this opens the newer Search feature (as opposed to the Find feature)
F3 If you have the Product Information window open (by pressing F2), pressing F3 here will open the tech help window. This provides a wide range of system and diagnostic information, as well as being a quick way to view (and possibly edit, if you are careful) a number of support and technical files that relate to QuickBooks operations (Ctrl-2 is an alternate)
F4 This opens the QuickBooks Technical Support Helper window
Ctrl-1 This does the same as F2, opening the Product Information window
Esc Close the current window
Ctrl-F4 Close the current window (same as Esc)
Ctrl-F6 Move to the next open window and make it active. NOTE that for some reason SOME windows don’t allow this, such as the Accountant Center (thank you Mary Longacre for pointing that out)
Ctrl-Tab Same as Ctrl-F6, moves to the next open window
Ctrl-H Open the Transaction history – if you have a transaction like an invoice, which has payments applied to it, the transaction history can be very useful

Transaction History

Maneuvering

+ (plus key) Increase a number in a form, such as a check number or invoice number
- (minus key) Decrease a number in a form, such as a check number or invoice number
Alt-S Save the current transaction
Alt-N Save the current transaction and go to the next
Alt-P Go to the previous transaction
Tab Go to the next field
Shift-Tab Go to the prior field
Up Arrow Go to the previous line in a form
Down Arrow Go to the next line in a form
Page Up Move to a previous page in a form area or report
Page Down Move to the next page in a form area or report
Ctrl-Page Up Move to the first item in a list or register
Ctrl-Page Down Move to the last item in a list or register
Enter If you are viewing a report this will “quick zoom” – open a register or detailed report. In other windows this will often select the highlighted button/operation
Ctrl-Enter Record (save) the current record. If you have several buttons at the bottom of a transaction window (like “Save & Close”, “Save & New”, “Clear” and so forth) then Ctrl-Enter will select the best “save” option available. Enter will select the button that is highlighted, which might not be the best “save” option

If you have selected a menu and you see a letter underlined in one of the menu options, OR if you are in a window and you see a letter underlined in one of the buttons, hold the Alt key down and press that letter to invoke that option.

QuickBooks Alt Keys

Opening/Closing QuickBooks

When you open QuickBooks the program will usually try to open the last company you worked with, and possibly open all of the windows that you had open when you last exited (this can be controlled by your desktop preferences). Sometimes, when you are having problems with a QuickBooks company file, you want to change how it starts. If you hold down one of these keys when you click on your QuickBooks shortcut, it changes how QuickBooks starts.

Ctrl Start QuickBooks without opening a file. This is useful if you are having problems with the last company file you were using – and you want to start with the Open or Restore Company window
Alt Start QuickBooks without all the windows. If you have your desktop set to remember what windows you have open, sometimes it takes a VERY long time to start QuickBooks. This option will start it without opening all the windows
Alt-F4 Close QuickBooks

 

QuickBooks Date Shortcuts

When the cursor is on a date field you can do more than just type in a date or select the date by calendar – you can select some of the special date values with just a few keys.

+ (plus key) Advance to the next day
- (minus key) Previous day
T Today
W First day of the Week
K Last day of the weeK
M First day of the Month
H Last day of the montH
Y First day of the Year
R Last day of the yearR
[ (left bracket) Same day in previous week
] (right bracket) Same day in next week
; Same date last month
(apostrophe) Same date next month
Alt-down arrow Opens the calendar for date selection (the small date calendar, not the “Calendar” feature)

 

Memorized Transactions

You can memorize common transactions so that you can easily reproduce them later. Think of this as creating a template that you can make copies from.

Ctrl-M Memorize the current transaction. This opens the memorize transaction window
Ctrl-T Create a new transaction from a memorized transaction. This opens the memorized transaction list

 

Miscellaneous Shortcuts

Ctrl-P Print
Ctrl-R-P If you have been trying to register QuickBooks, and you have been given a “validation code”, you can easily get to the registration window where it asks you for this code without having to go through all the normal steps for registration. Open QuickBooks, select Help and then About QuickBooks. When the product splash screen shows, press Ctrl-R-P (hold the Ctrl key down then press R and P in succession). This opens the window that lets you enter your validation code

 

Standard Text Editing

These are the standard text editing keys we all know and love (at least, you should all know these by now) for most Windows programs. I’ll repeat them here for completeness. These work while you are in a data field – note that some of these keys have a different (but similar) effect if you are not clicked on a data field, but have selected a transaction window.

Ctrl-Z Undo typing or changes made in field
Ctrl-X Cut (copy the selected text to the clipboard and remove it from the field).
Ctrl-C Copy the selected text to the clipboard
Ctrl-V Paste text from the clipboard to the field
Del Delete a character to the right
Backspace Delete a character to the left
Home Go to the first character in the field
End Go to the last character in the field
Ctrl-Right Arrow Move to the next word in a current text field
Ctrl-Left Arrow Move to the previous word in a current text field

Others Added Later

  • Added 9/17/2012: Select “Help” from the QuickBooks menu, then select the About QuickBooks option that you should see at the bottom of that menu. This opens the “splash screen”that shows your license and other info. At this point, pres Ctrl-Alt-Y and you will get a window that lets you “enter year-to-date amounts for payroll”. These are summaries of employee paychecks and associated company liabilities for the current calendar year. You would use this in a situation where you are starting payroll in QuickBooks in the middle of the year, so that your W-2 and payroll reports (etc) are accurate.
  • Added 1/9/2014: If you are in the Write Checks window, in the check number field, enter an asterisk (*). This will mark the check as “to be printed”

There may be others that I’m not aware of – or some that work differently in specific windows. If you find any, let me know!

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Category: QuickBooks Tips/Tricks, Working with QuickBooks

About the Author ()

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He's been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had a one-floppy disk drive system, loading the program from one floppy and then replacing that with the other floppy to hold the data. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise. He also is a Xero Certified Partner. Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. Charlie can be reached at charlie.russell@sleeter.com He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog Connect with Charlie at Google

Comments (57)

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  1. The Sleeter Group sells a mousepad with QuickBooks keyboard shortcuts. I am not saying it has everything listed in this article but it is pretty handy! Visit http://www.sleeterstore.com and click on Mousepads.

  2. I tell folks to press the ALT key on the keyboard to see underlined letters on the menu bar and then use compound shortcuts to access frequently used commands. A few I use the most are ALT+O+L to quickly open the item list or AL+O+B to enter a bill.

    • Thanks, Reesa! I mentioned Alt keys and menus (briefly) but forgot to mention that the underlines don’t show in the MENUS unless you first press the Alt key. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Barbara Thomas says:

    Hey, you forgot my favorite that I use all the time:
    In the date field type A for All Dates.

    • Barbara, I don’t really consider that to be a keyboard shortcut in the traditional sense, but what the heck, it saves you time so the idea is the same! What is happening here is that a field like a date picker on a report is a dropdown list. You can press the first key of a choice on the list and it is selected. In that same place if you press “T” you usually get “Today” – if you press “T” again you get “This Week”, and so forth as it rotates through the options in the dropdown list that match.

  4. I am totally hooked to my keyboard, so much faster than the mouse. I do know a lot of the shortcuts already but this is a really extensive list – will try them out to see if they all work on the Australian version and then hopefully purchase some mouse pads – assume you ship internationally

  5. Lila Godel says:

    You can get the underlined letters in menus to show all of the time by following the steps below based on your O.S.

    On a computer with Windows Vista or Windows 7 follow the steps:

    Go to Control Panel.

    Make the sure the View by: drop down is set to Category and click the Green Ease of Access link.

    Click the Make the keyboard easier to use link.

    Scroll to the bottom of the screen and check the box labeled Underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys.

    Click the OK button

    On a computer with XP follow these steps:

    Go to Control Panel.

    To the left of the icons you will see a link that will either read Switch to Category View or Switch to Classic View. If it reads Switch to Classic View click it.

    Double click on the Display icon.

    Select the Appearance tab.

    Click the Effects… button.

    Uncheck the box labeled Hide underlined letters for navigation until I press the Alt key.

    Click the OK button.

    Click the OK button.

  6. Lila Godel says:

    Also one other shortcut not mentioned is ctrl+y. If you press it after selecting About from the Help menu, but while the about screen is still showing you will get a wizard that will let you enter YTD entries for payroll checks pepreared with another system eliminating the need to use the payroll setup wizard.

  7. Matt L says:

    Hi Charlie,

    Thank you for the post.

    From the work order or invoice screen, is there a shortcut for the attachments dialog box and/or Quickbooks scan manager? We have clerical staff that use the attachments functionality constantly to add scan copies of deliver tickets to work orders. Having a shortcut key would be a great time saver.

    Thank you.

  8. Carol says:

    Is there a keyboard shortcut to get back to the Vendor or Customer List after working on an invoice or bill? I always have to use my mouse to click and make that area active.

    • Carol, I guess that depends on WHY you want to go back to the list? If you want to edit that customer or vendor, there is an “edit” link in the right panel of some transactions (depending on the year of QuickBooks you have). If you want to find another customer (or vendor) to create a new transaction, if your cursor is in the customer (or vendor) field of the transaction (which you normally will be if you just did a “save & new”), then pressing ctrl L will take you back to the list. When you are in the list, and have selected a customer or vendor, pressing ctrl-U will “use” that record in the new transaction. See this article: http://www.sleeter.com/blog/2011/02/improved-list-selection-when-creating-invoices-in-quickbooks/

    • If you want to get back without yet saving your transaction, use the Ctrl-Tab or Ctrl-F6 shortcut. Otherwise – to save and go back, use the Enter or Ctrl-Enter shortcut.

  9. Back to “underlined letters”, did anyone notice how many available such shortcuts vanished the last few versions? Most notably, while creating/editing a vendor/customer, the shortcuts for the different tabs are gone.
    Anyone with a trick up their sleeves? C’mon, I heard you can do it…

    • Shulem, give me another specific example. You said editing a customer – If I open an “edit customer” window, I see the tabs down the left side, and each one of them has an underlined letter for a shortcut. No problem there. US version of 2013, R5 release.

  10. diana says:

    For data entry when entering time to later be used in an invoice, is there a way to create shortcuts for regularly used terms? For instance, typing ‘tel’ to autofill to ‘Telephone call to’. Thank you

    • diana says:

      Or can you search and replace text after you enter data in the timesheets? If not, can you think of an alternative?
      Thank you.

    • Sorry, Diana, there isn’t a way to do that in QB itself. There are some Windows addon products that can do that for any program, but I’ve not used any of them.

  11. Cynthia says:

    When creating customer invoices from sales orders, I used to be able to hit my space bar to select the highlighted sales order number. In version 13 hitting the space bar just takes me back to the top of the list of sales orders. Does anyone know what keyboard stroke(s) I can use to select an order from a list?

    Thanks!

  12. Jen says:

    QuickBooks was just updated today at my job and now I am unable to use the tab key to move back and forth between fields when entering bills. I have always used the tab key and am pretty much lost without it. Is this something new with QuickBooks Enterprise V 13 or could there possibly be something else wrong?

    • Jen says:

      Problem has been solved.

    • Samantha says:

      How did you fix this? I’m having the same problem.

    • Several people seem to be running into this, but I’ve never come across it. I’m not sure what to recommend at this time.

      You can go to your “General” preferences and (on My Preferences) check the box for “Pressing Enter moves between fields”, then the Enter key will work like the tab (going forward only). That also means that you can’t close a form just by pressing the Enter key.

  13. Don says:

    In QuickBooks Enterprise 12 (and other versions?), there was a keyboard shortcut in Customer “Receive Payments” that would take the user to the discounts window. This shortcut appears to have disappeared in QBES 13. Is there a shortcut for this? Did they happen to bring it back in QBES 14?

    • What was that shortcut, Don…

      • Don says:

        I can’t remember for sure. I think it was just the t or d key without the ALT. This only worked when you were in the Receive Payments window.

        • Don says:

          I installed QBES 12 on another computer. In the “Receive Payments” window, after you click on an invoice, you push t (not ALT or CTL, just t) and it takes you to the the discounts and credits window. I can send a screen shot if that would help.

      • I see what you mean. That should have been an Alt-T shortcut, since it was underlined and that is the way that QB is generally set up. This is one of several shortcuts that were lost in the move to the new interface. Instead of a shortcut, you now click the “Discounts and Credits” icon in the ribbon.

        That was changed in the 2013 release, and the 2014 release doesn’t change that.

  14. Larry says:

    For decades, I have used Ctrl+Del in Microsoft Word to eliminate the text from the cursor’s position to the end of the current line.
    However, in QB, that deletes the entire line.
    I have non-stock items where the Description must be changed and it is causing me more work to re-enter items that I’m inadvertently deleting because of my typing habits.
    Is there any way to disable this function?
    Thanks!

  15. Masood says:

    Thanks to you Its helpful for me!

  16. Lisa says:

    When on my customer list, I type in the first 2 or 3 letters and it doesn’t go to the name I am trying to get to. This is in enterprise 2014. In previous versions, I could easily get to whatever name by typing in 4 or 5 letters of the name. Is there a fix for this so I don’t have to wait for a search or scroll thru a lot of names.

    • Lisa, that still works for me, using Enterprise V14 R3. So, make sure you are on the R3 revision. If you still have an issue, then right click on the customer list and select the “re-sort” option. See if that helps.

      • Lisa says:

        Thanks, got the update. Still not like it was before, but a bit better. Re-sorted again too. Seems to work better if I type a little slower now.

  17. Myrna Johnson says:

    When writing checks, when I press the TAB button, the computer beeps and deletes what was on that line. The only way I can proceed is by doing it manually for each entry. This just started yesterday, always worked before. What can I do to correct it? Thanks

  18. Several people have commented about issues with the TAB key not working the proper way in various versions of QuickBooks. I’ve not had my hands on a system that has the problem so I can’t give a definitive answer about what might be going on.

    Take a look at the Intuit support KB article at http://dataservices.intuit.com/support/articles/sln74234 – it has several suggestions. The first is to turn on the preference to enable the ENTER key to move between fields, which I have suggested earlier. After that are two generic “fix” steps that repair portions of your Windows Registry that affects QuickBooks, and to repair the installation of the program itself. These are very generic fixes that are often recommended when something is going wrong and nobody has a firm answer. If anyone tries either of those two fixes and one works, please let us know!

  19. Severe Alfrido says:

    How to find a code validation QuickBooks 2011 software?

  20. Erin Talley says:

    The 2014 version of QB moved the “Print Later” selection to the top of the invoice where, as far as I can tell, I have to manually check the box with a mouse where I was able to tab through the invoice in previous versions and hit the space bar when that was highlighted and move through multiple invoices and customers very quickly and print all invoices together.

    Does anyone have a quicker way?

    • Lisa B says:

      Yes! I have a problem with that also! It may seem unimportant, but after typing an invoice and printing a packing list I would hit Ctrl D (to print later) and Ctrl S (to move to a new invoice) and it saved a lot of time! Please add a shortcut, Quickbooks!

  21. lia says:

    What is the keystroke to bring up the ITEM list?

    • There isn’t a separate keystroke shortcut for the item list, Lia. You can find the list under Lists in your main menu. Or, if your cursor is in a field that asks for the item, in a transaction, Ctrl-L will open that list.

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