When starting a new company file, or even if you have had the file for a while, there may be some minor nuances that just drive you crazy. Well, I’m here to relieve you. The first thing I do when working in a new QuickBooks company file is head straight to the preferences section. You can find the preferences at the bottom of the Edit menu. You will see categories of preferences down the left side of the window. Each one is clickable and have their own unique settings. The list is even alphabetized to help you find things easier.

Each preference section on the left has two tabs in the window to the right – My Preferences and Company Preferences. The My Preferences tab are settings for your instance of QuickBooks based on your user login to the company file. The Company Preferences are company-wide preferences and can only be modified by an Administrator or External Accountant. Today’s preference tips will focus on the My Preferences tab, because these apply to everyone.

QuickBooks loves to offer you new and exciting products and services – for an additional fee, of course. It seems every time you open a new window, they have a service they want to sell you, like processing credit cards, ordering checks, downloading templates for invoices – the list is nearly endless. In the General section, there is a checkbox to turn off pop-up messages for products and services.

While you are in there, you can turn off that beep you hear every time a transaction is saved. And if you’re not a fan of using the tab key to move from field to field, there is a checkbox to use the Enter key instead. Another favorite of mine is the Automatically Recall last transaction for this name. This remembers where you posted expenses when entering bills and checks to keep posting consistent.

The next preference that I turn off is the Spell Check, located in the Spelling section. Now, for wordy invoices and estimates, spell check is often a good thing. However, if you sell a lot of products, that spell check screen sure can get annoying every time you try to save an invoice.

The first time you run a report in QuickBooks, then enter or change a transaction while the report is open, QuickBooks will prompt you with a notification that the report needs to be refreshed. It knows the information has changed, but it won’t update the reports automatically unless you click the Refresh button. If you don’t check the box on that notification to “Always Refresh,” there is a setting in preferences in the Reports & Graphs section to automatically refresh reports. This will stop that prompt.

Beginning with QuickBooks 2013, you probably noticed the toolbar at the top of the screen moved to the left side. You can put the toolbar back at the top under the View menu. When you do that, you’ll see the icons are now black and white. In the Desktop preferences section you can choose colored icons on the tool bar to give it that comfy QuickBooks feel again.

There are many other preferences you can set in QuickBooks, like default bank accounts, and turning off the Home Page screen. I recommend taking a few minutes to see what is in there to make your QuickBooks experience a little more pleasant.