QuickBooks Online For Dummies
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You can make the most of your work in QuickBooks Online by using handy and time-savings shortcuts and tool buttons.

Using keyboard shortcuts means you can seamlessly access various windows and pages without touching a mouse. The various icons at the top of the QuickBooks Online page help you quickly search for items, create new items, or display transactions.

Keyboard shortcuts for QuickBooks Online

Keyboard shortcuts can save you time by minimizing the use of your mouse. The shortcuts in the following tables are specific to QuickBooks and work in all versions.

If you’re a macOS user, substitute Option for Alt. You can also access a keyboard shortcut listing within QuickBooks by choosing Settings →Additional Info.


To Press
Open the Estimate page Ctrl+Alt+E
Open the Invoice page Ctrl+Alt+I
Open the Receive Payment page Ctrl+Alt+R
Open the Expense page Ctrl+Alt+X
Open the Check page Ctrl+Alt+W
Display the Lists page Ctrl+Alt+L
Display the Customers page Ctrl+Alt+C
Display the Chart of Accounts page Ctrl+Alt+A
Display the Vendors page Ctrl+Alt+V
Display the Chart of Accounts page Ctrl+Alt+A
Search QuickBooks Ctrl+Alt+F
Focus the sidebar menu Ctrl+Alt+D
Display keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Alt+/
Display Help Ctrl+Alt+H


Use the following keyboard shortcuts while working in a transaction window.


To Press
Save the transaction and start a new one Ctrl+Alt+S
Save the transaction and close the transaction window Ctrl+Alt+D
Save and send the transaction Ctrl+Alt+M
Print the transaction Ctrl+Alt+P
Close the transaction window. (If you’ve made changes, a message asks you to confirm that you want to close the window without saving your changes.) Ctrl+Alt+X or Ctrl+Alt+C or Esc


In addition, you may be entering transactions directly into your registers because the traditional transaction screens feel cumbersome. You can speed the data entry process when you’re entering transactions into a register:

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+N to create a transaction based on the type shown in the Add drop-down menu. You still need to click the Add button to change transaction types, but pressing Ctrl+Alt+N gets you right into entering a transaction. If you forget the keystrokes, click the Add button to see the shortcut appear to the right of the drop-down list.
  • Press the Tab key to move between transaction fields. If you keep pressing Tab, you can get to the Cancel button and press Enter to discard the transaction, or you can tab all the way to the Save button and press Enter to save your work. Alternatively, pressing Ctrl+Alt+S allows you to save your work without navigating to the Save button.
  • Press Alt+Down Arrow to display a drop-down list, such as in the Payee, Class, or Location fields.

Three handy tool buttons in QuickBooks Online

The sidebar menu is but one of four places you can choose commands from. The second place is at the top of the sidebar menu, and the other two are always at the top of the screen. The Accountant version offers the most tools, but this cheat sheet is intended for Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, and Advanced users.

Click the + New button to open the Create menu and select a transaction to create, as shown in the figure below. You must upgrade to a higher version of QuickBooks to use any feature that has an arrow on the right side.

Screenshot of QuickBooks transactions menu

Click the Search icon (a little magnifying glass) to view a list of recent transactions and to search for transactions. To open a recent transaction, click it to open it in its transaction window. Type any identifying information or click Advanced Search to specify more detailed search criteria.

Click the Settings icon (a little gear) to display the Settings menu, which helps you access many features in QuickBooks as well as configure various aspects of the software.


QuickBooks Desktop conversion considerations

You can import almost all data in a QuickBooks Desktop company into QuickBooks Online. There’s mostly a one-to-one relationship between Desktop and Online, but features in both Desktop and Online don’t exist in the other platform.

You can take advantage of a free Data Conversion guide created by Daniel DeLong, the technical editor of QuickBooks Online For Dummies.

What doesn’t import

Most of your information from QuickBooks Desktop migrates seamlessly into QuickBooks Online, but the following table lists what doesn’t import. The QuickBooks article “Learn how features and data move from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online” provides additional details.

QuickBooks Desktop Data That Doesn’t Import

What Doesn’t Import Recommendation
QuickBooks Desktop usernames and passwords You need to invite every QuickBooks Desktop user individually to use the QuickBooks Online company. You can limit access to certain areas of QuickBooks Online, but you don’t have the transaction-level control you have in QuickBooks Desktop. If you have an Advanced subscription, QuickBooks migrates the users’ rights as closely as possible; otherwise, you need to establish the users’ rights manually.
Price levels QuickBooks Online doesn’t offer price levels.
Reminders Advanced users can create tasks and workflows. Accountant version users can create projects that are related groups of tasks.
Vehicle list You must add vehicles manually to the fixed assets list in QuickBooks Online.
Reconciliation reports All reconciled items transfer to QuickBooks Online, but you must go back to QuickBooks Desktop to review any old reconciliation reports.
Subtotal items You can add subtotals to future transaction documents.
Recurring credit card charges You must first cancel any Automatic Credit Card recurring charges from your Merchant Center and then re-create them as recurring sales receipts. All other recurring transactions import.
Memorized reports Memorized reports in QuickBooks Desktop are referred to as Customized Reports in QuickBooks Online. You need to re-create all your QuickBooks Desktop reports manually. Note that QuickBooks Advanced offers a custom report writer that isn’t offered in the Simple Start, Essentials, or Plus versions of QuickBooks.
Audit trail You need to refer to QuickBooks Desktop for your previous audit trail, but a new audit trail is logged in QuickBooks Online.
Inventory from QuickBooks for Mac You can’t export inventory directly from QuickBooks for Mac to QuickBooks Online. Download the aforementioned free trial of QuickBooks Desktop for Windows, open your Mac company in that version, and then migrate your data.


Accounting software conversions always entail some amount of manual effort. There’s also a learning curve during which you acclimate to the new software. Plan to give yourself three months for things to smooth out.

The best practice is to run both the old software and the new software concurrently for about 90 days, a process referred to as running the programs in parallel. This ensures that you can easily continue with the old software if you discover an unexpected dealbreaker in the new program you’re trying out.

Features not fully available in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Desktop users who need the following features should think twice before moving to QuickBooks Online:

  • To Do notes
  • Complete Job Costing
  • Sales Orders
  • Fixed Asset Tracking
  • Estimate to Actual Reporting

None of these features is directly supported in QuickBooks Online. For instance, QuickBooks Online offers a fixed asset, but it’s simply a list and doesn’t offer tracking. You may be able to locate add-ons to QuickBooks Online that provide the functionality you need on the QuickBooks App Store.

Mileage tracking is available in QuickBooks Online both via the mobile app and in your browser, but only for admin users. If you want to allow your employees to track miles without giving them administrative rights to your books, go to the QuickBooks App Store for available add-ins.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA, is president of Accounting Advisors, Inc., a spreadsheet and database consulting firm. He is a sought-after speaker on the subject of Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks, and QuickBooks Online. He is also the co-author of the previous edition of QuickBooks Online For Dummies and two previous accounting reference books.

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