QuickBooks 2011 Reports and Graphs Preferences

By Stephen L. Nelson

The My Preferences tab of the Reports & Graphs Preferences set in QuickBooks 2011 provides radio buttons that you can use to indicate how QuickBooks should refresh reports when the information in them changes. The default refresh option is Prompt Me to Refresh. With this option, when QuickBooks updates a report, it prompts you via a message box. You can also select the Refresh Automatically radio button to have QuickBooks automatically refresh a report whenever the data changes.

You don’t want to refresh automatically if you have a large data set and many reports because it will take a long time. You can also select the Don’t Refresh radio button if you don’t want or don’t need to be reminded about refreshing a report.


The Graphs Only check boxes let you control the way QuickBooks graphs report information. QuickBooks draws two-dimensional graphs much more quickly, so you may want to use two-dimensional graphs. They’re also visually more precise. The Use Patterns check box tells QuickBooks whether to draw a graph that uses cross-hatching patterns rather than colors for the different pieces of a chart. Using patterns is a good idea if you’re going to print your graphs on a black-and-white printer.

The Prompt Me to Modify Report Options before Opening a Report check box, if selected, tells QuickBooks to open the Modify Report window whenever you create a report. If the Prompt Me to Modify Report Options before Opening a Report check box isn’t selected, QuickBooks creates a report by using the default reporting options.

The Company Preferences tab for the Reports & Graphs Preferences set provides several useful options for default report-generation rules. The Summary Reports Basis radio buttons, for example, let you choose which default accounting method to use. The Aging Reports radio buttons let you specify how the age of an invoice or bill should be calculated. The Reports – Show Accounts By radio buttons let you specify how account information appears on reports.


Two other Company Preference options are especially noteworthy. The Classify Cash button displays a dialog box that lets you indicate whether changes in a particular account balance should appear under the operating, investing, or financing portion of the Statement of Cash Flows.

Clicking the Format button displays the Report Format Preferences dialog box, which lets you customize the report header and footer information. The Page Layout Alignment drop-down list lets you specify how information should be aligned on the report page.


The Fonts & Numbers tab of the Report Format Preferences dialog box lets you specify what font and formatting you want to use for bits of report information. QuickBooks displays a Font Formatting dialog box that lets you specify the font, font style, point size, and other special effects.