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The Home Page in QuickBooks Online and Desktop Versions

What do you see when you first run QuickBooks? Does it help you start the day?

You may have run across the term “dashboard” as you work with your computer applications. Perhaps you even use one. The word just refers to kind of a home base, a screen or page you can turn to when you want an overview of whatever information you’re creating and tracking. People generally consider this their Home Page.

QuickBooks Online and the desktop versions have very different Home Pages. QuickBooks Pro and Premier offer more flexibility in terms of where the program opens than does QuickBooks Online. They also provide “Snapshots” of different sections of the programs. But QuickBooks Online provides more of a true dashboard.

We’ll look at the differences here so you can learn to use QuickBooks’ options.

QuickBooks 2013’s New Interface Excels

Intuit completely revamped its software’s user interfaces in the 2013 versions. The programs have matured so much over the years that the Home Page was beginning to get crowded and a bit claustrophobic.

Not so anymore. The opening screen has been cleaned up and streamlined to make your work experience more pleasant and productive.

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Familiar, but better: QuickBooks 2013 took a giant leap in terms of usability.

If you’ve ever taken a QuickBooks training course, you’ve probably learned about all of the program’s “Preferences.” These are simply groups of options that let you customize QuickBooks to better match your workflow.

Open the Edit menu and select Preferences and then Desktop View. Click on the tab for My Preferences. This is where QuickBooks lets you specify what screen should open when you launch the program. Here are your options:

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You have some control over what page opens when you run the desktop version of QuickBooks.

Click on the Company menu, then select Company Snapshot. You’ll see three tabs there:

  • Company Snapshot
  • Payments Snapshot, and
  • Customer Snapshot.

These three screens are as close to true dashboards as QuickBooks comes. Each gives you an overview of the most critical activity and information in those areas. The Payments Snapshot, for example, consists of several mini-windows containing graphs and tables for data like Invoice Payment Status, A/R by Aging Period and Recent Transactions. There are several more, and you can choose which ones to show.

So you could set your Desktop View Preference to display one of your Snapshots every time you open your company file. Any other windows you have open when you click Save Current Desktop will also be available at launch.

QuickBooks Online Home Page

QuickBooks Online doesn’t offer as much flexibility. You still have access to the graphical “process map” that has been the center of QuickBooks desktop versions for years, but you have to click Home | Getting Around to see an abbreviated version of it.

Instead, what you see when you type in the URL for QuickBooks Online is actually closer to a true dashboard than what QuickBooks 2013 for the desktop offers.

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The QuickBooks Online Home Page

You’ll see several sections here, like a To-Do List, Recent Activities, a Financial Snapshot and links to often-accessed tasks. What you see, of course, depends on your user permissions. And you can’t modify the content of this page.

Do you need QuickBooks training to work with these elements of QuickBooks? No. But understanding the data you’re seeing is another story. You may want some help with that.

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