Most Useful and Least Used QuickBooks Shortcuts
Control + L (List)
I learned of Control + L from attending QuickBooks® conferences; it is used when the cursor is in the “Write Check” Name field to display the Name List.
It was demoed to show how the employee, vendor, customer and other name lists could appear together as one list which could then be resorted. After that conference, I started fiddling with that shortcut and discovered many things about it. For starters, it’s not just limited to generating the Name List within the Write Check module. It can work in just about any module from an input field that allows you to input any name type such as an employee, vendor, customer or other name.
Here it is in the Deposit module:
This is the most common example of Control + L. However, it does much more than getting you access to the Name List. You can press Control + L from any field, not just a name field. One of the best examples for this can be seen in the invoice module.
The invoice module has many tables that are linked to it. You have your customer, class, template, terms, item, customer message, tax item and tax code.
You can press Control + L when you are in any of these fields to open up the list for that field.
There are two interesting things to note about the results. First, not only does it take you to the list for that field, but it takes you directly to the record that was selected on the invoice. This is a very useful way of editing information for a record you find needs updating without having to go find that record in its list. For example, you select a customer and see the address is wrong on the invoice. All you have to do is press Control + L on that customer’s name and you will instantly be on that customer record in the customer list. No need to go to your customer list and search for the customer.
The same thing applies and can be even more useful in the Item field. You select an item and would like to update its description. What if you have 10,000 items in this QuickBooks file? No need to go search for that item in your item list. Just press Control + L and your search is over…you are on that item in your item list as fast as it is possible.
The second interesting thing about the results of pressing Control + L on the name fields is that some of the lists that come up can only be reached by pressing Control + L. We already saw this in the name fields on the Write Check and Make Deposit modules whereby it pulled up the Name List which you cannot get to any other way. From the results of pressing Control + L in the invoice, we were able to get to a template list that showed only invoices. There were no POs, Estimates or Credit Memos, for example; it only displayed what was pertinent to where the Control + L command came from (Control + L was pressed in an Invoice). We also saw this when we pressed Control + L on the Sales Tax Item. It displayed the Item List (where we normally find the Sales Tax Items), but all other item types were gone. Only ones in the list were Sales Tax Items.
Another neat place Control + L works is in the Advanced Find module.
Control + U (Use)
So we’ve seen how Control + L can be a real timesaver, keeping you from ever having to go search a list for a record you have already selected on a form. Now, here’s Control + U.
Most people have never heard about this one … even if they’ve attended a good QuickBooks conference. This is a very powerful tool that allows you to be in the process of filling out a QuickBooks form, temporarily leave that form to go to a list to search for a record you want to add to that form and have the record you have found be brought back to the form and inserted into the proper field on that form.
This is best seen in examples. Say you are filling out an Estimate and you need to add an item. The problem is you have 10,000 items and you are not sure of the item name but you do know you could find it in your item list. You would start off by having the cursor in the Item field.
You would then open up your Item List.
You could then use all the tools at your disposal from the Item List to locate the Item.
Once you’ve found the item that you want to add to the Estimate, how would you add it to the Estimate? You could remember the name of the item or write down the item number. You could then return to the Estimate and type in that item’s name/number in the Item field. Or, you could do it the fast way and just press Control + U to have QuickBooks automatically copy that item back over to the Estimate for you.
This is one example of how Control + U could help you quickly search for an item record and bring that item record back to your Purchase Order. This can be used in many areas of the program such as bringing back a customer job name to a sales order, bringing back a sales tax item to an invoice, bringing back inventory items to a purchase order, etc.
One key to using this tool is the understanding that Control + U will only work based off the field on the form where the cursor is active when you leave that form to go to your list. So, if you have the cursor in the class field on an invoice and you go to the customer list and press Control + U, it will not work. You would need to have the cursor active on the Customer:Job field in the invoice in order to be able to switch away from the invoice to go to the Customer:Job list and then press Control + U to bring back the Customer:Job you select.
Control + L and Control + U (Combined!)
You’ve learned how Control + L will save you time in quickly getting to a list from a form and you’ve learned how Control + U will save you time by allowing you to fly your selected record back from your lists to your forms. Now, all that is left is to combine these two powerful tools to work faster than you’ve ever worked before in QuickBooks.
Here are some examples of how you would use the tools together:
You are on a Purchase Order and need to add an item. You put the cursor in the item field and press Control + L. You’re now on the item list. Find your item using the search or other tools at your disposal. Once you find it, press Control + U and you are back on your Purchase Order ready to move on to the next item.
Another situation would be that you are on an invoice and have a job selected for a customer. You realize you have the wrong job for that customer. You press Control + L and you are now on the Customer:Job list with that job selected. Press down or up to move to the correct job. Press Control + U and that correct job has now replaced the incorrect job on the invoice.
I recommend learning as many keyboard shortcut keys as possible to make the most of your time using QuickBooks. These two keyboard shortcuts, when used together, will save you lots of time spent switching back and forth between windows in QuickBooks.