How to pre-fill forms

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I always like to tell people I want them to spend less time in QuickBooks, not more. :)

QuickBooks has features that automate certain tasks so you don’t have to manually enter the same data over and over again.

The one we’re sharing here is Pre-fill forms with previously entered content. Longtime QuickBooks customers also call this the autorecall setting.

How to turn pre-fill on and what it looks like

To turn it on or off:
Gear > Company Settings > Advanced > Pre-fill forms with previously entered content

Let’s say you enter check number 72 to Matheson Utilities for $100:

QuickBooks check 72

If you turn ON pre-fill, and then create check 73 and choose Matheson Utilities as the vendor, QuickBooks automatically fills in the fields based on check 72:

QuickBooks check 73 pre-fill turned on

If you had turned OFF pre-fill, check number 73 would look like, well, a blank check:

QuickBooks check 73 pre-fill turned off

Forms affected by the pre-fill setting

Bills, checks, delayed charges, delayed credits, expenses, purchase orders, vendor credits, and credit card credits are all affected by the pre-fill setting. You can find all of these at Create (+) at the top of the QuickBooks screen.

Selecting a customer, vendor, or employee in these forms automatically pre-fills the transaction (amount, account, and so on, except for the date field), based on the last saved transaction of that type for the specific person.

You can also pre-fill sales forms1 and timesheets2 (even though there’s no official setting).

To pre-fill or not to pre-fill, that is the question

Depending on your particular business and situation, pre-filling may be a convenience to turn on, or an annoyance that you’ll want to turn off.

Turn pre-fill ON if:

  • You enter checks/expenses to the same vendor assigned to the same expense account on a regular basis (like a monthly utilities bill). Even if the dollar amount changes from month to month, there’s still the convenience of having the account and description filled in for you.
  • Your regular checks/expenses are split to the same multiple accounts, like this:
    QuickBooks check split transaction multiple accounts
    This is where pre-fill is almost a necessity, right?

Turn pre-fill OFF if:

  • You tend to pay vendors for different things (i.e. most of your checks/expenses to a specific vendor are for different expense accounts or assigned to different classes and customers).
  • None or very few of your checks/expenses are split to multiple accounts.
  • You share your QuickBooks file with other users, and you’re concerned that one of them might forget to change the amount and accidentally record a duplicate of an original transaction instead of a new transaction.

Notes

  1. To pre-fill an invoice, open the invoice you want to copy from, and then click More > Copy (at the bottom of the screen).
  2. To autorecall a timesheet, open the timesheet, enter the employee/vendor whose timesheet you want to recall, set a new date, and then click Copy last timesheet (at the bottom of the screen).
  3. What if you want to use the pre-fill setting most of the time, but don’t want it on a particular transaction? Don’t waste time deleting each line. Just click the Clear all lines button below the table.
  4. Thanks as always to Travis and Real World Training for their review!
  5. Want to try these steps using sample data? Check out the QuickBooks test drive.

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