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Use and navigate QuickBooks Statement Writer (QSW)

by Intuit Updated 2 weeks ago

The QuickBooks Statement Writer (QSW) is an add-on package for creating professional financial statements that comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). With QSW, you can create customized, professional financial statements from a QuickBooks company. It keeps statements synchronized with changes in QuickBooks. After starting a new statement, all work is done in the Excel window.

QSW has three main parts:

  • The QuickBooks file that contains the data.
  • The Report Designer window that lets you customize the report.
  • Microsoft Excel that displays the final output and allows you to make changes.

QSW is available in QuickBooks Premier Accountant, Enterprise Accountant and Enterprise Solutions. It was referred to as Intuit Statement Writer (ISW) in earlier versions of QuickBooks.

Quick Guide to Procedures

QSW provides many options for customizing financial reports. This is a very concise overview of basic report creation:

  1. In QuickBooks, select the QuickBooks Statement Writer icon near the top of the window, then select Design New Report in the opening dialog.
  2. In the Report Designer Screen 1 - Report Content, use the navigation features to choose all the statements and documents you want to include in the report and then organize your selections in the order you want.
  3. In the Report Designer Screens 2 through 5, use the features on each screen to customize the statements and documents included in the report. On Screen 5, you can then save a statement or the entire report, as a template you can re-use (if wanted). When finished, select the Create Report button.
  4. In Excel, review the report. Combine or separate any account rows, as needed.
  5. If the QSW Task Pane disappeared in Excel, you can restore it by selecting the Show Task Pane icon on the Statement Write toolbar.
  6. To further customize a statement in the report, use any of the options in Row Properties or Column Properties in the Statement Writer pane.
  7. Edit the appearance in Report Properties to change fonts, layouts, sizes, headers, and footers.
  8. Add more statements or supporting documents to the report, only if needed.
  9. Save the report.
  10. Print the financial report. Before printing, you must first save the report as a pdf by selecting Save As and then PDF on the Statement Writer menu then print from there.

Set QSW preferences

To set preferences, select the Statement Writer drop-down arrow and choose Preferences. Then select the appropriate section for the type of preference you want to set.

Default Save locations

You can specify the folders where your financial reports and templates are saved.

  1. Select Browse then select the correct folder.
  2. Select OK. Note that it's best to choose local folders on your computer's hard drive rather than network ones.


  • If you choose a network folder for default save location, MS Office requires you to have administrative rights to enable network folders for add-in programs such as QSW. We strongly recommend you work with your network administrator on this matter.
  • Whenever you change your default save locations to a network path, QSW automatically runs a network fix in order to set the appropriate permissions. However, if you do NOT want QSW to run this network fix, simply select the checkbox that says Do not automatically configure network permissions. I will run the fix myself.
  • QSW ran several diagnostic tests when you used it the first time. If you upgrade your system or Microsoft Office, it is recommended you run them again.

Your Details

This option lets you enter information about you or your firm so that you can quickly enter the information into statements. After you enter the information, it is available for all future statements. You can change the information at any time. If you change the accountant information and then open a statement you previously created, it uses the new information in any cells you filled with accountant information.


These are global settings that will be used for all future reports; however, you can customize similar settings for a single report by going to the Report menu, and then selecting Report Data Properties.

There are several formatting options:

  • Automatic Underlines: Uncheck this checkbox if you want to maintain all underlines yourself, and you do not want QSW to automatically adjust totals and sub-total underlines.
  • Show: Select to show decimal places, column headers on each page, and inactive accounts.
  • Show Zero Balances As: Select one of three ways to show zero balances by default - a dash, a blank, or a zero.
  • Show Negative Numbers As: Select one of five ways to show negative numbers by default, (100), (100), -100, -100, or 100.
  • Divide All Data By: Select whether to divide all data by 1,000, 100, 10, or not to divide it.


Use this screen to customize global styles and formatting. These style settings will be used for all future reports. To change a style, just select it from the Styles list then apply your choice of the standard formatting features on the toolbar (font, bold, italics, etc). To see your changes, check the Preview pane on the right as you work.

Create, open and back up Financial Reports

When you start a new financial report, you create at least one financial statement based on the open QuickBooks file. You can create a report with several financial statements and supporting documents. If you open an existing financial report, you can not only continue working on the statements and documents in the report, but you can also add additional statements and documents.

NOTE: The order of the statements and documents that you see in Excel does not determine the order or the content of the final report that is in the pdf format. When you print the report, you set the contents and order.

Create a Financial Report

  1. In QuickBooks, select QuickBooks Statement Writer on the Accountant menu and then select Design New Report on the QSW opening window. If you are already working in QSW, you can start a new financial report from the Statement Writer menu or from the QSW icons.
  2. Enter the report date and basis: There are several date ranges that are defined in QSW for your convenience. Additionally, you can define a custom date range, if none of the predefined ranges fit your business needs.
  3. Add statements and documents: You can add statements and documents in any order that is convenient for you. The order here does not determine the order in the final report.
    • Templates are listed with terms such as Selected Year and Selected Period. Selected refers to the report date you already entered.
    • You can limit the list in the left-hand table by selecting a category from the Show list. The default is All statements and documents.
    • To add items to the report, select an item in the left table labelled Statement and Document Templates then click the right arrow key to move it to the right table labelled Financial Report Contents.
    • To remove an item from the report, select an item in the right table and then click the left arrow button.
    • To remove all items from the report and start over, click the double left arrow button.
  4. Enter the report name: This name can be different from the name you use for the final pdf report. The report is saved in the default location.

Open the Financial Report

Financial reports use the extension .qsm. If you open a financial report when another financial report is already open, a new instance of Excel is opened. Both reports are active and you can use all functions on either one.

There are several ways to open an existing financial report.


  1. In QuickBooks, go to the Accountant Menu and select QuickBooks Statement Writer.
  2. On the QSW Welcome window, select Open Existing Report.


In QSW, go to the Statement Writer menu or select the QSW icon.

File location

If you want to open a statement that is not stored in the default location, navigate to the file location then double click the file name to open it.

Network Drive

If you store financial reports on a network drive, the system administrator must configure access rights appropriately before you can open a report on a network drive.

To open a statement on a network, the system administrator must make some one-time changes in the network and address some local security issues. Note that until the administrator makes the changes, copy the statement to a local drive before opening it.

Back up Financial Reports

QuickBooks Statement Writer files are not included in the company backup, the files must be backed up separately.

To make a copy of the QSW statements follow these steps:

  1. Determine the path where the *.QSM files are stored. (From the Statement Writer drop-down, select Preferences).
  2. Take note of the paths indicated in the Default Save Locations: C:\Users\[User name]\Documents\Intuit\Statement Writer\[Client Company name]
  3. Right-click the Windows Start button and select Explore.
  4. Browse to the path from step 2.
  5. Right-click the Statement Writer folder and select Copy.
  6. Paste the contents into the desired back up location.

The Report Designer

Use the Report Designer to set up and customize a report with the statements and documents of your choice, then save a statement or the entire report as a template that you can re-use as a pattern for creating custom statements and reports across clients with a similar chart of accounts.

By allowing you to store design choices and formatting, templates save you time because they prevent you from having to repeat work you've already done.

Tips for navigating the Report Designer

As you move around in the Report Designer, please pay special attention to the following navigation features that can help you.

  • Use step-by-step tabs to move through the screens: The numbered tabs at the top of the screen allow you to move seamlessly through the screens in a step-by-step manner as you customize the report.
  • Use tabs to view statements and documents (right-hand pane): On the right-hand side of Screens 2 through 5, click the tabs to show the various statements and documents in the current report.
  • "Drag and drop" from left to right, or use right-click menus: Screens 2 through 4 primarily use "drag and drop" and "right-click" functionality. To customize, use your mouse to drag an item from a toolbox on the left, and drop it into a statement on the right. You can also right-click within a statement to display a menu.
  • Advanced button: Screens 1 through 4 have an Advanced button in the top right-hand corner of the screen, which displays a screen-specific menu with some helpful options you can choose for further customization.

Design reports with Easy-to-Use features

Learn about some key features on each screen that you can use to customize the report.

Report Content: On this screen, you will be building a "bundle," or a collection of documents and statements that will be included in the financial report.

  • On the Report Content screen, simply use the basic features and navigation to choose everything you want to include (title page, balance sheet, etc) in the report and organize your selections in the order you want.
  • On the following screens, you'll be able to customize each document and statement you chose and you'll also have an opportunity to save a statement, or the entire report, as a template that you can use to create a similar report later on.

Columns: Use these key features to customize columns for each statement in the report.

  • Add a column: In the Drag/Drop Columns list, select a column, then drag-and-drop it into the statement. You can also right-click a column in the statement to display a menu, then make a selection.
  • Edit column header or dates: In the statement, right-click a column, then click Format Column Heading or Edit Column Dates or use the toolbar buttons for these functions.
  • Move a column: In the statement, select a column, then drag it left or right.
  • Delete a column: In the statement, right-click the column, then select Delete Column.

Rows/Accounts: Use the following features to customize rows and accounts for each statement in the report.

  • Customize Rows
    • Add a row: In the Drag/Drop Rows list, select a row, then drag-and-drop it between the desired rows in the statement. You can also right-click a row in the statement to display a menu, then make a selection.
    • Assign a row for a missing account: In the Accounts toolbox, select a missing account, then drag-and-drop it between the desired rows in the statement.
    • Move a row: In the statement, select a row, then drag it up or down.
    • Delete a row: In the statement, right-click the row, then select "Delete Row."
  • Customize total row types: There are four new total row types, all of which are customizable in Excel. To change the formula for a total row in Excel, go to the Row Properties area of the Statement Writer pane. Please note that you can change only the SUM formula on this Rows/Accounts screen in the Report Designer. Double click it to make changes.
  • Roll up or Separate Accounts
    • Roll up accounts: In the statement, press CTRL while selecting the rows you want to combine, right-click to display the menu, then select Roll up Selected Accounts. A small, red Roll up indicator quickly appears for the combined account.
    • Roll up missing accounts: In the Accounts toolbox, select the missing account you want to add, then drag-and-drop it directly onto the desired row in the statement. The small, red Roll up indicator will also appear for this type of combined account.
    • Separate accounts: In the statement, pointing to a row with a Roll up indicator will show a list of accounts in the row. To separate them, just right-click the row, then click Separate Accounts.


  • Insert Headers and/or Footers: Use the key features below to customize headers and footers on each document in the report. Later, in Excel, you will have another chance to edit headers and footers by clicking the Statement Writer button, and then selecting Edit Header/Footer.
    • Use copy/paste: You can perform basic copy and paste functions via the right-click menu.
    • Type your own custom text: In the statement, place your cursor in the desired header or footer area, then simply begin typing.

Review & Finish: Use the features below to review the report information, save a statement or entire report as a template and then create the report. Note that because you will not be able to print the report from this screen, you must create and then save the report as a PDF in Excel before you can print it.

  • Review Statement Information: This tab displays the report information before loading data into Quickbooks. This allows you to see any issues and make any changes needed before creating the report.
  • Memorize statements as templates: Use this feature to memorize statements to use again (even across clients).
    • Memorize the current statement: Select the single-page icon on the toolbar.
    • Memorize all statements and documents as a report group: Select the multi-page icon. Then save time by using your custom templates to create reports for new clients with a similar chart of accounts.
  • Launch report in QSW/Excel: To see the actual data, customize formulas, and print, you must launch the report in QSW/Excel by clicking the Create Report button.
  • Easily update a report: After a report is created for a client, simply open the report and modify the dates to update the information.

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