The Latest on QuickBooks Color Schemes

QuickBooks ColorQuickBooks 2013 eliminated the Color Schemes options in favor of a fixed black-and-white combination. The design was an effort to make less-important parts of the window recede with dark colors and bring the active parts of the window to the forefront. But the approach didn’t go over well. Users immediately felt it affected the user-friendliness of QuickBooks.

So here’s the Good news! The company listened to you; the users and re-introduced Color Schemes in the QuickBooks 2013 R6 update, released in March.

The default scheme is still black and white, but now you can change it to a more familiar and useful feature. Here’s how to take advantage of the new Color Schemes options.

Change the Icon Bar

If you don’t like 2013’s new grayscale approach, it’s easy to change back to your old appearance if you have at least the R4 update.

  • First, switch the icon bar’s location from the left side of the frame to the top. Do this in the View menu by choosing Switch to Top Icon Bar.
  • Next, look under Edit menu –> Preferences –> Desktop View –> My Preferences tab.
  • Check the box that says “Switch to Colored Background/Light Icons on the Top Icon Bar.”

Use Colors to Differentiate Company Files

One of the biggest complaints about the move away from Color Schemes was losing the ability to distinguish company files by color. If you use QuickBooks to run more than one company, Color Schemes is a great way to keep the files separate. Some consider this a “must-have” in QuickBooks. But the initial 2013 version of QuickBooks eliminated this function. The R4 update tried to compensate for it with a colored flag in the title bar (which could be customized so each file had its own color), but it wasn’t enough. Users wanted their old Color Schemes back, and they got it in the R6 release.

  • To change from the default grayscale, go to the Edit menu –> Preferences –> Desktop View –> My Preferences tab.
  • At the bottom, look for the drop-down menu called Company File Color Scheme. Choose one. This changes the color of all window frames for that company file, including the program window frame. (See the photo for an example.)
  • Even if you don’t have multiple companies, you might want to create a different company file to experiment in. Changing the Color Scheme to something like red, indicating a warning, is a smart way to cue the non-active status of this file.

Don’t Skip the Update

You might be tempted to get around these issues you’ve heard about by simply skipping the update to QuickBooks 2013. This way, you would retain all of your favorite and familiar Color Scheme functions. But this isn’t a wise idea. You would be missing out on a lot of fantastic new functions offered by QuickBooks 2013.
  • QuickBooks 2013 is more intuitive, making it easier to monitor receipts, payments, finance tracking and professional invoices. These improvements add up to time saved that can be better spent elsewhere.
  • The navigational ribbon now displays the most-used functions, like invoices and receipts.
  • If you’re new to QuickBooks, the 2013 version was redesigned with similarities to other popular software programs. Familiarity and standardization makes it easier to pick up QuickBooks.
  • Small businesses can now assign more than one contact to a supplier and a customer, and they can track twice as much information like Twitter or Facebook usernames.
The strong reaction to the Color Schemes change from the user community proves how useful this option is in QuickBooks. Users find that a colorful tint vastly increases functionality, usability and productivity. Make sure to use Color Schemes to your advantage.
Bernard Roesch About Bernard Roesch

Bernard Roesch is co-founder and Managing Partner of Mission Consulting. Bernard’s background in the early years of his career was spent in the manufacturing sector, making his QuickBooks perspective a unique one – he understands the intricacies of a complex environment and then applies his strategic skills accordingly.