Let’s say you want to create a Profit and Loss report in QuickBooks to report multiple years, with each year in its own column, and the total in the last column. You can easily customize a P&L in QuickBooks to give you this report.

Start with a default P&L report by clicking Reports / Company & Financial / Profit & Loss Standard. It will display the report.

Now change the date ranges to encompass the years you want.

In this example, we are selecting three years to report

Now click the control to the right of “Show Columns”. The default will be “Total Only”. Change it to “Year”.

Click the Refresh button in the upper right of the screen, and you’ll have your multi-year, multi-column P&L.

Where else in QuickBooks would it be helpful to you to show multi-column, multi-period reporting?

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Sometimes you want to see all the lines and columns on a report, including those with just zero figures.

Sometimes you don’t.

You can tweak out each report in QuickBooks according to whether you want to display or suppress zeroes on the report.

When you run a report in QuickBooks, you’ll have a “Customize Report” button in the upper left corner of the report window. Click it.

customize a quickbooks report

This will bring up the main window for you to make changes to your report formatting. Click the Advanced button in the lower right.

quickbooks modify report dialog

The Advanced Options window will appear.

quickbooks customize report - advanced options

You can make different choices here according to what you want to see on your report:

* Display Rows options. You can choose to see only active accounts, all accounts, or only non-zero accounts.

* Display Columns options. Same choices here as for display rows.

When you’ve made your changes and approved the results, you can click the Memorize button at the top of the report, assign a memorized report name for this version of the report, and click OK. It will save this formatted version of your report to the list of memorized reports for your company. So whenever you run that memorized report again, it will have all of your zero formatting options already in place.

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It’s a great feeling (in a nerdy kind of way) when you run a report in QuickBooks and you get exactly the information you are looking for.

Sometimes the key to that is using the right filter.

Filters in QuickBooks simply restrict the data that appears on your report. This enables you to fine-tune your reporting results, getting to the crux of what you are looking for much faster.

To add or change a filter in a report, you run the report, then click the Customize Report button. Select the Filters tab. Here is the filter control for Transaction List by Customer:

The report filter dialog box in QuickBooks

You will see the report’s current filters in the right pane of the dialog box. You can change or delete those if you wish.

If you want to add a new filter, pick the field you want to filter in the drop-down filter list on the left. Commonly used filters are date (a specific date, or a range), name, account, transaction type, class, job, and paid status, but there are many more filterable fields you can pick from.

Once you pick the filter field you want, QuickBooks is pretty smart about how you specify your choice of information from there. For example, if you specify Transaction Type, it will offer you a drop-down list of all the transaction types. You can specify one Transaction type, or you can click “Multiple Transaction Types” and click away on the types you want to see in the report.

If at any point you want to go back to the report’s default filters, just click the Revert button.

When you are ready to apply your filter to the report, click the OK button. QuickBooks will apply your filter to the report results and refresh the screen.

Using filters is great for finding a needle in a haystack…when you know just one or two bits of information about what you are looking for, and don’t want to wade through pages and pages of detail to find it.

Filters are also great to find anomalies in your data…transactions with amounts, dates, or numbers that are outside the normal ranges.

Do you have any tips to share on using report filters?

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