QuickBooks 2010 Form Customization

| October 2, 2009 | 21 Comments

Up until now, if you wanted a uniform appearance to all of your QuickBooks forms (invoices, sales orders, estimates and so forth) it took a lot of work on your part. You would have to apply your changes in background, fonts and so forth to each individual form. This could be tedious. With QuickBooks 2010 we have a new form design feature that lets you set a basic form design that can be applied to all forms.

Please note that the screen shots were taken from the beta test version, so there may be some slight variations from what you see now.

Click customize in a form window and see:


In prior releases you were taken direct to basic customization, where you can customize an individual form. That is still an option – you can click the customize data layout button. But, if you want to have a common look and feel for all of your forms, click the create new design button.

If you select create a new design you are led through the design process. First, select a background and logo. At the time that this was previewed there were a limited number of designs – I anticipate that the options will expand quickly.


Next, select the colors for your fonts, and the font typeface to use. You can also select some of the information that will print in the form. Note that if you click the box that says you use window envelopes, the phone, fax and website information is moved out of the header (where it might show in the window) down to the footer automatically.


You will select a “grid style”, which controls grid lines and shading on the form.


After reviewing your selections you can select which forms that you want to apply this design to. Note that this makes copies of your templates so that you don’t lose the original templates.


The last step is to ask if you want to save this design template. The template is not stored on your computer – it is stored in your Intuit online account.


 I like this feature, but it needs to be expanded. For example:

  • The number of form background options are limited.
  • I would like to see more color options. This was far too limited in the preview copy.
  • You can select font sizes for company information, but the choices are just 8 to 14 at the time this was tested – far too limited.

This is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address many of the complaints that I see regarding forms in QuickBooks. You still have the page-oriented designer, so that you cannot have different designs for the first or last page in a multiple line form. You still can’t, for example, have the total box show only on the last page, or easily add a contract statement that shows only on one page.

Share This Article

Tags: , ,

Category: Program Updates, QuickBooks 2010

About the Author (Author Profile)

Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He’s been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70’s, focusing on inventory and accounting software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Look for Charlie’s articles in the Accountex Report blog, as well as his California Wildflower Hikes blog.

Share This Article

Comments (21)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Rox says:

    Quite frankly I do not find this useful, and my clients have all rolled their eyes 🙂 None of us will ever waste the ink to print these backgrounds (everyone is trying to ‘go green’ and this is totally the opposite direction); it takes to much time to launch and fiddle – so we use the old way anyway, and being forced to store it ‘in the cloud’ is just getting irratating.

    In my opinion, this has a very limited appeal. I would much rather seen some improvement in inventory!

  2. Charlie says:

    Thanks, Rox. I find it mildly useful – if you are going to design a nice form and want it to apply to all your documents, this is helpful. And, using backgrounds doesn’t have to consume ink if you don’t actually print the form. Nice appearance for emailed invoices can be useful. The green savings isn’t in using ink or not, it is in printing it or not.

    But I’ll agree with you that they should be focusing on other more important issues. This is fluff when compared to what they should be doing.

    And as far as web orientation – that is the direction they are going. More and more things will be on the web…

  3. Kenneth Reid says:

    I love the concept of this article. My question is, How do I find the screen that has “Create New Design”, “Apply Saved Design”, and “Customize Data Layout”? D Are you talking about the Lists:Templates, clicking on Templates and choosing Create Form Design?

    I would like to make ALL my forms uniform in appearance. I have downloaded an email invoice that I would like to implement (and use for ALL forms that are sent to my clients.

    How would I use the downloaded invoice template to create all of my other forms?

    • Charlie says:

      Kenneth, you must have the 2010 version of QuickBooks to see this.

      If you click the “customize” button on a transaction screen it will automatically take you to the web site to do this.

      Or you can click lists then templates, click the templates button, and select create form design.

  4. Duane says:

    It appears that you if you live in a second class country like mine (Canada) that your newly purchased 2010 Quickbooks Pro does not have the Form Designer. Thanks Intuit

  5. Joyce says:

    As far as marketing/branding is concerned, this is a useful feature and a time saver so agreed, it is mildly useful.

  6. Robert Chin says:

    Yes definitely Mildly Useful.

    Most small – med business use pre-printed invoices, on B/W Invoice printers, so being able to print different color backgrounds would be slow and wasteful.

  7. Richard Silk says:


    I run a graphic design company so the look and feel of our invoices and statements are very important to us… this feature is very useful however i am struggling to apply a design that we have implemented for our invoices using the layout designer (which dosent save to intuits online server) so i am unable to use the same design for our statements, does anyone have a practical solution for us to implement the same “custom” dsign too both invoices and statements.


    • Charlie says:

      Richard, other than the new service, you can’t copy a custom design from an invoice to a statement as far as I can see. You have to duplicate your work in the layout designer for the other form.

  8. Any way to change the color scheme of the forms for on-screen viewing, not printing? For example, I have a client with 5 different Sales Order templates depending on the nature of the work that is being done. There old manual system was a Blue card meant Service Call, a Green card was a New Install, etc. We have mirrored these work order cards as separate Sales Order templates. Is there a way to make the background of the sales order (or any other form) input screen different colors? I had a client whose “Write Checks” window showed the check in a bright purple color on the screen.

    • Charlie says:

      The “change account color” feature works with the check window, but not the invoice window. I don’t know of a way to do what you are asking. The best I can suggest is to change the “Default Title” field in Additional Customization to say “Service Call” instead of “Invoice”. If you dont’ want that to show on the printed form then uncheck the “print” column and use the Layout Designer to add a text box that says “Invoice” for the printed form.

  9. Bradford E. Henschel, JD says:

    I need to create a monthly trust account ledger, reconciliation form, and a monthly form with all the trust accounts on one form. These forms are required to be used by attorneys with trust accounts, even where there are no accounts in the trust account. The State Bar gets the interest that belongs to the clients. I have to have a way to reproduce or import those forms into quickbooks. Is there a way to import the required stock forms into quickbook? I have Quickbooks 2009 will I have to buy 2010 version and still not get what I need? Am I better off using a form maker softerware that is far cheaper than Quickbooks. –

    • Charlie says:

      Bradford, there isn’t a way to “import” a form from an external format. I’m not familiar with the details of the forms you require, or what your record keeping requirements on this form are, so I can’t really tell you what the best approach would be.

  10. Larry says:

    STILL they dont get it!!! We have been asking for Grid shading for YEARS and Quickbooks wont allow that in its form design. Come on, how hard is it programers to add a simple ability to shade every other line on the invoice detail? It makes it SO much easier to read on larger invoices!!!

  11. Charlie says:

    Larry, you can use my CCRQInvoice product (http://www.ccrsoftware.com/CCRQInvoice/InvoiceQ.htm) to print invoices from QuickBooks with shading for alternate detail lines – it might not be obvious how to do that but our tech support department can show you how (or we can design a form for you for a low fee).

  12. Donna says:

    Is there any way to get gridlines to print in an Item List report?

  13. Mindy says:

    When making a purchase order is there any way to mark it pending or not submitted?

  14. Charlie says:

    Mindy, not really. You can look at the “to be printed” flag, you can leave a message in the “memo” field, you can add a custom field for “pending” and put a mark there, you can use a different template that has the title “pending purchase order”, or something along that line.

  15. KyleB says:

    Is there any version of QB that allows customized layouts of the checks to print? I have over 1000 voucher checks but QB does not match the layout. Do i really need to go back to Peachtree?

    • Charlie says:

      KyleB – sorry, no, QuickBooks desktop versions don’t let you customize the check layout. There may be third party addons that do, although I’ve not looked into that.

Leave a Reply