QuickBooks 2013 R4 Released

Written by Charlie Russell

Intuit has released the QuickBooks 2013 R4 update for the U.S. version of QuickBooks. At the time I’m writing this the release is available as a manual update from the Intuit support web site. I would expect this to be released as an automatic update within a week, if all goes well (unless they change their policy again and push it to automatic update right away).

This article was revised on 12/6/2012 and again on 12/7/2012.

We are still early in the development cycle for QuickBooks 2013, so you can expect a lot of bug fixes here. But there is more than just big fixes! I’m going to highlight a number of the most important changes, with a list of all the rest (that I know about) at the end. To summarize:

  • This is the first release that is recognized to be compatible with Windows 8. But does it work?
  • Intuit is responding to some of the criticism about the User Interface change, let’s see if you think that these changes are enough.
  • Everyone who follows this blog knows that I’m keenly interested in the Inventory features in QuickBooks. This release adds barcode label printing, which I felt was a major hole in the new barcode feature. Did they plug the hole?
  • There are a lot of bug fixes: If you are using Payroll, or Advanced Inventory then this update is particularly important – but there are plenty of fixes for everyone. Note that this update addresses the file corruption problem outlined in our QuickBooks Advanced Inventory Database Problems article.

Note that if you install this update then you’ll need to update your company file – so you might want to plan on doing the update at a convenient time when everyone can stay out. I highly recommend that you make a backup copy of your file first, before installing this update, just in case! It shouldn’t be a problem, but I’m always cautious. Note that the R3 version should be able to open a file that has been updated to R4 without any problem.

QuickBooks 2013 R4 Conversion

Windows 8 Compatibility

This is supposed to be the first version of QuickBooks where Intuit officially supports Windows 8. Up until this time the most significant problem that I’ve run into with Windows 8 has been compatibility with PDF drivers on 64 bit systems. Does 2013 R4 fix this? Well, unfortunately, there are still problems on Windows 8. See the Intuit support site on Windows 8 for details. I have several test systems with Windows 8 and at this time 2013 R4 still has PDF problems on 64 bit systems. These kinds of compatibility problems are difficult to pin down and resolve sometimes. If you have been waiting to get Windows 8 until this has been fixed I think that you might want to wait just a little bit longer…

On the other hand, you may still be able to fix the problem by using the steps found in my article on Solving Problems with Windows 8 and QuickBooks 2013. I’ve had mixed success with this on different systems, unfortunately.

Update 12/6/2012: Even though the Intuit support site on Windows 8 says (at this time) that there are problems with PDF printing in 64 bit Windows 8 systems, I think that this is fixed. My Windows 8 systems are all working, the initial problems I had were due to some conversion issues in the operating system (this was an upgrade from Windows 7. See my updated QuickBooks PDF article for details.

User Interface Changes

With this release we are now starting to see the first of the changes that are in response to the hullaballoo about the user interface change. Do you think they did enough? I suspect that some people just aren’t going to be happy with the new user interface no matter what Intuit does. As for myself, I’m getting used to it, and I think that there are more positives than negatives. It certainly has created a lot of discussion!

On the positive side – here is an indication that Intuit really is listening to user feedback. They are making a number of changes that they hope will address the major concerns that people have raised. While it may seem like this was a slow response, it really isn’t from their standpoint. Keep in mind that the R3 release (the first one that came out after the initial release of QB 2013) was already very far along in the process even before R1 hit the street. R4 represents the first release that has come through the development stream (I believe) since the general public first saw the updates.

In a very general sense, the majority of the complaints I’ve heard about that relate to the new user interface have centered on the following:

  • The lack of color in the icons in the icon bar (top and left).
  • The loss of the ability to change the overall color scheme in a particular QuickBooks company file – either to choose something more pleasing to the beholder’s eye, or to be able to differentiate between multiple company files that you are working with.
  • The overall look and feel with a large amount of “gray” or black being used in navigational elements (like the left icon bar), as well as poor contrast with light colored labels on fields, etc.

There are other issues that people bring up, but these three are the ones that I hear predominantly. So, is Intuit addressing these concerns?

With QuickBooks 2013 R4 we have three kinds of user interface changes:

  • Colors in the top icon bar
  • Colored flags to identify files
  • Miscellaneous “cleanup” changes.

If you select Preferences from the Edit menu, you will see two new options in the Desktop View preferences. Note that these settings affect each individual user separately.

QuickBooks 2013 R4 Color Preferences

Colors in the Top Icon Bar

The change to black/white icons in the icon bar from the colored icons in prior versions is one of the issues that generated the largest amount of discussion in QuickBooks users upgrading from prior versions.

Here is what we had in 2013 R3 (which is slightly different than in R1) for the top icon bar.

QuickBooks 2013 R3 Top Icon Bar

With 2013 R4, if you select the colored icons option, you will see the following:

QuickBooks 2013 R4 Top Icon Bar

Note that this is only changed for the Top Icon Bar, and not the new Left Icon Bar. You still have the same black/white colors at the left. I find that most users who are unhappy with how the icon bars work in QuickBooks 2013 are gravitating back to the top icon bar anyways, so this is a good change. I’m in that group, I still prefer the top icon bar most of the time because that is what I’m used to, and the addition of colors here is a welcome change. Is it enough? Well, everyone has their opinion, and I’m sure that there will be some people who don’t think that this goes far enough. Note that this color preference only changes the colors in the top icon bar.

Colored Flags to Identify Files

Prior to 2013 people had the ability to change the color scheme settings for a QuickBooks company file. The 2013 release took that away, and some people were upset because they relied on these color changes to easily identify which company file they were working with (in a situation where you have multiple company files). Intuit is NOT bringing this feature back, but they have thrown in a small change to help in this situation.

You can set a company flag color preference (shown earlier), which adds a small flag to the right side of the QuickBooks title bar. Here is an example where I selected “purple-red””:

QuickBooks 2013 Company Flag

There are 15 color options (including “none”), which should be enough for the purpose of identifying a file. Is it enough? This won’t satisfy people who are unhappy with the overall color scheme in QuickBooks – that isn’t what Intuit is aiming at here.

Forms Changes

There are a number of other user interface changes scattered about that are mostly changes to resolve smaller issues, or to bring different elements of the program into alignment with their user interface specifications. Some are changes to background colors to help with contrast and improve visibility. Here’s the list that was provided to me:

  • Sharpen & darken edges of input fields, icons (hard to notice unless you compare the releases side by side).
  • Darken field labels (minor change, but it helps a little bit).
  • Centers tool bar label, icon sizes, hover and gradient styling (again, minor adjustments you may not notice).
  • Pay Bills background changed from white to gray (I can see a difference but that isn’t what the change looks like to me?).
  • Total in forms to Upper Case (Picky little thing, but it really bugged me before).
  • Color differentiation of Bills & Checks (subtle, a slightly different color in each of the forms).
  • Dynamic resizing of grey bar in transaction form windows (so if you drag a window wider, fields like the customer in the invoice window will also get larger).

I also noticed many small adjustments in spacing, background colors and so forth scattered about, which help improve things but that are hard to notice unless you compare the versions side by side.

I won’t go into detail on all of these changes – here’s one example that is more noticeable than some. Take a look at the Enter Credit Card Charges window.

This example is from 2013 R3:

QuickBooks 2013 R3 Credit Card window

Here is the same window from 2013 R4:

QuickBooks 2013 R4 Credit Card window

Barcode Labels

One of my major complaints about the new QuickBooks barcode feature (found in QuickBooks Enterprise with Advanced Inventory) was that you couldn’t print barcode labels. The only place to print barcodes were on a few selected reports. Well, Intuit heard the complaints and added a simple barcode label feature with the 2013 R4 release. This is a very simple feature that doesn’t have a lot of options – I hope that more options will be available in the future (but we may need to wait for some third party addons to have full flexibility here).

If you select File and then Print Forms, there is a Labels option, which we’ve had all along. Note that there are two additions with the R4 release:

QuickBooks Barcode Labels

The dropdown list lets you choose the item types (or individual items) to print.

Barcode item types

Click OK to get the printing window – see the label format options:


These are the standard options for labels, note that some of these won’t print a barcode. In general you can use the 5261, 6262, 5163 and rolodex formats.

Here is an example of what the labels will look like. Note that the only features that you can modify are the label format (page layout, number of labels per page) and whether the description is included. You cannot add other information than what is shown here, you cannot change the symbology used (this is Code 128), you cannot change the actual size or bar ratios of the barcode itself.

Sample QuickBooks Barcode Labels

Very, very limited feature, but an improvement from what there was before.

Lots of Bug Fixes

We are still early in the release cycle for the new year of product, and this is the first release where most of the work has been done (in my opinion) based on the “real” release of the program rather than from beta testing. So, lots of bug fixes! Note that you might not have run into all of the problems that are reported as being fixed, and there are a few listed here where Intuit’s description is a bit vague or confusing.

  • Send General Journal Entries (Accountant versions):
    • This no longer displays an incorrect message about the “from” email address.
    • The Send GJE window no longer shows the billable checkbox as being editable.
  • Selections in the Class dropdown at the top of the Invoice window will now apply properly to each item on the invoice.
  • Advanced Inventory (Enterprise):
    • The quantity on hand report no longer reflects different numbers after it has been refreshed after you have been warned that you cannot filter by sites and locations.
    • When you upgrade to a newer release, all “item types” will retain a check mark when you select all items in the barcode wizard.
    • The Rebuild function will now correct the data corruption issue that was discussed in our article on QuickBooks Advanced Inventory Database Problems (as well as in more detail in QuickBooks Advanced Inventory Error Identified).
    • You can now display all available bins in the Inventory Center.
    • You can now select a location using arrow keys on transaction forms.
    • The quantity on hand by serial number view in the Inventory Center will now display negative quantities correctly.
    • You can now mix inventory and non-inventory items on a purchase order if the site/location feature is being used.
  • You can now select a future date on a check when clicking the pay online check box without getting a warning message.
  • You can now copy and paste transactions in the banking register (check register? this isn’t clear to me).
  • Batch Enter Transactions (Accountant versions):
    • You will no longer see a message that “credits are available” when none are, in the Batch Transactions window.
    • You will no longer be prevented from selecting a payee based on multiple currency settings.
    • If you leave any required fields blank they will now be highlighted so that you can more easily find them when you are warned.
    • The ability to clear splits has been added to the context menu when entering batch transactions.
  • Class Tracking:
    • Class tracking on transactions has been improved – but it isn’t clear HOW they improved it.
    • A number of incorrect warnings about inactive elements have been removed.
  • Client Data Review no longer adds a blank page to a PDF when you write off invoices.
  • The process of signing in to purchase additional connected serviceshas been improved.
  • QuickBooks will not prevent you from opening a company file with duplicate name ID’s – instead you’ll get an error message with a “repair” button that will lead you to the website that has the File Diagnostic Tool.
  • Similar to the prior correction, the automatic data recovery feature will no longer make a backup if duplicate name ID’s are found in the file.
  • Reports now convert foreign currency to home currency when you use multiple currencies with Enhanced Inventory Receiving.
  • In addition, automatic data recovery is now enabled in Enterprise. Not sure what this is? See my article on automatic data recovery.
  • There are several fixes and updates in the Help system. One big one is that QuickBooks will no longer crash when you select “App Center: Find More Businesses”.
  • There are several fixes in the installation routines. Improved messages, inclusion of components needed for 64 bit systems, and a “troubleshoot button” for 1603 install errors that will link you to the appropriate QuickBooks support KB article.
  • Words added to the dictionary will be retained when QuickBooks is upgraded.
  • Payroll:
    • Vacation accrued is now correctly updated on paychecks when hours are changed.
    • You will now see the correct Billed or Not Billed icon on the enter single activity window when clicking previous or next.
    • An issue that prevented paychecks from being printed using dot matrix printers has been fixed.
    • Employee notes are no longer visible to users with “no access” permission to Payroll.
    • Preview Paycheck (when editing) no longer incorrectly changes the amount of a deduction with a non-annual limit.
    • Paycheck balances for sick and vacation now update properly when you edit a paycheck.
    • Form names now fit properly in the Federal Forms list.
    • The alignment of contact information that is auto filled on federal tax forms has been corrected.
    • Company Message information now prints on pay stubs.
    • When you export payroll data to Excel the state filing status values are now correct.
    • The Employee Center now includes the Payroll Summary, Paid Time Off and Payroll Transaction Detail reports.
  • QuickBooks File Manager will now show company file information correctly when you switch between different company files.
  • An issue was fixed in Online Banking where you would see a send/receive transaction error message.
  • If you display a previous reconciliation reportQuickBooks will no longer crash.
  • Date filters now work as designed on the Account QuickReport for income, expense and cost of goods sold accounts.
  • Purchase Orders and Sales Orders without a site now display a quantity on the Stock Status by Site report.
  • The delivery date column on the Inventory Stock Status by Item report now displays the correct information.
  • The after the fact payroll window is now scaled to fit the minimum resolution of 1024X768.
  • The “Item” column will not be checked in the Create Auto PO’s screen when Qty to Order is entered.
  • The Batch Transactions icon has been added to the ribbon on the Write Checks and Enter Credit Card Charge/Credittransaction windows.

Additional New Features

This section was updated on 12/7/2012

There has been a bit of confusion over some new features. In the initial release notes in the Intuit support site there was a list of features listed in a section titled “Subscription”. Usually we think of the “subscription” as being the QuickBooks Plus Subscription version – which means that only ProAdvisors or people paying for the monthly subscription will see this. It is unusual, though, for there to be a “Plus” feature update this early in the product cycle. And Plus features usually only show in Pro and Premier, not Enterprise.

It is interesting to note that fairly quickly after the publication of THIS blog article, that section was removed from the Intuit release notes. However, I’m still seeing just about all of the features that were previously listed. So there is some confusion. Here are the features that were listed, then weren’t listed, but that I can still find. Note that at this point I’m only seeing them in QuickBooks Enterprise at this point:

  • In reports, the Print button had an option to “save as PDF”.
  • Reports now have arrows to expand and contract groups of items. We had this in Premier already, now it is expanded to Enterprise.
  • There is a Print button on Item Receipts. Very handy.
  • Add/Edit Multiple List Entries now lets you add Assembly items.

Should You Update?

If you are using Advanced Inventory, or Payroll, you definitely need to install this update soon. Other users – look over the changes, if they aren’t desperately compelling then I recommend that you wait a week or so to see if other people have big problems. I dislike being the first to try a new release! Note that this release did go through a “beta” or field test.

About the author

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell has been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70's, and remembers releasing his first commercial accounting software product when you had an 8-bit microcomputer with one 8 inch floppy disk drive. He has a special interest in inventory and manufacturing software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor with additional certifications for QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Enterprise, as well as being a Xero Certified Partner. Charlie started blogging about QuickBooks in 2008 (Practical QuickBooks) and has been writing for the Accountex Report (formerly the Sleeter Report) since 2011. He retired from accounting and QuickBooks activities in early 2018.

Visit his CCRSoftware web site for information about his QuickBooks add-on products. He is also the author of the California Wildflower Hikes blog.


  • Well done Charlie – an excellent article on the updates. Intuit has made an attempt to make the new (2013) product more user friendly in terms of ‘eye strain’ and limited ‘color friendly’differentiation. I for one am a fan of the new ‘colorized’ top icon bar, but I do wish the ‘company file’ flag was a little larger (I don’t know why they couldn’t have simply turned the whole top bar the selected color).

    Some of the screen changes improve visualization, but I still think either some ‘darker’ or perhaps ‘different bolder-type fonts’ might make a big difference.

    Many of the ‘bug fixes’ were really needed both in terms of ‘carry over’ issues from older versions as well as unique issues with 2013 that resulted from this year’s interface rework. They have also managed to put in a few really great things (like the ability to print item receipts.

    I know a lot of people have been waiting on ‘bar code labels’ and we should indeed hope that they will offer a variety of label styles and supported sizes for label specific printer formats) in the future (like those in the QBPOS product).

    Thanks again for always staying so ‘on top’ of these updates, you do a far better job explaining everything then we even get told in the Beta notes.


    • Thanks, Murph. Don’t get too attached to the item receipt print feature, I’m not sure if that will stay around. I think it was a premature release (but maybe not). And I don’t know if they’ll put a lot of effort into improving the bar code label feature, considering where they implemented it. I’m going to hope for an SDK update that lets us see the barcode number feature so that we can do it the RIGHT way with an addon.

  • Great Article Charlie, thanks for always keeping us informed. Do you know if this new release will take care of the pesky message that keeps popping up every time I open my QB2013 about the PDF converter, don’t recall exactly the message but I did do the fix or so I thought I did but the message keeps appearing every time I open the program.

  • Thanks Charlie. This was a great article. I didn’t realize how much Intuit really listens! I was just waiting for these type of changes before I wanted my clients to upgrade. The color change option and print bar code labels was a big deciding factor to some of my clients. Thanks again!

    • Sandy, they DO listen. They listen quite a bit more than most people realize. The problem isn’t listening, the problem is them deciding to do something about what they hear.

      Yes, they really have been hearing the pushback on the color/UI issues. I’ve talked on several occasions to the person in charge of the UI issues, and she really has heard. And she really is concerned. But, as you see, not everyone agrees with the decisions they have been making.

      But, this IS an improvement, at least incrementally.

  • Hi Charlie
    Great article.

    I guess I’m going to end up being one of those people who isn’t going to be satisfied with the color change. I still can’t work in 2013 for more than an hour before having to get away from it for 3 or 4 – and during that 3 or 4 hours away from it I have such a headache that it makes it very difficult to work in anything else. Not a good way to run a business.

    The entire headache thing bothered me so much that I made an appointment to see my eye Dr. and dragged my laptop along with me. I told him what was going on, opened 2012 and said I can work all day long without issue in this version. Then I opened 2013 (with the beta of R4 on it) and said but when I use this version I’m done in after an hour.

    Frankly the man was horrified at the colors chosen by the software developers who should be aware that people are using this program 6-18 hours a day/7 days a week. Additionally he said that so many font sizes, types, colors, etc. were extremely difficult for people with vision problems or where prone to migraines.

    I have a very difficult time with the light grey text on a white background (unfortunately that’s the same color scheme you’ve chosen for this blog – or at least it looks that way to me) I feel that I have to lean into my 25″ monitor in order to read it clearly. Black on white is crisp and distinct.

    While it is a step in the right direction; it isn’t making it any easier for me or others who have the same eye strain issues to run our businesses.

    Glad the bugs are fixed, but I’ll be sticking with 2012 for my own file for as long as I can and schedule extra time for client/customer files that I have to work in that are the 2013 version.

    • I hear you, Nancy, and you aren’t the only person saying this. I still have some issues with the current implementation, although not as much as you do. I can’t blame my headaches on the UI, there are bigger issues causing me pain (won’t go into THOSE details, he might be reading this). Anyways, it will be interesting to see if there is any FURTHER change on this. I have no inside information on that possibility. I would think that we won’t see major changes here, but I could easily be wrong.

    • Frank, I don’t have a single word on the SDK update that we are all hoping will come along. There were no notes on this at all, so I expect that there isn’t a change yet. However, I’ve not tested this, so I don’t know for sure.

  • I am going to repeat what I wrote on another blog below this comment. In addition, I took this version into a local optometrist to get feedback. As Nancy mentioned above – the Dr. was shocked to see this, and let me know that for those who suffer from eye strain, migraines, and cluster headaches, it will be a BIG trigger. She then stated that she was just about to update her QuickBooks to 2013, but will now return it and go find 2012.
    What I posted on another conversation on LinkedIn:

    I am glad Intuit is trying to do something about the interface with R4. This is a band-aid that will help some people.

    I have shown it to some of my clients this morning… response at best was lukewarm. The typical response was very negative. Standard comments –
    “I want my backgound colors & check colors that I am using – this is still all black and white.”
    “Three colors in the icon bar? My version is WAY better than that”
    “Where is the color thing? That little spot on the window? I can barely see it”
    “Where are my buttons? I can see the bright blue one, but where are the others?”

    Most typical – “You are NOT going to make me use that are you?”

    Two people who are prone to migraines and cluster headaches tried to use it this morning… and then let me know that they would do ANYTHING to avoid working with this interface.

    Several clients were very vocal, and have told me in no uncertain terms – if they don’t get the layouts fixed, colors back (themes, check colors, etc), then they want me to find new software for them to use before 2012 gets sunset.

    All of this happened with a small group… and it is apparent that this will translate to more people, and larger groups of people.

    When an issue is this polarizing, it is clear that “one choice” is not in Intuit’s best interest.

    I still think Intuit needs to do what they did when 2000 was so poorly accepted. Intuit recognized that people liked the navigator bar, and many liked the map… but others did not, and the the icon bar was critical for a great number of users. In response, Intuit kept the add-ons and brought back the icon bar in 2001.

    In this case, Intuit needs to bring back the full color scheme, change the layouts back to something logical (ie invoices, etc), trim out all the dead space that was added – essentially go back to “classic”. Then they can work on appropriate ways to add in the new “ribbons”, and add the current visual as a choice of color scheme.

    Then dealing with this interface is simple: Those that love it can have it. Those that don’t will have choices.

    • Tina, we’ll see if there are any more changes coming along.

      Without knowing the details of the underlying code, I’m going to speculate (I have ABSOLUTELY no inside info on this) that changing back to the older style of SPACING is going to be impractical. The spacing will probably stay the same. Pure speculation. As far as COLORS, that is harder to say – I think it could be more feasible, but again I don’t know if they will do that or not.

      I find it interesting that they brought back the color option in the top icon bar but not the side icon bar.

      And I think that all of this outcry caught some of them by surprise.

  • Charlie you are amazing at explaining the releases! Thank You!

    What I fail to understand is why Intuit Corporate doesn’t have a standardized “look and feel” to their QuickBooks branded programs?

    Even Microsoft, as big as they are has a standard and sticks to it across its Office products. Somehow whether you are in Word, Excel or PowerPoint etc you can sense they are all made by one company named Microsoft. Can you imagine if all of them had different standards of colors and navigation methods? There would be an outcry. Windows 8 certainly is getting interesting reviews but at least most of what I’ve seen seems to follow the same new UI standard once you get through the learning curve of finding where the new start button is located (ha).

    My prime example of Intuit’s NON standards is the different look and feel between QuickBooks 2013 and QuickBooks POS 2013. The two 2013 programs look like they came from different companies. Even though there are issues with POS 2013 at least its colors are cheerful plus easy on the eyes and the fonts & icons are nice and decent size.

    QuickBooks 2013 in my opinion is not only hard to read, as others above have said, but it just looks sort of depressing to me with those dark unchangeable colors of grey and black. What were they thinking?

    Navigation is another area of Intuit’s non-standards. POS has bothered me for years in this area. Intuit should be standardized between the two related and branded “QuickBooks” programs. There are many examples I could mention but here are a few easy Intuit standards that POS has never adopted. 1) Dollar amount fields with built-in calculator 2) Date fields with standard shortcuts (t, +/-, etc) and 3) Date data entry standard; in POS you always have to enter the entire date including year whereas in the QuickBooks financial side you can enter just the month-day and current is automatic. These are minor in the overall scheme of things but it makes one feel like POS software is made from a company named Intuit but not the same Intuit.

    Way back when I was in college taking programming classes my teachers would have given me a very poor grade for not adopting a standard User Interface and sticking to it throughout an entire project.

    Just my 2 cents on Intuit and their everlasting UI non-standards.

    • Well, Bob, a part of that comes from acquiring products from different sources, to a degree.

      Another part of that comes, I think, from the way that a lot of things are developed there, with independent groups allowed to come up with their own product concepts.

      However, the best that I can say is, that the more I learn about the inner workings of Intuit, the more confounded I become…

  • Charlie….I downloaded and installed R4 for QBES on my laptop Wednesday night before teaching a What’s New in QB13 event on Thursday morning – without even looking at it! (I threw all caution to the wind!) We went to show the company flag color – and the option didn’t show up in the preferences as you show here.
    I just downloaded and installed R4 for QBA on my desktop – and I don’t have the preference for the company flag here either!
    I do have the Top Icon Bar preference in both QBA and QBES-A.
    Weird. Any thoughts?

      • Charlie, same for me–I can change the top icon bar back to colors, but I have no option for a company flag. Even if I did, a little spot of color all the way over to the right is not at all helpful.

        Number of lines on forms–BAD BAD BAD! I have clients who need to create very long sales orders, invoices, and purchase orders. TOO MUCH SCROLLING. I guess we could all go out and buy bigger monitors, but what if we want to use our smaller laptop monitors when we’re out of the office?

        VERY BAD: Still CANNOT SEE what job I’ve selected on an invoice–can only see the customer selected. Picking up the mouse to hover over it is NOT an acceptable solution.

        Other comments: Checks and bills still look the same. Bad. Even though you can select colors for different bank accounts, the individual check only shows the color as a stripe around the edge of the check. Bad. Overall visibility–bad. And there’s more, but I don’t have time to go into now.

        Colors back on the icon bar is a MAJOR relief, but that only gets us 10% of the way back. I’m still waiting, and will wait all the way to 2014 and beyond if necessary.

  • Hi Charlie

    I look forward to this release as its not yet launched here in Uk as usual we have to wait until its been release in US, but much is what is being asked for here.
    Not sure they have done enough just adding a little colour blob along the title bar, its like saying read the title first. (Whole title bar colour change would have been better and possibly all that is needed.)

    Still needs email of remittance for paying bills, still needs unique number sequential entry for bills, still need Credit card corruption of data when you are forced to change your Password every 90 days sorting. The last issue requires data recovery. Does seem as if Uk version is more buggy that US.

    • Gordon, unfortunately I don’t have a good connection with Intuit UK (which is separate from the US division) so I can’t say much about the release schedule for the UK version. I was encouraged this year, though, in that it looked like there was much more of a focus on getting the UK people involved in the early testing.

    • I’m not sure how you are using this feature, Paul (and, I don’t know if the Canadian version works the same as the US version). Normally I’m checking the feature to force it to print one page wide – so that a report that might spill over to two pages wide is squeezed into one page wide. That is working the same for me in 2013 (using R4) as it did before.

      • I have eg. a P&L by Class, and there are say 8 classes. The reports can get pretty squished in,and thus I print it over two pages. (or the employee summary payroll).

        The link I gave above on the intuit forums is the US forum, so it appears the US version is having the same issues as the CDN version.

        Just hoping they fix it.


        • Paul, with my US version of Accountant 2013 R4, if I print without the “fit report to” box checked, my P&L by Class prints on three pages (across). If I check that box and set it to “1”, it prints on one page across. I’m not seeing anything here work differently than before, at least in my installation. So it may be something unique to a user’s particular installation? That sometimes happens.

        • OK, looking further at “memorizing” the report: What I see in 2013 R4 (I didn’t look back at older versions of QuickBooks to see if this is a change) is that when you memorize the report it remembers the setting of the “fit report to” box that you had at the time you memorized it. So if it was set to NOT fit report to one page, and then I memorize it, when I recall the memorized report it ALWAYS prints wide, regardless of the setting for that box when I actually print it.

          So in my test case I can get around the problem by creating the report and setting the value properly, previewing the report, then memorizing it.

  • I was wondering, do you recommend switching to QB 2013 from 2012? Our QB is mission critical so I’m wondering if you recommend going for it yet? or should I still be waiting for a future release?


    • Michael, it is always hard to know. Is there a compelling reason for you to change TO 2013 at this time? If there isn’t, I’m generally recommending to people that they wait until after their year end processing is done. December isn’t always the best time to be making big changes in your financial systems. But, again, it depends on what your situation is.

  • Thanks Charlie for the article. Overall, I’m glad with the fixes. Being able to filter date ranges in QuickReports was a major issue for me. Just imagine my client’s face when I was showing this feature that is of great use and it not working…”Oh, your software has bugs…How long has it been in the market did you say?” I never showed it again to anyone.

    What are the developers of 2013 saying? Did Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso or any painter ever fix their paintings during the show? When the show is on, everything should “work as desired”. Hey, this is Quickbooks…TOP of the line, and I still believe it is, but there are some things that just aren’t right. I know Intuit is focused on the online product, but online isn’t as good as desktop yet. My opinion is that it wasn’t the right moment to deliver QB Online as “Quickbooks” and all the other versions as “Other Quickbooks”. Quickbooks Online is not Quickbooks, it’s Quickbooks Online, not as customizable as desktop versions, not as practical to navigate in it, not as powerful. QB Online is competing against their older brothers kind of like in a sibling rivalry. I think this whole change in the desktop interface has something to do with this auto-competition and I hope they don’t make a bigger mess in the future, which they can, cause it seems to be that there is a lack of supervision. I rely on Quickbooks products in my business 100%, that’s my concern.

    Thanks again Charlie.

    • Marco, I don’t agree with the “painter” simile, since analysis of many of the “masters” paintings show that they painted over and redid sections at various times.

      I also know, from years of experience as a software developer, that a software product is a complicated thing and it is just about mathematically impossible to say that you can prove any software product to be bug free. And, to throw in the mix, they don’t have complete control, since Microsoft makes the operating environment.

      Having said that, I do believe that the development process at Intuit is broken. Too many serious bugs get out in the early revisions. Their beta testing and release process is practically designed to issue software with flaws. That is one of the reasons why I usually recommend that people wait until January (or later) to use a new “year” of QuickBooks. Unfortunately, new purchasers don’t have that opportunity.

  • I upgraded to QB 2013 Accountants Edition from 2011 version in October, and had few issues until I accepted the R4 update download 2 days ago. After a string of unexpected shut downs when opening invoices after the R4 update, I called Intuit for tech support. After a 3+ hour tech support phone call with being told multiple times that the issue was file size and that I needed to upgrade to enterprise solution (though never had problems like this before), they finally removed and re-installed the software without the R4 update and it is working just fine. Would be interested to hear if anyone else has had 2013 R4 update issues.

  • I have upgraded from Enterprise 2012 to Enterprise 2013 about a month ago and I hate it. I have no issues with colors or design but with the performance. We did not have any issues before. 2013 crashes a lot and it is slow. I upgraded to R4 last week and we are still very slow.
    I have two computers with three users logged on. It works ok (not great) when one user is logged in but when all three are logged in it slows down. Also, if you don’t touch QB for a while it seems as if falls asleep. It takes even longer just to open an invoice as an example. After speaking to tech support they said it was a known issue. I just hope they have it working better soon. It slows us down.
    I read in some of the posts at the community board that there are a lot of companies having the same problem. I think they should have waited or tested 2013 better before releasing it.

    • I have to agree with everything you said, Frank. We were pushed into upgrade because of Windows 8 compatibility issues – just a few months after we paid for 2012 upgrade. We upgraded to R5 just a few days ago. Now it takes literally several minutes to save an invoice. It also take long time (between 30 seconds and several minutes) to open and close QB. It seems to be random why it sometimes takes longer than other times, but it’s been too slow to do any work efficiently.

      I wonder what kind of soothing response, if any, Charlie Russell is going to give to this.

      • Ah, “soothing” – well, I don’t know what I would have for you here, Alex. You commented on the 2013 R4 release, but that is old news as we’re on the R5 release now (as you mentioned). I have mixed feelings about R4 and R5. There are some big problems that R5 fixes that you will see in R4, so in some cases it is important to move up to R5. On the other hand, I see a growing list of complaints about some issues in R5, including cases where Intuit support recommends rolling back to R4 (which isn’t simple to do). Funny thing is, in my own system, I don’t run into any of these problems (including the ones that you mention). Now, I’m not saying that they don’t exist, just that I don’t have hands on a system that shows them so it is hard for me to figure out what is going on.

        I think that at this time if you are still on a pre-2013 version that I would wait on moving to 2013, at least until the next release comes out.

        And, if you read my other articles on PDF issues and Windows 8, you’ll note that I am very happily running QB 2012 on Windows 8. Intuit will tell you to update because 2013 is the only version officially supported on Windows 8 by them. They won’t try to fix a 2012 installation there because of that. But it can be done.

        Oops, did I say “happily”? That is a bit misleading – mainly because I hate Windows 8 at this time (not for reasons relating to QuickBooks though).

        Feeling soothed?

  • Charlie,
    I recently upgraded a client’s file from QB Premier 2011 to QB Premier 2013 R4 primarily to take advantage of the Refund/Credit button on the invoice window (automatically copies all invoice items to credit memo, including info in memo field). Periodically when entering a lot of credit memos from invoices, applying to credits to invoice and/or refunds, QuickBooks will abort (error message window title bar is “Fatal Application Exit” and message is “Aborting Application:QuickBooks is Now Terminated”). This is a newly create QuickBooks file (created from a series of TPI imports), the file is small (about 50MB) with 7db frags, a verify is clean (I also review the log and run after each crash).

    I’ve also received this same error after manually reviewing A/R to match payments that weren’t applied (I need to see the memo to apply correctly, so the Accountant’s Review doesn’t help here).

    One time I received a really odd error–the title bar was “ui” (user interface?). I don’t recall the message–the screen didn’t “paint” correctly and QuickBooks froze.

    It has crashed a lot, so that is why I’m posting here. Because of this, I’m waiting to upgrade some of my QB clients who will use this feature, especially those who employees in A/R all day long and have multi-user access.

    BTW, this software is on a Windows 7 Ultimate machine w/8GB RAM.

    • Hello Joan,

      I am also seeing this error. My database is about 8-10 years old and has been through many upgrades. I am experiencing this error a couple of times a week in different screens.

    • Well, I quickly upgraded to R5 for QuickBooks Premier Accountant edition when it became available. It still crashes a lot. I’m still working on reviewing A/R, entering credit memos, etc. for my client. In working in the software yesterday and today, I’ve had at least 8 abort messages! I’m opening an invoice to review, closing it, creating a credit memo, moving the credit memo screen down so I can see other details in the customer center, entering in data, moving the credit memo screen again to enter data in the memo field, saving and closing the memo, applying the credit to an open invoice. Nothing unusual, but perhaps there is something going on with the user interface that it is “taxed” moving windows around and repainting the screen? I dunno, I’m just trying to make a wild guess here! All this was working just fine in QB 2012 but since the file has been upgraded to 2013, it crashes only showing an abort message! (same file as mentioned in above post).

      • Joan, I don’t think that the UI change has any relation to the kinds of issues you are talking about, although you can never tell. I know that there are a number of database related issues that people are still complaining about with R5. I’ve not had any of these kinds of issues myself, and I am not sure that I see a really strong pattern that is showing a uniform problem across the board, but there are still issues it seems…

  • Dear Charlie,

    Thank you so much for all of your excellent information and insight! I’m getting used to QuickBooks Pro Plus 2013, but I have a question about a shortcut and am just saying a little prayer that you might be able to help me out.

    In all of the previous versions of QB, when I was entering statement charges, I was able to hit “Ctrl” + “Tab” and return to the Customer name box after I finished entering the transaction. That shortcut doesn’t work in this new version, though, and I really, REALLY, miss it! The need to switch back and forth from keyboard to mouse constantly now is killing my wrist/thumb/elbow. I’ve replaced my mouse, then reorganized my entire desk set up, and continue to look for an ergonomic keyboard with a trackball in the lower middle of it, rather than up in the corners, all in an effort to ease the pain – but to no avail. I know that it’s just because of the repetitive motion – 10-12 hours a day of it – but it started when my most frequently used keyboard shortcut disappeared, so I’m hoping that finding my shortcut back will help immensely. Do you have any way of finding out if there is a different shortcut that does the same thing as CTRL Tab used to do?

    Thanks so much!

    • What version were you using before? In B 2013 I see that ctrl-Tab works the same as the 2011 and 2012 products (I didn’t go back further), by rotating you through the open windows. If you are talking about staying in the “Enter Statement Charges” window, but going back up to the “Customer:Job” field at the top, note that the “J” is underlined, which means that you can use ALT-J to go back to that field easily.

  • Charlie:

    Thanks for all the information on QuickBooks 2013. It is so nice to have a place to read up on this.

    I am the cofounder of Cool Running Software.

    I am not a programmer by any means and really only have experience in front end work.

    This program was created to run the day to day operations of and ice business… including my own…. Olmsted Ice Inc (My Ice Manufacturing and Distributing business.) This software has worked great for all the small buisnesses I have supported.

    We have handheld computers that collect the days sales. At the end of the day, we merge those sales into our office system. After all voids have been removed, we then create a iif file to import into QuickBooks.

    _*Here is my issue.
    I have been importing iif files into QuickBooks since 2004. In that time, we have have never had a problem importing into QuickBooks. It didn’t matter what flavor of QuickBooks we used. When importing into QuickBooks, we only import Sales Receipts and Invoices. I hope to eventually do the Credit Memos as well.

    One of my Cool Running Customers has recently come up with a problem. Since November, they have had problems with the iif file. The “TERMS” field is not importing correctly. For instance, the TERMS would be in the Terms List as “Terms 30 Days”….. well, that is not importing into the correct area. The sale is still a invoice…. however,the specific terms is not listed, the Due Date of the sale is the same as the Sale Date. So, when they run the Open Invoices report, the Terms 30 Days is not listed. Therefore, the aging starts the very next day.

    I have played around with this and I can’t find out where that “Terms 30 Days” is going!!! The little research I have done tells me that there is a bug in Enterprise 13 for this iif.

    At this time, I don’t know where to turn for help with this. Also, all the customers who are using my software will have to hold off on any upgrades until this is resolved.

    Any advice you have would be much appreciated.

    Tony Dickson

    • Tony, I don’t have a good answer for this issue. It doesn’t surprise me that there could be a bug in 2013 that affects this. All you can do on that regard is to have everyone file a report with Intuit, and cross your fingers.

      I don’t work with IIF so I can’t confirm if there is an issue there. I will say that for years Intuit has been telling developers that IIF should not be relied on and that it isn’t a good way to import data. I’ll agree with that, it is a lousy way to get data into QuickBooks. It is limited, it has the potential for creating corrupted data in QB, it is not being updated to keep up with the product.

      Products that work with QB should use either the QuickBooks SDK or the Intuit Anywhere (IPP) interface (which is more complicated to set up). Or, create an export file in CSV format (for example) and use a tool like the Transaction Pro Importer to import data.

      • I’ve been using the IIF format for years (for backward compatibility reasons) and I found the same INVOICE problem with TERMS and DUEDATE in QB 2013. Previous versions did not honor the TERMS code in an IIF but it did allowed you do supply the DUEDATE. The DUEDATE feature is now broken along with TERMS.

        I was under the same understanding that Intuit had stopped any work on IIF functionality but I was surprised (pleasantly) that they fixed this same TERMS problem in 2013 when importing BILLS via IIF. That tells me they touched the IIF code to fix it and likely broke the DUEDATE functionality for INVOICES.

        Based on the (fairly) new availability of an IIF toolkit and the continued availability of help on this subject, I suspect that they are loath to abandon IIF entirely because too many people are still using it. And there are still Use Cases that require a file import.

        Just my humble opinion.

        • Kristopher – I can’t say that Intuit is totally ignoring IIF. I agree with you that they are holding on to it because there are so many people (and some addon services) that still rely on it. They do muck around with it a bit, although the break that you refer to might not be a change direclty in the “IIF code”, it is possible that the break is due to a change in some other portion of the program.

          However, a few points:
          o Intuit clearly states that they don’t want developers to use IIF any more.
          o IIF has almost no error checking capability, so it is unreliable and should be avoided.
          o There has been an IIF toolkit around for quite a few years.
          o IIF development is stunted, at best. You don’t see new tables or new fields being added (there may be some rare exceptions to that, but very rare).

          They continue to include it for historical compatibility, but as they continue to add fields and tables to the database it gets less and less useful.

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