Keeping up with the details: custom fields for items

In a small business, details make all the difference. In QuickBooks for Mac, custom fields let you add details to items you buy and sell, and then use those details to create customized purchase orders, estimates, invoices, and other forms.

The problem

Boss Wong, the owner of Boss Wong’s Hogs, just stomped out of his storeroom. His order of 100 motorcycle saddle bags from his vendor Stuff Made of Leather arrived this morning. All 100 saddle bags in Boss Wong’s storeroom are dyed a delicate carnation pink with little yellow flowers. Boss Wong wanted black with chromed rivets. Whoops!

How to fix it

Using custom fields, Boss Wong can fix his purchase orders to Stuff Made of Leather so that he never gets pink saddlebags again. He goes to his Items list (Lists > Items). He edits the item Saddlebags, but he doesn’t see a Color field. So he makes a custom field by clicking Define Fields.

On the Define Fields window for Items, Boss Wong adds a custom field for “Color.” Because he usually buys and sells black stuff, he fills out the color field with “Black” right there on the custom fields window. That way, when he goes to add the field to his purchase order forms, it prefills “Black” as the color for every purchase order. If he needs a different color for a specific purchase, he can change it on that specific purchase order.

As an afterthought, he adds another custom field called Decoration. He doesn’t fill in any information for this one. That way, when he adds the Decoration field to his forms, he can fill it out with None, Rivets, or Yellow Daisies depending on what he needs at the time.

But wait, there’s more…

As he plays with the custom fields for items feature in QuickBooks, Boss Wong learns a couple of other things:

  • He can add up to five customized fields for each item in his Item list.
  • He also learns that while he can fill in all kinds of different information for his custom fields–jet black, midnight black, and soft black–when he filters a report based on Color it’s best to just enter “black” to get the best results.
  • Lastly, he can use custom fields to add information to his vendors, customers, and employees in QuickBooks.

But most importantly, thanks to custom fields, Boss Wong will never have to worry about ordering the pink saddlebags again.

About Liz Hamill Scott

Liz Hamill Scott is the newest member of the QuickBooks for Mac team, but she's no stranger to QuickBooks. For the last few years, Liz has used QuickBooks for Mac to track the many expenses she incurs as a travel, food, and lifestyle writer. The author of The Imperfect Traveler's Guide to Traveling With Pain, five Moon Handbook travel guides to California and numerous magazine, newspaper, and blog articles, Liz loves advocating for travelers with hidden disabilities and takes the business of being a sole proprietor seriously. You can find Liz on the web at See all of Liz's articles

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