We’re not at the paperless office stage yet, but attaching documents to your QuickBooks records and transactions can move you closer.

If you’ve ever had your taxes prepared by a professional who uses state-of-the-art techniques, you’ve probably seen him or her scan all of your W-2s and 1099s and other documents and hand them back to you.

Of course, you still have the original paper, but your preparer doesn’t need to make copies and stick them in an overflowing file somewhere.

You have the same capability in QuickBooks, using the QuickBooks Attached Documents feature. You can either scan paper documents and attach them to records or transactions, or simply attach existing files from your hard drive.

You’ve probably seen an icon like this in your QuickBooks toolbar:

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Your QuickBooks toolbar should contain an icon like this (screen shown is from QuickBooks 2013).

It’s easy to attach a file from your computer storage. Click on the Attach File icon in the toolbar, then click the Computer icon in the dialog box that opens. Another box will open, giving you access to your system and its drives and file folders. Browse to the correct location and double-click on the one you want. That box will close, and you’ll see that your file has been added to your Attachments list.

To add more information about the attachment for your reference, highlight the filename and click the View Details icon. A small window will open with fields for your information. Other icons let you open the document or detach it. When you’re finished attaching, click Done.

You can access the attached files by opening the transaction or record and clicking the Attach File icon again.

To scan a document and attach it, click on the Scanner icon. The QuickBooks Scan Manager will open. Choose the Scan Profile that you want and click Scan, after making sure that the correct scanner is selected. QuickBooks lets you preview your scan and modify its orientation, etc., and then saves it to the Doc Center.

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The QuickBooks Scan Manager. If you haven’t worked much with your scanner, a QuickBooks class can walk you through the basics of using this tool.

There are a few other things you should know about attaching documents in QuickBooks:

  • If you see the Attach icon in the toolbar, you can attach a document to the form in that screen. Most windows in QuickBooks will allow this. Some exceptions are sales representatives and customer messages.
  • You can attach files of any type.
  • You can attach files of any size (as long as your system storage will accommodate them).
  • Any given form can host unlimited attachments.
  • When you do a backup, QuickBooks does not include attachments.
  • You can save documents that didn’t originate from your local system to your desktop.

You can learn how to use QuickBooks Attached Documents without taking a QuickBooks training course, but you may want to study up on Windows file management basics before working with this tool if you don’t have much experience.

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