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Sample Company File in QuickBooks - Valuable Tool for Self-Study

Have you ever wondered what would happen in your QuickBooks file if you performed certain operations, but were too afraid to try? Did you know that you can experiment with your ideas, and not make a mess in your QuickBooks file?

When you installed your QuickBooks file, you also installed Sample Company files. Intuit designed these so that you could experiment with any idea or concept you have, and not take a chance messing up your own file.

Best Way to Experiment in a Sample QuickBooks File

Open a sample company file, and perform the operation you want to try. Then, to check its effect, run reports.

For example, if you are unsure what will happen if you establish a new item, establish it in the sample file. Go to the Items list of the sample file, press Control-N, and set it up however you think it should be. Then, go to the Write Checks, Enter Bills, or Invoice screen and use it in a transaction.

Next, run reports. If you assigned the item to an Income, Cost, or Expense account, run a Profit & Loss report to find the transaction there.

If you assigned a Bank, Asset, Liability, or Equity account to the Item when establishing it, run a Balance Sheet report to find it.

You can also run a report on the Item itself. From the Items list, highlight the item. Right click. Scroll down to run a QuickReport. You will see all of the transactions where that Item was used.

Be sure to verify the date range on the reports. The date you assigned to the transaction needs to fall within the date range of the report you run.

How to Locate a Sample Company File in QuickBooks - Two Ways

First Way

1. Open QuickBooks. If the screen asks for you password, click Cancel. If the screen does not ask for your password (simply opening your QB file instead), go to File > Close Company/Logoff. Either way, you should now be at the No Company Open screen.

2. From the No Company Open screen, click the button on the far right. It should say, "Open a Sample File." This will allow you to open a sample company.

Second Way

1. Follow this path to find where the sample files are located:

Start > My Computer > C drive (or where ever your data files are located) > Program Files > Intuit

The sample company files are probably located in the Intuit folder, rather than in the QuickBooks folder containing your real company's file. If they are not in the Intuit folder, check the folder that has your real company's file (usually looks like QuickBooks 2007, or whichever year you use). Once you find a sample file, make a note of where it is located. Do not open it from this window.

2. Open QuickBooks. From the File menu, select Open or Restore Company.

3. The specific instructions vary slightly, depending on the year of QuickBooks you are running. The general idea is to navigate to the folder of the sample company file you found in step one. Once you do that, double click the sample file to open it. It should open and be ready to use.

Final Thoughts

Teaching yourself how to use your QuickBooks file is a money-saving way to find out what you need to know. You no longer need to be afraid of what a certain transaction will do, because you can find out right now by experimenting in a sample QuickBooks file. Try it today and see if you don't learn a lot about QuickBooks.

Jennifer A. Thieme is a Certified ProAdvisor who loves to teach people about QuickBooks. Visit to find out more about her services.

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