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QuickBooks 2013 – Group Item Limit Increase

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In QuickBooks 2013, the Group Item limit has been increased to 50 in Pro and Premier – this means that a single QuickBooks Group Item can hold up to a total of 50 individual items!

QuickBooks tipsI’m a big fan of QuickBooks Group Items, I think that they are a HUGE productivity booster – but I’ve always had one gripe – they could only hold 20 items in previous versions of QuickBooks – which meant that you had to create more group items in order to accomplish what you set out to do.  This has changed with the release of QuickBooks 2013.  With the increased number of items that a group can hold, these item types will be even more powerful.

While some of you may know, I’m not a fan of QuickBooks 2013 – the new color scheme and font sizes and colors give me a wicked headache – which makes it difficult for me to work in it for any length of time; actually 30 minutes is about all I can handle before my eyes start to hurt and burn, even first thing in the morning after a good nights sleep.  But just because I don’t like it because I can’t work in it and be as productive as I usually am – doesn’t mean that there are features and changes that I do like!

I’ve never really understood why more of our construction clients don’t use Group Items – maybe it’s because it’s an item that isn’t discussed much or perhaps they just don’t realize they exist.  One tech support call that I receive a lot with our AIA Billing program involves being asked “How can I track more detail then I show on my AIA draws?  I need/want to track labor, materials, equipment rental, etc. , but I only want my customer to see a single line item description with a total dollar amount.”  My answer is always the same – create a Group Item, and they are like “huh?”.  Once I walk them through how to find the initial setup and creation of a group item, the usual response is “I didn’t know you could do that!”.

I often see users on the Intuit QuickBooks User forums asking how they can “memorize” an Estimate to use over and over again – why not create a group item that contains everything that you need to build your estimate?

What if for some of your customers you want to show only a “summary or single line item” with the total amount and for others you want to show all the detail?  Easy create the group twice, once leaving the option to Print Items in Group unchecked (for the single line) and once with that same option checked – just make sure that when you create the name for the group item that you distinguish whether it’s a Summary or Detail.  You can do this by using the following naming conventions:

  • S-Item Name (for a single line entry)
  • D-Item Name (for a detailed listing of items)


If you upgrade to QuickBooks 2013 from an older version and already use Group Items but have maxed them out at the previous limit of 20; once you’ve upgraded your file you can Edit an existing group and add another 30 items.  I tested this and the new items only appear on new Estimates, Invoices, etc. that you create from this point forward.  Your original or existing Estimates, Invoices, etc. remain unchanged – or at least that’s the way it worked in my test file..

I’m not certain if Enterprise allows for more than 50 items, to be honest, I haven’t even installed it yet – but it’s on my “To Do” list.

Take the time to properly set up your Group Items and reap the rewards on an on-going basis.  Seriously, would you rather create a group item once pulling in up to 50 specific items – OR – would you rather create Estimate after Estimate (or Invoice after Invoice) and each time pull in those 50 items?  Efficiency and productivity boosters like this help you work smarter!

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    About Your Host:

    Nancy Smyth, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

    Nancy Smyth, Sunburst Software Solutions, Inc.
    QuickBooks Construction & Payroll Expert

    I've been using and supporting QuickBooks products since the early 1990's. I've worked with thousands of contractors, assisting them with QuickBooks setup, Certified Payroll Reporting requirements, AIA Billing and Weighted-Average Overtime.

    QuickBooks is a powerful product, but learning how to use it in your construction business can be difficult. I hope you find resources available here to be helpful.

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