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Grouping Items in the QuickBooks Item list

Many people have complained to me that they have thousands of items in their item list and they find it very difficult to find the items they need especially if they don’t know the exact name.  What they don’t realize is that you can group items together so they all fall in the same place.

For example, let’s say I sell Jewelry.  Now we all know that if I want to track my inventory, I have to create every necklace, bracelet, ring and earrings as a separate item.  Even further, I have to create each variation in size or color as a separate item as well.  Obviously, this can create a huge item list and make things very hard to find.  If I use parent and sub items, life will be easier.

First you want to create an item for the first group.  I create an inventory item called “Necklaces.”  I setup the item as normal but this item will NOT carry an inventory quantity.  Now I can create all my necklaces as separate items and make them all subs of “Necklaces” by choosing the “Subitem of” box and entering in the “Necklaces” item. 

To take it a step further, let’s say that we sell 3 different necklaces that all come in either Gold or Silver. You could even have a sub of a sub! For example, make the necklaces header. Then create the Gold and Silver items and make them both subs to Necklaces. Then create the 3 final items, subbing each one to the proper gold or silver choice.  

Now by doing it this way, when you are on an invoice, in the item dropdown you can type in necklaces and see all the necklaces.  You could also type in Gold and see all the gold necklaces. 

I’m sure you are able to picture all the different ways you can use parent and sub items to help organize your item list.  For more examples, visit

Keep in mind, that just like in the Chart of Accounts, once you have sub items in the list, never choose the parent item on a transaction. Always choose one of the lowest level subs!

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