What is a category?
A category is a means of classifying products and services you sell to customers. Categorizing what you sell can help you better understand sales volume and who’s buying what. Categories also make it easier for employees to account for inventory correctly and with minimal effort.
Additionally, categories save you time when completing transaction forms, since you can search for items by category.

How do I set up categories?
When you create (or edit) an item, or service, you can select its category (or subcategory) from the drop down. Or you can create a new category by selecting Add new.
Alternately, you can also set up your categories by clicking on Manage Categories on the Products and Services list page and then adding new categories.

How do I edit or delete a category?
Go to All Lists (located under the company gear icon near the top of your screen), and select Categories. In the categories list, choose the category you want to edit. Click Edit to make your changes. You can alter the category name, its place in the hierarchy (moving it to the top level, or under and sub-category), or delete it by using the Remove button.
If you remove a category, or subcategory, items that are within it will be either moved up one sub-category level or reclassified as Uncategorized.

Are categories displayed on transaction forms (like invoices)?
Transaction forms display the full name of items and services (including categories). When you add an item or service to a transaction form, you can search by that item/service name, SKU, or category to add it to the form.

Can an item be classified in more than one category/subcategory?
No, items can only have one categorization. Note, however, that products that are placed in a subcategory also “live” in the parent category.

Can I import/export categories?
Yes, you can import categories the same way you import products and service via Excel. For instance if you specify an item as: Men’s Clothing: Pants in the import data file, we will create a category named Men’s Clothing and an item called Pants. US only: See  Import or export list data in QuickBooks Online

What happens if I already have sub-items?
If you are migrating from QuickBooks Pro/Premier, or have sub-items set up in QuickBooks Online, then any items or sub-items that have child items will be converted into categories (and we will maintain the hierarchy). Any sub-items (that have their own s ub-items) that have been used within transactions will now be converted into stand-alone items and we will create a Category that will house any lower level sub-items.

Note: Not applicable to all Australian Users.  ​
 

 

Categories FAQ's

I’d already set up parent items and sub-items. How do categories affect them?
Any items or sub-items that have child items will be converted into categories (and we will maintain the hierarchy). Any items or sub-items (that have their own sub-items) that have been used within transactions will now be converted into stand-alone items and we will also create a matching Category to house any lower level sub-items. All existing item names will remain the same.
 
Can I use categories within transaction forms?
No. Categories are used to categorize sellable or purchasable items, they are not intended to be used on transactions.  However, when adding items to your transactions, you can still search for those items by categories.
 
Can I reassign products and services to categories however I please?
Yes. Categories are meant to ease your processes. You can assign and reassign them however you want, to best suit your needs. Note that categories aren’t meant to be used on transactions.
 
Will using categories have an impact on the reports I run?
No. Reports are not impacted by category use.
 
Will using categories have an impact on my accounting?
No. While categories are great for gaining a better understanding of your sales, and make it easier for you and your employees to manage record keeping, they don’t directly impact your bottom line accounting.
 
Can I delete a category or subcategory? What happens if I do?
Yes, categories and subcategories can be deleted. When you delete a subcategory, any items or services within it “walk up” one level to their parent category or subcategory. When you delete a top-level category, all the products and services within it are reclassified as “uncategorized”.
 
Why does my products and services list look different?
We removed the sub-item indentations from the products and services list to make it easier to read. Additionally, QuickBooks displays line items with category information. If you want, you can also filter by one or more categories, so that only those are shown.

I see a category with “deleted” in the name. What does that mean?
When you switch from sub-items to Categories, inactive parent items appear with “deleted” in the category name. If you don't want to use it, you can easily remove it. Click the Gear icon > Products and Services. Click Manage categories. In the Action column, click the drop-down arrow and select Remove
If you want to continue using it, simply rename it. Click the Gear icon > Products and Services. Click Manage categories. In the Action column, click Edit. Then enter the new category name and click Save.
 
I don’t see the ability to use categories in my QuickBooks Online company. Why is that?
We’re releasing the categories function in stages. Those who use sub-items now get the opportunity to opt in earlier than others. After the opt in period, we’ll turn the function on for everyone.