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Exploring Sage 50

This is a great place to start learning Sage 50 Complete Accounting. You will explore the Bellwether Garden Supply data files and learn how to navigate in Sage 50 by learning the key parts of the main window in Sage 50.

The concepts covered in this topic are listed below:

Open the Bellwether Garden Supply data files

The first place to start is to open Sage 50 Complete Accounting. You should see the following window:

The Sage 50 initial startup screen

Image of Sage 50 initial startup screen

There are two ways you can open the Bellwether Garden Supply data files from this initial startup screen:

No. Description
1 Open an existing company:
Click the Open an existing company image. In the Open an Existing Company window that appears, click once on Bellwether Garden Supply to highlight it, and then click OK. If you do not see Bellwether Garden Supply in the list of company names, click 'Browse'. In the 'Open Company' window that appears, select Bellwether Garden Supply from the list of company names to highlight it, and then click OK.
2 Explore a sample company:
Click the Explore a sample company link. In the Explore a Sample Company window that appears, select Bellwether Garden Supply from the list and click OK.

Illustration of the Sage 50 main window

Welcome to the Sage 50 main window! No matter which way you opened the data file for Bellwether Garden Supply, you will now be presented with the Sage 50 main window. You use this main window as the basis from which to record transactions and perform many accounting tasks in Sage 50. The screenshot below shows an example of the Sage 50 main window. Notice that reference numbers are written next to several parts of the window. These are explained in the table that follows.

The Sage 50 main window with reference numbers

Main Sage 50 window
No. Description
1 Name of the Sage 50 window (Title Bar):
The Sage 50 main window usually starts with the name of the company whose data files are currently open followed by Sage 50 Accounting. If you open the data files of multiple companies simultaneously, Sage 50 will display the word 'Active' at the beginning of the title bar.
2 Menu Bar:
The menu bar is a horizontal bar that shows the main menus in Sage 50.
3 System Date:
The System Date icon shows the date that will be automatically applied when you open a Sage 50 window to record a transaction.

That date is not the same as your computer's date so changing the system date in Sage 50 will not affect the dates of other programs you are currently running or planning to use in the future.
4 Accounting Period:
This icon shows the current accounting period number followed by the starting date and the end date of that accounting period.
5 Navigation Bar:
The Navigation Bar is positioned on the left side of the Sage 50 main window. Each icon in the Navigation Bar corresponds to a different Navigation Center (see point 7 below). Clicking on an icon in the Navigation Bar will open that particular Navigation Center, allowing users to quickly switch between Navigation Centers.
6 Selection indicator:
The selection indicator shows the name of the Navigation Center that is currently opened, which is Inventory & Services in the above illustration.
7 Navigation Center:
The Navigation Center is the area to the right of the Navigation Bar. A Navigation Center refers to a group of tasks and information that pertains to a specific area of a business. Users can only access one Navigation Center at a time by clicking the icons on the Navigation Bar. There are seven (relevant) Navigation Centers in Sage 50:

  1. Business Status
  2. Customers & Sales
  3. Vendors & Purchases
  4. Inventory & Services
  5. Employees & Payroll
  6. Banking
  7. System
Note that Sage 50 2017 adds two new Navigation Centers (being 'Payment Center' and 'Services') but they require the purchase of additional subscription services from Sage and the use of the cloud-based file saving option. As such, those Navigation Centers are not available in the Student version of the Sage 50 software and are not covered in this Sage 50 Learning Center website.
8 Tabs:
Some Navigation Centers, such as the Inventory & Services Navigation Center, may have tabs displayed at the top of the Navigation Center. These tabs allows users to access the tasks section and the management section in the appropriate Navigation Center.
9 Tasks section:
The most frequently used part of the Navigation Center is the Tasks section. The example above shows the Inventory & Services Tasks section. The Tasks section contains icons that represent tasks that can be performed in that section. These tasks are divided into two categories; maintenance tasks and information processing tasks.
10 Maintenance task icons:
The top part of the Tasks section provides maintenance icons that you will use to enter, change, and store information about companies, inventory items, vendors, customers and so on. It may help to think of these icons as a place where you access the master files of the business for that particular Navigation Center. These icons are often used during the setup process.
11 Information processing task icons:
The lower part of the Tasks section shows a graphical flow of tasks that relates to a particular business area. This section is used to record and process transactions relating to a particular business cycle.
12 Specific task option:
When a task icon is clicked, Sage 50 often provides a drop-down list that allows users to select the specific task that they want to perform. Selecting an option from this drop-down list will open a Sage 50 window where the information related to that task is entered.
13 Shortcuts
Here you will find a list of shortcuts to commonly used windows in Sage 50. For example, clicking the Sales Invoice shortcut will open the Sales/Invoicing window where you can enter sales without having to first open the Customers & Sales Navigation Center. If you are completing the Sage 50 Practice Set, you will use the General Journal Entry shortcut to enter adjusting entries.

An example of a Sage 50 window

The following illustration is an example of a Sage 50 window where information is recorded. Reference numbers have been added to the image below to help you understand the terms used to describe parts common to many Sage 50 windows. In this case the Maintain Inventory Items window is illustrated.

An example of a Sage 50 window with reference numbers

An example of a Sage 50 window
No. Description
1 Name of the Sage 50 window:
In this case, the name of the Sage 50 window is Maintain Inventory Items.
2 Toolbar icons:
The row of icons is often referred to as toolbar icons. Use the appropriate icon to close, save, delete or create a new record.
3 Previous and Next icons:
Press these arrow icons to see records preceding or following the one that you are currently viewing.
4 Tabs:
A Sage 50 window may have two or more tabs. Click appropriate tabs to enter or review existing information in a record.
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