How Do I Change the Number of Companies Displayed When Starting QuickBooks?

By default, QuickBooks shows the most recent 2 company files you’ve opened in QuickBooks, but this number can be easily changed. The program can display up to 20 companies.

The most direct way to change it is to first open a company file, and then click on the Set number of previous companies… on the File->Open Previous Company menu. That menu is shown below.

Enter the number of companies you’d like to display (from 1 to 20) and click Ok.

This setting is stored in the QBWUSER.INI file, which you can locate and edit using the Tech Help window.

The setting is recorded as:


Sometimes, in multi-user configurations, efforts to save the file might be unsuccessful and may or may not be accompanied by an error message. If you can’t save the file, check your folder permissions on the folder where the QBWUSER.INI file is located.

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  1. When I open the “open previous company” drop down, my “set the number of previous companies” is shaded, thus I’m not able to make the change there. Is this because I refuse to install updates to my 2011 version?

    • Chief Mechanic says:

      I doubt it’s connected to your update status. 2 things come to mind: you have to have a company file open to do this, and you have to have administrator privileges for that company. Are both of those things true for when you attempted to do this?

  2. Thanks for the tip – I would have been searching for that forever under Preferences. How bizarre!