Prepare Sidebar

Updated: 2022-05-09

  1. Click Prepare on the side of the window or press F7 to see a list of forms.
  2. Scroll up and down the list to see all the forms.
  3. Double-click on a category heading to open or close the category and see or hide the list of forms.
  4. Click on a form to open it.
  5. Form icons change based on the data in the form and whether it contains errors.

Pin the Sidebar

The pin at the bottom of the sidebar locks the sidebar in an open or closed state:

Screen Capture: Pin the Sidebar

If the pin points downwards, the sidebar is "pinned" and locked in its current state, either open or closed. You must click on the sidebar to open or close it.

If the pin points left, the sidebar is "unpinned" it slides out when you hover over it. When unpinned, the sidebar also appears if you click on a link or icon in a review message when it appears on a field. It then closes again once the sidebar is no longer needed.

Move the Sidebar

You can move the sidebar from one side of the window to the other by clicking the arrow with a vertical line at the bottom of the sidebar.

Screen Capture: Move Sidebar

Screen Capture: Prepare Sidebar Overview


  1. Click the drop-down menu at the top of the Prepare sidebar to change the view. The default shows All Forms.
  2. The number next to the view indicates the number of forms in that view.
  3. Some views filter based on the Data in the forms, such as those containing data carried forward from the prior year. Or, data imported from Auto-fill my return (AFR).
  4. The views under Review show forms that may require more review because they contain review messages, overrides, memos, tapes, variance, attachments, etc.
  5. Select a common Situation to see forms applicable to that situation as well as any other forms used in the return.

Common Tax Situations

To make it easier to prepare returns for common tax situations, the list includes views for common tax situations , such as (for T1 returns): student forms, seniors' forms, business forms and non-resident forms. When you select one of these views, the sidebar shows the forms common to that tax situation and any other forms that are used in the return.

For example, select Student Forms to see:

  • T4, T4A, T5 and tuition (T2202/TL11) slips
  • OtherCredits, RRSP contributions and Student Loan worksheets
  • T1 jacket and Schedules 1, 4 and 11

Use these forms as a starting point for preparing a return for a student. If you need additional forms not in the list, open them using F4 Fast Find, or switch views for a moment to find the forms. As soon as you enter data, it will appear in the situational view.

Screen Capture: Views in the Prepare Sidebar

Forms Checklist

To use the Prepare sidebar as a checklist, enable the option:

Screen Capture: Use prepare forms list as a checklist

  1. Go to the File menu, then click Options.
  2. On the left side of the dialog box, expand Return Preparation and click on Sidebar.
  3. Check Use prepare forms list as a checklist.

Once enabled, each form shows a check box in the sidebar. Use these in conjunction with views to check off each form as you complete data entry or review. Review check marks to the left of each form no longer show when you use this mode.

Screen Capture: Checklist

For speed, use keyboard shortcuts to move through the list:

  • F7 opens the checklist.
  • Up Arrow and Down Arrow moves through the list of forms
  • Spacebar checks a box
  • Left Arrow key closes a category/folder
  • Right Arrow key open a category/folder
  • F6 or Enter open the highlighted form and checks the box
  • Esc moves the keyboard focus from the checklist to the currently-open form
  • Ctrl+Page Down moves to the next checked form
  • Ctrl+Page Up moves to the previous checked form

Multi-copy Forms and Slips in the Prepare Sidebar

  1. Each slip or multi-copy form appears separately in the Prepare sidebar, with the name of the business or issuer.
  2. Click on the copy to jump straight to that slip or form.
  3. The option to create a new slip or multi-copy form always stays in the sidebar: click on it to go to a blank slip or form.

Screen Capture: Multiple T4 Slips

Form Section Navigator

The form section navigator at the bottom of the Prepare sidebar allows you to jump to a specific section in the form currently open on screen.

  1. Click the show link at the bottom of the sidebar to display a list of headings on the current form.
    Screen Capture: Show the Section Navigator
  2. Click on a heading to jump to the top of that section.
  3. The heading that appears in bold indicates the section where your cursor is currently positioned on the form.
  4. If there are many sections, you may need to scroll to see all the headings.
  5. Click the hide link to collapse the section navigator again.
    Screen Capture: Sections: T2125