Introducing: A smarter way to select Customers

News posted by David Mays 9 years ago

Hi there! My name is David and I'm one of the Developers at Clear Books. I thought I'd take this opportunity to use the new News Feed to let you all know about a new feature that we've been working on.

Over the coming days, you'll notice that the Customers field will start to behave differently. Up to now, the Customer option for Invoices has been a drop-down menu where you scroll through the list until you find the Customer you're looking for. Now, you'll be able to search through Customers by typing with your keyboard. Clicking the Customers field will open a menu as before, so you can still scroll through the options by hand, but you will now also have the choice to filter your list down to relevant names.


The search supports partial searches and initials and will also be able to suggest names with very similar spellings and allow you to find name with spelling mistakes, so for example:

  • "Tim" would give you "Tim Fouracre"
  • "Fouracre" would also give you "Tim Fouracre"
  • "Jon" would return "John Smith"
  • "JS" would also return "John Smith"

Once you have highlighted the Customer you're looking for, you can press TAB or ENTER to select it, or you can click on it with your mouse. If you want to cancel your selection, you can click away from the control or press ESC on your keyboard.

Once the feature goes live, you'll be able to use this control to select Customers and Projects on Invoices, Credit Notes, Quotes and Purchase Orders, and to select Suppliers for Bills.

If you're one of our users who has amassed a respectable number of Customer, then I'm sure you'll find this change very welcome.

We would really appreciate any feedback you could give us on this new feature - praise and problems are very welcome!

25 Replies

The ability to search customer by other elements such as email address would be highly advantageous.

Especially when you have 20+ John Smiths in the list there is no way of being able to see which one is correct.

This is an actual major concern for me and is impacting on ability to use Clearbooks. We have many customers with the same name and even company name but from different countries.

It can be near impossible to select the right customer when doing something like a refund if there are many with the same name.

That's great to know.

I honest, the way the system works at the moment means we are limited to display the name only; the new component only adds search functionality to what's there - with what's there being the name only.

Clearly, your suggestion is how things should end. But it's a bit more work on our side at the moment, although it might not be in a couple of months when we deploy some new technologies that'll make such search feature easier to implement.

I'll have to discuss this in broader settings.

But thanks very much for pointing this out - amazingly useful.

Hi Andy,

Good suggestion alright - definitely something we should look at in the future, and thank you for pointing this out.

Just wonder how urgent is this? Have you (or others) had many customers with same names? Is this a hypothetical an actual concern?

It would be good to be able to toggle the smart search on / off in user preferences in the meantime.

The main Search does show more details about customers so it is possible.

It would be much better if more actions were available from the Customer page other than just Create Invoice.

Given some feedback from users, we have now reverted to the old field behaviour.

We are working on improving this field, accounting for users' feedback including Andy's one.

Could we have the new behaviour 'toggle-able' in labs - it was very popular in our office?

Absolutely gutted you've gone back to old approach, hope it won't be for too long.

Guess you can't please everyone though and if it was causing them issues then fair enough.

Have the good ideas in here been submitted as Ideas so other users can vote?


Hello Paul, Kevin and Graeme,

Paul, we did intend to have this as a toggle feature but we will be looking at doing that once the new search box is implemented.

Kevin, we are hoping to bring the same feature but it needs to be adjusted to be more inclusive of the existing functions. For example, the project was ignored if it was pre-assigned under the entity's details. We want the new search box will take all of these into account.

Graeme, the Ideas on the Community can be searched on the top right. If you find an Idea you like, you can post a thumbs up to it.


Hopefully this is not just invoices but every single customer select, reports, reconciliation etc?

Hi James,

That's the plan. But it will be enrolled in stages - we can't just replace all selects in one go, we have to do this one by one (sort of, similar select boxes will be quicker).

We are working on this as we speak, but we're building the solution on modern technologies, so the process is slower than usual.

Other than email address, any suggestions to what else you can search by?

Currently we'll be allowing by:

  • name
  • email

Quick play, seems to work a dream. Thumbs up from me!

Nothing is happening for me. Do I heed to toggle something?


Hi Graeme:

  • Please try to refresh the page (I'm sure you did, but just in case).
  • Please confirm you still see the old select list (without the ability to search the items, like in the industry field see above).
  • Please let us know which browser you are using (and which version - it's in the about menu).


"Please try to refresh the page (I'm sure you did, but just in case)."

It works now. Very well.

So sorry!


Hi Graeme,

Could you still let me know which browser you are using (no need for a version)? We suspect this is a cache issue with Chrome - but only myself and another developer experienced it (both of us visited that page within an hour or two before the feature went live). We just need to see if it is indeed an issue (albeit, a simple refresh solves it).

Thanks, Roey

An update:

  • We have written that component from scratch as part of a larger User Interface library (using new web technologies - none of the existing components met our requirements or code quality standards).
  • As such, we have decided to integrate it first in a part of the system less commonly visited by users - Settings > Organisation > Details > Contact Details.
  • We'll have it there for a week or two, solve any issues that may appear, and then iterate through other pages, starting from invoices.
  • It would be great if you can visit that page, try it out, and give us feedback.

For a faster workflow, you can use the following keys:

  • Up/Down arrows - navigate the options.
  • Tab - selects the current option (and moves to the next field).
  • Enter - selects the current option (But stays on the field).



Also, for a faster workflow, you can use the following keys:

  • Up/Down arrows - navigate the options.
  • Tab - selects the current option (and moves to the next field).
  • Enter - selects the current option (But stays on the field).

I also got a cache issue with chrome at first.

When I refresh the page in chrome I can see the type and industry fields duplicated next to the originals, they disappear after the page has loaded fully.

OK, we'll be looking into this.

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