NetSuite Tutorial: 6 NetSuite Basics You Need to Know

     NetSuite is an all-encompassing enterprise resourcing system used to manage business inventory, observe financials, and closely monitor customer relationships. 

     Our NetSuite consultants have compiled the most important basics you need to know to start working with NetSuite.

     This is the first in a series of guides and videos created as a comprehensive NetSuite tutorial


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NetSuite Tutorial: 6 Basic Tasks to Master   

     Now that you, or your business, have chosen NetSuite, it’s important to learn the basics of the system. Our team of NetSuite experts has years of experience instructing customers on how to use NetSuite so that it’s easy to understand. 

     Here are six tasks every new NetSuite user should master. 

1. How to Log In to NetSuite

     To login to the NetSuite system go to In the upper right-hand side of the screen, click log in to access the login screen. Enter your work email address and password (if you aren't sure what email address or password you should be using, reach out to your system administrator.) 

     Logging in to NetSuite for the First Time

     If you're logging into NetSuite for the first time, you'll be asked to make a password for your account. 

     After creating a password, you'll be prompted to set up three security questions. If you ever need to reset your password with the forgot your password function, you'll need to correctly answer these questions, so make sure you remember the answers! (NetSuite security is taken seriously.)

NetSuite security questions

     Once you've created a strong password and answered security questions, you'll be taken to the NetSuite dashboard. 

     If you are unsure of your password or email address, contact your system administrator. Clicking remember me allows the browser to remember your password and email address. 

2. NetSuite Roles

     NetSuite roles are used to give specific permissions to certain users. Here's how to switch between your own roles, assign roles, and customize roles. 

What are NetSuite Roles?

     When a user is given access to NetSuite, they are assigned one or more roles. A role defines what that user can see within the system. 

     The role is shown in the top right-hand side of the screen next to the name of the user, 

as seen in the screenshot below. 

NetSuite role selection

     If you're a user with multiple roles assigned to you, you can switch between roles by hovering over your username in the top right corner and selecting another role.

     The main difference between roles is what the navigation bar at the top of the screen shows. Depending on your role, the tabs on your home dashboard could look different and have different options.  NetSuite navigation bar

     To Assign a Role in NetSuite:
  • From the setup page go to roles.
  • Click assign on the role you’d like to assign.
  • In the drop-down, look for the name of the user you’d like to assign the role.
  • Select a user, then click add to assign the user to a role. When assigning a role, you can choose between NetSuite's standard roles or create a custom role. 

NetSuite’s Standard Roles

     Standard roles have predefined permissions and are available by default. There are standard roles for most users and tend to align with job titles, such as "Accountant," "CFO," or "Sales Rep." When assigning a role, the user can choose from a list of standard roles or create a custom role. 

NetSuite’s Custom Roles

     If you want to assign a user-specific permission or access within NetSuite that aren't covered by any of the standard roles, you’ll need to create a custom role. 

     To Create a Custom Role:

  • Go to setup > users/roles > manage roles > new
  • Select a name for the role.
  • The system will make an id for the role, but you can change it to a different format if needed. 
  • Select the center type for which this role is applicable. There are three types of center roles to choose from: employee center, vendor center, and partner center. Most often, you’ll be using the employee center: 
    • Employee center - allows the user to track and approve time, enter and approve expense reports, respond to cases, and update personal information. 
    • Vendor center- gives vendors access to records including bills, payments, and their company's contact information 
    • Customer center - gives customers access to their personal estimates, orders, payments, cases, and contact information

     After creating the customer NetSuite role, you’ll need to assign the following permissions and restrictions: 

     Employee Restrictions: 

  • None - no default: There are no user-restrictions
  • None - default to own: There are no user restrictions on what can be selected. This field will select the user by default. 
  • Own, subordinate, and unassigned: Users are restricted when selecting the sales rep, supervisor, and/or employee fields. Users will only have the option to select themselves or those in positions underneath them. If the select field option is available, the user can put the value as unassigned. 
  • Own and subordinates only: Users are restricted when selecting any of the sales rep, supervisor, and/or employee fields. Users can access records from their supervisors that have been assigned. 

     If “own, subordinate, and unassigned” or “own and subordinates only” are selected, you will have the option to use the “Allow Viewing” checkbox. This allows the user access to the role, but does not let them edit the information. Records can be viewed using department restrictions filtering. 

     Department, Location, and Class Restrictions:

  • Do Not Restrict Employee Fields: When this box is checked, the user can select any employee in the employee select fields. 
  • Allow Cross-Subsidiary Record Viewing: Check this box to allow the user access to records for subsidiaries. They will be unable to edit the information. 
  • Restrict Time and Expenses: Check the boxes for “Track Time” and “Expenses Report” if you want to restrict the signed-in user access to the “Time and Expense Report.” The user will be unable to enter the “Time and Expense Report,” but they will be able to view expense reports for subordinates. 
  • Sales Role: Make sure this box is checked if the custom role is being used for sales. 
  • Support Role: Check this box if the role is being used for customer services and support.

3. NetSuite Tabs

     Tabs are used to access information within NetSuite. 

     Hover over the main tab to show the categories, and move your mouse down over the categories to show the individual links that can be clicked on. 

     For example, from the sales and operations role going to customers > relationships > customers would take you to a list of all customers. Going to leads > relationships > leads would take you to a list of all leads.

NetSuite customers tab

 4. NetSuite’s Shortcuts Portlet

     Another way to navigate within the system is to use the shortcuts portlet on the home dashboard. This dashboard is always displayed after you logged in, but can also be accessed at any time by clicking on the home button. 

NetSuite shortcuts portlet

     Clicking on a shortcut takes you directly to that screen or page within NetSuite. For example, clicking on items will take you directly to the items list. 

     Shortcuts can also be accessed from anywhere in NetSuite by clicking on the "star" icon in the top left of the screen. 

Add a Shortcut to a Page: 

  • Go to the page you want to create a shortcut for. 
  • On the page, click the star icon
  • Click Add to Shortcuts
  • Click open in a new window
  • Click save.

Add a Shortcut from the Shortcuts Portlet:

  • On the shortcuts portlet, click new shortcut
  • Enter a name for the shortcut. 
  • Copy the URL of the page you want to add the shortcut for.
  • Click open in new window
  • Click save.

Removing a Shortcut: 

  • Go to set up in the shortcuts portlet menu. 
  • Uncheck the enable box for the shortcut(s) you want to remove. (If you see a shortcut with an asterisk, that means it was created for your role and you may not be able to remove them.)
  • Click save.

Renaming a Shortcut:

  • Go to set up in the shortcuts portlet menu. 
  • Click the name in the label field. 
  • Rename it. 
  • Click save.

Reordering Shortcut Links:

  • Go to set up in the shortcuts portlet menu. 
  • Click the shortcut to select it. 
  • Use the drag-gripper to reorder the shortcut. 
  • Click save.

Adding a Portlet to the NetSuite Dashboard

     You can add a portlet to your NetSuite dashboard as long as it was not published in Locked mode by your NetSuite administrator. 

  • Click personalize dashboard in the settings portlet, and you'll see a menu open at the top of the page. 
  • If you click on the currently used tab, you'll see the portlets that already exist on your dashboard. 
  • Navigate through the other tabs, clicking or dragging portlet icons to add it to your dashboard. 
  • Hover your mouse over a portlet to know how many portlets you can have in a category. For example, if you were to add an analytics portlet, NetSuite would tell you that it can display up to 5 analytics charts. To remove a portlet, go to the portlet menu and click remove

5. NetSuite Preferences

     NetSuite allows users to customize certain parts of the system with personal preferences. These preferences include email signature, default printing settings, etc. To access the preferences, hover over the home icon and then click on set preferences.

How to Add an Email Signature to NetSuite

     To add your email signature, copy and paste it into the box shown in the screenshot below. 

NetSuite set preferences tab

     Note that email signatures that have images or multiple lines will need to be in HTML format. You may need to contact your system administrator for assistance in setting this up. Select add signature to messages to include your signature in all emails sent from NetSuite. Be sure to save any changes made by clicking save

Change Your "From" Email Address in NetSuite

     If you have a "from" email address different from the email address you use to login to NetSuite and you want all outgoing emails to be sent from this email instead, you can change that in the preferences. Click on the "From Email Address" box shown in the screenshot below, then click save.

NetSuite set preferences tab

 6. NetSuite Global Search

     Located at the top of the screen, NetSuite’s global search bar is the easiest way to quickly find any information in NetSuite. Global search allows you to search against all information that you have access to within NetSuite.

     Search for one particular type of record using the prefixes feature, which is one of our favorite NetSuite tips and tricks. Prefixes locate specific types of records using the prefix followed by a colon and your related record search. For example, "cu:" followed by the search text will return only customer results matching the text, or the “ve:.” will locate vendors.

     Here's a list of prefixes available to use in the search area:

  • co: contact
  • cu:  customer
  • in: invoice number
  • invo: invoice
  • it: item
  • op: opportunity
  • pu: purchase order
  • qu: quote
  • sa: sales order/cash sale
  • ve: vendor
  • wa: warehouse transfer

     The prefixes will only work if your role has access to those types of records.

Our Certified NetSuite Consultants Can Help

     Want to know more about NetSuite? SCS Cloud’s team of NetSuite consultants is here to help. If you’re interested in further NetSuite training or are looking for an effective NetSuite integration plan, contact us to schedule your free NetSuite consultation.

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