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Xero’s new navigation – a simple, beautiful experience

Posted 4 years ago in Xero news by Rachel Bowater
Posted by Rachel Bowater

At Xero, we believe a simple experience is a beautiful experience. That’s why we’re simplifying the navigation within Xero to make sure that everyone can get on with daily tasks easily and efficiently. We’re launching the new navigation in the last week of November, but you’ll get a sneak peek from Tuesday 13 November.

The improvements we’re making are based on research and testing with hundreds of people, including accountants, bookkeepers and small business users, plus those brand new to Xero.

Once you’ve got used to the changes, it’ll be easier and more efficient to complete everyday tasks in Xero. For new users, it’ll be much quicker to learn and more obvious how to get to where they need to go.

The biggest differences are new and intuitive menus that will make it easy to find the tools you use most often – whether you’re a novice or an expert.

Here’s a closer look

When the new navigation is available, you’ll see a few things have moved and there are new headings, but everything you know and love about Xero is still here.

At the left hand side is the organisation menu which includes the file library, settings for the organisation, and links to apps that connect with Xero.

The dashboard is still there – and so is contacts.

New Business and Accounting menus

Everyday tasks have now been grouped more logically. The Business menu holds the tools that most small businesses use, like quoting, invoicing, bills, purchase orders, and expense claims. If you’re looking for ‘Inventory’, it’s now called ‘Products and services’ to better describe the information that people record here.

The Accounting menu leads to the compliance items that your accountant or bookkeeper uses often, including bank accounts, reports and advanced tools and settings such as chart of accounts, find and recode, and manual journals.

Financial settings, chart of accounts and tax rates are now in Advanced accounting. The reports and features and settings that you set as favourites show here.

  • Create a favourite report: Click the star on the report within Reports. It will appear in the ? Reports list on the dropdown menu.
  • Create a favourite advanced feature or setting: Click the star on the item within Advanced accounting or Reports and it will appear in the ? Advanced list.

All organisation info is now in one place

The top left of the navigation bar now features your organisation menu. If you have access to more than one organisation, you can switch between them easily or find them with a search.  Here’s where you’ll also find the ‘Demo Company’.

You’ll notice that ‘Files’ and business ‘Settings’ have moved here to keep everything related to an organisation in one place.

Under the new ‘Do more with Xero’ section, an organisation will be able to connect to third-party apps in the ‘App marketplace’, or to modules such as Xero Payroll and Xero Projects.

Settings related to the everyday running of organisations are in Organisation Settings

Search shortcuts will save you time

To get to areas of Xero even faster, click the forward slash (/) and the search box will open. Then type a single letter to get to popular tasks. For instance ‘i’ lets you access all invoices and ‘b’ leads to all bills. Here are the keyboard shortcuts:

a = bank accounts

b = bills

c = contacts

d = dashboard

e = employees

i = invoices

p = purchase orders

q = quotes

r = reports

There are additional shortcuts for jumping to commonly viewed screens, or to add new items in Xero.

More help and tools

For small businesses: check out these shortcuts to ease the transition

For accountants and bookkeepers: find everything you need to know in this blog post 

Jump in to see the new navigation and how it means a better way of working, and enjoy a more beautiful experience with Xero.


November 13, 2018 at 11.29 am

I got an email telling me about these changes, and it said to try it out in demo company, so i switched to demo company and i only get the old menus, whats the deal?

Dina Veljanovska in reply to alex
November 13, 2018 at 3.18 pm

Hi Alex – sorry about the confusion! As this is a global release we tried to pick a time that meant partners and small businesses in all our regions got the navigation in their demo company on the same date (13 November). This does mean though that with all the different timezones, some will see it in the morning and some later in the day. For NZ it will be available at approx. 7pm NZT. We hope you’ll check it out later this evening or tomorrow morning, and enjoy your new nav experience.

November 13, 2018 at 3.46 pm

So, to access reports is now going to take more clicks and basic things that haven’t been working for months, and in some cases now years, like the Monthly payment date in Payroll and the bank reconciliation summary reporting and the simpler BAS still haven’t been fixed. I want to advocate for Xero so badly but you make it so difficult when you keep introducing new features that are more time consuming and don’t fix the features that you do have that your customers are crying out for.

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Corinne
November 13, 2018 at 5.13 pm

Hi Corrine – thanks for your feedback and sorry to hear you’re frustrated. All your reports that have been favourited in the old navigation will still be available in the Account dropdown menu – and you can add any additional favourites by staring them on the Reports page. We understand it’s going to take a bit of getting used to but are confident once you do, the new nav will really be of benefit.

I know it can be hard too when it seems like you’re not getting the features you want. A useful blog that outlines some of the complexity of deciding what next to build is here and if you want to take a look at what is coming up you can view our feature timeline. If you haven’t formally requested any features or updates, please add your vote on the feature requests in the Xero Community


Rob Gage
November 13, 2018 at 11.36 pm

Hi to be honest I prefer the original version. It works perfectly fine as it is. More menus mean more clicks so less efficient. So tell me where is the VAT return as I can’t locate this on the new menus?

Joanne Tait in reply to Rob Gage Xero
November 14, 2018 at 11.27 am

Hi Rob – thanks for your feedback – nothing wrong with being honest!

The new nav is a really exciting foundational step for us though as it allows us expand on the Xero product and feature set within more logical groupings. We also have plans to start creating more tailored navigation experiences for our diverse range of users – so this is just the first step in the new direction. You can read more about this here.

VAT returns still live within the Reports page, accessed via Accounting > Reports. You can favourite reports by clicking the star next to them, and they will then appear in the Accounting dropdown menu too.


Richard B
November 13, 2018 at 11.50 pm

Does this mean that we no longer have to have the Projects menu? Never used and do not intend to use this feature – just gets in the way – not “beautiful”.

Joanne Tait in reply to Richard B Xero
November 14, 2018 at 12.22 pm

Hi Richard – if you don’t have access to Projects, this will no longer appear in the main navigation for you. It previously showed for any person who was the subscriber for the Xero organisation.

For users like yourself that don’t have access, Projects (and Payroll and Expenses) will only show in the Organisation menu dropdown in the Do more with Xero section. If you change your mind, that’s where you can find more information about them within Xero.

For users that do have access to these products, they will appear as normal within the main navigation.


Ray in reply to Joanne Tait
November 21, 2018 at 6.20 pm

I think the question was dodged there.

I have access to everything (I own the business) but I don’t subscribe to Projects which I’d imagine would be the case for a lot of business owners – especially small business.

So I’d imagine I will still have to put up with the Projects appearing even though I have absolutely no intention (EVER) of using Xero projects?

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Ray
November 22, 2018 at 2.57 pm

Hi Ray – no dodging of questions here but sorry you felt it wasn’t clear.

Confirming that if you don’t subscribe to Projects, this will no longer appear in the main navigation for you. It will only show in the Org menu dropdown in the ‘do more’ section.


November 14, 2018 at 3.40 pm

Hi, I just tried the ‘improved’ navigation in Demo and couldn’t really see any improvement. It would have been great to see Reports on the main menu rather than having to click down for them.

As you’ve already pointed out it’s a stepping stone for Xero to further improvements so don’t imagine our comments will make much difference.

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Jenny
November 15, 2018 at 4.24 pm

Hi Jenny
Thanks for your comments – you’re right, this is the first step to allow us to provide navigation experiences that work for our wide range of customers, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t taking on board your feedback!

Regarding reports – you can still ensure your favourite reports are just a click away by favouriting them. Just click the star on the Reports page and they’ll appear in the Accounting dropdown menu. Any of your reports that have been favourited in the old navigation will be carried across to this menu too.

November 14, 2018 at 7.01 pm

How do we access the demo company?
Also how do we get rid of the annoying “see why we are making the change” banner??

Dina Veljanovska in reply to John
November 15, 2018 at 4.24 pm

Hi John,

To access the demo company log into Xero, click on the name of your organisation, select ‘My Xero’ then click ‘Try the Demo Company’.

At this stage we don’t have the ability to allow you to dismiss a banner (although it’s something we are working on!) so the banner will stay be there until closer to launch so as many people as possible have the chance to see it.


Rohan B
November 15, 2018 at 2.42 pm

Not a fan, appears to be more clicks to get to simple things, especially for advisers such as exporting data. Other user examples are the folder for documents in no under a drop down menu, Business menu does not have spend and receive money

I have no problem with changing label names, but don’t also move their location at the same time.

It was not that broken before, but now…

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Rohan B
November 15, 2018 at 4.25 pm

Hi Rohan – thanks for your feedback.

While the current navigation wasn’t broken, we became aware of some challenges, with our research showing us there was room for improvement. Ensuring that using the Xero platform is a beautiful experience is paramount for us. The changes we have made aim to improve the overall experience, make it faster and simpler to find the tools used most often and reduce the amount of jargon.

We know it can take a bit of getting used to but are confident once you do, you’ll see how beneficial the changes are.


November 16, 2018 at 2.10 am

Are you getting rid of user roles? Some of our employees have access to only sales screens and they don’t need access to our bank information of money coming in and going out. However, when I demo’d the new features as one of their profiles, it took me to all screens accessible. Please do not get rid of user roles. Bank data should not be shared with all employees that just need access to data entry of orders. thanks! Nadia

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Nadia
November 16, 2018 at 4.28 pm

Hi Nadia – the navigation changes don’t impact the user roles and permissions at all.

If you are seeing these screens within the Demo company, that’s nothing to worry about, as the Demo company looks the same for everyone irrespective of roles. However, if you are part of our early release group and seeing pages within an actual Xero org, then we’ll need to look into this. If it’s the latter, could you please contact support@xero.com?


November 27, 2018 at 9.59 am

Guys, I wish you wouldn’t change things, I’m bottom end in accounting/book work and the beauty of Xero, was it is easy to navigate, now have to find things all over again, wasting my time.

Dina Veljanovska in reply to David
November 27, 2018 at 1.57 pm

Hi David – appreciate these kind of changes can be frustrating but we’ve found that most people find the differences far more intuitive than the old navigation and very quickly adapt. We hope that once you get used to it, you will too.

The current navigation is almost as old as Xero itself and had it’s own challenges. This change is important to improve overall user experience for our advisors and their clients as well improving the performance of the Xero platform. It also provides the foundations for us to continue to evolve our product offering.

Roger in reply to Dina Veljanovska
November 27, 2018 at 11.33 pm

Hi Dina, your reponse is a classic.
We appreciate your frustration but we will ignore it.
We home that once you get used to it!
Product offering!

Translation, we want to be seen to be doing something by changing stuff that is easy to do so & we don’t care if you don’t like it so tough!

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Roger
November 28, 2018 at 10.51 am

Thanks Roger – we definitely aren’t ignoring your frustration, all the feedback we recieve is really useful in helping guide our decision making. Please stick with it though, our research and testing shows that many users are able to adapt quickly and we hope this will be the same for you.

The new nav lays the foundation for us to continue making changes and create a more personalised experience so it’s just the beginning for us.

November 27, 2018 at 11.33 pm

Yes David, change for the sake of it is such a wasted effort

Wilson Lee
November 27, 2018 at 4.33 pm

Your new menu screen is NOT an improvement. The old menu screen with “Adviser” and “Settings” on the blue menu bar was much more user friendly. I am very disappointed, you have now made your software LESS user friendly because it will take more clicks to get reports.

How can I revert back to the old menu asap? VERY DISAPPOINTED!”

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Wilson Lee
November 28, 2018 at 10.52 am

Hi Wilson – I’m sorry you’re disappointed. With the new navigation live there is no option to revert back to the old version. I know in the first instance these changes can seem somewhat overwhelming but we are confident that once you get to know them they will significantly improve your experience with Xero.

November 27, 2018 at 11.27 pm

Being one of those “new Xero users” mentioned I have just managed to learn & work out how Xero format is set up & how it works. Now it’s suddenly changed & I see NO improvement, merely a superficial more clicks format.
Such a disappointment!
Just changing things for the sake of it, perhaps to be seen to be “improving” is an easy ways to avoid the harder tasks of actually fixing problems.

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Roger
November 28, 2018 at 10.51 am

Hi Roger – thanks for your feedback and I’m sorry you’re disappointed, that’s not the result we were going for!

I know you’ve been reading through some of our other replies so won’t repeat them but please know that we understand it’s going to be a challenging transition and hope that you stick with it as ultimately we really back that it will provide a better experience for our users.

November 28, 2018 at 1.09 pm

Are you going to make the content container fluid (full width) as well? On a FHD screen now the nav spread across the entire width 1920px, but the contents below are still restricted to a fixed width.

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Emmanuel
November 28, 2018 at 4.32 pm

Hi Emmanuel – great question! This is something we are thinking about at the moment, and we explored it a lot when new nav was first built. The biggest issue is that without being consistent across all pages it can be a jarring experience going between different parts of Xero that can handle fluid widths and for those that are fixed.

We are heading towards a more fluid and responsive experience though so having the header left aligned is setting us up for where we want to be. This also enables parts of our product that can in fact make use of wider user screens to not look like they are too big for the page.

Our research also showed that despite a high number of users having large monitors, the majority only rarely uses Xero at full screen – so we are hoping it won’t affect to many people. However, if it proves problematic we are always listening to feedback and open to evolving our approach.


Judith Russell
November 28, 2018 at 7.26 pm

Where do I find the invoices from suppliers that I email to Xero?

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Judith Russell
November 29, 2018 at 4.17 pm

Hi Judith – do you mean files? If so, you can find files under the organisation menu. If not, please check out Xero Central (https://central.xero.com/s/article/About-Xero-s-new-navigation) which hopefully has what you’re looking for. You can also contact our support team from there too if you need.

David Morgan
November 29, 2018 at 1.23 pm

Must admit that I am not a fan of the new menu/navigation structure.

All reporting is now under “Accounting”. So does that mean that you are only providing accounting reports? Reports used to be easy to jump to the items you want and easily seen by area they relate to – its now a layer deeper.

“Business”? Uhm – no. It doesnt support me or any of my business’. As a SME, most of my transactions are bank related, payroll or asset drive. So I don’t even go to this menu.

And my go-to screen “Bank Accounts” is also now an extra action away.

So simply I would rate the menu change as very poor.

The previous menu whilst not perfect certainly provided a far better and more logical approach than this (especially the new “Accounting” monstrosity).

My only hope is that you are doing all this with the aim of making the menus customisable for the users – because otherwise you have taken a product that I used to happily promote and in one move made it into something I now struggle to defend.

Dina Veljanovska in reply to David Morgan
November 29, 2018 at 4.17 pm

Hi David – thanks for your feedback although I’m sorry to hear you’re not a fan. I hope as you continue to use the new nav you’ll start to see how the changes can be of benefit.

You’re right too, the new nav lays the foundation for us to continue making changes and create a more personalised experience so it’s just the beginning for us. Regarding a customisable menu, we are certainly a lot closer to that possibility with these changes too.

November 29, 2018 at 8.52 pm

Dina, NO, I will not get use to the new format. I am finding that it is taking more clicks to achieve the same results compared to the old menu. More clicks means more time cost that we are unable to on charge to our clients. Are you passing all the negative feed back to the directors of Xero, because if you do not release an option for us to revert back to the old menu, I will be pushing all my new clients and existing clients to Quickbooks which is offering a special of $15 per month.

Dina Veljanovska in reply to Wilson
November 30, 2018 at 9.49 am

Hi Wilson – yes we are definitely passing all feedback on. This is the first step for us in the evolution of the new navigation so all feedback is really valuable in helping us shape the direction we take.

I’m sorry to hear that you are looking at alternative options though – it’s certainly not what we want. We’d love the chance to change your mind so please let me know if you’d be willing to speak to someone about this directly and I can arrange.
Thank you,

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December 12, 2018 at 12.37 pm

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