CheckJet® Central Tutorial
for CheckJet Express Users

CheckJet® Central provides CheckJet Express users with the ability to design their own checks for use with QuickBooks and CheckJet Express. CheckJet Central comes bundled with CheckJet Express. Most CheckJet Express users will want to start by using CheckJet Central to design their check(s). The following tutorial provides an overview of how to use CheckJet Central for this purpose.

After installing the CheckJet Express package, launch CheckJet Central using either the desktop icon or the icon in the Windows Start Menu under TypeHaus. CheckJet Central will present its main form.

The main form shows the "About" information for the application along with buttons to select one of the CheckJet Central main functions. Start by clicking "Design a Check".

The Designer starts by offering two options. The first is to start a new check design from scratch. The second is to load a previously saved check design. Loading a previously saved check design and then modifying it to make a new check design can save some steps in the future. For this tutorial, click on the "Clear all fields & start a new design."

Notice how the Designer has automatically advanced to the next tab (QuickBooks Info) in the design sequence. You can click on these tabs to go directly to a specific design step, or you can use the "Next" and "Back" button to cycle through the steps in sequence. In the "QB Account" text box, enter the name of the checking account to which you intend to associated this check design. This name should match the name of the account as you have it listed within QuickBooks. Remain on the "QuickBooks Info" step for now.

The Description field allows you to provide any description you want to help you remember this check design in the future. What you enter in this field can actually prove very useful in later steps to help confirm you have selected the right check design. CheckJet Central and the CheckJet Express applications do not care what you enter in this box. The applications only display the information back to you at various times so you can be sure which check design you have selected. After entering your check design description, use the "Next" button to advance to the next step.

CheckJet Central was designed with the idea of using an existing pre-printed check as a reference while performing these steps. If you have not already done so, now would be a great time to grab a pre-printed check to use as a reference. For most of the steps during the check design process, the Designer uses the top portion of the display to highlight the area of the check that is of interest for the current design step. You can use this as a guide for where to look on your pre-printed checks for the appropriate information.

Use the large multi-line text box at the right to enter your company name, street address, telephone number, etc. This is the information that will appear in the upper left side of the check. CheckJet Central will automatically format the information using the most common formatting style used on checks.

Checking the "Advanced Formatting Options" check box enables some extra tools to permit you to apply more advanced formatting. Advanced formatting is beyond the scope of this tutorial. Feel free to experiment with these advanced features in the future. For the purposes of this tutorial, leave the "Advanced Formatting Options" check box not checked.

Remain on the "Company" step for now.

On the standard pre-printed check designs sold by Intuit, Intuit normally prints your company name in the top-left corner of both voucher stubs. In the "Company Name Only" box, enter your company name as you wish it to appear in the top-left corner of the voucher stubs. Leave the box blank if you do not wish anything printed in those locations on the stubs. When you are ready, click "Next" to move on to the next step.

CheckJet Central supports the placement of a simple logo to the left of the company name and address block. Because nearly all MICR laser printers are black and white (monochrome) only, only black and white logos are supported. To add a logo to the check, click the "Logo Image..." button. In the future if you wish to remove or replace a logo image that's part of a check design, you would also come to this step and click the "Logo Image..." button.

The Designer supports adding logos to your check design using two different approaches: copying the image from an existing file, or using a scanner to scan the image. In order for a scanner to work with CheckJet Central, the installation process for the scanner must have included an industry standard "Twain" software interface. Since scanners always come with their own software that will scan an image and save it as a file, that approach always works if the scanner does not include the "Twain" interface. Simply use your scanner's software to save the image as an image file, and use CheckJet Central's "From File..." option to copy the image from that file. CheckJet Central supports the following image file types: BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG and TIF.

The highest-quality results are obtained by using a black and white logo image. The image should already be properly sized at 600 dots per inch (600 DPI) to fit within a 0.75 inch wide by 0.91 inch tall area. When using a drawing application that only deals with pixels and not inches, the image should already be properly size to fit within 450 pixels wide by 546 pixels tall.

The image does not need to fill that entire area. CheckJet Central will allow you to later position a smaller image within that area. CheckJet Central will also allow you to later scale the image, but you may get a slightly better quality result if the image is originally created or scanned at the desired size. For now, if you already have an image to use as a real or pretend logo, that should be good enough for this tutorial. You can always consider improving the quality later if you don't like the result.

In the future, if you have a check design that already contains a logo image, you will see a third "Remove Existing" button you can click to remove the logo image entirely from the check. If you just want to replace the logo with a different image, simply load or scan the new image and it will replace the old image. You do not need to explicitly remove the old logo image first.

If you do not have an existing image to use right now, you can download the bulls-eye image used in this tutorial. With Internet Explorer, right click on the following "here" link and select "Save target as...". For FireFox, right click on the following "here" link and select "Save Link as...". The bulls-eye image file is available here.

To keep things simple, this tutorial will assume the logo is already available as a file. In CheckJet Central click "From File..." and you will be presented with the standard "File Open" form used by most Windows applications (not shown here). Using the "File Open" form, browse to and select the image file containing your real or pretend company logo. Once you open the file, the logo image will be automatically displayed as shown below.

After the Designer has loaded (or scanned) the logo image, it next provides you the option of trimming away and unnecessary space surrounding the image. Eliminating any extra space surrounding the image is necessary in order to properly size and position the image in the next step. Experiment with the various buttons surrounding the word "Signature" to see how any extra space around each of the four sides of the image can be trimmed away. The buttons with the double triangles simply perform the same operation as their single triangle counterparts, only faster but with less precision.

This same form is used to optionally add signatures to your check designs, so that's why the word "Signature" appears in the middle. Once you have trimmed away any excess space (if any) surrounding your image, click "Next" to advance to the next step.

This step allows you to change the size of your image and also to position it within the logo space available on the check. Experiment with the various buttons to learn what each one does. Here again, the buttons with the double triangles perform the same function as their single triangle counterparts, only faster but with less precision.

Once you have your logo sized and positioned, click "Next" to move to the final step.

In the final step, simply click either "Keep Changes" to store your logo changes within your check design. Click "Discard Changes" to keep any logo settings that were part of your check before you clicked "Logo Image...".

The Designer displays the new logo on the sample check image of your check design at the top. Click "Next" to move to the next step designing your check.

Use the large multi-line text box to the left to carefully enter your bank's information as it appears on your current pre-printed checks. It is important to get all the information correct. Typeface, size, style, upper/lower case, etc, of the text is not really important. Only the actual information is important. CheckJet Central will automatically format the information in the most common style.

Checking the "Advance Formatting Options" check box will enable tools you can use to apply advanced formatting to this text. Using the advanced formatting options is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

After entering your bank's information, click "Next" to proceed to the next step.

Some states require that your checks include the month and year the account was openned. Other states do not require this information. If your current pre-printed checks have a month and year printed generally in the area indicated by CheckJet Central, then your state probably requires the information. Use the drop-down list boxes to select the month and year the bank account was openned. You should be able to copy the information from your pre-printed checks. There are also blank options in the drop-down lists to use if your state does not require the printing of this information on your checks.

Click "Next" to move on to the next step.

The MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) numbers at the bottom of your checks are one of the most important pieces of information on the check. Banks use machines with special magnetic readers to read these numbers and sort the massive number of checks that pass through the banking system everyday. The MICR numbers at the bottom of your check actually consist of three different fields. In this step, we deal with just the "Routing Number" field.

The Routing Number is a unique number that specifies your bank. As the name implies, it is used by other banks to "route" the check to your bank once the payee deposits the check at the payee's bank. The number is always exactly 9 digits and surrounded on both sides by those special MICR characters shown in the picture.

The number may or may not have leading zeroes. Any leading zeroes are very important. The field always must contain a total of 9 digits including any leading zeroes.

Use your existing pre-printed checks to find this routing number at the bottom of the check. It will also be surround by the special MICR characters shown in the picture. After you have entered all 9 digits, including any leading zeroes, click "Next" to advance to the next step.

Your MICR Bank Account Number appears to the right of the Routing Number. Your MICR Bank Account Number may or may not match the bank account number you normally use. For most banks, the number is the same. For a few banks, it is different. This only means it is very important to use the MICR number from the bottom of your pre-printed checks. Don't automatically assume this MICR Account Number is the same as the account number you normally use.

The field in which the MICR Account Number can appear is actually very wide. The MICR account number can appear anywhere within this field. It does not have to be immediately to the right of the Routing Number. It is very uncommon for a MICR Account Number to actually fill the entire field, and it is common for banks to leave some blank space between the Routing Number and the Account Number on their pre-printed checks. The space is meaningless and ignored.

The MICR Account Number is always the series of digits to the right of the Routing Number, and the MICR Account Number always ends with the special MICR symbol shown in the picture. Be careful and always look for this special MICR symbol in order to identify the end of the MICR Account Number.

There may be some additional digits to the right of this special MICR symbol. This will normally only be true when looking at a check that has already been deposited and cleared the banking system. The extra numbers are a MICR representation of the value of the check, and are printed by a bank when the check is deposited. The extra numbers will not appear on pre-printed checks that have not yet been through the banking system.

The number may or may not include one or more dashes. If the number does include dashes, always enter the dashes as part of the number. Some banks do consider any dashes to be important, and other banks do not. Therefore it is important to always treat dashes as important. Likewise any leading zeroes should always be considered important.

The number of digits (and dashes) in the MICR Account Number can vary greatly by bank. The important thing is to enter all the digits, including leading zeroes, as well as all dashes (if any). If your bank included a blank space between the MICR Routing Number and the MICR Account Number on your pre-printed checks, that space is not important and can be ignored.

The MICR number to the left of the MICR Routing Number is the check number. Since the check number changes with each check, CheckJet Express will print the MICR Check Number automatically.

After copying your MICR Account Number from your pre-printed checks, click "Next" to proceed to the next step.

CheckJet Central provides options for including one or two signature lines on your checks, as well as automatically printing one or two signatures on your checks if you wish. CheckJet Central also provides the option of including a pre-printed message above one or both signature lines. Typical pre-printed messages would be things like "Check void is not cashed within 90 days" or "Checks over $999 require second signature."

To include an upper signature line as part of the check design, check the "Include Upper Signature Line" check box. To remove an upper signature line from an existing check design, simply uncheck the box. For this tutorial, check the "Include Upper Signature Line" check box.

CheckJet Central will display the controls associated with the upper signature line. Next we'll add a message above the lower signature line.

After entering your message for the lower signature line, click the "Signature Image..." button for the upper signature line. This will allow you to add an automatically printed signature to your checks as shown next.

You're back to the same image import wizard that was used earlier for importing your company logo. This time the wizard will allow you to import, size and position a signature image. CheckJet Central is showing a close-up of the area on your check design in which the signature can be placed. Just like for the company logo, a signature can be imported by copying it from an existing file or by using your scanner if your scanner supports the "Twain" software interface.

If you do not have an existing image to use right now, you can download the "Jane Doe" signature image used in this tutorial. With Internet Explorer, right click on the following "here" link and select "Save target as...". For FireFox, right click on the following "here" link and select "Save Link as...". The "Jane Doe" signature image file is available here.

Just like your company logo, the signature should be a black and white image since MICR laser printers are normally only black and white (monochrome). This tutorial assumes the image will be copied from an existing file, so click on "From File...". This will open the usual Windows Open File form (not shown here). Browse to the file and select it.

CheckJet Central will show the complete imported image. If there is any extra space surrounding the image that is not actually part of the signature, use the buttoms to trim the excess space away as shown in the next picture.

After you have trimmed away any excess space around the signature image, click "Next" to move on.

Just like when importing your company logo, this step allows you to resize and reposition your image as necessary. The next picture shows our sample signature repositioned to the top signature line, and slightly enlarged.

After you have the signature sized and positioned, click "Next" to advance to the next step.

To keep your changes to the signature image, click "Keep Changes".

CheckJet Central shows the new signature image as part of the sample check at the top.

We're now done with our check design. Click "Next" to move on to the final step.

It is necessary to save your check design before it can be used prepared for use by CheckJet Express. Click the "Save your check design" button. The usual Windows File Save form will be displayed (not shown here) so you can name and save your design file. The normal file name extension for a CheckJet Central design file is ".HausCheck".

CheckJet Central automatically creates a default "My Documents" folder called "My HausCheck Designs" under the folder "TypeHaus". This is just a suggested default folder. Feel free to use a different folder if that works better for you.

After saving your design, click "Close CheckJet Designer" to return to the main CheckJet Central form.

For various control and efficiency purposes, CheckJet Express uses a different file format from the CheckJet Central check design save file format. Therefore after creating or making changes to a check design and saving it, it is necessary to use the CheckJet Central "Publish Check Designs for CheckJet Express" feature. Click on that button to begin the process of publishing your new check design for use by CheckJet Express.

After clicking on "Publish", you will be presented with the usual Windows Open File form (not shown here). Use the form to browse to and open the CheckJet Central check design file that you just saved a moment ago. Once you open the file, CheckJet Central will begin partially processing the design for use by CheckJet Express.

After the design has been partially processed, CheckJet Central will display a partial representation of the check design to help you confirm you have selected the correct design. Click the "Publish..." button to complete the processing. CheckJet Central will then present you with the usual Windows Save File form (not shown here).

The Save File form will automatically provide a default CheckJet Express check design save file name based on the CheckJet Central file name you selected. The normal file name extension for CheckJet Express check design files is ".CJExpressCheck". You can change the name of the save file, but it is recommended you not change the file name extension.

After you specify the save file, CheckJet Central will write the processed check design to the CheckJet Express check design file using the check design format compatible with CheckJet Express.

We've now created and published a check design for use by CheckJet Express. CheckJet Central is no longer required until you want to create a new check design or make changes to one of your previously saved check designs. Click "Close CheckJet Central" to close the application.

For most CheckJet Express users, the next step will be to associate the newly designed and published check with the appropriate account in QuickBooks. This step is performed by the CheckJet Express Manager application. Click here for the CheckJet Express Manager tutorial.