Create An Invoice In Word 2010
One of the most confusing challenges that individuals and new business owners face is how to invoice their customers. However, it’s easier than you think to create an invoice in Word. After you’ve sent out your first invoice, and seen it paid, you will feel more confident, and then the act of creating invoices will be consigned to the category of things I worried about needlessly.
You could take advantage of Word templates, however, many invoice templates are overly complicated and don’t give you what you need. Invariably you will find yourself deleting elements from the document and having to restructure it. Doing so will sometimes cost you more time than starting from scratch! Additionally, some invoice templates include fancy graphics that are unnecessary and inappropriate. When in doubt, keep it plain.
You will find below an example Word invoice template you can download.
When creating your own invoice in Word there are several things that you will probably need:
- a way to structure the layout of the invoice. A table will suffice in our example – see below.
- the title of the invoice. The recipient needs to know that it’s an invoice they are looking at.
- the invoice date.
- your address.
- the recipient’s address
- the invoice number. There needs to be a way to differentiate the invoices you send out. A sequential number should suffice so that the first invoice is 1 and subsequent ones are 2, 3, 4 etc. See below for invoice numbering.
- an itemised list of products or services that the customer is paying for. The customer needs to know what the invoice covers, and it will help with your admin too
- payment details. These include the payment terms (e.g. payment must be made within 30 days, payment method etc.)
In the example Word invoice below, we’ve put the invoice title in the header. To do so yourself, go to the Insert tab and click on Header (in the Header & Footer group). To start a header from scratch (recommended), use the Blank option. We simply typed in the word “invoice”, and closed down the header editing pane (learn how to insert a header in your Word document).
Many people like to lay out their invoices using tables. Tables offer a way to separate and compartmentalise the different elements that comprise an invoice. You can even use several tables in the same invoice to lay out the information. The invoice template provided below uses one table to present the header information (who sent the invoice and who received it) and another table to present the detail information (what is being paid for).
Don’t worry about the lines that separate each cell because we can easily make them disappear:
Removing Table Borders
In an invoice, sometime it’s desirable to remove table borders. You can actually remove borders from table cells, table rows, or from the whole table. In our example, we want to remove all borders from the table, so place the cursor anywhere in the table. The Table Tools tab will appear in the ribbon.
Click on the Layout tab within and click Select (over on the left) > Select Table. Then click on the Design tab > Borders (in the Table Styles group) > No Border. That will remove all the borders from the table.
You need a way to uniquely identify the invoices you send out. Imagine that you have multiple customers that you send invoices out to. You can use either 1) a “global” number that increments for each invoice, regardless of the customer it’s destined for, or 2) a combination of the customer name and a “local” sequential number. For method 1, you would send out invoice 1 to customer Jenkins Ltd, invoice 2 to customer Allsop & Sons and invoice 3 to Microsoft Partners Inc. On the other hand, for method 2 you would send invoices jenk001, allsop001, and microsoft001, for example. The numbers would be the same (001) but the customer portion of the invoice name would change. The most important thing to remember is that the invoice name/number needs to be unique. This means that if a customer rings up with an invoice query, you can locate their invoice quickly and easily.
My own preferred method is to use a global number that increments each time, that isn’t customer specific. You can then have one single folder on your hard drive that contains all invoices. Finding an invoice that is being queried is then a breeze.
Emailing An Invoice
We find that emailing an invoice is preferable to posting out the printed copy. If you email your invoice it’s easier to keep an audit trail, it saves the environment (paper = trees), and it’s less effort. But what do you write in the email? As always, it depends on the business relationship you have with your customer, and your circumstances. Is this the first invoice you’ve sent to the customer? If so, I find that some gentle introduction is a good idea:
Hi Dave. I’m not sure whether you’re the person to email, but here is the invoice I was asked to send for the listed services we have provided for you. Payment details are on the invoice. Let me know if you have any queries about it (you have my direct number below), and also let me know if I should send subsequent invoices to someone else!
If the invoice you are sending out isn’t the first, you might choose to use something more banal, like:
Please find attached December’s invoice for XXX.
If the customer is expecting the invoice and all they want to do is pay it, any “friendly pleasantries” may be redundant. They just won’t read them. It’s your call, of course, and you must tailor your email to the relationship you have cultivated with the recipient.
Download the Word Invoice Template.
Note: there may be legal requirements for your invoice that aren’t covered here, such as having to display your VAT registration number, your company number etc. This article is purely about Microsoft Word’s role in the design/creation of an invoice.