One of the jobs of a QuickBooks professional adviser is to help users print invoices that both satisfy the firm's requirements for accurate record-keeping and present a clear and visually appealing document to clients.

Bear in mind that you may use different templates for different purposes. For example, you might use an invoice with very little detail to ask for a scheduled payment on a contract price job, but a time-and-material change order might require full detail with number of hours or materials line items. What you show (or keep hidden from) the customer depends on the situation.

QuickBooks comes with a variety of invoice templates. (The number of template choices varies with the software version.) Differences in the appearance of the printed invoice come from the:

  • Presence or absence of line items within the description area of the invoice.
  • Presence or absence of the total, credits, and other balance information.
  • Presence or absence of company contact information. Print invoices on letterhead or on blank paper with QuickBooks-printed contact information.
  • Arrangement of columns and fields on the printed page.
  • Use of font, point size, and color.
  • Use of lines and boxes to organize information.
  • Creating a Custom Template

    You don't want to inadvertently destroy the QuickBooks predefined templates, so you will need to create a duplicate of whichever QuickBooks template matches what you want to create.

    Click Lists — Templates and right-click the template you want to duplicate. Select Duplicate from the menu. Rename the new template. You will see a screen with multiple tabs across the top. Click on the Columns tab and you will notice that you can control which fields appear on the screen and which are printed. This example shows a Contract Price Invoice template that, when printed, will include none of the customary line items. It just has the Footer plus some custom Fields to show some text and the amount due.

    Your invoice will be the result of the choices you make on this and other screens. Remember, the accounting side of the invoice is unrelated to the template, which is merely a “frame” in which the finances are hung. You can take a single invoice and print it using a variety of templates without affecting your accounting.

    Once you have created your own templates, it's a good idea to deactivate the rest. To deactivate a template, right-click it from the list and choose Make Inactive.

    Melanie Hodgdon of Business Systems Management, Bristol, Maine, is a Quick-Books professional adviser. 207.529.5849; She will be teaching a seminar on this topic at the Remodeling Show in Baltimore, October 13-15. For a complete schedule, visit