In this lesson of our free QuickBooks Online training course, we’re going to cover how to customize the look and feel of your invoices. The custom format you design for your invoice can also be applied to your sales receipts and estimates, giving your company a consistent and professional look.
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This lesson is one of our Free QuickBooks Tutorials. To complete this lesson, you can watch the video below or read through the step-by-step instructions. The video was made with a slightly older version of QuickBooks Online, so a few of the menus might be slightly different, but the overall process of customizing your invoices is mostly the same. The step-by-step instructions are prepared with the most current version of QuickBooks Online.
The Importance of Customizing Sales Forms
I highly recommend customizing your invoices, receipts, and estimates to make your business look professional and unique. The default QuickBooks forms are not very professional looking and are commonly used by many businesses. You can also build brand awareness and enhance your name recognition with a well-designed logo on the invoice.
Navigate to the Sales Tab in Account and Settings
Customizing the design of your invoices is done in the sales tab of your company settings. You can navigate to the sales tab by clicking on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the QuickBooks Online screen and selecting Account and Settings in the first column.
From the accounts and settings screen, click on Sales in the left menu bar.
The sales tab has nine areas to customize the options and defaults on your sales forms, which consist of invoices, receipts, and estimates. Later lessons will walk you through all of these settings, but this lesson focuses only on the look and feel of your invoices. Click on the green Customize look and feel button in the upper right corner of the sales tab.
The custom form styles screen displays all your available sales forms templates. You can create new designs for invoices, estimates, and sales receipts from this screen. Let’s start by creating a new invoice design.
Design a Custom Invoice in QuickBooks Online
If this is a new company, the only form style available is the default template named “Standard.” If you want to make only a slight adjustment, you can edit the default template by clicking Edit on the far right side of the line. However, for this lesson, let’s design an invoice from scratch by clicking the New style button in the upper right corner and selecting Invoice.
The next screen provides a preview of your invoice on the right, which starts as the default invoice from QuickBooks. There are three tabs in the upper left corner: Design, Content, and Emails. This lesson will work through the Design tab, while the Content tab is included in Lesson 3: How to Set Up Sales Form Content in QuickBooks Online and the Email tab is in Lesson 5: How to Set up Messages in QuickBooks Online.
The design tab deals purely with the aesthetics of your invoice. There are five areas to customize your invoice. As you make new selections, the preview of your invoice on the right half of the screen will update.
1. Change Up the Template
After you click on Change up the template under the design tab, you can choose from six different options.
Click on each template to see a preview on the right side of your screen. Select the template you think best suits your business’s image.
2. Add Your Unique Logo
I highly recommend adding a picture or logo that will make your invoice one of a kind. Your logo must be saved as an image file on your computer. Follow these steps to import your logo in QuickBooks Online:
A. Click Add your unique logo and then click the green plus sign under Add a logo. Notice that after clicking on Add your unique logo for the first time, the description of the button changes to Make logo edits.
B. The next screen will display all the logos you have previously uploaded to QuickBooks Online. If your logo is already there, select it to add to your invoice template. If this is a new company, or the logo you want isn’t shown, click the blue plus sign.
C. QuickBooks provides a window to browse your computer and select the image file of your logo. After selecting the image file, click Open to return to the prior screen where a thumbnail of your new logo appears.
The logo is now stored in your QuickBooks Online account and will be available for the customization of other forms without having to reload it. Make sure the logo you want to add to your invoice is highlighted and then click Save.
D. Your logo now appears under the Design tab with options to change the size and place the logo on the left, center, or right of your invoice.
Unfortunately, the logo can only be placed at the top of the invoice. Play around with the options until you settle on how to display the logo. If you decide you don’t want the logo in your invoice, click on Hide logo.
3. Try Other Colors
The next option under the Design tab is to select the color of your template. After clicking Try other colors, you can choose between 16 colors.
The color selection will affect both the text color and highlight color of the invoice headings. You might want to revisit your template selection as some templates are more colorful than others. For maximum color, try the “bold” template that shades the entire background of the invoice.
4. Get Choosy With Your Font
The next task under the Design tab is to choose your font. Click Get Choosy with your font (or Select a different font if you’ve clicked there before) to view a selection of four fonts and three sizes.
5. When in Doubt, Print it Out
The final task under the Design tab is to set your print options. Click on When in doubt, print it out (or Edit print settings if you’ve already clicked there) to view options for printing your invoice.
The Fit printed form with pay stub in window envelope will print a dividing line, turning the top portion of your invoice into a payment stub, and print the message “Please detach top portion and return with your payment.” This will help you match payments received to outstanding invoices, which is especially useful if you send numerous invoices for the same amount.
The Use letterhead paper option will remove the company name, address, and logo from the top of the invoice. This allows your emailed invoices to include the business information and logo, but the business information and logo can be quickly removed when printing on company letterhead.
When you are satisfied with the custom design of your invoice, click the green Done button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
After clicking Done, QuickBooks returns you to the Custom form styles screen where you can see your newly created invoice template with the default name assigned by QuickBooks. You can change the name of your custom invoice by clicking Edit and then Rename.
Now that you know how to create a custom template, you can also create custom templates for estimates and sales receipts.
Create Custom Estimate and Sales Receipts in QuickBooks Online
The steps to create customized estimates and sales receipt templates are identical to the process we used to create your customized invoice. From the Custom form styles screen, click New style and either Estimate or Sales receipt.
You have the same design options for estimates and sales receipts as you did for your invoice. Some companies like to have very uniform looking forms. I suggest that you make the custom format similar, but different enough that it is easy to tell each of the forms apart to avoid confusion. It’s important customers don’t mistake invoices for estimates.
Congratulations on customizing the design of your sales forms in QuickBooks Online. Consider making multiple invoice templates for different types of sales. For instance, you might want to omit the shipping address and method for service invoices. Our next lesson is How to Set Up Sales Forms, where you’ll learn how to designate what content will show on your invoices, estimates, and sales receipts.