An invoice is a customer’s bill for a sale after goods or services have been delivered but before payment has been made. Accounting software is the best way to create and send an invoice but typically costs a monthly fee. To help, we have a free, downloadable invoice template in Excel, PDF, and Word.
If you create more than 10 invoices a month, you can use an accounting software like QuickBooks Online to create and send invoices and get paid on time. Prices range from $10 – $35 per month for the first six months and you can even get a free 30-day trial. There’s no risk.
Free Invoice Template to Download
If you create 0 – 10 customer invoices per month you might not have enough customer transactions to warrant QuickBooks or an alternative like Xero. Instead, a customizable invoice template might work best. There are many templates available and typically come in the form of an Excel, Word, or PDF file.
You can download one of our free invoice templates below:
Free Excel Invoice Template
Click here for your free Excel invoice template. This template has all of the key elements that should be included on an invoice. It also has fields that will automatically calculate discounts, sales tax, and subtotals. Another advantage to using an Excel template is that you can save all of the invoices for a customer in one workbook. This will make it easy to quickly locate an invoice when you need it.
Once you have created the invoice, be sure to save it as a PDF before sending it to your customer. After you download the template, check out the section below where we explain each component in depth.
Free PDF Invoice Template
Click here for your free PDF invoice template. Unlike Excel, the fields will not automatically calculate for discounts, sales taxes and subtotals. You will have to manually calculate your totals. However, one of the advantages to using a PDF template is there are clickable fields that you can enter all of the information that you need. This makes it clean and easy to maintain since you can’t move or change the fields.
After you download, check out the section below for an explanation of the template.
Free Word Invoice Template
Click here for your free Word invoice template. Similar to PDF, the fields will not automatically calculate for sales tax, discount and subtotals so make sure your calculations are accurate before you send it to your customer. A Word template is more customizable than both an Excel or PDF templates; however that also makes it more prone to errors.
Once the template’s downloaded, read the section below to better understand its fields.
What’s Included In the Free Invoice Template
Below is a snapshot of a completed free invoice template along with brief instructions for each field. Take a look at each of the numbers on the snapshot and then read the corresponding explanation. This should help you better understand the invoice template and help you customize it to your exact needs.
1. Business Logo – If you don’t have a logo, then read our article on business logo design.
2. Business Name – For some tips on how to name a business, click here to read our article.
3. Invoice Date – This should be the date you generate and send the invoice.
4. Invoice # – This should be a unique number that you assign manually or that your accounting software will generate for each invoice. Having this reference number will help you to apply payments received to the right invoices. It also helps deal with customer billing questions because you can quickly look their invoice up.
5. Bill To – This is the customer’s billing address.
6. Ship To – Shipping address, if different from billing address.
7. Shipping Method – Indicate how the product was shipped (e.g. UPS, FedEx, or USPS)
8. Shipping Terms – If you are shipping products, then based on your agreement with your customer, you need to indicate either FOB Shipping Point or FOB Destination. Check out what is the significance of fob shipping point and fob destination to learn more.
9. Delivery Date – Indicate the expected date that the product should arrive at the customer’s destination.
10. Payment Terms – This is based on the length of time you give your customer to pay you. Take a few minutes to read our article on what the best invoice terms are for your business. You may also opt to charge your customer a late fee if they don’t pay the invoice on time.
11. Due Date – This is when payment is due from the customer.
12. Purchase Order # – Some companies must get approval prior to purchasing products or services. Typically, if you work with schools or any government agency, they must complete a purchase order before they’re allowed to place an order. To make sure payment is not delayed, you must include the purchase order number on the invoice.
13. Quantity – Enter the quantity of product sold or the number of hours if you bill in hours for services.
14. Item # – Use this field if you have products with unique item numbers; otherwise, if the products that you sell do not have items numbers or if you sell services, you can leave this field blank.
15. Description – Be as detailed as you can here so that the customer knows exactly what you are billing them for (e.g. stainless steel faucets).
16. Unit Price – Enter the per unit cost of the product or service sold.
17. Line Total – The Excel invoice template will automatically multiply the quantity column and the unit price column to get this line total.
18. Discount (if applicable) – If you want to apply a discount to the Excel template, then you can do so as a percentage. The formula will automatically calculate the discount and deduct it from the overall total amount due. You can also set it as a flat amount. For PDF and Word, you’ll have to manually calculate it
19. Subtotal – Total amount before discount and sales tax are applied.
20. Sales Tax (if applicable) – Enter the sales tax rate (without the %) that you charge and the template will automatically calculate the sales tax amount before the discount (if any) is applied. The sales tax amount will be added to the total amount due as indicated below:
21. Total Amount Due – The Excel invoice template will automatically add up each line item total, sales tax, and the discount totals to get to the total amount due.
22. Late Fees & Penalties – If you want to apply late fees or penalties, you could either add them underneath the products and services items and then just type in a flat amount or base it on a percentage of the overall amount due. (i.e. 1%).
23. Your Business Info – Your mailing address is located at the bottom of the invoice so that customers the forms of payment you accept. For instance, you could provide customers the option to pay online or by phone with a credit card. To learn more, read our article on how to accept credit card payments. You should provide your contact info if customers have questions as indicated in the screenshot below:
Accounting Software vs. Free Invoice Templates
The four most common ways to create invoices are by using accounting software programs like QuickBooks Online or via a pre-made template using Microsoft Excel, Word, and/or PDF. While it’s easiest to create and send invoices with software, it can be more costly. Sometimes using a free template is best.
Creating Invoices Using Accounting Software
Using an accounting software program like QuickBooks Online is best because much of the invoice fields are automatically generated. In addition, you can also manage all of your bookkeeping tasks like tracking expenses and receiving customer payments. Below we have some pros and cons of using accounting software to create invoices:
- All accounting software programs have preset invoice templates that you can choose from.
- Most accounting software programs allow you some customization, such as the ability to add your company logo, website and contact info.
- All accounting software programs automatically calculate the invoice totals for you.
- Some accounting programs like QuickBooks Online let you customize the look and feel of the invoice, including column headings and positioning and where your company logo appears on the invoice.
- Up-to-date reports that provide you with detailed information about customer sales.
- When a customer pays you, you can easily mark the invoice as paid, which automatically updates your account balances and financial statements.
- You have access to fewer templates when compared to Excel, Word, or PDF.
- There’s a cost to use unless you go with a free option like Wave. For more pricing information, you can read our guide on the best accounting software programs.
Creating Invoices Using Excel
If you create less than 10 customer invoices per month and you don’t have many expenses to keep track of, then Excel is a good fit if you decide not to use an accounting software program. Still, there are some drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons of using Excel to create invoice templates:
- Access to 200 customizable invoice templates from the Microsoft library.
- Create formulas so that certain columns like total amount will automatically calculate when compared to Word or PDF.
- Create an Excel workbook for each customer so that you can keep track of all their invoices in one Excel file. If your customer calls with a question, you can quickly open their file and look up the information you need.
- Using an Excel template is a manual process to set up.
- While you don’t need to be an Excel guru, it helps if you understand the basics of creating formulas, worksheets, and workbooks.
- It is easy to make mistakes when it comes to calculations.
Creating Invoices Using PDF
If you don’t have access to Excel, or you prefer a template with editable fields, then you can also create invoices using PDF. Some of the pros and cons of using PDF to create invoice templates are:
- You can generally download Adobe Acrobat for free to access PDF documents.
- Most of your customers will have access to Adobe Acrobat so it will be easy for them to view the invoice once you have emailed it to them.
- PDF templates (like the one we have provided) can have editable fields that cannot be customized but provide you with a more professional look when compared to a Word template.
- Similar to Word and Excel, it is a manual process to set up.
- Unlike Excel, you will have to do all of your calculations manually & then type them into the PDF template.
- You can’t create a workbook of invoices like you can in Excel.
Creating Invoices Using Microsoft Word
If you don’t have access to Excel, Google Sheets, an editable PDF, or you create 5 or fewer invoices per month, then we suggest using Microsoft Word to create customer invoices. Still, as I’m sure you can guess, Word templates have their drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons of using Word to create invoices:
- Access to over 200 templates from the Microsoft library so that you don’t have to start from scratch.
- Customize the templates with your company logo and contact info.
- Add/Delete columns of information to customize it for your business needs.
- It is a manual process to set up.
- Unlike Excel, there is no way to add formulas to calculate discounts, sales tax, and subtotals.
- You can’t create a workbook for each customer like Excel and will have to use a different filing system.
If possible, try and use accounting software like QuickBooks Online to invoice your customers. If you are not able to use an accounting software program right away, go with a free invoice template with Excel so you can minimize calculation errors and keep each customer’s invoices organized and in one file. If all else fails, use a PDF or Word document.
If you create over 10 invoices a month, use an accounting software like QuickBooks Online to bill your customers and get paid on time rather than a free invoice template. Prices range between $10 – $35 per month for the first six months and you can even get a free 30-day trial.