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Design your own invoices

Posted 7 years ago in Xero news by Andrew Tokeley
Posted by Andrew Tokeley

Phew….today’s release is one of the biggest we’ve done and has some of your most requested features. Santa’s come early!

There’s quite a bit to take in as you’ll see, but let’s start with customizing your invoices. You may remember in June we introduced invoice branding to let you personalize your invoices and statements with different themes. Now we’ve added a new type of theme that lets you take complete control of  the layout by uploading your own Microsoft Word templates. You can do things like add a packing slip to your invoice, write in any language and add style with color and images. Watch this video to see the magic.

Other features you’ll love:

Bulk Emailing statements or invoices – This makes chasing up overdue invoices and sending regular statements even easier.

Detailed Account Transaction Report – Select any period and review all your transactions in one place. Double check everything is correct before closing off a period or preparing reports.

Edit Reconciled Spend/Receive Money Transactions – A handy companion to the Detailed Account Transaction Report. If you come across a mistake you can now easily edit to correct them without have to first unreconcile

Edit Manual Journals – Flexibility to fully edit manual journals with a complete audit trail to track your changes.

US Date Entry – US date formats are now accepted, just select United States as the country on your profile and you can enter dates in the right format.

API Updates – You can now return manual journals, set the branding theme on submitted invoices and allow custom URLs to be attached to invoices. Check out our latest developer update for more details.

UK VAT Rate Change – We’ve got this covered for 4 January 2011.

NZ Differential Annual Reporting – helping accountants to produce annual reports for clients qualifying for differential reporting. Next step is to release similar functionality for Australia and the UK.

It’s been another huge year and we’ve got lots of exciting things planned for 2011.

To find out more about this release, see our release notes.


December 16, 2010 at 7.28 am

Can you guys please start uploading those videos in HD?

Catherine in reply to Adam Xero
December 16, 2010 at 8.21 am

@Adam Yes we will be soon – bit of an exercise/audit underway to move videos from one place to another!

Fabian Vargas
December 16, 2010 at 7.57 am


Thanks for this really needed upgrade!! Very easy to customize and work with!!

Great update! 🙂

Laurence Moore
December 16, 2010 at 8.09 am

Brilliant – always ahead of the game …. which helps us to stay the same

Andrew Haynes
December 16, 2010 at 8.11 am

Fantastic, looks like you can do just about anything with invoices now!

Anton Gerner
December 16, 2010 at 8.22 am

Well done guys !

Adam Fitzgerald
December 16, 2010 at 10.47 am

Fantastic work! But, a Microsoft Word template for invoicing? How do all your Mac customers utilise this?


December 16, 2010 at 10.50 am

When will price levels be available? Need to be able to set diff price levels (% or $value per item) instead of creating multiple items. Diff customers have diff rates on some services and items.

December 16, 2010 at 11.03 am

Xero is fantastic – a fantastic accounting engine with a fairly open architecture that anyone can hook into to extend the features.
So why did you choose a proprietary dead-end format like docx for templates?
Please keep things open and usable by everyone, not just the ms-drones.

Andrew Tokeley
December 16, 2010 at 11.32 am

@Adam, @D

We are investigating other formats but with the widespread adoption of MS Office across both PCs and Macs it seems a sensible first step.

We are investigating other approaches, including using CSS styling – although ironically while this is possibly the most open approach, to most of our users it would be completely closed due to it being something they don’t understand.

As always, if you have other ideas please let us know.

Andrew Tokeley
December 16, 2010 at 11.34 am

@Carl – no timeframe unfortunately, but this would obviously be another really helpful feature.

December 16, 2010 at 11.54 am

Hi, really need to apply discount rates in % of cost, Otherwise shipment invoice looks ridiculous saying I am selling 0.75 of an item. And also have Mac.

James R
December 16, 2010 at 12.18 pm

Bulk emailing is awesome. Our accountant will have her RSI cured for Christmas and our customers will be showered in invoices and statements.

John Birse
December 16, 2010 at 12.24 pm

Well done Xero! The customisation of invoices has long been a pain for professional bookkeepers and using a commonly used word-processing platform makes a lot of sense compared to some of the clunky proprietary programs used by some of your competitors. Allowing clients to customise invoices to give them a specific look and feel will make a big difference in presenting a more professional image to customers.

December 16, 2010 at 12.39 pm

We are on Macs as well and +1 to a non-Office method of designing the invoice.

Sue Mills
December 16, 2010 at 1.16 pm

When watching the video I find the commentary too fast to follow easily and would love to have rather slower speech.

December 16, 2010 at 6.00 pm

why not in open document format, that can be used in microsoft word but also Openoffice?

Carl Crowther
December 16, 2010 at 8.30 pm

I have to admit I detest Office and anything to do with it, but given the fact that just about every business runs it I can completely understand why you’ve chosen this program.

With regards to an alternative, is there any reason why a web UI couldn’t interact with the CSS files directly….add 20px left hand side of this *.jpg etc.? Thus doing all this inside of Xero (kind of like a wysiwyg editor)?

Anyway just my 2 cents 🙂

To those who can’t afford it and those MAC people, OpenOffice is free and to my knowledge opens docx perfectly fine.

rob prideaux
December 16, 2010 at 8.39 pm

I continue to be very pleased I switched to Xero.
My last accounting package is still providing an editor that came from the days of DOS… and about as easy to use.

In spite of the obstacle to Mac users, windows continues to near 90% of the market (PC’s, sorry iPods and iPhones don’t count!), so understand your approach.

However, using something like Open Office, will allow opening and saving in Word format, so it is not much of an issue, really.

December 16, 2010 at 10.16 pm

Just seen the announcement about the new template design feature.

Brilliant! This really is a huge step. It’s a feature that was sorely lacking.

Now, all I need is the ability to add a discount column to my invoices so that I can show discounts on a line by line basis. The current workaround is far too clumsy and it confuses the heck out of my clients. It is unusable.

Please add a discount feature, it really is very much needed.

December 17, 2010 at 12.54 pm

When will there be the ability to generate quotes?

December 19, 2010 at 11.29 am

can we move the the feilds ie move invoice and customer feild to the left or up and down?

Andrew Tokeley
December 20, 2010 at 9.01 am

@Peter – sorry, no time line yet but it will happen
@Allan – yes, you can move any of the fields around and put them where you like
@Sarah – thanks for pointing that out. It’s also worth mentioning that once your templates have been created there is no dependency for you to have Microsoft Word installed.

Matthew Holloway
December 20, 2010 at 1.35 pm

@Carl Crowther that’s a great suggestion. A web UI for generating templates is fairly straight forward, and that would mean people don’t need to rely as much on desktop software in Xero.

With regard to how programmers would do this: OpenDocument and OOXML files are just zips of XML so when programmers learn the syntax it’s not much more difficult than HTML. OpenDocument uses CSS properties (as XML attributes e.g. css:text-align=”left”) and OOXML has their own complex syntax, but it’s quite possible to generate these files.

Programmers could generate OpenDocument and then use (for example) OpenOffice to convert that to DOC and DOCX. They could run OpenOffice in a server-mode (if you’re on Debian/Ubuntu then just “apt-get install”) which will listen on a port and you can just stream conversion jobs at it. Basically you’d be treating OpenDocument as an abstraction layer format for the various office formats out there.

If anyone at Xero wants to talk this over let me know.

April 26, 2011 at 10.49 pm

Its a shame you can’t include a physical delivery address on the invoice along with a different postal address. The field codes you provide for this just revert back to the potsal address when printing.

Andrew Tokeley
April 27, 2011 at 5.07 pm

@Tony – this should work and I think you’ve just been in touch with our customer care team. But for the benefit of others…

When updating an existing field it’s best to first right click it and select “Toggle Field Codes” – this will display something like {MERGEFIELD ContactPostalAddress \* MERGEFORMAT}. You can now change the merge field to another field.

If you don’t do this and try and edit the «ContactPostalAddress» placeholder directly you will probably only change the display text but the underlying merge field will stay the same.

F Lam
August 29, 2011 at 10.48 am

Hi, we would seriously consider switching to Xero if different pricing level and discount functions (as % by line item and/or at total) are available. Please keep us in the loop if this happens. Cheers.

Andrew Tokeley
August 30, 2011 at 8.59 am

@F Lam – we are working on trade discount (% by line item) at the moment, should be out before Xmas

December 9, 2011 at 7.42 pm

How can I generate the subtotal for each page?
When invoice is more than a page, is it possbile to show the subtotal for each page?


March 27, 2012 at 4.26 pm

Do you have a timeframe as to when you would be implementing different pricing levels? This is a deciding factor for us

August 4, 2013 at 10.55 pm

It would be great if you could import existing MYOB invoicing templates. Saves reinventing the wheel.
OR, some helpful instructions on how to customise the existing Xero custom templates.

Tabitha Jones
April 28, 2014 at 4.49 pm

I work for a mechanic workshop and my invoices require very specific set of requirements, such as make/model of the vehicle worked on and a field where i can input an exact description of all the work completed (This sometimes can be up to a paragraph if the amount of work is extensive) so that the customer is aware of what work was carried out, is there anyway i can add this to my customized invoice? If so what are the merge field codes for that kind of thing and how would i go about input the information each time i draft a new invoice (these requirements are needed for every invoice).

Andrew Tokeley
April 29, 2014 at 1.04 pm

@Tabitha – here are a few ideas.

– you can include a line on your invoice that includes only a description. Not sure the limit on the length of text but can certainly be a few paragraphs. This is best done here, per invoice, than in the template.

– while not the original purpose of inventory items, you can set these up as placeholders for specific information you want to show on lines of an invoice. For example, if you always want to include the make/model number, create an inventory item, called, say, “Car Make/Model” with a description of “[ENTER HERE]” – then when it’s selected on a line of an invoice you can enter the actual make/model in the description. To ensure the inventory item name is displayed on the invoice, you must use a DOCX template, the standard invoice template doesn’t show this. Of course, this requires you to select the inventory item yourself – it won’t automatically appear.

– you could create a draft invoice, that has all the inventory item rows selected ready for their values to be entered. You could use this it as a template and copy it when raising new invoices. This could speed things up if there are a lot of bits of information to add each time.

Hope this helps.

May 10, 2014 at 5.28 am

We use Macs 🙂
So we cant use DocX 🙁

Please sort something out Xero People. Standard invoices aren’t the best so we would love to customise them.

June 23, 2014 at 6.45 pm

@James and others Mac users,
I am on a Mac too and I use google docs, then just download as docx when I’m done.

June 20, 2015 at 5.42 pm

Just signed up and can not fully customise my invoice template, apart from the tweaks in borders etc it looks really bland…
Thanks in advance
Another Mac user.

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