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Selling or sharing your invoice designs?

Posted 7 years ago in Tech by Philip Fierlinger

Now that you can create fully customizable invoice templates it’s possible to design very sophisticated documents. And there’s a good chance other people might find your designs useful too. So we’d like to create a gallery where people can get well designed invoice templates. If you’re interested in sharing or selling your templates please email me for details. We’ll give you full credit and a link to your site where people can download/buy your templates.

A few people commented on our choice of Word for creating templates, versus other options like CSS. Even though lots of our customers are amazingly talented designers (ie 31threeSquared Eye, Cactus Lab, …) and they know what {color:#333!important;} means, the reality is most people don’t even know what CSS is. But most people do use Word everyday, so they can easily tweak our default templates to suit their needs.

Even from a designers perspective, it’s important to point out some serious advantages to Word that shouldn’t be underestimated: headers, footers and multi-page design options are easy to implement and native to Word. Since CSS is a screen based formatting technology, print and document formatting is tricky – so you can assume some basic print formatting options won’t be possible. Nevertheless, we still want to add support for CSS templates, at some point. We’re also looking into supporting standard .doc files for creating templates, so you can use a much broader range of editors.

Remember: tell us about your templates & we’ll send people your way.


Glen Barnes
January 11, 2011 at 10.08 am

Check out PrinceXML for how to do headers/footers, etc. in HTML/CSS – We use this for creating our PDF’s and it works great so supporting the same css selectors would be a good idea.

Matt Brown
January 11, 2011 at 10.11 am

I don’t own a copy of Word, or a computer that it would it run on. To acquire them would likely cost me at least $500.

What is your suggestion for how I can customise my invoices?

Rod Drury Xero
January 11, 2011 at 11.53 am

Matt, if the built in Invoicing doesn’t do what you need then I’d suggest a buying a good friend with Word a latte and pop around and build a template on their computer. Word is everywhere.


Tina Kaye
January 11, 2011 at 3.43 pm

Nice idea… Very happy about customisations. Thanks guys.

January 11, 2011 at 5.13 pm

@Matt. Try OpenOffice if Rod’s suggestion 😉 doesn’t work.

iphone app development co
January 11, 2011 at 11.19 pm

If your customers are using Linux then any old scrap of paper with a few numbers on it will probably look good to them!
And before I get trolled, I’ve spent many pleasurable hours using Puppy Linux on supposedly dead computers… it’s just that the world voted and MS won; soon, it looks like we may have a recount and Apple has a chance.
But one thing’s for certain, Linux still only appeals to a (contrarian?!) minority and hence is, and should, be ignored by companies with ambitions.

Christopher B.
January 12, 2011 at 5.15 am

Was thrilled by the headline, but with all good news comes bad news. That is being limited to Word of course. Hopefully you do revisit soon with CSS as I choose Xero for their beautiful attention to design and standards. I hope you continue to live up to that in the future. Thanks guys for trying though.

January 12, 2011 at 9.16 am

As previously mentioned Open Office is a good option, it’ll work with Windows, OSX and Linux. I was previously using MYOB but one of the reasons I switched to Xero was that I could use it from any of my computers, regardless of which operating system they’re running.

@iphone app development co – this isn’t a Linux issue, this is a “not wanting to buy Microsoft Office” issue (which I subscribe to), your small minded and uneducated opinions on the merits of the various Linux distributions doesn’t really have much to do with it.

Panagiotis L.
January 12, 2011 at 9.32 am

Xero’s decision on Word was great. CSS and HTML would limit everyone but web designers, but bare in mind that Xero is for everyone not just web designers (and I am a graphic & web designer myself, before anyone starts trolling). Now, for those few who do not own a copy of Word, there is always OpenOffice or professional designers who are able to design a lot more attractive invoice templates than the average Word user (in this case you don’t even need to own a copy of Word; you simply upload the design to Xero)

January 12, 2011 at 9.58 am

Personally I really can’t see what the issue with using Word or open office is!

The whole ethos of this application is to be easy to use (I.E easy for people to do their accounting) who have no knowledge of accountancy processes. why would the design team then go and baffle a large percentage of there subscriber base by providing image templates in CSS?

PrinceXML may be a great work around for this, but i suspect it will baffle many small business users who need to concentrate on running their plumbing, electrical businesses and many none IT related IT Businesses.

@iphone app development co

Not sure were you get the “Linux still only appeals to a (contrarian?!) minority and hence is, and should, be ignored by companies with ambitions.” just because you host your site on Microsoft. how does that mean that companies hosting on “linux” have no ambition?

If memory serves me correctly Mac OS is a derivative of BSD “also not Microsoft” oh and come to mention it, the OS on which you develop for and ultimately get paid for creating applications for businesses with out ambition isn’t Microsoft is either, just hope your clients don’t get to see your short sightedness.

I can feel the backlash already LOL

Phillip Hutchings
January 12, 2011 at 10.09 am

@Phil Unfortunately OpenOffice doesn’t work for this as while version 3.2+ does export to the .docx format, OpenOffice also does not export the mail merge tags required for the template functionality to work.

Panagiotis L.
January 12, 2011 at 12.27 pm

I really don’t see why this whole noise is going on about the docx templates. In any case, if someone needs basic accounting functions, not fancy invoices to mail to his /her customers, there is ALWAYS the basic Xero template that works fine for everyone.

Now, if anyone wants to enhance his/her business image by having an attractive invoice template, I don’t see why would he/she care about whether this is working on CSS/HTML or docx (Microsoft Word) or indd (Adobe InDesign) and I don’t see why would anyone would have to do it on him/herself. In most cases, DIY templates (invoices, letterheads etc) no matter what the platform/application they are made on/with are closer to deteriorating (not to say destroying) the image of the business that makes use of them, rather than enhancing it.

Now, if you ask me, if I was not in the design business and I’d like to enhance my business image, I would have better spend X amount of money and having a professional do the job in several hours rather than spending DAYS trying to figure out about how the layout of my invoice would look and work better, and understanding what all those really mean and how they work.

I strongly believe that if businesspeople/ IT staff have plenty of time working around a simple secondary matter of their business, they would better find out why they have all that time to design those templates themselves, instead of selling their stuff or servicing their customers, rather than whinning about whether the Xero templates are on docx or htm or indd format. It’s really lame….

Blair Hughson
January 13, 2011 at 10.24 am

@Panagiotis – couldn’t agree with you more.

Joshua Farmer
June 3, 2011 at 9.51 am

Very cool idea. Thanks for engaging us customers & partners on this. Will definitely be drafting up a few templates myself for submission.

Greg Lane
August 17, 2011 at 5.58 pm

I realise this is an old thread, but it would be great if it this feature could be ported for use with OpenOffice/LibreOffice templates. It’s not just a matter of ‘making them pretty’ we have specific currency formatting issues that can only be handled through a custom template. If this can’t be done, then at least some kind of HTML/CSS template as mentioned above would be great. The final output is PDF anyway so there is no need to use an expensive program like MS Word.

Shawn Smith
September 26, 2011 at 1.12 pm

Because of our fondness to Xero, we have built many free templates for all to use.

They are available at

Feel free to ask us any questions or even request a new design. And we even have free support should you get stuck.

Goran Burcevski
September 30, 2011 at 5.41 am

I am the developer of a new program called InvoiceDesinger ( It is a designer for invoice templates and is very flexible. It can print directly to printer or to PDF. It runs on Windows and it is still in BETA and has support only for FreshBooks invoices, but I would love to add XERO support if there is interest for such a program.

January 24, 2012 at 8.28 am

The default template is excellent, apart from one missing item, which is previous balance. Is it possible to add this to the default template, or would one have to create the template from scratch?

August 14, 2012 at 4.43 pm

Custom invoice branding in Xero is terrible! No options for text formatting, and no live previewing! Having to learn docx templates and upload? Come on. Xero, check out Mailchimp’s live previewing of email newsletters. Being able to customize the look of invoices is a critical part of marketing, and your weak customization functionality is making it hard to use Xero!

September 6, 2012 at 1.08 pm

HTML-CSS templates would be great. As Nick says above, MailChimp does a fantastic job of allowing non-technical users to create fully functional templates – no need for the non-technical end user to mess about learning Word’s MailMerge and it’s cross platform. I’d love to see HTML templates, if only so that I don’t have to leave blank space in templates for long international addresses – it looks odd when it’s used on local 3 line addresses. Cheers for a great program!

Robert Frith
June 11, 2013 at 6.52 pm

We’ve just moved from MYOB to Xero. I’d been very impressed with the smooth transition and the slick integration with our banking. The my office manager asked me to have a look at the forms side of things. How clunky can you make something like this?? Seriously the decision to go with Word really dumbs down the whole Xero experience.
Word may be accessible but design and layout software it ain’t. And it isn’t accessible to everyone!
Looking forward to templating that doesn’t belong in dark ages!

Stanley Watson
November 3, 2013 at 9.33 pm

Is anybody sharing free Xero invoice templates? If indeed sharing on a website, could you please provide the link?

March 31, 2016 at 3.19 am

Love Xero – works for the un-expert.
Word….good good good…..
But I’m busy and would like a designer to help……. reach out to me

Jeremy Nicholls
February 4, 2017 at 5.49 am

Well, here we are, six years on, and Xero is still shackled to the 20th century by using Microsoft Word for graphic layout. Word was never any good for layout, and it still isn’t. Our invoices are an important way of communicating our company’s branding, and we need to be able to edit them easily online. To get Xero invoices looking professional takes ages and is well nigh impossible.

September 12, 2017 at 2.31 pm

This riddiculous… I have been trying to create invoices in Xero for three weeks now. Have spent hundreds of dollars working with a graphic designer who has basically given up because its taking them too much time as they dont use word for design. I am happy to pay someone to do this for me but cannot find anyone. XERO can ypou please offer this service… or its a business oprtunity for someone out there with the skills. Anyweay, if anyone has had success in finding someone to design an invoice please call me or pass on my phone number 0431013363 Suzanne.

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