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Xero Update: Improving invoicing

Posted 4 years ago in Product by Peter Harvey
Posted by Peter Harvey

Helping our customers get paid faster and automating administration are mantras at Xero. We’re always looking for ways to help simplify invoicing, make Xero more efficient, or reduce the effort required to get tasks done.

Larger features like Online Invoicing transform how you work with your customers. But we also focus on delivering smaller updates to improve important workflows and make things easier for you.

That’s what this release is all about.

Copying invoices is now faster

If you’re a small business that invoices the same services or products time and again, copying an invoice saves time.

You can already copy an individual invoice within Xero. But you had to open the invoice and then copy it – which takes time. You can now copy an invoice right from the sales invoices page into a new sales invoice.

Select the invoice, make a few tweaks, choose the contact and you’re ready to go. You’ll save time, your invoices will be accurate and you’ll get invoices out faster than before.


Merge sales invoices

You can also copy multiple invoices into a single invoice. We also know there are many businesses who prefer to invoice less frequently. Either because that’s what your customers expect, or because you want to reduce administration for you and your customers.

With this release you can consolidate a number of invoices (in any state – draft, approved etc.) into a new invoice to send to a customer.

Using the ‘Copy to…’ button, you can copy up to 25 sales invoices – or a total of 200 lines – into a single invoice. This makes it easy to invoice a customer in one go.


Edit more fields on paid invoices

Sometimes mistakes can slip through the cracks. Sometimes you might misspell a contact name, or need to change the due date etc. on an invoice.
Previously you could edit the branding theme, account and region on an invoice with a payment against it. Now you can also update these other fields:

  • contact
  • due date
  • invoice number
  • reference
  • line item description

For your peace of mind, all changes are tracked, so you can easily see who has made changes.


Now responsive: Invoicing pages

A few releases back we updated the Account Transactions page. We wanted to take advantage of the larger screens many of us work with. We made the page responsive to the size of your browser . This meant it grew wider if you had the space on-screen, making it easier to read.

With this release, we’ve done the same to the Sales Invoice pages. We’ve not only made them responsive, we’ve also cleaned up the design. More space means it’s easier to get the information you need to make decisions.


Descriptions no longer required for most transactions

And here’s a quick time saver (suggested by our Community!). Xero no longer requires the Description field to be filled on:

  • Bills
  • Bill Credit Notes
  • Manual Journals
  • Repeating Journals (including importing Bills and Manual Journals)

This should save a few seconds each time you want to create one of these items.

That’s it for now. Check out the release notes for a list of everything that’s been released today. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments. We always check and respond!


August 17, 2015 at 9.50 am

New “responsive” invoice page seems anything but, rather the opposite
Now can not adjust the column width, have a smaller space to work with, difficult to see what have typed before as no longer a wiswig type display, leading to lots of mistakes added time already.
I assume these are errors and will be fixed fairly quickly, one hopes.

August 17, 2015 at 10.21 am

Great that we can now make changed to paid invoices, however the new layout is terrible. The description column is incredibly narrow and very difficult to read. Editing this column is even worse with only a tiny box to make any changes. Can we have the old layout back?!?

Barnaby Loyd Gimble
August 17, 2015 at 11.55 am

Let me begin by applauding your cunning and guile. That being said I’m chuffed…indeed very chuffed about the whole “bills” concept…isn’t it time we said “why bills?”

anyway that’s nor here nor there..keep up the work..”dandy on” as we’d say in days of old and for all its worth let me the first to say…chips ahoy!

August 17, 2015 at 12.12 pm

The new invoice layout is terrible.

The narrow description column means that a description can now run to over 30 lines, yet we only have a tiny box that lets us edit two lines of a description. The only way to work with this is to cut and paste into notepad, make my edits there and then cut and paste back into Xero.

This inefficient workflow is a massive waste of time. Can we please revert to the old layout?

August 17, 2015 at 3.03 pm

I really like the idea of the new “Copy to Invoice” feature… What I don’t like is Xero not thinking features through completely. If I create multiple invoice that have files attached to them and merge/create and new invoice all data except the files are transferred. This is very annoying and files are no longer listed in library as they are associated to another invoice. I would like to see these files copied to new invoice!

Peter Harvey
August 17, 2015 at 5.11 pm

@tim and @tristan
Sorry that these the new invoicing improvements have caused some pain. We’re collating up the feedback and will release a fix as soon as possible.

On the description field: one of the things we wanted to do was to make the grid responsive to give you more room across the entire page – we’ll make sure that’s included in the next update. But thank you very much for letting us know.

@luke – Thanks for pointing this out, we’ll look into it now!

Chris Dixon
August 18, 2015 at 12.12 am

Not sure of the logic in allowing contact and invoice number to be changed on a paid invoice. If you’ve sent an invoice to X and its been paid then why would you want to change it to Y? Invoice number is also meant to uniquely identify a sale for tax/VAT purposes so it shouldn’t really be changed.

August 18, 2015 at 1.37 pm

Please can you increase the size of the Description when displaying an invoice onscreen? It’s just about unusable as it is now.

Perhaps your test team could try creating a 20 line invoice with 30-40 characters in the Description on each line, and then try viewing it and finding the one specific line that needs editing. And then imagine doing this 50-60 times a day.

Peter Harvey
August 18, 2015 at 2.47 pm

@Tristan, @Tim, @Customer
Quick update to let you know that the description field (which was a bug and most certainly the most important issue to fix first) has been fixed and shipped. We wanted to get that out straight away- some other fixes are coming that will alleviate some of the other issues.

@Chris Dixon
We have businesses that use Xero that need to retrospectively change the invoice number. However, any changes made will be tracked in history & notes of the invoice and the History & Notes Activity report (available to the Advisor user role).

Chips Ahoy!

Lachlan Clifford
August 19, 2015 at 3.04 pm

I like these developments, useful features here. But why can’t these new features be made available on the purchases orders/bills side of things as well? In my organisation we probably pay 50 suppliers for every invoice we send to a client, would really love this editing/copying flexibility where I can make the most use of it.

August 19, 2015 at 6.29 pm

Having to scroll down to approve each invoice and scroll back up to add next invoice. This is very annoying and time consuming. The new format has created nothing but problems thus far.

August 23, 2015 at 4.47 pm

@peter: have you updated feature so that attachments are transferred yet?

Peter Harvey
September 17, 2015 at 10.14 am


Sorry for the delay in responding to your last comment. I wanted to make sure the bug that you mentioned was allocated to a team before I responded to you.
I can confirm today that this issue has been allocated to a team to fix (timeframe to TBC). Thanks for your observation!

@Lachlan – you can now edit more fields on Bills which have a payment applied to it


Louise Evans
October 2, 2015 at 2.56 pm

Being able to create a new Invoice from multiple invoices is great – but it leaves me with the new invoice plus all the old ones that the new was merged from

This is confusing! Do I void the old invoices? What’s the best practice here? Multiple users on our Xero, so don’t want customer to accidentally be sent an invoice that’s been put in a merge.

October 29, 2015 at 7.34 pm

i too find this slightly frustrating, it says you can merge invoices which to me means old ones should be gone but all i end up with is the new ‘copied’ invoice and the old seperate ones, no merging at all and now dont know what to do with original ones, a response to this question would be great as it has been unanswered for nearly a month now!

Peter Harvey
October 30, 2015 at 12.02 pm

@Louise and @Alastair

Thanks for your question.
The majority of our users copy a recent invoice (or number of invoices), either an approved invoice or a draft invoice, into a new invoice to send to their customers. With this in mind we designed the “copy to” feature to leave the existing invoices.

If you think getting rid of the original’s invoices when copying could be a good additional option, please add this feature request so we can see how many other people are also keen:

Joel Voss
November 15, 2017 at 5.25 pm

Any news on the copy/merge feature and getting rid of the original invoices when copying? I’m desperate for this!

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