A while back I mentioned how Google Docs has templates for all kinds of things like project management, invoicing and more. Today I want to walk through exactly how you can create an invoice in Google Docs.
Note: As I mentioned in my earlier post, you should find some real invoicing software if invoicing is important to your business. Each invoice you make with Google Docs will require a few minutes of work that could be avoided with more specialized (and expensive) software.
Step 1: Pick your template
First, log into Google Docs at docs.Google.com
and select "Create New > From template...". You'll see a list of different template options. You can click on the "Business" link in the sidebar to view all business-related templates, or just do a search or "Invoice". For this tutorial, I'm going to use the "Basic Invoice" template.
Once you find the template you want to use, click the "Use this template" button to open your new document.
Step 2: Set up a generic invoice
Assuming you'll want to create multiple invoices (eventually), it makes sense to make a generic document which you'll use as a starting point in the future. Just edit the name and contact info. You should also choose a naming convention which you'll use for all your invoices in the future. I named mine "Less Annoying Software Invoice #000".
Step 3: Make your first real invoice
Now that you have a generic invoice, you should make a copy of it and fill it in with real data. To do that, select "File > Make a copy...". This will open up a new document. The first thing you need to do is change the name of the document to fit your convention (like "Less Annoying Software Invoice #001").
Then you just need to make sure all the info on the invoice is correct. Make sure you update the invoice #, the date, the "to" information and the "for" information. Of course you also need to enter a line for each invoice item. Because this isn't a spreadsheet, the totals won't automatically update so you may need to whip out a calculator and make sure all the numbers are adding up correctly.
Step 4: Send the invoice to your client
There are a few different ways to send the invoice to a client. The easiest is to select "Share > Email as attachment...". You should probably choose to attach the item as a PDF. Then just enter the recipient's email address and a message explaining that you attached an invoice, and send the email. Update: as a commenter points out below, this method doesn't look very professional and might be confused with spam because the email comes from Google instead of from you. You should probably stick with the second method:
You can also email the invoice manually as a PDF by selecting "File > Download as > PDF". This will download a file to your computer which you can then send as an email attachment to your client.
Step 5: Do it all again the later
Now that you've sent out your first invoice, you should make sure you know how to make more just like it. Anytime you need to make another invoice, return to Google Docs and open up the generic invoice you made. Select "File > Make a copy..." and edit it the same way you did with your first invoice. This process is sort of tedious, but it should only take a few minutes once you get the hang of things.
This article was written by...
Co-founder and CEO of Less Annoying CRM
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