If you find yourself needing to invoice customers from time to time, Google Docs offers an easy way to do it. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to find an invoice template that you like, customize it with your business's information, and send it to your clients.
Note: If you need to invoice clients regularly, you might prefer using dedicated invoicing software. 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
Google docs has a public repository of templates that you can use as a starting point. Here is a link to the various invoicing templates
. Browse through that list and click "Preview" to see a sample of any options that look like they might work for you. Once you find one you like, click "Use this template" 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
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.
Posted on Jun 18, 2010