Updated: Sep 29
Are you missing out on an opportunity to enhance your company's branding? If you're not customizing the look of your QuickBooks forms, you could be!
While the standard QuickBooks invoice, statement, or estimate have a polished appearance to them, there's always room for improvement! Appearance matters when it comes to the forms and other documents you share with your customers and suppliers, because they can enhance your professional reputation! Customizing the appearance of your client- and vendor-facing forms is a quick and easy process you can do once that will make a positive impact over and over again.
QuickBooks’ form customization tools allow you to control two things: first, how your forms look, and second, what messaging they include. You can modify templates for your invoices, estimates, sales receipts, statements, purchase orders, and bill payment stubs so they all have a cohesive look and feel. To get started, you’ll need to select one of the templates that QuickBooks provides. Open the Lists menu and select Templates. In the window that opens, double click a template, like Intuit Service Invoice. Click Manage Templates at the top of the window. One quick note: it’s a good idea to leave the original template intact, just in case something goes awry or you want a full reset in the future. Instead of updating this specific template, make a copy of it that you can modify and save by clicking Copy, then OK. The Basic Customization window will open, as shown below.
You will see your options in the Basic Customization window.
Making Design Changes
The left side of this window displays all of your design and content options. First, add your logo if you have one by clicking the Use logo box and locating it in the directory of your computer that comes up. Next, select a color scheme for your invoice by clicking the down arrow below Select Color Scheme. Click Apply Color Scheme. You can see how that would look in the right side of the window, which displays a preview as you make changes. Pick a color palate from your brand guide, one that aligns closely with your industry, or something that reflects company's personality. For example, a candle company might choose warm yellow, a lawncare company might choose a lush green, and a professional services with a serious reputation might choose a conservative navy blue. If you want to change the fonts for your header (Title, Company Name, etc.), click each element and then click Change Font. A window containing your options here will open. Pick something legible, and note that san serif fonts (think: Arial, not Times New Roman) are typically easier to read on a screen.
When you’re done perfecting the style of your form, you can choose Company and Transaction Information (pictured below) and indicate your preferences by checking and unchecking boxes. For example, if you prefer to do business via email or a chat platform like Slack, you may be inclined to remove your phone number from the form. Note: if you get a message warning you about overlapping fields, you'll have to go into the Layout Designer, where you can drag and drop your form elements around to make them fit (this won't be too challenging if you've worked with a design tool before).
The Basic Customization window also displays these options for your forms. So far, you’ve only modified the very top of your invoice. You also have control over the rest of it. Click Additional Customization to see what your options are here. The window that opens will contain a field selection pane on the left and a preview of your work-in-progress on the right. Five tabs at the top will help you navigate the areas available for customization. You can change the field label for each and indicate whether they should appear on the screen and/or printed copy. The three you should be most concerned with are:
Header: Includes more options for the top of the form, like Due Date and Ship Via
Columns: Which columns should appear in the center of the invoice (Description, Quantity, Rate, etc.)?
Footer. You’ll certainly want to add some of these, like Subtotal and Total, and maybe Sales Tax.
Need additional information included in your form? Add a Custom Field. Remember: Custom Fields are one of QuickBooks Desktop's best features because it extends the functionality of the software for growing businesses.
You have control over many elements of your invoice template.
When you’re done customizing the above, click OK, then in the Basic Customization window click OK again. Your newly-designed invoice will now appear in the list of templates.
Making All Your Forms Uniform
You can even copy the design of one form type to another to make them consistent. Go to Lists | Templates again and highlight the form you want to copy (like Copy of Service Invoice). Click the Templates button in the lower left to open the menu and select Duplicate. In the window that opens, select the type of template you want to copy to (like Sales Receipt). Click OK. When the Templates window opens again, you’ll see a Copy 2: Intuit Service Invoice. In the corresponding Type column, you’ll see Sales Receipt. You can make any adjustments necessary here.
QuickBooks customization is a great way to improve the design of your forms easily. It's not a graphic design program, and QuickBooks doesn't expect that you’re professional graphic designers. You can easily upgrade the look with a logo, cohesive color scheme, fonts and maybe updating a few fields to make sense. We suggest you keep your modifications simple; if you do too much, you risk getting tangled up in the Layout Designer.
We think it’s a good idea to make the design of your forms look cohesive across all form types. But of course, it's what goes into those fields that matter the most! If there are areas of accounting where you’re unfamiliar, we’re available to address your questions and help you make the most of the tools provided by QuickBooks.