A very common question I see in the Intuit Community forums is “I’ve created a custom template for my invoices, can I copy that over to my sales orders and other forms?” Today’s quick tip describes how you can easily accomplish this.
You can spend a lot of time tweaking and adjusting your form templates to get them just right. Adding backgrounds, adding a logo, changing colors and fonts, arranging fields. You may find that you want all of your forms to have some common elements, the same basic layout and features, as a part of your corporate identity. QuickBooks makes it easy to do this, once you have your basic form set up.
Please note that the steps here are based on the Windows version of Premier 2009 – there may be differences with older versions of QuickBooks, or the Mac version.
Build Your Starting Template
You can start with a standard template built in to the program, or you can download one from the Intuit Community Form Library. I’ll start with a downloaded invoice form from the library which I have saved on my computer.
Open the Templates list by selecting Lists and then Templates.
The Templates list will show all of the templates in your company file.
If you have downloaded a template file, you can click on the templates button at the bottom of the list and select Import to add the downloaded form to the list.
Click on the template you want to start with and right click to get a menu, then select Edit Template. This opens your basic customization window. You can use the additional customization and layout designer buttons to make the changes that you want. Do all of the changes you want now, to get the form exactly what you want. Here is my sample: I’ve added a logo, some text in the header, changed the form title, and configured the footer.
Back in the templates list, I select the template that I have modified (CCRSoftware Orange Invoice), click the templates button, and select Duplicate.
A menu appears which allows you to select the template type you want to use for the duplicate.
The duplicated form will be added to your list with the prefix “Copy of:” . You probably should change this now – right click on the template and select edit template, then click on the manage templates button. Change the name in the template name box.
A Few Last Tips
- You cannot change a form like an invoice into a statement, the form types are just too different (unfortunately).
- The new form is a complete copy of the original – so if you make changes to the original form it won’t affect the duplicates. SO – make all of the changes you want in the original form, so that you don’t have to redo changes in each copy you make.
- You should export your customized forms using the commands in the template list, and save them someplace safe. This protects you if an employee makes unauthorized changes, or if QuickBooks decides to scramble your invoice templates (a rare but distressing occurance).
- Templates are stored in the company file itself. You can move templates from one company file to another by exporting and then importing.
- Any graphics or logos you add are saved in a sub folder adjacent to the company file itself. Note that if you make a backup using the QuickBooks backup feature and then restore that backup on a different computer, the graphic files are saved and restored, but they are restored to a different location. You have to manually move the graphics to the proper folder, as described in my article on restoring QuickBooks backups.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Charlie Russell is the founder of CCRSoftware. He’s been involved with the small business software industry since the mid 70’s, focusing on inventory and accounting software for small businesses. Charlie is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Look for Charlie’s articles in the Accountex Report blog, as well as his California Wildflower Hikes blog.