Tweaking Invoice Designs in Billings Pro

Quick Tips / February 27, 2012 / Admin

Last month, we posted an article about creating an invoicing system that’s easy. We talked about making sure your system kept running totals, tracks your sales taxes separately, and offered expense tracking, for things like mileage, and travel receipts.

We had some great comments from our readers about the process of making invoices look more like your existing brand. Feedback about our products is always welcomed and we appreciate everyone who wrote something.

We wanted to answer some of the questions about making changes to the existing templates in Billings, so we thought we’d put some effort into making it easier to learn how to use certain aspects of the invoice designer tool in Billings & Billings Pro. We’ve started off with the basics and put together a short video that shows how to tweak your invoice designs by:

  • changing text alignment
  • adjusting line spacing
  • changing typefaces
  • changing row background colours

We’re also going to be hosting a webinar on March 8th for those that are interested in seeing the design tweaks taught in a bit more detail as well as learning a few more commonly requested adjustments needed for invoices, like adding a custom column or adding a payment link URL.

Joining us on this webinar will be one of Marketcircle’s certified Report Engine partners, the talented owner of, Cynthia Shaffer. She’ll be helping us learn how to make simple design adjustments, but will also give us a brief demo of some of the more powerful customizations of Billings Invoices and Reports that she’s made for her clients.

Join us for one of 3 sessions on Thursday March 8th at 10 AM, 2 PM & 6 PM EST:

No Responses to “Tweaking Invoice Designs in Billings Pro”

  1. Let’s see how long it takes before the first post complaining about how ‘complicated’ creating a report/invoice/whatever is (when has creating any kind of report ever been “simple??)

    As I said before: Marketcircle should sell its reporting module separately from their main software. Maybe then people wouldn’t complain about getting the equivalent of a $400 piece of software included for free.

  2. Rei VILO
  3. Nice tutorial.

    I hope you’re going the same for reports.

    I still don’t understand why a product so easy to use and targeted at self-employed professionals does include an awfully over-complicated report system –not to mention the lack of available documentation like the objects and variables structure.

  4. James
  5. As a User Experience Designer I found it hard to do a simple task like add rows to an existing template. Can I just click on a plus sign at the end of a row or enter in a number to add columns?

  6. Bruce
  7. I agree with Rei VILO. Most users need more variety in the reports, but the tweaking process is too complex. The better solution is to provide more templates, customized to different industries. Your current solution is to recommend a designer, but their prices are prohibitive.

    I’m not asking for freebies; I’d be willing to pay more for an application that includes a wide variety of templates; but providing a limited choice and then directing customers to high-priced designers is a bad solution.

  8. Michael
  9. From my forum thread, here’s another thing that’s been bothering me:
    It boggles my mind that interest charges are not an available feature in this application. I’ve been searching in vain for months to find a solution and I too have seen the numerous requests to add this feature. After many nights of tinkering (and many beers) I found a workaround – it’s not pretty and far from a permanent solution, but it does the trick on statements.

    I created a new text field with the text “Interest on Overdue Accounts”. Next to that I added a dynamic text field in my statement template and added the following equation:

    ([Statement Overdue 1-30 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue 31-60 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue 31-60 Days]*1.02)*0.02))+(([Statement Overdue 61-90 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue 61-90 Days]*1.02)*0.02)+((([Statement Overdue 61-90 Days]*1.02)*1.02)*0.02))+(([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*1.02)*0.02)+((([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*1.02)*1.02)*0.02)+(((([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*1.02)*1.02)*1.02)*0.02))

    I then checked off the “Evaluate entire text as mathematical expression” box and clicked OK.

    In the dynamic text field for the Account Balance I added the following equation:

    ([Statement Overdue 1-30 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue 31-60 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue 31-60 Days]*1.02)*0.02))+(([Statement Overdue 61-90 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue 61-90 Days]*1.02)*0.02)+((([Statement Overdue 61-90 Days]*1.02)*1.02)*0.02))+(([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*0.02)+(([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*1.02)*0.02)+((([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*1.02)*1.02)*0.02)+(((([Statement Overdue Over 90 Days]*1.02)*1.02)*1.02)*0.02))+[Statement Total Balance]

    Again, check off the “Evaluate entire text as mathematical expression” box and clicked OK.

    Basically, I created a manual equation that took the values from each of the overdue periods and multiplied them by the appropriate amounts of interest – in this case 2% – and added them all together. The text in the square brackets in the equations ([]) are, of course, Report Objects.

    Pain in the freakin’ butt, but it at least allows you to show accrued interest on statements to clients. It doesn’t, however, reflect or track the interest amounts in the application, so if/when the client pays the overdue amounts and you enter the payment amount into the app, billings will not balance out. Oh, well…

    Hope this helps. Billings, get with the program and add an interest feature!!!!!


    Posted November 24, 2010 01:57 AM Hide Post
    OK! You can’t say I didn’t try. I have tried to follow Akulaboy’s instructions. I’ve gone over them very carefully but I must be doing something wrong.

    I insert a Dynamic Text box and double-click to edit it. I type (or paste) in Akulaboy’s equation. I check the box to “Evaluate entire text as mathematical equation”. And it doesn’t stick! When I go back to check on the equation, the little check box is unchecked!!!

    What am I doing wrong? I’m pretty good with math and programming, and this is driving me up a wall.

    I’ve been thinking that Billings might, just might!, be the software that is suited to my practice. But without the ability to easily apply interest or fees for late payments! I don’t know.

    I’ve searched this forum a little and see that the absence of this feature has been a common complaint for a number of years. If it hasn’t gotten attention by now, I have my doubts that it will be addressed.

    I was hoping that Akulaboy’s workaround my be acceptable, warts and all. But I don’t know.

    Looking for THE billing software.


    I feel your pain, Interferer. I experienced the same issues – I noticed that each time I went in to edit the equation, the checkbox for “Evaluate entire text..” was unchecked. Each time I would recheck it, set the Formatter field to Currency, and save. It was quite frustrating. The only way to really test it out to see if it is working is to save the template and actually create an invoice/statement/etc. for a client that has outstanding accounts. You don’t need to actually save/send the item, but go through the process of creating it and viewing the preview like you would before you complete and save an invoice, etc. I found the Preview feature in the template editor didn’t actually work accurately for testing this workaround.

    What I basically have been doing once I got it working, is create a statement (this is where I have used this equation) for the client in question, so you get an accurate accounting of the interest that is owed. Save the statement. Based on the interest determined by the formula, I create an additional slip in the project and set it at a fixed amount – the $ amount of the interest owing (quantity of 1) – and I label the slip “Interest on (insert invoice name/#)” and add a comment explaining something along the lines of “accounts XX-YY days overdue.” I then generate a new invoice with this slip and save the invoice. Once this is done, I send the new statement and the invoice of the interest amount to the client, so they have the invoice and a complete record of all recent transactions and/or outstanding items (including the interest).

    You could also do the above step by regenerating the original invoice with the interest slip included. I’m still experimenting to see what is the best, but I have found it easiest to just send a separate invoice for the interest.

    It’s cumbersome, but it works and allows you to account for the interest in Billings, so your numbers aren’t out-of-whack when the interest is paid – it should all balance.

    Hope this helps. It is pretty mind-boggling, though, that they don’t see the value in adding a feature like this…

    Good luck.

  10. Michael
  11. Why is this tutorial devoting most of its time to Mac’s standard interface like the Type and Color pickers? We all know a lot more about how to use Mac’s standard menus because we have them for all the other apps. This video gives the impression your strategy is about social media spam instead of sincere smart teaching. Instead please devote the time to explaining Billings right side bar and how to select and navigate through Billings parameters, it’s quirks and what it all means.

  12. AJ
  13. @Michael – we did this one first because it was the most common request. We’ll do others in the future.

    In regards to the interest feature, we’ll (re)consider it for the future. While it is an important feature, most of our users don’t actually charge interest for late payment.

    It’s nice to see that our report engine is flexible enough that you can add functionality that we didn’t design for.

  14. Jorge
  15. Amazing.

    People have asked for tutorials for a while; now that MC posts one, they’re being accused of performing “social media spam”.

    Simply amazing.


  16. sue
  17. very much looking forward to a tutorial on creating new fields, formulas, etc.

  18. RickC
  19. I have gone into the report section before to modify reports before and things like type styles and fonts are pretty straight forward. I have created very complex reports before with Crystal Reports pulling data from several databases. The problem with the Billings custom reports is the lack of documentation – specifically syntax and data names and references. I did stumble upon some basic reporting documentation in the Daylite section on the website that may be useful but if it is meant to also assist with Billings reports then it should be referenced there. I haven’t had time to get into this material so don’t know how helpful it will be.

    On another note, they need to fix the rounding issue when reporting hours in the reports. For example, what should show as 0.7 prints on the report as 0.7000000000000001 which makes the invoice look very amateurish.

  20. Hi,

    I will be in a meeting on the day of the Webinar so will miss out, will you be making it available off-line?


    Chris Brine

  21. Rahim
  22. RickC,

    Thanks for your feedback about the documentation for our reporting in Billings and Billings Pro. We will look to improve this to make it more available and more clear for our users.

    For your rounding issue, I wanted to find out a little bit more. Would you be able to send in your report for us to take a look at. It seems like a formatting issue, but it’s hard to tell without looking at it. Could you please send it in to info [at] marketcircle [dot] com and reference this post and We’ll take a look at it further.


  23. @ Chris Brine

    Yes, we’ll be recording a version to make available to those that cannot attend.

  24. during the webinar we talked about adding a paypal url and this worked at the time but doesn’t seem to work now:'S_EMAIL_ADDRESS

    try this instead:'S_EMAIL_ADDRESS

  25. Apta
  26. Where are the recorded webinars?

  27. Emily Rudow
  28. @Apta We don’t have any webinars for BP at this point. But we do have videos that are posted on Vimeo.

    BP Resource Videos:

    Getting Started with Billings Pro

    Working with Projects in Billings Pro:

    Working with Slips in Billings Pro:

    Creating your first Invoice in Billings Pro:

    Workers, Timecard, and Approvals in Billings Pro:

  29. I am a new user Billings 3 and before the point where I need to create an invoice everything is just fine.
    My question is, if I need to customize the invoice by adding a standard feature like the commercial registration number, address , phone, email, web address and bank account information – I would love to be able to add that at the time when I add the new client and to not be in need to do that every time I create an invoice.

  30. Emily Rudow
  31. @Alin You can modify an invoice template by going to Design > Edit Template (if you have customized before) or New Template > If you are using a built in one. Next, name the template and choose from a pre-existing template to start working. You can then add information on the invoice in different areas that aren’t automatically added to the invoice within the app.

    Here is a video that shows little tweaks that can be done easily on an invoice:

  32. I’m using Billings on Mac OS X 10.8.4 and when editing an estimate template I can double click on a dynamic text field to edit it, but clicking OK or even Cancel will not close the box. Even if I haven’t made any changes, the box will not close. I’m guessing this is a bug and wondering if there is anything that can be done? Thanks.

  33. Emily Rudow
  34. @Joe Allam This used to be a bug in an older version. What version of billings are you on? Make sure you update to 3.7.6. Thanks!

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