How to create a simple invoice using Libre Office in Ubuntu.

Posted in:Tips 'n Tricks

This is the first in a series of tutorials on how to use a great piece of open source software – LibreOffice. In this series I will show you how to make useful document templates for your small or hopefully huge business in LibreOffice using Calc, Writer and Impress.

libre office for ubuntu 1.png

I believe that you know that LibreOffice is as fork of OpenOffice and thus it is quite similar to it. Also MS Office users will have a great chance to see that LibreOffice is probably 99% powerful as MS Office but guess what – it is free and open source.

In this tutorial we will work in Calc and I will show you how to create a professionally looking invoice.

Start LibreOffice Calc. From Ubuntu 11.04 onwards, it is there by default and you will find it in the among other programs but if you don't have it,download it from and install it.

We will create a general invoice but you are free to modify it as you prefer.

For a model, I used the invoice template shown below which looks reasonably good. You will see that part 2. has 6 columns and 2 rows and we will focus on that as a starting point for making the whole template.

libre office for ubuntu 2.jpg

Step 1.

Select the first 6 columns in lines 7 and 8. We will choose borders for that section. Go to Format and then click on Cells. In the new window select the Borders tab and choose 1.00pt for all lines. You can pick all the lines by clicking on the marked button or you can do that manually in the preview window.

libre office for ubuntu 3.png

You can't choose your-own border size which is bad and looks ugly too. But I believe LibreOffice will change that soon. Now Click OK.

Step 2.

Now it is starting to look like something. In the reference image you can see that part 3. of invoice with products has 5 columns and that the second one is wide as two columns in part 2. That means that we will have to merge some cells in order to achieve the desired effect.

Select the cells as it is shown on the picture and click on the Merge icon. You will need to go with two-by-two cells from lines 12 – 20.

libre office for ubuntu 4.png

Step 3.

Now we need to add borders on this part but only the outer and inner verticals! So once again, select the whole part and go to Format and then Cells in the menu or click CTRL + 1 on your keyboard. Select just the outer and one vertical in the middle. It is very important to know that for getting a professional look you should not play with the looks and should try to maintain uniformity.

libre office for ubuntu 5.png

Click on OK.

Step 4.

Now we have two tables. We are placing borders because even we see the grid on our sheet it will not be printed

In part 4 we have seven cells which we will use for totals and taxes. Lets give them borders as well.

libre office for ubuntu 6.png

Step 5.

Lets add space for notes. Select cells as shown on the image and once again go to Borders and click 1.00pt for selecting the dashed line as shown. We need only the outer lines. To see your result better remove the grid.

libre office for ubuntu 7.png

Step 6.

Lets add some colors like the ones on the reference invoice. We need gray horizontal lines for parts 2 and 3. Select cells as on the image and click paint bucket and select 20% gray. To select it multiple times, hold down CTRL and click and drag the desired columns using the left mouse button.

libre office for ubuntu 8.png

Step 7.

Lets add some text. I have simple done a copy/paste of text from the reference invoice. You can type whatever you want.

libre office for ubuntu 9.png

That is it for the first part of this tutorial. In the second part we will do some text formating, formulas and header with our data and all that we will export into .pdf format.

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