How to Make Spreadsheets for Receipts

By B. Steele

Starting with a prebuilt Excel template vs. creating one from scratch can save a lot of time.
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You can use Microsoft Excel to create receipts and invoices for your customers, complete with formulas to calculate totals, item quantity and sales tax due. Although you can always create receipts from scratch, the easiest option is to start with a template. Microsoft offers a selection of Excel templates for you to choose from, and you can customize them later to suit the needs of your business.

Launch Excel, click “File” and “New.”

Select “Receipts” under " Templates" and choose from the offerings shown. Keep in mind that you can always customize the spreadsheet if you don’t like the color, or if you want to add a company logo or address. If you don’t like the options shown, click the “Home” button and try the “Invoice” category instead. After you double-click the template you want, the file will download and open in Excel automatically.

Make any desired changes to the template itself (for example, adding your company logo or address) and click “Save as.”

Choose a location and filename for the receipt template, and select either “Excel Workbook (.xlsx)” or “Excel Template (.xltx)” from the “Save as type” drop-down. The actual format is the same, but if you save the file as an XLTX file, you can easily generate new workbooks (XLSX files) from this template later by clicking “File,” “New” and “New from Existing.” If you save the file as a regular Excel workbook, you’ll need to remember to save the file with a new file name or in a different location each time you create and save a receipt for a customer. Saving the file as an XLTX may prevent someone from accidentally overwriting the template file later on.


Excel templates are also available for download on Microsoft's website (see Resources). However, you may encounter issues downloading the files if you use a Web browser other than Internet Explorer.


Accidentally typing in the wrong fields will overwrite any formulas present. To prevent this, you might want to either lock all cells containing formulas -- or at least insert a note in the template to remind yourself and others not to enter data into these fields. If you’d like to lock the formula fields, right-click the button above Row 1 and to the left of Column A and select “Format Cells.” Click the “Protection” tab, uncheck the “Locked” check box and click “OK.” Right-click all cells containing formulas and select “Format Cells” (you can do this with individual cells or select a range). Click the “Protection” tab again, and check “Locked” and click “OK.” Click the “Review” tab and select “Protect Sheet.” You can set a password if you wish, but it’s not necessary. Click “OK” to lock the formulas. If you just want to include a note of warning, consider defining a print area for the template first. Doing so will enable you to print your receipt without the notes showing. Highlight all cells that make up the template, click the “Page Layout” tab, click “Print Area” and “Set Print Area.” Anything you type outside the dotted-line border will not print.