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Invoice Boilerplate

Simple automated LaTeX invoicing system for freelancers.


Built along the lines of cv-boilerplate and letter-boilerplate, this boilerplate contains the bare minimum to produce a professional-looking invoice with the least possible effort.


The invoice content lives in details.yml and it's structured like so:

invoice-nr: 2015-11-04
author: Max Mustermann
city: Musterstadt
- Musterstraße 37
- 12345 Musterstadt
- Erika Mustermann
- Musterallee 1
- 12345 Musterstadt
- Germany
VAT: 20
- description: The first service provided
  price: 450.00
- description: And another one, with a list of details
  price: 245.00
    - Some more detailed explanation
    - of the service provided
    - Looking good
- description: The last service provided
  price: 245.00

When running make, Pandoc starts iterating on the YAML file, populates template.tex with your data, and pipes the result to XeTeX. XeTeX deals with the typesetting and compiles a PDF ready to be printed/faxed/emailed and archived (see the output).

The math gets handled internally by LaTeX through the spreadtab package, Excel-style (mad props to clemens on TeX SE for helping me out with this). You just need to provide a VAT rate and your prices, the boilerplate takes care of the rest.

Unless you plan to edit the template, no particular LaTeX knowledge is required to use this boilerplate. If you need your invoice in a language other than English, finding the relevant strings in template.tex and translating them to your language should be easy enough.


  1. LaTeX with the following extra packages: fontspec geometry ragged2e spreadtab fp xstring arydshln hhline titlesec enumitem xunicode xltxtra hyperref polyglossia wallpaper footmisc
  2. Pandoc, the universal document converter.

I highly recommend TinyTeX as LaTeX distribution. All additional packages can be installed with tlmgr as needed.

Getting started

  1. Open details.yml with your text editor and fill it with your details, the invoice recipient's details, services/prices, and the desired settings.
  2. Run make to compile the PDF.

Some countries require invoices to be signed. If a file named signature.pdf is present in the directory, the boilerplate will automatically print it after the closing note as a final touch. Follow this method to import your own signature.

Note: this template needs to be compiled with XeTeX.

Note for Windows users

Although I didn't test it, you can probably use this on Windows, too. Both Pandoc and LaTeX can be installed on Windows and you should be able to run makefiles on Windows through Cygwin. If that's too much hassle, this command should do the trick in Powershell:

pandoc details.yml -o output.pdf --template=template.tex --pdf-engine=xelatex

Available settings

  • VAT: Your VAT rate.
  • currency: Your currency code (USD, EUR...)
  • commasep: Set to true to use a comma as decimal separator. This is for display purposes only—remember to always use a dot to set the prices in your YAML file.
  • lang: Sets the main language through the polyglossia package. This is important for proper hyphenation and date format. Use IETF language tags format, as that is what Pandoc expects.
  • seriffont: Used for the heading and the sender address. Hoefler Text is the default, but every font installed on your system should work out of the box thanks to XeTeX.
  • sansfont: Used to render the recipient address, the table and the closing note. Defaults to Helvetica Neue.
  • fontsize: Possible values here are 10pt, 11pt and 12pt.
  • geometry: A string that sets the margins through geometry. Read this to learn how this package works.
  • closingnote: This gets printed after the table as a closing note. Use it to provide your bank details and a thank you message.
  • letterhead: include custom letterhead in the PDF (see below).

Custom letterhead

If you have already designed your own letterhead and want to use it with this template, including it should be easy enough. Set the letterhead option to true to activate the wallpaper package in the template. wallpaper will look for a file named letterhead.pdf in the project root folder and print it on the PDF before compiling the document. Change the fonts to match the ones in your letterhead, adjust the margins with geometry and you should be all set.

Recommended readings


  • TinyTeX is a lightweight, cross-platform, portable, and easy-to-maintain LaTeX distribution based on TeX Live.
  • Refer to pandoc's documentation to learn more about how templates work.
  • If you're not familiar with the YAML syntax, here's a good overview.
  • If you want to edit the template but LaTeX scares you, these docs put together by ShareLaTeX cover most of the basics and are surprisingly kind to the beginner.
  • Odds are your question already has an answer on TeX Stack Exchange. Also, pretty friendly crowd in there.
  • Need to fax that invoice? Check out Phaxio and learn how to send your faxes from the command line with a simple API call.

See also

  • cv-boilerplate — Easing the process of building and maintaining a CV using LaTeX
  • letter-boilerplate — Typeset your important letters without leaving your text editor