Designing a Work Order Form in Photoshop

November 25, 2013 11:07 am Published by Leave your thoughts

HVAC finishPhotoshop is usually not the recommended program for creating business forms. But if you’re wanting to design your own business form and Photoshop is all you have, you can still create a nice form without having to buy more expensive programs. The end result will essentially be the same; a professional form you can fully customize to fit what you’re looking for.

Creating custom business forms in Photoshop is easy as it only requires three main tools: lines and shapes, inserting text, and placing images. Because we are using basic tools, if you have another photo editing program other than Photoshop, you could probably follow along using that instead.

Step 1: Creating a new document

Once you open Photoshop, choose File – New from the menu. The dialog box below will pop up. Fill in the following information:

step 1 New Doc
Width and height: Standard size is 8.5 by 11. The form I’m creating is a full page landscaped form. Make sure you choose inches from the drop down menu.
Resolution: This should be set to 300. The higher the resolution, the better quality of your form.

Step 2: Set up the margins
So that we don’t risk vital information being cut off during printing, we need to know where our safety zone is. There are a few ways to find where to place your guides.

First, make sure that your rulers are visible. If you don’t see a ruler on the top and left sides of your screen, go to View-Rulers-and make sure it has a check mark.

Now that your rulers are visible, it is time to place our guides. You can do this by:

  1. Left-click on the ruler and drag your cursor across the screen to place the guide in the desired spot. We want a .25 inch on every side of our document.
  2. The other way you can do this is going to View-New Guide. Here you can tell Photoshop to place a guide at a specific spot on your document. So for example your horizontal marks would be at .25 and 10.75. The vertical marks are at .25 and 8.25.
step 2 all 4 guides

Click image to enlarge

NOTE: If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to save your document. Go to File-Save as and choose the file you would like to store your form in. Make sure the Photoshop PSD extension is selected (the bottom drop down menu). This should be done several times during this tutorial so that you do not lose anything you are working on.

Step 3: Making evenly spaced lines in Photoshop

Before I insert any text, I am going to create the basic layout. I find it easier to set up the layout before placing text. This way I know I have room for all of the essential elements and it’s easier to edit when text isn’t in the way. This doesn’t mean it’s the right way. Do what you feel comfortable with.

I am going to start by placing all of my lines. I may cut some of them away or move them around but first I want to make sure I have enough lines going down the page. To get the lines evenly spaced, I’€™m going to do it the easy way and use Photoshop’s Grid feature. This will help me visualize where my lines and columns will go. To select the grid, go to View-Show-Grid. Your white document should look like a piece of graph paper now.

One the left hand tool menu, there is a shape towards the bottom. Left-click and hold until a pop up list comes up. Or you can right click on the shape tool to get the menu. Select the Line Tool.

step 3 line

Click where your vertical guide is then hold shift (this makes sure the line is straight) and drag your cursor across the page. Stop where your second vertical guide is. You should now have one straight line across your page.

step 3 first line

First line at the top of document

We’€™re going to duplicate this by selecting the Move Tool (first icon at the top of the tool panel, looks like a cursor). Keyboard shortcut: ‘V’.

Hold down the Alt key and left-click on your line. Keep holding the Alt key and press the Shift key (this keeps the line from moving out of alignment) and drag your copied shape to the next line on the grid. Repeat until you have the desired amount of lines.

Or you can go to your layers panel (Window-Layers) and drag Shape 1 to the little folder next to the trash can and duplicate the layer. Keep duplicating the layers until you fill your page down to your bottom guide.

Once you’re done, go to View-Show- and uncheck Grid. Your document should now have evenly spaced lines going down the page:

step 3 finish

Click image to enlarge

Right now this looks like a mass of lines. And it is. But I find it easier to place my lines where I want them before going in and designing my layout.

Step 4: Layout

Every contractor’s invoice needs an area to list item or part descriptions. Since this section is rather important, I’m going to place it at the top left of my form where it can be easily referenced when ordering the parts or pulling them from inventory. This box needs to be big enough to hold several lines of products as well as columns for quantity and price.

Using my rectangle tool, I’m going to drag a box around 10 lines. Automatically, my box fills with solid black. With the rectangle tool still selected, look at the top of your screen. There are options there to customize your shape. Select the box next to the word Fill and choose None.

step 4 box stroke

Click for larger image

Now either your stroke is non-existent or it might look like your box is still filled. Next to the Fill is Stroke. Click the stroke box and choose black from the recently used colors. Now the stroke still might be too little or too big so check the box next to the stroke. Change the number there to 2pt.

Now that the outer box is made, three columns will be needed for quantity, materials and price. So that I can get a good idea of how wide each column needs to be, I go back to View-Show-Grid. The first thick line that goes through the box looks like a good width for my first column so I’m going to go ahead and draw a line there. Now I need one more vertical line for where prices will be written out.

My price column probably needs to be a little bigger than my quantity, so I decided to make it 4 boxes wide.

Your box should now look like this:

step 4 price column

My lines are red just so you can see what I’ve done

Turn off your grids and admire the box you just made. It’s looking a little plain. To make it more interesting, I’m going to add a solid black box to the top line where my column descriptions will go. This is just another rectangle shape with a black fill.

step 4 black fill

The next line after my box is going to be for the description of work. This section will be filled up with hand written notes so I’m going to use nearly the entire width of the page for this part.

At the very right, I’m going to add a column for “services” so that I can keep track of any costs for the described work. Again, I’m going to use my line tool and for measuring purposes I’m going to show my grid again. The first thick vertical line looks like a good size for my services column. This is where I will draw my vertical line.

And so that this box matches the top left one, I am going to add a solid black box to the very first line.

.step 4- description done
The form is starting to come together!

At the bottom left, I am going to block out an area for recommendations. Next to this box, I will have an area for the customer to sign, making it easier for the customer to see the changes that the technician recommends. So that the bottom box can line up with the upper box, I am going to click on the ruler and drag a guide to the edge of the top left box. I don’t need many lines for this section so I’m going to count five up from the bottom and draw my bottom box.

step 4 resize recommendation box

To quickly add the content header for this box, I am going to Alt-Click on the black shape in the top left box and hold Shift to drag the new shape down to what will become the recommendation box.

step 4- recommend guide

Now that everything is pretty much blocked out, I can remove my guides so I can get a clear picture. Go to View-Clear Guides.

The first thing I want to do now is add a line down the left side to box in my description area. I go back to my line tool and draw a line down the left side. If it’s a little thin, use the options panel at the top to change the width of the line. I set mine to 5px (note: this isn’t the stroke, this is the width. It’s right next to the stroke style and has a W in front of one box).

Then I do the same for the right side.

When looking at my form, I noticed that the bottom line next to the lower box needs to be a little thicker using the move tool, I select the line then click on the line tool again. Up in the shape options panel, I choose a 5px for the height. This gives me a thicker shape.

NOTE: If you haven’t saved lately, now is a good time to do so! Remember to go to File-Save as and save over the form. I like to use the Save as so that Photoshop thinks it’s a new file and won’t compress my document with each save.

Step 5: Test your form. Optional.

Before you start placing text, take the time to print out your form. Make sure the boxes are big enough for you to write in and that you have enough lines. Because there isn’t much on the form, it will be easier to move things around.

If you find that the boxes aren’t big enough, remove a few lines and fix the spacing. You can do this by either selecting the grid again or by selecting the lines you need to space out and going to “distribute vertical centers”.

step 5Step 6: Inserting Text

Now it’s time to start placing our text and finish up any layout choices we have left to make.

Select the Text Tool. This is located on the left hand tool panel, and has a T icon or hit “T” on your keyboard. The text options come up at the top. Choose Arial, Regular, 10 pt. Further down on that panel is a block of color. Click on that and set it to white.

step 6 font size
Now click on the black box at the top left and drag your cursor. You will notice a dotted box. This is the text box your text will sit in. Make sure that it is the same width as the first column. Type “QTY” into the box and center the text (located in the text options panel at the top).

Do the same for the next two columns. I labeled mine “Item or Parts Description” and “Price”.

To make sure your text boxes are aligned with each other, click the move tool from the tools panel on the right or hit “V” on your keyboard. Click “QTY” then press shift and click the “Description” and “Price” text boxes. All three text boxes should be selected. On the options panel at the top (reference step 5) there should be alignment options. Choose the first one, Align Top Edges.

Now I notice that I need a total materials line for this section. With the text tool, draw a box on the last line and type “Total Materials”. If you don’t see text, make sure the box at the top is black and not white and that your font is set to the correct size.

step 6 item box complete
This box is now complete:

Notice that I just moved the left vertical line one line up. I did this by selecting it with the move tool and readjusting the length.

The next thing I know I will want is an area for customer information. I will need lines for:

  • Name
  • Address
  • City, State, Zip
  • Work Ordered By
  • Make, Model, Serial number

This will only take six lines so I can eliminate some of the extra ones to the right of the materials box. I’ve completely deleted the first two lines and now I need to resize the next two. To easily select them, I choose the move tool and left click on the white space of my document and drag down until the two lines are selected. Now grab the hand at the end of the two lines and drag it until it is flush with the top left box.

step 6- selecting2

Ignore the width and height box, PS is being helpful by telling me how big of an area I’m selecting. If you click to enlarge, the little box circled in red is the resize handle I’m talking about.

Note: if you have any problems selecting items, check the order your items in the layers panel.

Just like I did the materials box, I will now add text to this part of the form. Make sure the text color is set to black in the options panel at the top. Change font size from 10 to 6, as the text here needs to be small so that there is room to write in the boxes. And make sure are all of your text is aligned by using the alignment tools.

Tip: Keyboard shortcut for committing your text: Ctr + Enter

I’ve also made Make-Model-Serial Number a little larger because the boxes below those will be used to write in. I’ve also nudged the right column over some because we’ll need to make a box on top for the date, ordered, phone and warranty information.

step 6 date boxTo make the warranty boxes, you can either use the rectangle tool we’ve been using and set the stroke to 2pt or you can use the font Wingdings. I prefer boxes because they’re a little easier to control and you don’t have to worry about another computer missing the font.

Continue adding your text to the rest of the form.

step 6 finishing up text

Tip: Instead of moving the lines next to the Recommendations box to place your terms of service, I drew a white box with the rectangle tool and filled it in with white to hide the lines. If the box appears behind the lines, go to your layers pallet and drag it to the top. Place your text above that layer.

Now we’re almost finished!

The top left of the form is missing something, we need a header or label for this form so we know what kind of form we’re filling out. I’m going to add that now as well as a company logo, title, and information.

To place a logo, go to File-Place-Locate your image. Size your image then hit enter to accept the changes.

HVAC finish

There is our final product!

Note: If you want to print your forms in black and white (1 color), go to Image-Mode-Grayscale. Photoshop will ask you to merge your layers or flatten your file, say no to both. Save your PSD with all layers still intact.

You can purchase and then customize this HVAC Work Order Invoice or take a look at our other HVAC invoices by visiting our website. If you’ve created your own unique form and would like us to print it, we will be happy to print your Custom Forms for you.

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This post was written by Progressive Printing Team

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