Product Name and Description Column

Is there any reason why the sales Quotes, invoices etc cannot have the format Item Code column, Item Name Column and Description Column exactly as it appears in Inventory Items.

See attached Pictures for a Quote and an inventory Item.

There are three problems with the current format.

One - It’s inconsistent with the inventory (and non inventory) column Layout and the Item Name Content is repeated in the Description field in inventory because in say quotes, you only see the Item Code and Description Fields, yet the item code column is confusingly called item. I don’t like the Product and the Description being in the same column as it looks untidy and unpolished. Which is why I use bold to separate the Product Name from the Product Description. But its not working satisfactorily.

Two - I have to remember to put in the text in the description column in bold for every inventory item as well as duplicating it from the Product Name Field and cloning inventory items does not carry across the bold. So when i create a quote, I have to save the quote and go back to the inventory item, change the text to bold and then re-update the quote. This happens a lot when adding new inventory items.

Third - One of my clients missed the costings for the installation of the network points because I had forgotten to put it into bold and it looked like the text was part of the Headphones Item.This particular mistake occurs quite frequently because the network cabling is not an inventory item, so I am writing in the description column what the product is (i.e. Network Cabling) as I am doing the quote and naturally I forget to do the bold. Also It does not seem right when the content for network cabling is in the description field and there is nothing in the Item Field as it is an item, although not an inventory item.

If I had the ability to have a separate Product Name Column, I would create a non inventory item called Network Cabling with a blank description column and have that item marked as VAT as well, this would mean that the network Cabling would be seen as a product separate from the above product and not more description of the above product (so the client would not have missed it - see the picture), it would be consistent with the inventory column layout and indeed every other accounting package which has a separate Product Name and Product Description column and last it would prevent mistakes like me forgetting to add VAT and putting the Product Name in Bold - both of which I forgot to do on this particular quote.

I will look into seeing if I can create custom columns to get quotes etc to show Item Code, Item Name and Product Description but I would prefer that Manager be updated to address what I feel is a design flaw. When you have to remember to do something manually, you forget and mistakes creep in.


Lets say you have created a single item called paper tape, which comprises of four different coloured tapes. Now the convenience is that you can bill separately while changing the description for each colour sold, without having to create four items.

The philosophy for identification of inventory and non-inventory items is as follows:

  • Item codes allow for things like model numbers, SKU numbers, service codes, and other short, alphanumeric designations of products or services. These are meant to be unique. They are also optional, but if you use them, they will show on finished documents.

  • Item names are internal reminders. They help with search, item selection during transaction entry, etc. No one can necessarily remember that item code 235568N is a left-handed tiddly wink. Item names are also what appear on reports, where full descriptions would not fit and item codes might be insufficient.

  • Descriptions are full details of the item and should include everything you want a customer to see. If you have no description, Manager will substitute the item name.

Most of your dissatisfaction seems to come from your preference to include bold-face type in a portion of the description. Of course, you are perfectly free to do that. But is it worth it, since it seems to cause most of your problems when you forget to do it? Look at invoices you receive from others. Do they have multiple font styles? Not usually.

You also mentioned that “cloning inventory items does not carry across the bold.” What exactly are you referring to here, since inventory items cannot be cloned. And when you have bold type in a description and clone the transaction, it does come across.

Lastly, you seem to have overlooked the ability to add item codes for non-inventory items. If you had one for network cabling, it would more visibly set that item apart from others on the quote or invoice, making it obvious it was a line item of equal importance with the inventory items that have item codes shown. You can also set default tax codes for non-inventory items.

I am sorry, but I have completely missed your point in relation to my question. Your answer appears to have no relevance to my question.

By cloning of inventory, what I meant was opening an inventory item and copying and pasting the content. So not strictly speaking cloning per se. The point is that copying the text does not carry across the bold tag, if you are in the inventory item.

I will create a networkinstall non inventory item and see if that works for me.

I have looked at other invoices and I see that all of them have item and description fields on the invoices and they don’t use Bold. So your point is valid. I still think a cleaner way would be to have a product name and a separate column of product Name on the quote/invoice as this would make full use of the Item Names Field. Customers want to see the part code, the Product Name and then the description of the product. For me this is logical.

For the time being, I will investigate whether I can create a custom column for the Product Name and failing that, will remove the bold and make the first line the product name, the second line and following lines the description.

why not create a custom field for inventory items called Item Details?
you can enter the description of any product in this field for every inventory item. the product name alone can be entered in the Description.
this way the invoice will have three columns - Item Code | Description | Item Details

also, if you are familiar with programming, you can edit the Description heading to any suitable name.

I tried to create a custom field (but for Product name), however I discovered that I cannot get it to pull the data from the inventory, so a custom field will not work for me as I don’t want to have to type in the description or Product Name on every quote/invoice.

I will either go down the route of ensuring that all my non inventory items are actually in the non-inventory table so that I have a product code and description. I will either go with the option of having Product Name on first line and Description on second line or continue with my method of Bold for product Name and description in not bold, but because I will be using Non Inventory for all er… Non Inventory Items this should not present too much of a problem.

While Tut is correct that most invoices seem to lump the product name and description such as Panasonic BW50 and then widescreen, hdmi etc etc all in one column, I don’t believe that this is really desireable for the customer. I would still prefer to have see invoices with Product Code, Product Name and Product Description as this makes sense to customers.

you must be making some mistake somewhere.
a custom field created for inventory items will be automatically shown as a column on the invoice when that inventory item is selected.
make sure you have enable the custom field to show as a column and show on printed documents.
also, you need to have the inventory items edited to move the description contents to this new custom field. Manager will not show fields which do not contain any data in them.

if you have done all the above you never have to enter the item details manually when making an invoice.

Oh I see where I went wrong. It does not show when you are creating a new quote or editing. It only shows when you save the quote. Silly me

The only thing to be careful with using @sharpdrivetek’s approach is that custom fields are displayed after the description column on finished documents. Call the custom field Details or something like that. You can even leave the Description field blank, as Manager will then substitute the item name.

Here is a custom field definition:

58 AM

And an inventory item listing, where the item name is Table lamp, but Description is blank. Complete description has been moved to the custom field:

21 AM

The resulting sales invoice looks like this:

I believe this is exactly what you asked for, @dalacor.

Now how do I give best solution to both of you! :grinning:

Having said that, I am still at a loss to understand why Invoices are designed to show Product and Product Description in the same column as it is fine in an example with Table Lamp - White Ceramic lamp with silk shade, but doesn’t work so well when you have:

Power Supply Unit Antec 380 Watts, Earthwatts 80 Plus - Fits Standard Tower Case. 5 Sata connectors, 6 pin PCI-E, 4 MOLEX Connectors (for ide hard drives), 4 Pin Cpu power, 20(24) Pin Motherboard Power.

When I have some time in February, I will review how I want to move forward on this

i actually had suggested the other way around.
item code will have the item code.
description will have the product name.
the custom field will contain the details of the product.

You are right. I was focusing on your second post about the method and brushed over the first one too quickly when reading the entire thread. When I read it again, it was obvious. My apologies.

I edited my post accordingly.

Sure it does. This inventory item:

26 AM

produces this invoice:

Once you have defined your custom field, your inventory item editing job is reduced to cutting the details from what you now have in the Description field and pasting them into the new custom field. You will be left with matching item names and descriptions. You would have to do that item by item, but no new typing would be required. Somewhat tedious, but a one-time job.

Sorry you misunderstood what I am saying. The Power Supply Unit is a good example of why I want to split the Description Field into product Name and product description on the invoice. What you have shown is what I want to see on the invoice, but this is not the default view for Manager and other invoice Designs.

current Design View - which I dont like

power supply

The solution that I recommend that Manger adopt by default is your picture as displayed below. However, I would have the name Power Supply Unit Antec 380 Watts, Earthwatts 80 Plus and the rest in your Details column.

Where do you buy Power Supply Units from. I can get them for you for almost a tenth of that price! :grinning:

As you can see, its a lot easier to See the product separate from the technical specifications as it were and I would like to recommend that Manager change it so that Description in Inventory Items is used for Description on the quote and that the Product Name Field in Inventory Items is used for Product Name on the quote/invoice as most people are going to use the same product name in inventory items as on quote.

In short, make manager show Product name in Inventory on the quotes/invoices/orders form and all problems are solved!

Well I am going to have to abandon that idea of using custom columns as I would need to edit the column headers. However, you can only edit the column headers in a custom theme.

But I have discovered that you cannot set the default theme for anything. You have to switch for each document which for me defeats the whole point of having a custom theme!

I am in agreement that end users need to take responsibility for issues created with custom themes and custom fields because the current arrangement as far as I am concerned, you may as well remove alternate themes for all the good they are doing.

The issue with not being able to set default custom themes highlights precisely my problem with this topic of Product Names and Description Columns. I am having to work inefficiently to work around a Manager design flaw. I will just have to put up with the bold for name and non bold for description as this is less of a hassle than having to remember to change the theme every time I create a document.

A fix for that is in the works. It should be the next significant thing released.

Hopefully, but I was reading the theme topic and I see that users have been requesting this persistently for six months.

I also wonder how themes will handle major changes in the program such as removing notes etc from the default template and moving it to a custom field.

Themes already handled custom fields. When non-essential content was converted to custom fields, it continued to appear without intervention. There has not been a single comment on the forum from anyone having trouble in this respect. And I know for a fact that @lubos has been working on this; it is somehow related to other improvements that are in the works.

See, @dalacor, I was only one hour early. :grinning: