Blog Supply Chain Free, streamlined packing slip templates for 2024 [Printables]
30 May, 2024

Free, streamlined packing slip templates for 2024 [Printables]

Does your order fulfillment process feel like a dash to the finish line without much direction? Customers are placing orders, your team is picking items, and packages are flying out the door, sometimes resulting in missing items and frustrated customers.

Packing slips are a crucial step in streamlining the picking and packing process and ensuring the correct items get sent to the right customers. 

This guide serves up free, printable packing slip templates in standard and retail formats to help you improve inventory management. We’ll also explain the difference between packing slips and other order documents and how they benefit order management. Let’s dive in.

Standard packing slip template

A standard packing slip is a versatile format for businesses of all types and sizes. It provides a clear and concise overview of a shipment’s contents. Here are the key elements typically found on a standard packing slip:

  • Items: This section lists each item included in the shipment. It usually details the item name and quantity and sometimes includes additional identifiers like a stock keeping unit (SKU) or product code.
  • Customer address: The recipient’s complete shipping address is clearly displayed here, which may also include contact details like a phone number, allowing the sender to reach out to the customer as needed to ensure accurate delivery.
  • Notes: This optional section allows for any additional information relevant to the shipment. It could include special handling instructions, backorder details, or promotional messages.
  • Packing slip number: This is a unique numerical identifier assigned to each packing slip. It helps with tracking, order fulfillment, and record-keeping, particularly when dealing with multiple shipments or customer inquiries.
  • Company details: The business sending the shipment will include their contact information here, typically their company name, address, and website or phone number. This allows the customer to easily reach out if needed.

A standard packing slip template.

PDF | Google Sheets

Retail packing slip template

A retail packing slip expands on the standard format to include additional information relevant to retail-specific purchases. This detailed breakdown helps streamline the customer experience and retail inventory management. In addition to the elements you’ll find on a standard packing slip template above, a retail packing slip should also include the following: 

  • Price per item: Besides listing the item and quantity, a retail packing slip often includes the price paid for each item. It may also include any discounts applied for a clear cost breakdown.
  • Return policy: A concise summary of the retailer’s return policy (or a QR code to where it’s listed on the website) is often included. This readily informs the customer of their return window, any required documentation, and the return process.
  • Online tracking number: In addition to item SKUs, the online tracking number associated with the order may also be included for easy reference.

A retail packing slip template.

PDF | Google Sheets

Packing slip example

Here’s a look at a practical example of a packing slip in action. Imagine you run an online bookstore. Your customer, Sarah, recently placed an order for two novels and a bookmark. We’ll use a sample packing slip to illustrate the key information it provides and how it benefits both your business and Sarah.

Google Sheets

What is a packing slip?

A packing slip is a document included with a shipment that acts like a receipt for the receiver. It details exactly what’s inside the box, typically listing items by name and quantity, and sometimes includes codes for easy identification.

This helps the shipper with order management to ensure they send everything the customer purchased and allows the receiver to quickly check if they received everything. It’s a key part of the shipping process, promoting accuracy and smooth transactions.

Graphic defining a packing slip.

Bill of lading vs. packing slip

A bill of lading is a legal document that serves as a contract between the shipper and carrier. It outlines the terms of transport and acts as a receipt. In contrast, a packing slip is an informational document that details the shipment’s contents for inventory control and order verification. 

While a bill of lading is crucial for international trade and legal purposes, a packing slip helps ensure the right items are shipped and received.

Packing slip vs. shipping label

A shipping label is affixed to the outside of the package and contains delivery information like the recipient’s address, postage, and a barcode for tracking. On the other hand, a packing slip acts as an inventory list placed inside the box.

A shipping label helps the package get to the right destination, while the packing slip helps the receiver verify what’s inside.

Packing slip vs. invoice

An invoice is a financial document sent to the customer that details what they owe for the purchase. It lists items, their prices, and the total amount due. A packing slip is a document placed inside the shipped package that lists the items included and their quantities. 

Invoices deal with the financial side of the transaction, while packing slips focus on the physical items being shipped.

How to make a packing slip

A packing slip is a simple yet crucial document that ensures a smooth delivery experience. It isn’t just about throwing together a list of items but creating a clear document that acts as a communication bridge between your business and the customer. 

Follow these steps to create your own concise and informative packing slip.

  1. Choose a format: Similar to creating a purchase order, you’ll have to decide on a format. Popular options include spreadsheet programs (like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets) or utilizing online templates and software.
  2. Add your branding: For a professional touch, include your company logo and contact information at the top of your packing slip. This helps increase brand recognition among your customers.
  3. Fill in sender and recipient details: Clearly list your business name and address and the recipient’s complete shipping address.
  4. List the items: Detail each item in the shipment, including the product name, quantity, and any relevant codes like SKU or Universal Product Code (UPC).
  5. Specify package weight and dimensions: Knowing the weight and dimensions of your package helps with shipping costs and ensures proper handling. 
  6. Add any special shipping instructions: If there are specific instructions for items within the package, be sure to include them clearly on the packing slip.
  7. Review and revise: Before including the packing slip with your shipment, double-check all information for accuracy. Revise the packing slip if you find any discrepancies.

Graphic illustrating key components of a packing slip.

Benefits of a packing slip

Packing slips may seem like a simple piece of paper, but they offer significant advantages for both businesses and customers. By ensuring accuracy, streamlining returns, and boosting customer confidence, packing slips can significantly streamline your operations. Here are additional benefits they offer:

  • Streamlined order fulfillment: Whether it’s for manufacturing or e-commerce order fulfillment, packing slips act as a checklist during the picking and packing process. This reduces the risk of errors and ensures each order includes the right items. 
  • Enhanced inventory management: By referencing the packing slip against your stock records, you can accurately update inventory levels after each shipment. This helps maintain accurate stock levels and avoid overselling.
  • Improved customer experience: A packing slip lets customers quickly verify their order upon arrival. This reduces confusion and increases customer satisfaction by ensuring they receive everything they purchase.
  • Simplified returns and exchanges: Packing slips often include return instructions and relevant product codes. This allows customers to easily identify items for return and expedites exchange processing.

Graphic illustrating the benefits of a packing slip.

Automate packing slips with Cin7

While manually filling out our free packing slip templates or purchase order templates is a great place to start, integrating these documents with order management software unlocks a whole new level of efficiency. This allows you to automatically generate packing slips based on confirmed orders, eliminating the risk of errors and saving you valuable time.

Ready to streamline your order fulfillment process and ditch the spreadsheets? Schedule your demo today to see how Cin7’s order management software can help you automatically generate packing slips and more. 


Have a question about packing slips? Check out these frequently asked questions below to find what you’re looking for.

Is a packing slip a legal document?

No, a packing slip isn’t a legal document. It serves informational purposes to help with inventory control and order verification.

What’s the difference between a packing slip and a receipt?

A packing slip and a receipt both list the items you receive, but a receipt usually includes the price and serves as proof of purchase, while a packing slip focuses on verifying the contents of the shipment itself. A packing slip can function as a receipt if it includes prices.

Who needs a packing slip?

Packing slips are beneficial for both the seller and the recipient. The seller uses them to double-check they’ve included everything in the order, while the recipient can verify they’ve received all the items they paid for.

What documents accompany a packing slip?

A packing slip itself doesn’t necessarily have other documents accompanying it, but the shipment may be associated with an invoice or receipt.

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