Invoices are the legal documents where sellers agree to sell the products to the buyers and buyers agree to pay the amount. There are different invoices exchanged between buyers and sellers in different phases of the selling-buying process. Proforma invoice, commercial invoice, and invoice, all three invoices are made to state the transactional data of a business organization.

This article will show you what is proforma invoice, proforma invoice vs commercial invoice, and how you can send vital legal documents securely with the help of PDF software like SwifDoo PDF.


If you are a businessman, you may encounter these invoice types, therefore, know how to use them and in which condition you can use which invoice. If not, then let’s understand.

What is a Proforma Invoice?

A proforma invoice is a good faith document prepared by the seller stating how much quantity of items to be sold and what the amount the buyers need to pay. It's a quote and not final billing and is created to make sure the buyer agrees to the terms and conditions of the seller. The proforma invoice is not the final bill. If the buyer wants to change the seller's terms, he can approach the seller after receiving the proforma invoice. It's a declaration stated by the seller to supply the products or provide the service on a specific date and time.

When a seller receives an order, he must create the proforma invoice to mention the goods' quantity, quality, and price. As it's not a legal document, the seller could not mention the tax amount payable by the buyer at the time of final purchase. However, a proforma invoice sample contains other terms and conditions and goods' prices. Depending on the requirements level, the buyer can close the deal or cancel it after verifying the proforma invoice.

Proforma Invoice vs Commercial Invoice

Proforma invoice is the quotation the seller sends to the buyer before the final agreement of the purchase. On the other hand, a commercial invoice contains international shipment details. In the commercial invoice, the seller must include goods quantity, goods quality, value, and the terms and conditions both parties agreed upon at shipping.

A commercial invoice is a legal document and crucial for international trade. A commercial invoice contains information related to the order like invoice number, invoice date, order number, total sale amount, and detailed information of importer and exporter along with tax, duties, and international freight charges.

If you differentiate between a proforma invoice vs commercial invoice, you can conclude that in international trade a proforma invoice is to provide the quotation of the ordered products or services, and it's not the final shipment copy. In contrast, a commercial invoice contains essential information about the seller and the buyer and purchase details and terms and conditions between parties.

Difference between Proforma Invoice and Invoice

An invoice is a bill sent to the buyers to make the payment after receiving the ordered products or services. It's a legal document containing purchase information regarding goods, quality, price, order date, and delivery date. An invoice is a final bill submitted to the buyer by the seller for the confirmation of the payment.

The significant difference between proforma and invoice is that the proforma invoice is sent before finalizing the order, and the invoice is sent after delivery. Further, a proforma invoice helps buyers make the buying decision, and the invoice is to inform the buyer of the bill to be paid.

Proforma Invoice Commercial Invoice  Invoice
It is a quotation to give the estimation of the purchase It’s a final bill It’s final bill
Does not carry all the vital information, only primary data Carry all the vital financial information of seller and buyer Carry purchase details and information of seller and buyer
It’s not legal document It’s legal document It’s legal document
It may be cancelled It cannot be cancelled It cannot be cancelled
It's sent before sale After sale After sale
It influences the buying decision It confirms the purchase It confirms the purchase

Despite the differences in proforma, commercial and general invoices, these payment instruments are vital for any business transactions. And if you are involved in international trade, the commercial invoice carries all the crucial data of the seller and buyer. In a nutshell, you could sense the importance of the documents, and accordingly, you should create those documents with the help of a tool. Let’s learn more about it!

SwifDoo PDF: The Tool to Create a Proforma, Commercial, or General Invoice

Create all these transaction documents with SwifDoo PDF. As these documents carry all the confidential data of your company and your buyer details, you should be extra careful while exchanging through digital media. Therefore, convert them into a password-protected PDF file, and unauthorized access will be denied. SwifDoo PDF converter will convert your proforma invoice, commercial invoice, or invoice into a PDF file so that other than your buyer, nobody can access to steal the information.

What Facilities Can You Avail of from SwifDoo PDF Software?

While creating a proforma invoice or commercial invoice, you need to go through the details of your products. SwifDoo PDF makes the job easy as it offers various features that include:

  • You can edit the PDF file, add text, image or insert a link to your invoice
  • Customize font size and color of the background to make it prompt visibility
  • You can compress the PDF file to save space or merge copies to send them together
  • You can complete the process with high-speed
  • You can apply for two layers of password protection with an electronic signature

SwifDoo PDF free converter offers free PDF conversion with password-protected files, ensuring there will be no data leakage during the document exchange process. Compatible with all the latest Windows versions, the tool can give your documents a neat presentation with password protection. Install it on your desktop and create the proforma invoice without any hassle.

Last Words

Transactional trade documents are a vital part of any business as the copy carries essential information for the seller and buyer. While proforma invoices have the initial part of a business deal, commercial invoices carry the financial data of international trade, and all are valuable for any business organization.

So, you need to be careful while you exchange such copies through digital media. Thus, after going through the article, we can conclude that you may understand what is a proforma invoice and how you can send your proforma invoice with SwifDoo PDF, a safe and secure way to exchange your transactional documents between seller and buyer.



Susy has worked with PDF tools for more than 5 years. During the past time, PDF software is of huge assistance in increasing her productivity. She joined SwifDoo PDF one year ago and works as an editor now. Based on a lot of research and tests, Susy can offer users professional and practical solutions to PDF issues.