Purchase Order explained + FREE Template

Looking for a free online PO (purchase order) form? If you are looking for templates for purchase orders, you’ve come to the right place. On this page, you’ll find a purchase order form template that will make completing and submitting purchase orders fast and easy. 

If you’re not sure what a purchase order is, don’t worry. This article will describe the purpose of a purchase order, list its primary components, and provide a sample purchase order template to model your own POs. 

Also, at the end of this article, we’ll reveal a simple way to generate as many purchase orders you need, in a fraction of the time it would take to download, fill out, print, scan, and submit a purchase order from a template. 

First, though, let’s dive into the basics. 

What is a purchase order form?


Before you buy or download purchase order templates, let’s take a look at what these forms are, or skip to the end of this article to download a free purchase order template.

A Purchase Order (PO) form is a business document created by a buyer who wants to purchase goods or services from a seller. The document contains all of the purchase details, including the specific products or services, the number (quantity) of each item, the price for each item, the total price, delivery date, and payment terms.

As the buyer, you are responsible for creating and submitting purchase orders for purchases you make. This includes the basic information of the transaction, along with any conditions or special requests.

The seller has the right to review and accept or reject the PO. If the seller accepts, both parties sign the purchase order. This makes the PO a legally binding document.  If you want to dive deeper into purchase orders terms and conditions, visit our article that explains what are purchase orders terms and conditions.

Each purchase order should be assigned a unique PO number. This number will help you easily identify and track all aspects of the transaction, including order confirmation and payment. The PO number will also help your seller process and fulfill your order more efficiently. If you want to dive deeper into how does a purchase numbering system works, visit our article titled: “What is a PO number and how to use it"

Purchase orders are standard for both sellers and buyers as “official records” of their transactions. A signed purchase order is a contract between the buyer and seller. This means that if there is a problem on either end - yours or the seller’s - legal recourse could be available. 

Structure of a Purchase Order Form

Although there are some variances among purchase order forms, most of them are made up of the same basic components. Here are the elements that make up the basic structure of an order form:

  1. Header: This section is where you’ll list basic information about your company - its name, physical and mailing address, phone number, and website. The header should also display the date the purchase order was generated, and the purchase order number. 
  2. Vendor data: In this section, you’ll fill in the seller’s information. This includes the name of the vendor, the name of the representative you’re working with, and the seller’s address, phone number, and website.
  3. Billing and shipping addresses: List the full address where the completed order will be shipped once complete. If your billing address is different from your shipping address, be sure to list this information as well. 
  4. Order details: Include a line item for each product or service that is part of your order. Each line item should include the product SKU number or product identifier code, item name and description, unit price, quantity requested, and anticipated delivery date. 
  5. Pricing and cost information: At the end of the purchase order, you will list the subtotal cost for all items requested, discounts applied to the order, taxes, shipping and handling costs, and the total cost of the order.


Purchase Order sample

Here is an example template to help you model your own purchase order forms:

Click here to download a purchase order template in Excel

Click here to download a purchase order template in Word

Want to make generating purchase orders even faster and easier? 

You could find purchase order templates because many people prefer the traditional method of downloading and storing individual purchase orders. For those willing to embrace today’s technology, though, there’s a much simpler way: ControlHub’s free online PO generator. 

An online PO generator lets you skip the process of downloading and printing purchase order templates. Instead, you can simply enter the information into an interactive web form, and the software will automatically generate a professional-looking, simple to follow purchase order in seconds. 

Our free online purchase order generator lets you quickly and easily create professional purchase orders in just a few minutes - no need to download, copy, and organize templates!

Keeping Purchase Orders & Inventory under control

As a hardware-intensive startup surely you are buying a lot of parts and components that are crucial for product testing and development. Both procurement and engineering teams know that if a critical part is missing, product development could be delayed indefinitely until the part arrives.

Operations & Engineering teams at companies that thrive, independent of their stage (small business, startup or a big corporate), pay a lot of attention to inventory management and you should too.