How to make a packing list

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How to make a packing list

(Photo: stock illustration of shopping list image by Ruslana Stovner from )

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There’s almost nothing worse than settling in to relax as your start your vacation, only to realize that you’ve forgotten something important. A packing list not only reduces stress as you plan your vacation, it minimizes the chance that you will forget something. Even small items, when forgotten, can be a hassle to replace while on vacation. Ensure that this won’t happen by creating a universal packing list that can be modified to fit any getaway.

Items you will need

  • Pencil and paper, or a computer spreadsheet

How to Create a Universal Packing List

Step 1

Start with the necessities. Create a list of travel documents and money you would need for every trip, such as passports, other forms of identification and traveler’s checks. This might also include airline tickets, maps, hotel information and reservation confirmations, bank information in the event that your wallet or purse is stolen, and copies of your traveler’s insurance policy, if you have one.

Step 2

Add a list of medications. Since this is a universal list, these might change over time, so leave space for drugs that you can fill in later. In the meantime, you can add things like contraceptives, pain killers and a first-aid kit.

Step 3

Include a list of clothes. This might seem obvious, but many people forget things like swimsuits or a pair of slippers for those cold hotel floors. Keep it pretty general, as this is a universal list. Instead of “flip-flops,” simply put “shoes” and change it later depending on where you are going.

Step 4

Include toiletries. Again, this can be general, such as “shaving items.” Alternately, if you feel this list will not change depending on your destination, you can make it very detailed. For example, you might not want to forget your wrinkle cream on a long cruise, or your bubble bath if you are going to be staying in a bed and breakfast with a large, claw-foot bathtub.

Step 5

Create a miscellaneous section. In this section, place items such as a camera, memory card and batteries, travel guides and maps, a small umbrella, hats, plastic bags to use as garbage bags, toys for the children, snacks, and pet items. You can even subdivide this section to make it easier to organize.

A packing list is the “to load list” in a shipment. That list is usually edited by the seller and given to the courier and it contains all information about the shipments to be delivered.

What this article is about

Packing list elements

There are some must be elements in a shipping list, the following for every shipment:

  • Shipping label number
  • Sender
  • Recipient
  • Destination
  • Number of packages
  • Description
  • Weight
  • Cash on delivery to be collected

The packing list is a very important document, going with the packages during the delivery process. Every time a shipment passes through a checkpoint or a deposit, a shipping list is created and updated.

The shipping list gives key indications to the courier, in order to favour a fast delivery without incurring in errors. Moreover, a good shipping list template makes it possible to highlight cash on delivery to be collected or other particular information, such as delivery in some precise hours.

What is the difference among packing list and all the other shipping documents?

How to make a packing list

Let’s be clear. There are lots of shipping documents you could use depending on the operations of your e-commerce performs. We created a short glossary to help you in understanding shipping documents.

These are some important shipping documents:

Delivery note

The delivery note must contain the following info:

  • Progressive number
  • Date in which it was given to the courier
  • Sender information
  • Type and quantity of goods transported

Delivery note template

Delivery note has not a fixed template, there is not a compulsory format. It has to be printed in double copy, one to be conserved by the sender and the other to be given to the courier.

Bill of lading

The Bill of lading (sometimes called “bill of loading”) is the document representing some goods charged on a ship. The owner of this document has the right to obtain the described goods at the arrival. Bill of lading can be transferred, in order to transfer the ownership of the goods.

Shipping manifest

The shipping manifest is a document that is typically presented to the carrier outlining the individual shipping orders included in a shipment. The manifest will show the reference number of each shipping order in the load, the weight and count of boxes or containers, and the destination.

Why is it important to create a packing list for your e-commerce?

If you manage an e-commerce , you should know how important it is to perform perfectly every step in the order fulfilment, in order to reduce errors, delivery tim e and unhappy customers.

Creating in a fast and good way a shipping list can help you in managing better your logistic flow, reducing wasted time and performing better.

Shipping list is useful for:

  • Making inventory management easier
  • Making order fulfillment simpler
  • Reducing delivery errors
  • Lowering the time dedicated to customer care in solving eventual problems
  • Providing the courier good information about the deliveries to be done

How can I create a packing list?

You can create a shipping list by filling your data into a shipping list template. By clicking on the banner here, you can download a free shipping list template, in Excel and Word.

How to make a packing list

Manually filling a shipping list template requires time and precision. A good alternative could be creating a automatic packing list, with a preset shipping list template containing your data and logo.

This is possible thanks to professional software, helping you in reducing time waste and errors. Shippypro, allows you to create a shipping list easily.

Automatic creation of a shipping list through professional softwares such as Shippypro is possible thanks to automatic sync and update of orders received by your store.

Using a Saas to generate your shipping list could help you in:

  • Saving on costs
  • Reducing time connected to order fulfilment
  • Reducing errors
  • Reducing complaints on customer care due to delivery errors.

How to make a packing list

What is an Export Packing List Document?

An export packing list is a detailed document that states all of the product and packaging details contained in each shipment. Shippers must create a compliant packing list document to share to freight forwarders, shipping lines, importers and other parties along the supply chain. In this article we show you how to create and download a Packing List template for export.

The freight forwarder, customs broker or other supply chain partners will use the information contained on the packing list document to correctly identify and transport cargo along the supply chain. It will be used by Customs in the country of export or import to understand exactly how shipments are packaged and loaded.

There are different ways to create a packing list template, depending on the type of shipment and how the goods have been packaged.

How to create Packing List Documents for Export Shipments

Note that there are many different ways that a Packing List document can be created. The correct format depends on the type of products that have been shipped, how they have been packaged together and loaded for shipment and the method of shipment. Below are examples of Packing List document templates to create for export shipments.

How to create a Packing List for FCL, LCL and airfreight shipments

This packing list template allows you to detail how multiple products and packages are mixed together inside shipments. This can be used for FCL, LCL and airfreight shipments and allows you to group together products into packages however they have been packaged together, i.e. mixed cartons, mixed pallets etc.

How to create a Packing List for multiple container shipments

This packing list template allows you to add multiple container numbers, seal numbers and description of goods when multiple containers are shipped together in the same shipment. It is commonly used for commodity shipments when 1 or more full containers of product are shipped.

What information is included on a Packing List template?

As mentioned above, it’s important that exporters include all information on the Packing List template to avoid having issues or delays when transporting the goods through customs. Shippers use IncoDocs to create and download their Packing List and Commercial Invoice templates online.

We’ve split the Packing List into sections to make it easy to understand where relevant fields and information is required. Starting at the top left is the details of the Exporter of the goods.

How to make a packing list

1 – Exporter’s Details

This includes basic company contact information including company name, logo, address, phone numbers and personal contact details. Note that you can add any additional information or company registration numbers here.

2 – Consignee & Buyer (if not Consignee)

This includes basic company contact information including company name, address, phone numbers and personal contact details.

3 – Shipping Details

Important shipping and logistics details are included to help the consignee, logistics companies and customs brokers to correctly arrange the transportation, customs clearance and final delivery of goods. Shipping details include:

  • Method of Dispatch – Road, Rail, Air or Sea Freight
  • Type of shipment – FCL, LCL, Breakbulk or other
  • Country of Origin
  • Country of Final Destination (where the goods are delivered through to final address)
  • Vessel / Aircraft Name
  • Voyage No.
  • Port of Loading (POL)
  • Date of Departure
  • Port of Discharge (POD)
  • Final Destination (Country)
4 – Reference Numbers & Additional Information

These sections includes reference numbers, dates and additional information:

  • Export Invoice number
  • Date
  • Bill of Lading Number (if known)
  • Buyer reference number (usually the buyer’s Purchase Order number)
  • Additional Reference (if needed)
  • Packing Information
  • Additional Information (any delivery notes or additional details etc)
5 – Product and Packaging Details

The exporter must include details of exactly how the products have been packaged and loaded inside the shipment. As mentioned, above packing lists can be created in many different ways, depending on the way goods have been packaged and the type of shipment. Below are the details of the packing information to include in the main section of the Packing List template. This includes important information such as:

  • Product Code (unique product reference number)
  • Description of goods
  • Unit Quantity (Number of products)
  • Kind & Number of Packages. For example “Pallet x 12”. Note that the packing list template in IncoDocs allows you to add multiple products into 1 package.
  • Net Weight of Package (kg)
  • Gross Weight of Package (kg)
  • Measurements of Package (m3)
Below are examples of 4 Packing List templates that are included in IncoDocs
Packing List Simple

This template lists 1 product per line item. It auto-fills and auto-calculates the Net Weight, Gross Weight and Cubic Measurements (m3) fields that are saved against your products, to automatically fill into the packing list.

Packing List Consolidated

This template is used to group multiple products into different packages (commonly used for LCL, airfreight and consolidated shipments).

How to make a packing list

When products have been loaded inside shipping containers, shippers may have to create packing list documents to show the details of how goods have been packaged.

A packing list document must be created for any export shipment travelling by seafreight (FCL, LCL or Breakbulk) or airfreight. When creating a packing list document, shippers must ensure that the document contains all of the correct information.

Here is the detailed information that must be included on packing list documents:

  • Shipper and consignee name, address, contact details
  • Measurements and total Net Weight and Gross Weight of cargo
  • Method of dispatch, type of shipment
  • Vessel and voyage details
  • Port of loading, port of discharge
  • Detailed list of how goods are packaged and number of packages
  • Any shipping marks or seal numbers used
  • Signatory company, authorized person’s signature
  • Any other important information or special instructions related to the loading and packaging contained in the shipment

Create correct packing list documents with IncoDocs

After shippers have used Goodloading to plan the loading of the containers, they can use IncoDocs to create packing list documents and other shipping documents used along the supply chain.

Here are some videos and templates showing how to create packing list documents.

Packing List for Full Container shipments

This document will a new line for each container, and include container number, seal number, description of goods and package details & weights.

See how the finished container packing list looks like:

How to make a packing list

Packing List for LCL and Airfreight shipments

This format will allow products to be grouped together and shown in packages. For example, this can be used for mixed pallets of cartons and products.

See how the finished packing list looks like:

How to make a packing list

Using IncoDocs software allow shippers to create correct packing list documents and save time and money. Did you know that thanks to IncoDocs, you can create packing list 10 times faster? All the advantages of using IncoDocs instead of traditional methods can be found there.

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How to make a packing list

Note that there are many different ways that a Packing List document can be created, depending on the type of products and how they have been packaged and loaded for shipment. IncoDocs provides 4 standard packing list templates as below.

Note that you can also click to edit fields and insert columns to save your own Packing List templates. Click here to read more on how to customize templates.

Note: We can also build custom Packing List templates to suit your exact requirements. Contact us at the bottom of this page to get your custom Packing List made for you.

Types of Packing List Templates

This template lists 1 product per line item. It auto-fills and auto-calculates the NW, GW and M3 fields that are saved against your products, to automatically show in the packing list.

This template is used to group multiple products into different packages (commonly used for LCL, airfreight and consolidated shipments).

This template is similar to the ‘Packing List Consolidated’, but also includes the Net Weight (NW) listed per product line.

This template includes container numbers and seal numbers. It is commonly used for commodity shipments when 1 or more full containers of products are shipped.

Note that we can also custom make templates to suit your exact requirements.

Packing List – Simple

This template lists 1 product per line item. While creating your packing list, insert your product then enter the ‘Unit Quantity‘ field. Note that the 3 fields on the right (Net Weight, Gross Weight and Measurements) will auto-calculate on each line if you have saved the NW, GW and M3 fields against your product record. Read more on how to add product fields here.

If you do not want these 3 fields to auto-calculate, you can click to edit them, or click the ‘Auto-Calculation: On/Off‘ button to change the field.

Packing List – Consolidated

This template is used to group multiple products into different packages, which is commonly used for LCL, airfreight and consolidated shipments. This packing list allows you to group together exactly how the items are packaged, i.e. mixed pallets etc.

Click the ‘Add another line‘ button to insert more products into the same package, then complete the package details on the right.

To add a new package, click the ‘Add Package‘ button to add a new package below.

Note: You can also click to drag and drop products into different packages.

Packing List – Detailed

This template is very similar to the ‘Packing List Consolidated’ template mentioned above, except that this template includes the ‘Net Weight (Kg)’ listed per product line.

How to make a packing list

Packing List – Container

This template is commonly used when 1 or more full containers of products are shipped. It includes Container Numbers and Seal Numbers. The Net Weight (kg), Gross Weight (kg) and Measurements (m3) fields are entered on a container level. You can click ‘Add another line‘ to add a new line of container details.

Need a different packing list template added to IncoDocs? ?

You can click to edit and save your own Packing List templates, however packing lists can be made in so many different ways. If you need a specific Packing List template made to suit your exact requirements, please get in touch with us via chat (in the bottom right of your screen) or send an email to [email protected]

Alternatively you can also book a call with one our friendly team members to discuss your custom document requirements:

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How To: Prepare A “Customs Ready” Packing List

Everything you need to know about preparing a packing list for moving overseas.

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Our free Packing Slip spreadsheet is for businesses using our sales invoice template that have requested a corresponding packing slip. Some businesses choose to include a copy of the invoice with the shipment, but that can create confusion if the customer has already paid for the items. Also, a packing slip lets you indicate whether the customer should expect multiple boxes and whether items are on backorder.

Packing Slip Template

How to make a packing list


Other Versions

License: Private Use (not for distribution or resale)

“No installation, no macros – just a simple spreadsheet” – by Jon Wittwer


This spreadsheet is a simple and easy (and free) tool for printing packing slips. It was designed to work with and compliment our purchase order and sales invoice templates.

If you wanted to get really fancy, you could copy the worksheet into the sales invoice workbook and link up the cells so that when you create a new invoice, most of the info is updated automatically.

Update 5/1/2014 – The XLSX version of the spreadsheet now contains an ink-friendly design, shown in screenshot #2 above.

Update 11/17/2017 – Added a couple sample Shape objects to the XLSX version to allow you to simulate a stamp such as “Paid in Full” by moving the shape object over the packing slip prior to printing.

Packing Slip Template for Pallets

How to make a packing list



Shipping a pallet was a new experience and I needed a packing slip that could easily sum the weights of the individual packages. First check to see if your carrier requires a specific type of packing slip (such as for customs / international shipping). If not, you could try using a packing slip like this one.

License: Private Use (not for distribution or resale)

Using the Packing Slip Template

Below are some things to keep in mind as you are using and customizing a packing slip template.

The Date: The date in the upper right uses the =TODAY() function which will always display the current date. If you want to save an archival copy of your packing slip, you may want to manually enter the date so that it doesn’t change when you open the file again.

Adding Rows: You can insert rows for more items, but afterwards you should check the Totals to make sure they reference the correct cells.

Adding Comments: The comments block is for including notes to your customer or carrier. Instead of making one large cell for the comment block like many other packing slip templates, each line is a separate cell so you can easily add/delete common comments. For example, if you wanted a backorder note to show up automatically when the shipping quantity is less than the order quantity you could use the following formula:

How to make a packing list

This time, let’s take a look at how to write an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST” in trading.

What do “INVOICE” and “PACKING LIST” mean?

You may be aware that they are essential documents for exporting cargo and documents which need to be submitted to a freight forwarder or a customs broker for importing cargo.

Let’s check out their actual roles.

Animation about Invoice and Packing List

Role of Invoice

First, let’s take a look at the role of an “INVOICE”.

An invoice is paperwork which is provided with goods you purchased through an online shop.

When trading, an “INVOICE” is used to check the contents of exporting and importing, and the amount of duty which needs to be paid by an importing country is calculated

It might make more sense to call it a “list of purchased goods” or a “delivery note”.

Due to Customs law, this document will be required for export/import declaration without exception.

it’s absolutely necessary.

Role of Packing List

Secondly, let’s take a look at the role of a “PACKING LIST”.

When trading, a “PACKING LIST” is used to check the volume of importing/ exporting of cargo, how the cargo is wrapped and what case mark is on the cargo.

Therefore, don’t think it is just a list of purchased goods or a delivery note. It is important that the correct information is present and clear.

Please Stop Cheating

How to make a packing list

You should never put a lower product price in an attempt to pay less duty, or underestimate the volume to reduce shipping costs.

Even if a freight forwarder and a customs broker do not notice, it may be identified after customs post audit and you will be required to pay a higher rate of tax.

Or, it may also become apparent when loading a vessel or an airplane, which could cause cancellation of export, leading to increased cost and time to collect the cargo and to cancel the vessel.

To prevent this from happening, remember to complete these important documents correctly.

Example of Invoice and Packing List

How to make a packing list

You may wonder where you could find the template to complete. There is no specific template for an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST”.

If you need to create one, you can use our company’s templates.

The link to download the templates is attached in the comment section.

How to write Invoice

How to make a packing list

Now, let’s take a look at how to complete an “INVOICE”.

An “INVOICE” should contain information such as exporter/ importer, product description; name of the product, quantity, total value, and vessel and flight number of the transport. It is generally written in English.

This “INVOICE” acts as an invoice, in addition to customs documents for export and import.

Therefore, it is important to create an “INVOICE” with the contents of the trading which can be easily read and understood.
Also, when completing, it is important to write clearly, correctly and in detail.

The important points on Invoice

Now, let me explain the basic entries.

Shipper and Consignee Information

Write an exporter’s (shipper’s) company name, address, telephone number and FAX number.
In the same format, write an importer’s (consignee’s) company name, address, telephone number and FAX number.

Put the Invoice Number

There is no rule for the numbering of an invoice, so you can any format.
It will be useful to have a certain rule, such as numerical order, dates, sender’s country or company’s initials.

From my experience, it is common to use dates.

Vessel and Flight Information

You need to write the name of the arriving port or the airport and the country.
The number of the flight or the vessel, and the departure date should also be written. If you are using a broker and unsure about this information, please check with them.

Trade Term

Trade terms needs to be written. You shouldn’t have any issue if you use the trade term set by Incoterms. For example, you can write CIF TOKYO and FOB SHANGHAI.

There are no rules for case marks, so you can choose your own.
It is normally followed by a company name, destination, box number and country of production or an exporting country.

Cargo Description

Now, let’s take a look at the most important part, detail of the cargo.

Write the importing/ exporting product name of the cargo, quantity, individual value and total value.

A customs broker will decide the tariff code by looking at the product name, so it is important to write the information clearly and in detail.

How to write Packing List

How to make a packing list

Next, let’s take a look at how to write a “PACKING LIST”.

The content of a “PACKING LIST” is not very different from an “INVOICE”. The majority of companies use the same template.

The difference is in the detail of the cargo.

Information should include the size and the weight of the cargo, the weight before packing and after packing, however, the individual and the total value should not be included.

If the number of cases and the total quantity of goods in each case are included in the “PACKING LIST”, it will ensure the process runs smoother in the case of cargo inspection..

Combine the Invoice and Packing List

In practice, unlike “INVOICE” which is required without exception, you do not require a “PACKING LIST” as long as other documents include the total quantity and the weight of the cargo.

Therefore, if there is less cargo to transport, you can combine the “INVOICE” and the “PACKING LIST” together.

Needless to say, a “PACKING LIST” is an important document to manage the cargo and is useful when the cargo goes missing at the arriving destination.

I hope you are able to create a “PACKING LIST” clearly and correctly.


By now, you know how to write an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST”.

These documents are not difficult to write once you get used to them. Once you have decided on the template which you intend to use, you just need to complete the template with the required information.

I may be repeating myself, but it is very important to write an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST” in detail, correctly and clearly.
If you remember these three key points, you can expect a smooth trade business.