How You Use Document Templates – Survey Results

A few weeks ago we did a survey here at Small Business Trends to find out what kinds of documents you typically print and which document templates you use.

Just over 170 of you gave us some insights and a lot of good sources of templates and tools for printing.

We’d like to share the results with you. Here is a summary of the questions and the results.


First we wanted to know about the materials that are most critical to your business (that you can’t live without).

Nearly half of you print primarily documents, invoices and flyers (47%) followed by a series of other promotional types of items like business cards, photos and brochures.

The only thing that was a little surprising is the wide range of materials printed in small businesses — from photos to contracts to business cards.  Here are the top 8 types of documents you print:

Materials printed by small businesses


Sixty-one percent (61%) of you search the web for printing tips and nearly 30% go to a friend. It’s nice to know that there are a few 2-year-old technical gurus out there, as well. 🙂

It’s no surprise that about 7% of you used a variety of other sources; many companies like HP and Kinko’s are represented, as well as a variety of personal contacts such as graphic artists and designers.

Where small businesses go to get printing tips


Over 80% of you said that you need printing templates to help you create materials. And your favorite source for those templates are Google, Microsoft and Several of you also listed a few sources we didn’t include on the list, but certainly deserved a mention such as Avery, VistaPrint,, and your design software such as Corel Draw and Smart Designs.


Finally, we wanted to know what you learned the “Hard Way” about printing — and you didn’t disappoint. This turned out to be the most interesting part of the survey.

Here are some overall lessons learned:

  • Ink is expensive; you should consider the total cost of hardware and ink.
  • Test your print job on cheap paper BEFORE you use expensive labels or paper.
  • Keep extra ink cartridges on hand — so you don’t run out when it’s important.
  • “Excel + Printing = Pain in the A–“
  • Re-fillable, recycled ink cartridges aren’t as good. There’s a reason they are cheaper.
  • Even graphics designers use templates  🙂

Stay tuned for our review of some of the most sited sources of templates and printing tools and how to use them. That will be our next article in the series.


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."

6 Reactions
  1. Doesn’t surprise me that documents and invoices are at the top of the list. Also doesn’t surprise me that an overwhelming amount of people refer to the web for such needs. But it is a wide range, isn’t it? Just goes to show you that many people are “do it yourselfers” and entrepreneurs these days.

  2. With the quality printers available these days and easy templates, it’s now possible to get similar good quality results that you would get from a professional printer. For me, printing at home makes more sense since I don’t have storage for large quantities of printed papers. This way, I can print as I need them. If I don’t need 500 copies, I don’t have to get them. And if something changes like a phone number or email address, I don’t have to spend time whiteing out incorrect info or waste hundreds of copies needlessly.

  3. Interesting survey and results (who said print was dead). But that actually leads to another question: are people printing more or less of these products ( documents, invoices, flyers, etc.). I know that I actually seem to be printing more frequently these days (it’s easier to do so) but in smaller quantities.

  4. Great point Kris. I find myself printing much less of some things and more of others. What I love about the options that are out there is that you can create so much image for so much less money!

  5. Create My Business Plan

    Helpful Survey and results for printing more frequently these days but less in quantity…but this survey and Results will help a lot in understanding the value of time and Money and help us in Smart work.