How You Use Document Templates – Survey Results

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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  🙂

So that’s what you told us this time around.   The full survey results are here if you’d like to dig into the detail.

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.