Magento Order Workflow

An overview of the Magento order workflow can be described by viewing the following steps below.

1. The customer places an order through the checkout, receives a confirmation email and a link to their account (if they registered). A record of the order gets saved within the Magento admin under Sales -> Orders.

2. Before the payment of the order is processed the order is in Pending state. At this point, the order can still be cancelled by the merchant.

3. Depending on the payment method, you, may be notified when the transaction is authorised and in some cases, processed. The status of the order is now Processing.

4. Sometimes an order is invoiced before payment is received. In this example, the invoice is generated and submitted after the credit card payment has been authorised and processed. After the invoice is generated and submitted, a copy is sent by email to the customer. You can however generate an invoice within the order in the admin.

5. You can then ship the order, print off the packing slip and the order is marked as Complete.

If you need to edit the order, you will need to create a new order record with the updated information. An order can only be edited if it has not been invoiced or shipped. The edit screen is the same screen as the one you use to create an order through the admin area. The existing order is then cancelled and a new order reference number is created for the edited order with the format [existing order number]-1

There are several predefined Magento order statuses and order states.

Statuses are what you can see in the frontend of the website and in the admin area. Statuses are assigned to “states” which describes the order’s position in the workflow.

To view the Magento order statuses, head to System -> Order Statuses. Many of the order statuses have the same name as their assigned order states, however sometimes different payment providers have different order statuses. Examples below would be:

  • Status: Ogone Processing. State: Processing
  • Status: Processing. State: Processing
  • Status: Pending. State: New
  • Status: Complete. State: Complete

You can create a new status by clicking the Create New Status button in the top right corner.

1. Enter a unique status code and label.
2. Assign the status to a state. If you tick the Use as Default checkbox, any orders that get created will use this status as default. Only one status can be set as default to an order state.

If you want to remove a status from a state, you can click the Unassign action. This will only work if the order status you are trying to remove is not currently in use for any existing order. The orders will need to move out of the status for you to be able to remove the status.

Orders are set to a status of Closed if a credit memo is issued on an order.


An invoice is a record of the receipt of payment for an order. Creating an invoice for an order converts the temporary sales order into a permanent record of the order, which cannot be cancelled.

Multiple invoices can be created per order, but the input to change the qty appears only if the payment method used for the order can be captured partially or cannot be captured at all. This can be done by editing the Qty to Invoice field against a product row under the Items to Invoice section, and confirming by clicking Update Qtys.

To create an invoice, head to Sales -> Order, choose the order and click the Invoice button. Under the Shipping Information tab, you can tick the Create Shipment checkbox and add a tracking number. If you do this and submit the invoice, a new invoice and shipment will be created.

You can also ship the order before creating the invoice if needs be. If you do this, the Order will be in Processing status and won’t complete until the invoice has been filled.


Shipping the items of an order complete the order workflow. To do this, head to Sales -> Orders, choose the order and click on the Ship button. You can choose to add a tracking number here too.

A packing slip is a sales document that accompanies shipments sent from your store, and lists each item included in the package. You can print a packing slip for a single order, or print multiple packing slips as a batch, or group. However, before a packing slip can be printed, it must first be created for the order.

The print button downloads the order as a PDF. From here, you can complete the order. Multiple packing slips will be downloaded in the same PDF file on separate pages.

Order Archiving

This is a Magento Enterprise function that can be enabled within the Admin under System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Sales -> Orders, Invoices, Shipments, Credit Memos Archiving.

You can choose to archive multi select order statuses such as Complete or Closed orders.

When this is enabled, a new dropdown item appears under the Sales menu item. You can view archived orders, invoices, shipments and credit memos.

To archive orders for example, head to Sales -> Orders and tick the orders whose statuses are what you chose in System -> Configuration, and under the Actions dropdown, there is a Move to Archive option. Clicking submit will move the orders from the Sales -> Orders section into the Sales -> Archives -> Orders section.

You can move Archived Orders back to Order Management should you need to.

As with orders found under Sales -> Orders, you can export archived orders using the Export dropdown near the top of the page, either in CSV or MS Excel XML format.

Note: This article is based on Magento Community/Open Source version 1.9.