Business Letter Format Tips
by Alice Feathers, M.A. TESOL, Professional Editor and Writer
Example Business Letter Formats
When creating business letters, use 8 ” by 11″ unlined paper. Although 24-pound paper with 100+ brightness is a little more expensive, it will make a better impression than everyday copy paper. Use 1″ margins on all four sides. Use a serif font such as Times Roman (12 point) or Georgia (11 point). A business letter should be single-spaced and, if possible, typed on a computer. Print the letter on only one side of the paper. Fold the letter horizontally into thirds. Mail the letter in a No. 10 security envelope (4 1/8″ by 9 “).
There are several business letter formats, but all of them can be subdivided into two basic groups: the block format and various indented formats. Although the block format is somewhat more common, (perhaps because it is easier), either one is acceptable. All conventional formats contain the same features:
1. Return address of the letter writer.
1600 Main Street
Springfield, Kansas 12345
2. The date of the letter.
This is usually typed in one of two ways:
(Begin with the day, no comma) 15 January 2015
(Begin with the month; use a comma) December 1, 2015
3. Complete name, title, and address of the recipient.
Use “Mr.” for a male recipient. If you do not know how a female recipient prefers to be addressed, it is best to use “Ms.”
Ms. Anna Brown, Chair
Department of Linguistics
Right State University
1415 University Drive
Felicity, OH 45434
It is best to keep an initial business letter short. Business people are busy and do not have time to read long letters! In a one-page letter, you will usually only need three or four paragraphs, single spaced. Use a double space in between paragraphs. See examples that follow.
The easiest way to write the body of the business letter is to use a prewritten business letter .
The most common closing is “Sincerely.” Follow this with a comma. Skip four single lines after the closing and type your name. Sign your name in the space above your name.
If you are enclosing additional information with your letter such as a resume or a curriculum vitae, skip two single lines after your typed name and type “Enclosure” or “Enclosures.” If you use the plural, you have the option of stating the number of enclosures in parentheses.
Type every line flush with the left margin (begin at top margin)