We've also included an example cover letter template to help you on your way therefore it should be presented in business letter style format.
This page includes guidelines for composing letters according to various formats and degrees of formality.
Formatting your letter
Closing and signature
Letters typically follow one of three formats: block, modified block, or semi-block:
Block format is generally perceived as the most formal format. For semi-formal letters, you may wish to use modified block or semi-block format. For informal letters, use semi-block format.
Most business letters, such as cover letters for job applications, insurance claims, and letters of complaint, are formal. Business letters addressed to recipients you know very well (e.g., a former boss) may be semi-formal. Social letters to less familiar recipients (e.g., a professional colleague) may also be semi-formal. Informal letters are reserved for personal correspondence.
Most formal and semi-formal letters should be typed. Informal letters may be handwritten. If you are typing, use 10- to 12-point font and single line spacing for composing your letter. Include a margin of one to one-and-a-half inches around each page.
If you are writing your letter as an email, use block format, regardless of formality. Omit the sender's address, date, and recipient's address.
Read more about block, modified block, and semi-block letter formatting.
The sender’s address includes the name and address of the letter’s author. If you are using stationery, it may already be printed on the letterhead; if so, do not type it out. If the address is not on the letterhead, include it at the top of the document. Do not include your name:
123 Anywhere Place
123 Anywhere Place
New York, NY 10001
In block format, the sender's address is left justified: in other words, flush with the left margin. In modified block or semi-block format, the sender's address begins one tab (five spaces) right of centre.
There is no need to include the sender's address in informal letters.
The date indicates when you composed the letter. Type it two lines below either your stationery's letterhead or the typed sender's address. For informal letters, it may go at the top of the page.
The UK, the date format is day-month-year:
1 July 2014
In the US, the date format is month-day-year:
July 1, 2014
In block format, the date is left justified; in modified block or semi-block format, it begins one tab (five spaces) right of centre.
The recipient’s address, also called the inside address, includes the name and address of the recipient of your letter. It may be omitted in informal and social semi-formal letters. For other letters, type it two lines below the date. In all formats, it is left justified.
Your letter should be addressed to a specific person, if possible. Include a courtesy title (i.e., Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Dr.) for the recipient; confirm what title the person prefers before writing your letter. Only omit the title if you do not know the person’s gender (i.e., for unisex names). If you are unsure of a woman's marital status or title preference, use Ms:
Mr John Smith
10 Utopia Drive
Mr John Smith
1000 Utopia Drive
San Francisco, CA 94109
If you do not know the person's name, include the title of the intended recipient (e.g. Hiring Manager, Resident) or the name of the company:
Human Resources Director
246 Looney Tunes Lane
Human Resources Director
246 Looney Tunes Lane
Hollywood, CA 90078
The salutation is your letter's greeting. The most common salutation is Dear followed by the recipient's first name, for informal letters, or a courtesy title and the recipient's last name, for all other letters. For more on salutations, see Choose the right greeting and sign off.
The salutation is left justified, regardless of format. Type it two lines below the recipient's address (or date, for informal letters). In formal and semi-formal letters, it ends with a colon. In informal letters, it ends with a comma.
|Formal letters||Dear Ms Smith:|
Dear Ms. Doe:
|Informal letters||Dear Jane,|
The body includes most of the content of your letter. In block or modified block format, each paragraph begins at the left margin. In semi-block format, the paragraphs are still left justified, but the first line of each paragraph is indented by one tab (five spaces). Include a line of space between each paragraph.
In the first paragraph of your letter, you should introduce yourself to the recipient, if he or she does not know you, and state your purpose for writing. Use the following paragraphs to elaborate upon your message.
The closing is your final sign off: it should be brief and courteous. It begins two lines below your final body paragraph. Common closings include Best regards, Sincerely, and Yours truly. Capitalize only the first word of the closing, and end with a comma. For more on closings, see Choose the right greeting and sign off.
The signature includes your handwritten and typed name. For formal and semi-formal letters, add four lines of space below your closing, and then type your name. In formal letters, you should include your full name; in semi-formal letters, you may use only your first name. Sign your name in the space.
For informal letters, you may omit the typed name; you only need to sign your name below the closing.
For letters written as email, you may omit the signed name; you only need to type your name below the closing.
In block format, the closing and signature are left justified. In modified block or semi-block format, they begin one tab (five spaces) right of centre:
See a formal letter in block format.
See a semi-formal letter in modified block format.
See an informal letter in semi-block format.
Back toLetters and invitations.
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structured. This guide shows you how to write a great business letter. And here are additional templates to guide your business letter writing: Template (1): .
There are many legal letter template samples that you can download and customize for free. A formal letter template falls under the category of legal letter, because its content is true, professional and concise. Writing a legal letter on a sample word, PDF or excel custom template might take some time – most of the time it will; you have to gather tangible facts to prove that what you are trying to explain is true.
sample-resignation-letters.com | Legal letters are mostly sent as a notification of certain default in agreement or any other contract signed by two or more parties. These letters are more of a reminder of the terms and conditions in the agreement and the casualties which could happen in case of noncompliance to the same.
samplelettersfree.org | Letter of authorization to other companies or partners to use the trademarked or intellectual property of a business required a legal approval and binding. Such letters need to be extensively drafted mentioning the terms and conditions and more importantly, the period for which the trademark has been granted to the partnering company. You may also see Legal Letterhead Template.
careerride.com | Breach of contract or any agreement does call for a legal letter warning and intimating the defaulter on the violation of the terms and conditions laid in the contract. Such formal letter should explicitly mention the clause which was violated along with the repercussion which the defaulter could face if not corrected within a stipulated period of time.
legalombudsman.org.uk Formal complaint letter could be used in a multitude of places – be it inappropriate or unsatisfactory service provided to a purchase which was initially promised, breach of a contract by a party and so on. In all such cases, the content more or less remains intact mentioning the clause and the breach, stating the consequences.
businessaccountingbasics.co.uk | Debt collection legal letters are mostly sent to companies from banks or other financial institutes or other debtors whose debt has still not being paid. These letters act as a warning signal or a reminder to the company to pay off the debt within the stipulated date (mentioned in the letter) without which legal proceedings would take place. You may also see Request Letter Samples
A legal letter without prejudice can be communicated to the employer in case of any grievance between the two parties, or any act of injustice on the part of the employer violating the employment conditions. In such cases, employees can intimate them on the necessary emoluments which need to be compensated along with a period of response. You may also see Promotion Letter Templates in PDF. Whoever is reading the letter templates needs to be convinced that the content of the letter is true, the truth and nothing but the truth. So help you God.
Day to day business activities of an organization require that various documents and requests be mailed to the higher officials, government agencies, vendors, clients etc. Since these are all official Letters, it is important that a proper address format and tone be used while drafting these, such that they are in sync with the industrial trends. It is also crucial that all the essential segments and content be included in such Business Letters.
A lot of people who are not well versed with writing such Letters can make used of the different types of business letter formats that are available online. Designed by experts, these comprise of the perfect format and all the essential sections.
Since business letter continues to be one of the best ways of correspondence for corporate houses and businesses, these should be formatted according to the latest industrial trends. Using Business Letter Templates can help to get the perfect idea of this formatting.walton.uark.edu
Corresponding with business associates and other agencies is imperative for businesses. However, it is important that this be done in a professional manner. A business correspondence letter template helps in drafting such a letter. As the name suggests, the business correspondence letter is used for the purpose of corresponding business related matters.liberalarts.humber.ca
When customers have a particular complaint with the products or services, they can bring this to the notice of the higher officials of the firm by writing a business Complaint Letter. The business complaint letters are used for the purpose of sending out complaints that are directly related to the business or the business firm.distanceeducation.co.in
People who are not well aware of how to write a perfect business letter can make use of the example of business letter for the purpose. Designed by experts, this example gives the user an idea of the format and the sections to be included.dentonisd.org
Creating positive relations with the customers and associates of the business is crucial for the growth and development of the business. Writing business thank you letters whenever required is one of the best ways to nurture these relationships.angelo.edu
The business letter must be professionally drafted with proper formatting and structure. A shabbily drafted business letter will only leave a very bad impression of the organization to the receiver.cpp.edu
Business organizations just cannot do without business letters. They need to correspond with their clients, customers, higher officials, employees as well as external agencies. Writing and mailing perfect Company Business Letters is the only way that they can stay in touch with their associates and ensure the smooth sailing of their business. Since the commercial business letters are to the point and professionally written, these ensure that the request enclosed in the letter see immediate action. Business letters are of varied types and there content varies based on the purpose for which these are written. There are letters for business rate information, request letters, action letters as well as Closing Business Letters.
The department in any business organization that is responsible of the communications with clients and associates can surely save a lot of time with a proper business letter format in place. Though they can easily take some cue from the Business Letter Template Word that is available online, here are some tips as to how a business letter format can be designed. It should be noted that this can be used to write business emails too.
Based on the purpose of the letter, business letters are classified into various types. However, it should be noted that all these corporate letters follow an official business letter format. However, the structure of the letters may vary. The different types of business letters are
Different forms of business letters are used for different purposes. The pattern of these letters along with their format varies based on the reason for which these are written. These can be written to and from the company. The used of business letter are
Writing a business letter is no mean task which is why people make use of business letterhead templates. Using these ensures that they do not miss out on anything important and keep in tow with the agreed format. These templates are readily available online and can be downloaded and customized as per the requirements of the users.
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structured. This guide shows you how to write a great business letter. And here are additional templates to guide your business letter writing: Template (1): .
Whatever you do – whether you’re a student, employed in an office job, or working as a freelancer – I can guarantee that at some point in your life, you’ll need to sit down and write a formal business letter.
It might be to a customer, to an employer with a job that you want, or to apply for university funding. Perhaps it’ll even be to a literary agent or publisher who just might take on your undiscovered novel. Of course, you’ll want the letter to be well-written – but almost as important is knowing how to format it correctly. This article is about US business letter format (for UK readers, don’t worry, I’ll be writing a follow-up one for you.)
The main formats for business letters in the US are called full block format and modified block format.
Let’s break those down into the main elements, in top-to-bottom order:
Your address, also known as the “return address”, should come first. (Note that this applies when using standard plain paper. If you have letter headed paper, you should omit this.)
123 Acacia Avenue
Your return address should be positioned:
Why put your address? Even if the recipient has your details in their address book, you want it to be as hassle-free as possible for them to reply – you’re likely to receive a speedier response.
Directly beneath your address, put the date on which the letter was written:
May 15, 2008
To avoid any confusion, especially if you are writing to a business abroad, it is best to put the date in word rather than number form, and you should omit the “th”.
The date should be positioned on the left-hand side, for full block format and for modified block format
Why put the date? It’s standard practice to include the date on which the letter was written. Correspondence is often filed in date order. It makes it much easier for the recipient to send a timely reply, and easier for you to chase up an answer if necessary. Eg. “In my letter of May 15…”
I’ve not included this on the diagram as guidance varies on where it should be placed. You may include a reference line, starting with “Re:” This is often used when corresponding with large companies, or when applying for a job. The reference line can either appear beneath the date, OR beneath the recipient’s address.
If you use a reference line, you should usually omit the subject line (see below).
The reference line should be left-aligned for both full and modified block formats. Different types of letters will require different types of subject and reference lines, so choose the one that’s most appropriate to your case.
Why put a reference line? You should use a reference line if the recipient has requested specific information, such as a job number or invoice number, or if you’re replying to a letter. This makes it easier for the recipient to get a speedy response to you.
Beneath this, you should put the name and address of the person you’re writing to, just as it would appear on the envelope. If you’re using a window envelope, this should be aligned on the page to show through the window – but even if it won’t be visible until the letter is opened, it should still be included.
The recipient’s name and address should be positioned on the left-hand side, for both formats.
Why put their address? If you’re writing to someone in an office, it probably won’t be them who opens the post. An administrator is likely to do so – and letters may be separated from their envelopes at this stage. Particularly if there are multiple departments within one building, or if you are starting your letter “Dear Bob”, a name and address ensures your letter reaches the correct recipient.
After their address, you should leave a line’s space then put “Dear Mr Jones”, “Dear Bob” or “Dear Sir/Madam” as appropriate. Follow this with a colon.
The greeting, sometimes called the “salutation”, should always be left-aligned.
Why put a greeting? Business letters are a formal type of writing, and it’s considered polite to start with a greeting. Although you can get away with starting emails “Hi” or “Hello”, letters follow more conservative conventions.
Optionally, you may wish to include a subject for your letter. This is becoming more common, perhaps as people have become used to the subject lines of emails. If you do put a subject line, it should be in uppercase, directly below the “Dear name:”
The subject (if you include one) should be left-aligned for full block format, but can be either left aligned or centred for modified block format.
Why put the subject? It’s a good idea to include a subject so that the recipient can see at a glance what the letter refers to. Try to be succinct but include as much information as possible, eg. “Funding application from Joe Bloggs, candidate 222-456”.
Now, finally, you can write the main body of your letter. Your text should have:
(And, of course, you should conform to all the usual rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling: for example, ensuring that you start each sentence with a capital letter, and finish with a full stop.)
Why leave blank lines? In the business world, it’s standard practise to put a blank line between paragraphs. This helps to break up the text on the page and make it more readable.
After the body of text, your letter should end with an appropriate closing phrase and a comma. The safest option is “Yours faithfully” (when you don’t know the name of the person to whom you are writing, ie. when you began “Dear Sir/Madam”) or “Yours sincerely” (when you do know their name). If you are already acquainted with the recipient, it may be appropriate to use a phrase such as “Best regards”, “With warmest regards”, or “Kind regards”.
The closing should be:
Why use these phrases? Although “Yours sincerely” and “Yours faithfully” might sound archaic, they are time-honoured ways to close a formal letter.
Put several blank lines after the “Yours sincerely,” or “Yours faithfully,” then type your name. You can optionally put your job title and company name on the line beneath this.
Marketing Director, BizSolutions
Your name and signature should be:
Why leave a blank space? The blank space is so that, when you’ve printed the letter, you can sign it with your name. This is taken as proof that the letter really is from the person whose name is typed at the bottom. Sometimes, another person may sign the letter on your behalf. If this is the case, they should put the letters “p.p.” before their name, which stands for the Latin per procurationem meaning “by agency”.
It’s very important that you choose the right voice and tone when writing your business letter. Using the correct format but choosing an improper type of language might affect your desired outcome. Here’s what the guys from thebalancecareers.com wrote about this:
Make the purpose of your letter clear through simple and targeted language, keeping the opening paragraph brief. You can start with, “I am writing in reference to…” and from there, communicate only what you need to say.
The subsequent paragraphs should include information that gives your reader a full understanding of your objective(s) but avoid meandering sentences and needlessly long words. Again, keep it concise to sustain their attention.
Enjoy writing your letters, and use the examples above to help you with the formatting if you do get stuck.
Formatting a business letter correctly might seem a bit daunting, especially if you’ve never or rarely written this type of letter before – perhaps you’re applying for a job for the first time, for instance, and writing a covering letter.
Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve covered, so you can use it as a handy checklist:
Step #1: Decide Whether You’re Using “Full Block Format” or “Modified Block Format”.
Try not to mix-and-match between these. Remember, full block format (with everything left-justified) is the more formal of the two styles – but these days, modified block format (with some elements shifted over to the right) is fine for most contexts.
Step #2: Include Your Address
Your address should go on the left for full block format and on the right for modified block format. Don’t right-justify the text – tab across.
Step #3: Include the Date
The date should go directly after your address, and should be left-justified whatever format you’re using. Write it like this: “May 15, 2008”.
Step #4: Potentially Include a Reference Line
If you’re corresponding with a large company or if you’ve been asked to include a specific reference number in your letter, type “Re:” then the reference line. If you’re using a reference line, omit the subject line.
Step #5: Include the Recipient’s Name and Address
This should be left-justified, whatever format you use. It’s important to include their full name as well as the address in case the letter becomes separated from the envelope (which it usually will in a large office). If you’re using a window envelope, make sure the recipient’s name and address are positioned to appear within the window.
Step #6: Include the Greeting
The greeting, sometimes called the salutation, should be followed by a colon. (E.g. “Dear Mr Jones:”) It should always be left-justified.
Step #7: Consider Including a Subject Line
The subject line is optional, but it’s become increasingly common practice. Your subject line should show the recipient, at a glance, what your letter is about. It can be left-justified or centered in modified block format.
Step #8: Write the Letter Itself
The text of your letter itself should be left-justified (in all formats) and single-spaced. You should put a blank line between paragraphs, rather than indenting them. Write in an appropriate business-like tone.
Step #9: Add an Appropriate Closing
Close your letter with a phrase like “Yours sincerely” (a safe formal option) or “Best regards” (a good option for someone who you already know). Follow this with a comma.
Step #10: Add Your Name
Leave a blank space for your signature, then type your name at the end of the letter. If appropriate, you can put your job title and company name on the line beneath your name.
Select the correct answer for each of these questions about business letters.
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Give your business correspondence a professional polish with this accessible and classy letter template.