Letter Format

Side Margins (SM):   1” – 1.25”
Top Margin (TM):   2″ – 2.5”
Bottom Margin (BM):   at least 1″
Return Address
In personal letters, the return address consists of a line for the street address and one for the city, state, and ZIP Code. In business letters, the letterhead (return address) includes a company name, street address, city, state, and ZIP Code (none of which must be keyed).
In personal letters, key the month, day, and year on the line below the city, state, and ZIP Code. In business letters, key the date at the top margin.
Letter address
Key the first line of the letter address a QS below the date. A personal title (Miss, Mr., Mrs., and Ms.) or a professional title (Dr., Lt., and Senator) is typically used before the receiver’s name.
Key the salutation (greeting) a DS below the letter address.
Begin the letter body (message) a DS below the salutation. SS and block the paragraphs with a DS between them.
Complimentary close
Key the complimentary close (farewell) a DS below the last line of the body.
Name of writer
Key the name of the writer (originator of the message) a QS below the complimentary close. The name may be preceded by a personal title (Miss, Mrs., Ms. or Mr.) A job title or department name may be keyed on the line with the writer’s name, separated by a comma; or it may be keyed on the next line.
Attention line
If a letter is addressed to a company, the address may include an attention line (the first line of the address) to call the letter to the attention of a department of a job title.
Subject line
Sometimes a subject line is used to alert the reader immediately to content of a letter. A subject line is keyed in ALL CAPS at the left margin a DS below the salutation.
Reference initials (Typists initials)
If someone other than the originator of the letter keys it, key the keyboard operator’s initials in lowercase letters at the left margin a DS below the writer’s name, title, or department.
Attachment/Enclosure notation
If another document is attached to a letter, the word Attachment is keyed at the left margin a DS below the reference initials. If the document is not attached, the word Enclosure is used instead. If reference initials are not used, Attachment or Enclosure is keyed a DS below the writers name or title.
Full Block
The Full Block business letter layout is the easiest to format. Here everything starts at the left margin. This style is efficient and businesslike.
Modified Block
The Modified Block style’s return address (date, complimentary closing and the signature line) begin at the center of the paper. Everything else is flush with the left margin. Most of us are comfortable with this business letter layout as it has traditionally been the most commonly used.

Click on each link below, review the examples and make sure you understand the proper spacing for each letter type.


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