How to Set Up a Letter Format

Written by dawn westin
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How to Set Up a Letter Format
Typing your letters with proper formatting makes your writing look more organised and professional. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Adhering to proper formatting guidelines when preparing letters to others gives your writing a more organised appearance. The standard format that you should follow depends on the type of letter you are sending. The two most common types of letters are the business letter, written most commonly in block format, and the less formal friendly letter.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

    Business Letter Block Format

  1. 1

    Set your margins to one-inch all around. Microsoft Word 2007 users can achieve this by clicking Page Layout--> Margins--> Normal.

  2. 2

    Select a professional font such as Times New Roman or Courier New.

  3. 3

    Press Ctrl+L to align your text to the left and type your return address at the very top of the page. This return address should comprise two lines using the following format:

    Street or P.O. box address

    City, State Zip code

    Press Enter twice to double space when you are finished typing your postcode.

  4. 4

    Type the current date using "Month DD, YYYY" format. There should now be a double line break between your return address and the date. Press Enter twice after typing the year.

  5. 5

    Type your recipient's full name, title, company name and address using the following format:

    Mr., Mrs., Ms, Dr. Full recipient's name

    Recipient's title

    Company name

    Street or P.O. box address

    City, State Zip code

    Press Enter twice after typing your recipient's postcode.

  6. 6

    Type your salutation using the format, "Dear Ms., Mrs., Mr. (recipient's last name):". Note to end your salutation with a colon rather than a comma. Hit Enter twice after typing the recipient's last name.

  7. 7

    Type the body of your letter. Single space the content of each paragraph and double space between paragraphs. Press Enter twice one you have finished typing your final paragraph.

  8. 8

    Type a closing such as "Sincerely," "Thank you," or "Best Wishes," and press Enter four times to leave space for your written signature.

  9. 9

    Type your first and last name and then press Enter and type your title.

  10. 10

    Press Enter twice and type "Enc." followed by a description of any other documents that you will be sending along with the letter. For example, you would type "Enc. Resume" if you have your resume attached.

  11. 11

    Hand sign your signature in the space below your closing after you have printed the letter out. Using a blue pen is ideal if you have one handy since it will be clear that your recipient is receiving an original copy of your letter rather than a photocopy.

    Friendly Letter Format

  1. 1

    Set your margins to one-inch all around and pick a font of your choosing.

  2. 2

    Indent about four and a half inches to the right and type your return address and the date using the following format:

    Street or P.O. box address

    City, State Zip code

    Month DD, YYYY

    Press Enter twice once you have typed the year.

  3. 3

    Type your salutation using the format, "Dear (recipient's name),". Note the usage of the comma following your recipient's name as opposed to the colon you use in a business letter. It is up to you whether you use only your recipient's first name or if you include his or her last name. Press Enter twice to double space after the comma.

  4. 4

    Type the body of your letter. You should press Tab when beginning each new paragraph so that the first line of each paragraph is indented to the right. Press Enter four times to quadruple space after you finish typing your last paragraph.

  5. 5

    Type a closing such as "Sincerely," "Best Wishes," or "Thank You,". Then press Enter four times to leave space for your written signature.

  6. 6

    Type "P.S." following your postscript if you have any.

  7. 7

    Hand sign your signature in the space below your closing after printing your letter.

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