How to fill out envelopes

Updated February 21, 2017

Addressing envelopes and sending letters and bill payments through the Post Office is something people do less often than in prior years. The introduction of e-mail, social networking sites, online bill-pay options and the ever increasing price of postage means fewer people are using traditional mail. For those that do, and for those who haven't used it in a long time, the art of filling out the envelope is important. How you address your envelope determines whether or not your mail will arrive at its intended destination with little to no delay.

Start the address a third of the way across on the envelope. Do not centre all lines, but start each line left justified from this starting point a third in from the left edge of the envelope.

The Post Office outlines five possible lines of an address, although not all are needed. The first line should show the recipient's name and the second the house number or name and the street. The third line should show the suburb, but this can be skipped. the last two lines should show the postal town and the post code, both written in capitals and each on a separate line.
If you are sending the letter to someone in a different country, write the recipient's city on the third line, the state on the fourth and the country, in capitals, as the fifth line.

Affix a postage stamp to the upper right-hand side of your envelope. If you are mailing a card or another envelope with heavier-than-usual contents or a large envelope, you might require additional postage. If you are unsure if one stamp is sufficient, take your envelope to the Post Office to have it weighed.


Use a blue or black pen or permanent marker to write out the information. Pencil marks can easily smear, and sorting machines may have difficulty reading other coloured inks. You do not need to put county in the address. If you wish to write you address in case the letter can't be delivered, write it on the back of the envelope and write "Sender:" in front of it.

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About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.