A Guide to Formatting Business Letters

A Guide to Formatting Business Letters :

A Guide to Formatting Business Letters

Business letters can get you anything you want if you can write letters that turn people on instead of off.

This class teaches you how to turn readers on with effective business letters. Although many business people today are writing fewer letters and more email messages, you will still find many occasions when letters are required. When you need a formal record of an inquiry, response, or complaint, letters are the best communication channels.

This guide consists of the following.

Parts of Business Letters

4 Business Letter Formats

Organizational Plans for Letters and Memos

• Direct Approach for routine, unpersuasive messages

• Indirect Approach for negative and sensitive messages

• AIDA approach for persuasive messages

Parts of Business Letters

Optional clip art logo

Inside address


Subject line (optional but good to have)

Signature block with complementary close

Space for signature typed name and title

Typist’s notations

Author’s then and typist's initials

Effective letters do not start with I or We.

A list is effective for questions and quick details.

Besides typist's notations, other common notations include…

Enclosure (means something included in envelope)

Attachment (something is stapled or paper clipped to document)

CC (copy – with the name of the person receiving a copy)

Freebird Publishers
600 Hulu Manu Avenue Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph (808) 841-2345
Fax (808) 123-4567

June 4 - 2009

Ms. Kaliko Hurley
Muwekma Native American Cultural Center
Stanford University
1210 Tressider Mall
Stanford, CA 94309-1210

Dear Ms. Hurley,


Thank you for your letter of May 25. Here is letter formatting in a nutshell. The most important points to remember are these.

1. Side margins are between one and two inches for that the letter is centered in the middle of the page.

2. The date begins two inches from the top edge of the paper or two lines below the letterhead, whichever position is lower.

3. The inside address is usually about five inches after the date, but it can be further down if the letter is short.

This letter is a full block letter and is easy to type since all lines begin at the left margin (the four formats are: full block, block, modified block, and AMS simplified). The complementary close is followed by three or four lines for the writer's signature and title. Typist's and enclosure notations, if used, appear in the lower left corner, as shown below. By the way, the font for this letter is Times 11.

So that you can see additional styles, I've enclosed a copy of our office style guide. Please let me know if I may be of any additional assistance. Best wishes for a successful semester.


Thomas O'Reily


TR : rm

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