Learn common uses of business letters, and their generally accepted tone, structure and format.
When to Use
When a formal business letter needs to be created.
Typical purposes for business letters, which may be longer or more formal/less familiar than emails, are:
- Inquiries or requests
- Thanks or recognition
- Apologies or explanations
- Sales or prospecting
Tone is factual, often pleasant, sometimes firm.
- Use company letterhead
- Check for business letter templates: online, software programs, company files
- Use any company standards for fonts, signatures, etc.
- Important information or any specific actions suggested or required should be prominent in the body of the letter.
- Letters restricted to one page in length are ideal when possible.
- Begin two inches from the top of the page with the date.
- Hit enter four times and begin the recipient’s name, title and address.
- Start greeting with “Dear ____:”
- Align the letter on the left margin.
- Use single spacing and double space between paragraphs.
- Space twice before closing (e.g. Sincerely or Best Regards work well).
- Space up to six times to allow for signature.
- Place name of sender under signature and title below.
- Notes regarding any CC: name, enclosure, etc. should appear four spaces below signature and title.
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