How To Address a Formal Letter

how to address a letter

How To Address a Letter (With Template, Tips, and Examples)

Letters are formal, semiformal, or informal documents for conveying important information to contacts. When preparing one, you typically need to write an address that outlines who your intended recipient is. Learning to address a letter correctly can help show your written communication skills and set the tone for your message. In this article, we explain how to address a letter, provide examples, a template, and tips to make an address informative, and discuss addressing an envelope.

Learning how to address a letter is important because it introduces you and indicates who the letter’s recipient is. As your contacts may receive many letters daily, you want to address yours correctly to get their attention. Addressing a letter correctly can also help you make a good impression on the recipient because it’s typically the first aspect they read. For example, including a hiring manager’s name in the address shows you researched them before writing the letter.

If you send a letter through an individual or company, you also want to learn how to address the envelope correctly for them to know where to deliver it. For example, if you’re sending a physical copy of your letter to a mentor in another city, addressing the envelope can help the courier know where to deliver the letter.

How to address a letter in four steps

1. Start with your contact information

Before you write your letter, you want the recipient to know or remember you. This way, they can better understand the message you want to convey. Writing your contact information is also important if your recipient wants to connect with you after reading your letter. For example, suppose you’re applying for a job. Including your contact information helps the hiring manager understand how to contact you if you qualify for the next hiring stage. Write the following details as your contact information in the address:

2. Write the date

Next, write the date you sent the letter. Include this information in full by writing the month in words and noting the day and year in numbers. Writing the date is important for record-keeping. For example, if you’re writing a letter to apply for a grant, you want to include the date to reference the letter in the future. Leave a full line of space after dating the letter to make the address easier to read.

3. Include the recipient’s contact details

Write the recipient’s contact information below the date. You can research this professional online or connect with a contact individual if you need more information on who the recipient is. For example, if you’re writing a letter advocating for an environmental policy, you may contact a local authority or visit the government’s website for the information you need. Include the following information in this section:

4. Write a salutation

Including a greeting helps to convey your intended tone. For example, if you’re writing to a company requesting financial support for a program or event, you want to show professionalism with the salutation you use. Similarly, you can use a personal greeting if you’re writing to a contact you met at a social event. Evaluate who your recipient is to determine the appropriate greeting to use. Common examples of professional salutations to consider include “Dear,” “Hello,” or “Hi.”

Follow this information with the recipient’s title and name. For example, if you’re writing to a physician, you may start with “Dr.” More common titles include “Mr.” and “Ms.” Confirm the recipient’s preferred title if writing it in your letter is important. Otherwise, you may include only their full name. While you may use the phrase “To Whom It May Concern,” depending on your letter’s purpose, researching the recipient can help establish a connection with them.

Why is it important to address a formal letter correctly?

How to address a letter correctly is an important skill to learn, as a well-formatted address section conveys that you’re professional, precise and conscientious. You’ll typically use a formal letter for business, official and important matters, such as when you’re applying for a job or sending a formal thank you note after a job interview. Consequently, it’s important that you make a good impression and draw attention to your letter by using the correct format and providing error-free content, both in the address section and the body of the letter.

If you’re posting a letter, the address section is important as it supplies the address of the recipient. However, convention dictates that you still add this section even if you’re using a digital format and emailing your letter. Although the address isn’t necessary for delivery to the correct physical address in such an instance, this section still includes important information such as sender and recipient names, job titles and telephone numbers. It may also be useful for both parties to have a record of the other’s physical address details.

Specific Examples for How to Address a Letter

When addressing letters, remember to use the appropriate format and titles for the occasion at hand. There are many different occasions for writing a letter that will utilize different formats for addressing and sending. Use these examples for how to address a letter in order to visualize the above steps in action:

When you use standard conventions for addressing your letter, you can guarantee that your letters are well-received by your recipients. Follow our address etiquette guidelines to answer any other questions you may run into when drafting your letters.

how to address an envelope

  • Avoid abbreviations when addressing your letters. For example, common road names should read “Lane,” “Avenue,” “Street,” and so on. States should be written out as well.
  • If you’re addressing your letter in handwriting, make sure that you are writing legibly and with blue or black ink. Design an envelope that even the postal office will be impressed by! You can make addressing your letters a little easier by adding custom return address labels which will save you time writing.
  • When addressing a letter on behalf of a business, use the company’s office address.
  • Add an extra special touch to your outgoing mail. Using personalized stationery will add a creative element to your message and show just how much thought you put into your letter.

Don’t forget to have fun addressing your letters. Sending your thoughts on paper can be exciting and stress-free now that you have all the tips and tricks you need. If you’re looking to elevate your letters even more, use our guide on how to create formal address labels to help you customize your letter with style.

Explore Categories

Kids Gifts

Bridal Shower Gifts




Written by Shutterfly Community | View all posts

Shutterfly Community is here to help capture and share life’s most important moments. Discover thoughtful gifts, creative ideas and endless inspiration to create meaningful memories with family and friends.