What Kind of Spacing Should Be Used for Writing an Informal Business Letter?
Letter writing etiquette is still important in today's world of virtual communication. When composing a business letter, even for informal purposes, following the correct format for line spacing will make your letter more readable. Appearance matters when it comes to clear and effective communication. The style guide provided by the American Psychological Association is accepted in most academic and professional circles as correct form. Follow these guidelines to space your letter correctly and ensure that your voice is taken seriously in any business transaction.
Sender's Address and Date
A business letter following the APA style guidelines will begin with the sender's address. If you are writing on paper that includes your professional letterhead, you can skip this step. If your letter does not include a letterhead, place you address at the head of the letter, one line above the date. It is not necessary to state your name until the end of the letter. The date, placed one line below your address, should be the day that the letter was composed. Write the date out, including the month, day and year. The date should be situated 2 inches below the top of the page, and can occur either at the left or center of the page.
Inside Address and Salutation
The inside address of a business letter is the address of the recipient. This address begins 1 inch below the date and should be left justified. This address includes the name of the person you are addressing. Do not forget to include the individual's title, such as Miss, Ms., Mrs., Mr. or Dr. Follow the name with a colon. Address the letter to "To Whom It May Concern" if you are unsure of the name of the recipient.
The body of your business letter contains the main content of the letter. Use correct spacing to make your statements readable. Begin the body one space below the salutation of your letter. The body should be single spaced, but include a space between the paragraphs. The first paragraph should include a friendly opening and state your purpose clearly and concisely. Develop your idea through the following paragraphs. Conclude by restating your purpose and making any request you might have.
Closing and Enclosures
Finish the letter with a closing. The closing starts one line below the body of your letter and should be aligned with the date. Leave four blank lines between your closing and your name. This space allows you to sign your name to the letter. You may want to include enclosures in your letter. Indicate the presence of enclosures simply by typing "Enclosures" one line below your closing. If someone else typed the letter, the typist's initials usually follow, but should be omitted if you typed the letter yourself.
Joelle Dedalus began writing professionally for websites such as PugetSoundMagazine.com in 2009. She received her B.A. in English education at Iowa State University and is currently a M.F.A. candidate in creative nonfiction writing at Emerson College in Boston, where she is developing a manuscript on literary travel. Her areas of expertise include travel and literature, the outdoors and the arts.