Proper Spacing for Business Letters
The standard business letter format is designed for simplicity, and using it correctly is a mark of good manners and professionalism. Using proper spacing and format gives your correspondence a polished, proper look and allows the recipient to find essential information at a glance. Always use a 12-point, serif typeface such as Times New Roman. Left justify all text.
Formatting the Inside Address
If you are not using letterhead, type your street address, city, and ZIP code in the upper left hand corner of the page. Type each address fact on its own line, as if addressing an envelope. Skip one line and type the date, spelling out the name of the month and using a comma after the day. Space down about one inch and type the recipient's courtesy title (Mr., Ms., Dr.), name, formal job title and address.
**123 Apple Drive Pietown, Kansas 12345
July 15, 2016
Ms. Jane Evans, Personnel Manager Acme Widget Corporation 269 Crusty Parkway Pietown, Kansas 12345**
Formatting the Salutation
Type your salutation one inch below the last line of the recipient's address. Use the same courtesy title you used in the inside address. If you are writing to someone whose name you don't know, "Dear Personnel Manager (or other job title)" and "Dear Sir or Madam" are acceptable, as is "Dear Acme Widget Corporation." If you have a name but aren't sure of gender, you may substitute the first name for "Mr." or "Ms.": Dear Chris Williams. Use a colon after the salutation, and skip a line before you begin the body of your letter.
Formatting the Body of Your Letter
Use single line spacing; leave a blank line between paragraphs. Stick to the basic format of a friendly greeting and statement of the letter's purpose in your first paragraph, facts and supporting evidence in the second and a summary and a call to action, if appropriate, in the third. Thank your reader for her time and attention on a separate line just above your closing.
Formatting Your Closing
One line below the end of your last paragraph, type "Sincerely yours" or "Best regards," followed by a comma. Skip four spaces, leaving room for your handwritten signature, and type your name. If you're enclosing one or more documents with your letter, skip a line and type "Enclosed" or "Enc." and list them. If you are sending copies of your letter to more than one person, skip another line and type "cc:" and the names of all recipients.
Anne Pyburn Craig has written for a range of regional and local publications ranging from in-depth local investigative journalism to parenting, business, real estate and green building publications. She frequently writes tourism and lifestyle articles for chamber of commerce publications and is a respected book reviewer.