How to format a business letter.
Learn how to create simple and effective business letter templates.
Business correspondence is essential to growing relationships, creating paper trails, and getting the job done. Learn how to build an easy business letter PDF template so that you can spend more time writing and less time fussing with formats.
Your business letter building blocks.
The most common business letter formats are block style, modified block style, and semi-block style. Each style arranges the following elements differently:
- Return address block. Your name, company address, phone number, and email.
- Date. To timestamp your correspondence.
- Inside address block. Where’s the letter going? Include name, title, company name, and address.
- Salutation. A formal greeting to your recipient. That can be “Dear,” or simply the recipient’s name. The level of formality depends on your unique business relationship.
- Body paragraphs. The meat of your letter — keep it short, simple, and succinct with the purpose clearly stated at the very beginning. Be conversational yet professional. Try to write in a style similar to how you’d speak to the recipient. End with a request for action.
- Closing. Sign off with a “thank you,” a “sincerely,” or a similar signature. Sign your name and print below, along with your title.
Now it’s time to choose your format.
- Block-style letter: The most formal letter format. It lines up all text on the left margin — everything from your return address right down to your signature. Skip a line for each new paragraph instead of indenting.
- Modified-block style letter: The same as a block-style letter, with the return address and date placed in the center or the right of the page.
- Semi-block style letter: The least formal of the formats. The format right-aligns the return address, date, and signature, and indents each body paragraph.