What is a letter of intent and how do you write one?

Letters of intent often initiate business transactions and can set expectations for all parties before any binding agreement comes into play.

A letter of intent being viewed across a tablet, mobile phone, and laptop using Adobe Sign

What is a letter of intent?

A letter of intent (LOI) is a document written in business letter format that declares your intent to do a specific thing. It’s usually, but not always, nonbinding, and it states a preliminary commitment by one party to do business with another party. A letter of intent is very similar to a memorandum of understanding, a nonbinding document that usually precedes binding agreements.

When should you use a letter of intent?

Many large businesses need to perform what is known as due diligence before a transaction. That is, they need to take reasonable steps to satisfy certain legal requirements. Those requirements often include a business being transparent about their intent, the size of the transaction, and when they hope it will occur, though it can include more than that.


For individuals, using a letter of intent can sometimes satisfy due diligence, but often it’s a way to be professionally courteous or stand out from the crowd during a job search. 

A man wearing glasses sitting on the floor reviewing a letter of intent on their laptop with his dog



Job seekers write letters of intent to hiring managers as a way to introduce themselves and provide more context and information about their experience. Unlike cover letters, letters of intent can be sent at any time, with or without a job application. Job postings can attract numerous responses, and a letter of intent can get you noticed. It can also make it easier for a recruiter or employer to recognize your specific skills and why you are uniquely suited for a given position.




Businesses use letters of intent to announce new transactions or relationships, before official paperwork like definitive agreements or purchase agreements is created. Sales, purchase, mergers, and joint ventures can all begin with LOIs, declaring their intentions and announcing who will be involved in the potential interaction.




Students may submit a letter of intent to a university as a part of their admissions materials. This usually declares their intent to enroll and includes an outline of their educational background. If a student is applying to a graduate program, they should also include specific examples of what they intend to study. Letters of intent in education might also be referred to as statements of purpose.

A woman talking on a mobile phone while looking at their laptop at a table

What to include in your letter of intent.

Letters of intent give all parties a clear roadmap for what’s to come, should each party act in good faith or stay true to their word. They introduce goals, expectations, and time frames for potential transactions, and that helps all involved understand the structure of the potential business deal. This can help parties identify potential deal breakers or binding items that will become important in the future.

Have a look at a sample letter of intent, and see what to include in yours, from salutation to signature.


View free letter of intent examples



Turn your intentions into actions with an e-signature.


If a letter of intent is binding or if you want to verify that a recipient has reviewed it, you’ll want to include an option for them to return it with a signature. Sometimes preliminary negotiations can include disclaimers or legal documents such as a nondisclosure agreement. E-signatures can make these initial correspondences move faster. 


Learn more about electronic signatures



E-signatures in action.


Letters of intent are the beginning of a relationship. E-signatures can help move that relationship along.


Faster contracts, less time in the inbox.


Adding e-signatures to correspondence doesn’t just cut down on paper; it can also reduce the time everyone spends opening, reading, and sorting through emails. Find out how Adobe reduced contract-related email traffic by 75 percent and made contracts easier with e-signatures.



More efficient college applications.


Applying for college can be complicated. Pace University made the process easier for high school students and other applicants. Some of their forms required up to ten signatures. But with e-signatures, forms went from potential bottlenecks to an easy, streamlined process. 



Make your letter of intent even better with Adobe Acrobat Pro.


Adobe Acrobat Pro makes it easy for parties to exchange signatures and begin official relationships. Save time, save paper, and act on your intentions with Acrobat


Learn more

You might also be interested in…

A person standing at their desk creating an electronic signature on their laptop

How to create an electronic signature.

Learn how to transition away from paper documents and go digital with Adobe Acrobat Sign.

A person creating a promissory note on their laptop

Create a promissory note that delivers.

No matter the loan, lender, or borrower, it’s always a good idea to put it in writing. Find out the information you need and the fastest, most reliable way to complete a loan contract.

Two people looking at a laptop together

W-9 tax forms: Simplifying the process.

Discover what a W-9 is and why both small and large businesses need to collect them. Learn how to simplify the process with e-signatures.

A person standing at a desk using their laptop

Make sure your e-signatures comply with the UETA.

Delve into the applicable laws that govern electronic forms and e-signatures, and ensure that your digital paperwork complies with these legal requirements.

Meet legal and compliance standards with Acrobat Sign.

Legally binding e-sign experiences.

E-signature requirements

Manage agreements and meet legal requirements with Acrobat Sign.




Learn more about meeting legal requirements

eSignature legality

E-Signature legality

Acrobat Sign meets the highest legal standards around the globe.




Learn more about e-signature law

Process transformation

Electronic and digital signature compliance

Depend on Acrobat Sign to stay compliant — from anywhere.



Learn more about e-signature compliance

Ready for end-to-end digital processes?

No matter where you are in your journey, take the next step with Adobe Document Cloud.