How to start a letter like a pro.

Once you’ve learnt how to leverage the opening lines of your message, you’ll be able to start every letter like a pro. This article covers tips and guidance on all the different ways you can begin your letters in, including using anecdotes, quotes, questions and other devices to engage your reader.

Craft your letter opening now

Make a lasting impact using free letterhead templates from Adobe Express and discover effective ways to capture your recipient's attention.

5 great ways to start a letter.

A good start to your letter can help engage your reader and convince them to take the action or have the response that you are intending to generate. Here are five different ways to open your letter.

Open with a respectful greeting

Regardless of the content of your letter, try to begin with a friendly and respectful greeting. Use the recipient's full name and open with a salutation such as “dear Miss. Adkins”, followed by “I hope this letter finds you well.”

Set the right tone

The tone should reflect the content of the letter. If your letter is full of good news, use an enthusiastic tone. If your letter is one of complaint, extending condolences or raising a serious matter, keep the tone polite and professional.

Show your appreciation

Letters that begin by acknowledging a person’s circumstances or appreciating a recent action taken by that person can also help strike the right tone. Need a little inspiration? Check out these appreciation quotes.

Draw attention to common ground

If you don’t know the recipient all too well, use your opening to lay a foundation for rapport. Refer to a shared experience or a shared interest to connect with your recipient.

Clearly state your letter’s purpose

Sometimes it is best to get to the point! Set expectations and provide context for further detail in your letter by setting out exactly why you are writing. Are you applying for a job? Requesting a reference? Expressing interest in a project? Asking for a referral? Whatever your purpose, state it clearly in the opening paragraph of your letter.

No matter how you choose to start, make sure your letterhead design doesn’t let you down! Create your unique letterhead with Adobe Express.

Design your perfect letter

How to get your formal letter off to a great start.

Here’s how to start a formal letter that sounds professional, reads politely and motivates the recipient to respond or take action.

Personalise the greeting

Always try to personalise the letter from the very beginning. Try to address your recipient with personalised identifiers either by using their name or acknowledging a shared interest, for example, “Dear Fellow Environmentalists”.

Capture your reader’s attention with a compelling opening line

For cover letters or any letter where you are competing for your reader’s attention, it’s great to start off with a highly engaging or thought-provoking opening line. This will help capture the recipient’s attention and help make a good first impression. Check out these cover letter examples for more inspiration.

Express sincerity, politeness and respect

Formal letters should always strike a balance between professionalism and warmth. Too direct and your letter may come off as rude. Too polite and your letter may be branded as disingenuous. Keep your tone civil, address your recipient with respect and write with sincerity.

Use formal formatting for a professional look

Choose a layout that looks simple and clean and use a professional font. This not only helps your reader understand the letter easier, but also gives a positive professional impression of you and whoever you may represent. If in doubt, use Adobe Express to create your formal letter with ease.

Craft your professional letter now

4 top tips for starting a letter.

To make your correspondence stand out from the crowd, try these different methods for starting your letter.

Open with a brief anecdote or story

Stories can add significant value by setting a scene, encouraging your reader’s emotional engagement or winning them over altogether. Make sure the story is relevant, short and segues into the main body of your letter.

Kick-start your dialogue with a thought-provoking question

Think about a question that your recipient wants the answer to. If you can capture your reader’s attention by asking or answering a burning question, you will be able to engage them before they move further into the main message of your letter.

Evoke your reader’s curiosity with an interesting fact or quote

Start your letter with a fact or quote to provoke some curiosity in your reader. Just make sure that whatever you include brings value and is relevant!

Propose a challenge or a call to action

Get straight to the point by outlining the message you’re so passionate about sharing. This directness can bring a liveliness to your letter and spark an energy that helps spread your message beyond your letter’s initial recipient.

For more ideas, browse these letter templates from Adobe Express.

Start writing your professional letter now

Here’s the perfect way to start a letter to someone.

Different types of letters require different opening styles and formats. Here’s how to start writing four different types of professional letters.

Writing a formal business letter

Always start with a respectful salutation, then immediately address the purpose of your letter. For more help on how to start a letter to someone, check out these business letter examples.

Crafting a cover letter for a job application

Begin by identifying the particular role you’re applying for, then express your enthusiasm for the position and state why you are the perfect match for the job.

Express your condolences in a letter

Writing a letter to express your condolences can sometimes be quite challenging. Start out by expressing your sympathy and simply acknowledging the recipient's loss. You can then share a positive memory of the person or pet who has passed.

Crafting a letter of complaint

No matter the feelings behind writing letters of complaint, these kinds of letters should always remain polite, courteous and professional. Start with the appropriate salutation and then immediately address the issue at hand.

Start writing your letter now

Browse free letter templates.

If you’re still wondering how to start a letter the right way, Adobe Express can help. Find professional letter templates and craft the perfect letter. Print it off or download it when you’re ready to send.

Find your letter template now

Useful things to know.

What kind of letter templates does Adobe Express have?

Adobe Express offers letter templates for all kinds of letters, including professional, personal and official letter styles. So you can write out your letter on a template that suits your needs.

Can I use Adobe Express to format my professional letters?

Yes! Not only does Adobe Express provide free templates, but you can also use the online editor to format your letter. Try out different fonts, layouts and graphics, all in one place.

Is Adobe Express free to use?

Yes! Adobe Express has a free plan that enables you to get started with hundreds of templates instantly! Explore professionally designed assets including fonts and royalty-free media, all available for free. Get started with Adobe Express’ free plan.