Craft different types of formal letters.

Mastering the art of writing formal letters for different situations can help you achieve various goals in both your professional and personal life.

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This article explores different elements that go into a standard formal letter and explains how to create the right letter for every occasion using Adobe Expressletter templates. Get tips for writing excellent letters, including for when you’re applying for a job, resigning, writing letters for your business, or writing a letter of formal recommendation.

What goes into making a formal letter?

Along with the body, which contains your main message, here are five key elements that appear in nearly every type of formal letter as standard.

Include your address

Always put your full address at the top of the letter so that the recipient knows where to send their reply to. You can also add your telephone number and email beneath your address.

Add the date that the letter is written on

Put the date that the letter was written on just below your address. Dates are important for establishing a timeline for the correspondence.

Include the recipient's address

The complete address of the person or organisation you are writing to should be included below the date. Add the recipient's name, title and position, if you know it.

Use a proper salutation

Always use a formal salutation if you know the recipient, e.g. “Dear Mrs. Jacobs”. If you don’t know the recipient’s name, use a professional greeting such as “To Whom It May Concern”.

Provide a complimentary closing statement

Close your letter using a formal closing sentence or statement. Good examples include “Yours sincerely”, “Yours faithfully”, and “Best regards”. Sign your name below this statement, either by hand or electronically.

Don’t be dissuaded by the design aspect of a formal letter. With Adobe Express you can discover hundreds of letter templates that can be easily edited at a click of a button!

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The best types of official letters to use.

Here are six formal letters designed to assist you in addressing various common scenarios.

Formally communicate using a business letter

If you need to correspond with clients or partners, write a business letter with a clear intention using a professional tone and concise language.

Secure your next job with a professional cover letter

Although attaching a cover letter is not always mandatory, it is often a great opportunity to stand out amongst other candidates. Make a lasting first impression by using a cover letter template from Adobe Express.

Endorse an individual with a letter of recommendation

References can do wonders for people looking for new opportunities, so make sure your reference is professional and powerful by detailing the individual’s qualifications and suitability for the position that you are recommending them for.

Leave a position with a letter of resignation

If you need to formally notify your organisation that you are leaving, a letter containing a short statement of your resignation is a great idea. Detail your notice period and close the letter with a polite note of thanks.

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Official letter types for every business need.

Official letters can do wonders in the context of business, especially for small business owners who often must handle official matters themselves. Here are some of the most commonly used types of business letters.

Sharing business, partnership, and project proposals

Whenever you plan to present a formal proposal for a business idea, partnership or project, a letter in accompaniment can help capture your audience and set a professional tone. Make sure your proposal and your letter include your brand logo and reflect the style of your brand.

Issuing formal complaints

In business, issuing a formal complaint is a great tactic for getting a quick resolution. By detailing concerns and dissatisfaction with a product, service or situation, you can push the issue further up the chain and help to proactively prevent the issue from recurring.

Changing business information

If you’ve recently changed business address or have updated other important information, you’ll need to notify clients, vendors and other business parties about this as soon as possible. Add a brief explanation as to why this information has changed to maintain transparency and build trust.

Notifying parties of regulatory updates

If you need to inform employees or business partners about changes in compliance requirements, use a formal letter of notification. Clearly outline what has changed, why, and how this impacts them (if at all). Provide contact information for them to ask further questions.

Discover more business letter examples from Adobe Express.

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How to write a formal letter.

These top tips will help make sure that your letters are always formal, professional and effective.

Maintain a professional tone throughout

Formal letters could be written on a thousand topics and in a thousand different moods. Still, the outcome should always be that the letter communicates a message with respectful language. Skip the slang, cut out the colloquialisms and keep it professional.

Always use the correct format

Endless paragraphs, overuse of punctuation and a font that belongs in a primary school classroom can seriously damage the credibility of your letter. Use a smart, readable font and follow standard formatting rules to be on the right track.

Proofread your letter from top to bottom

Often, we can become overly focused on the body of the letter and completely miss that we’ve typed an address incorrectly, or worse, misspelt the recipient’s name. Carefully proofread your letter from the very top to the very bottom (literally!) to spot and fix typos, grammatical errors and inconsistencies.

Keep your message clear and concise

The best letters are often those that make their point quickly and concisely. This leaves the reader headspace to process what they’ve read and hopefully act sooner rather than later. State the purpose of your letter upfront and keep language concise to maintain clarity and impact.

Formal letters are an excellent way of communicating, however if you need to reach a larger audience, you may find newsletters more effective. Browse these newsletter templates for inspiration.

Discover free formal letter templates.

Create formal letters easily with Adobe Express. Customise each letter template with your own letterhead, add your preferred fonts, and format your letter so it looks polished and professional.

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Useful things to know.

Can I use Adobe Express to create formal letters for my business?

Yes! Business owners can find plenty of resources for all kinds of letters to help with a variety of business needs. Browse formal letter templates and find the perfect formal letter layout for your business.

Does Adobe Express let me design my own letter?

Yes! You can use a pre-designed template or start from scratch. Either way, the Adobe Express online tool makes it easy for you to bring your vision to life as no design experience is necessary.

Is Adobe Express free to use?

Yes! Jump into Adobe Express via the free plan and immediately unlock hundreds of templates, fonts and royalty-free media. Get started with Adobe Express’ free plan now.