Format for Writing a Business Letter

businessman signing a contract
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Typically, a business letter is reserved for only the most important of communications: recommendation letters, cover letters, resignation letters, etc. Since it's such a formal mode of communication, you'll want to make sure you have all the formatting in place correctly. That's especially true if you're sending a hard copy, not an email. 

The following sample letter format includes the information you need to include when writing a letter, along with advice on the appropriate font, salutation, spacing, closing, and signature for business correspondence.

Sample Letter Format

Contact Information (Your contact information; if you're writing on letterhead that includes your contact information, you do not need to include it at the start of the letter.)
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address

Date

Contact Information (The person or company you are writing to)
Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Greeting (Salutation Examples)

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name: (Use a formal salutation not a first name unless you know the person well. If you do not know the person's gender, you can write out their full name. For instance, you could write "Dear Pat Crody" instead of "Dear Mr. Crody" or "Dear Ms. Crody." Note that the person's name is always followed by a colon (:) in a business letter, and not a comma.)

Body of Letter

When writing a letter, your letter should be simple and focused, so the purpose of your letter is clear.

Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Left justify your letter. Use a plain font like Arial, Times New Roman, or Verdana. The font size should be 10 or 12 points.

The first paragraph of your letter should provide an introduction as to why you are writing.

Then, in the following paragraphs, provide more information and specific details about your request or the information you are providing.

Explain why you are writing so it's easy for the reader to understand what you are asking.

The last paragraph of your letter should reiterate the reason you are writing and thank the reader for reviewing your request.

Leave a blank line after the salutation, between each paragraph, and before the closing.

Closing

Best Regards, (Closing Examples)

Signature

Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter — use blue or black ink to sign the letter)

Typed Signature

If you're sending an email letter, here's what to include and how to format your signature.

Tips for Writing a Business Letter

Once you have written your business letter, proofread on the screen. Then print it out, and read through it one more time, checking for any errors or typos. (It's often easier to spot errors on a hard copy.)

Be on the lookout for formatting errors as well, such as two paragraphs that do not have a space in between, or lines that are indented incorrectly. Before putting your letter in an envelope, don't forget to sign above your typed name, using blue or black ink. 

If you are using Microsoft Word or another word processing program to write your letter, there are templates available that can help you format your letter correctly.

Here is more information on free Microsoft Word letter templates

More Letter Writing Information

Business Letters
How to write business letters, general business letter format and templates, and employment related business letter examples.

Sample Letters
Letter samples for job seekers, including cover letters, interview thank you letters, follow-up letters, job acceptance and rejection letters, resignation letters, appreciation letters, and more great employment letter samples.

What Else You Need to Know: Professional Email and Letter Writing Guidelines

Read More: Business Letter Format Example | Business Letter Examples | How to Write a Business Letter | Sample Professional Letter Formats