How to Format for Block Letters

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Writing business letters is an effective way to make connections, convey information, clear up misunderstandings and persuade prospects and customers. When writing, it’s important to use a formal business letter format, such as block style, to structure your letter.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Block letter format means to ensure all of the text is aligned to the left side of the page. There are single spaces between the content, plus double spaces between each paragraph.

Why Use Block Letter Format?

Block letter format is one of the most common ways of writing business letters. It’s an easy format to set up in your word processing software and is widely used across the business world, regardless of industry or vertical.

Letters that are formatted in block style look professional and are easy to read. All of the text is justified to the left side of the page. The letter is single-spaced, with double spaces between paragraphs. Regardless of whether you’re sending the business letter by post mail or email, block letter format will work for your content. Be sure to set your margins so that they are one inch from all sides.

Formatting Addresses and Dates

The first step in using the business letter format with block style is to write the sender's address. Justify it to the left side of the page. In the address, include each of the following elements on their own line:

  1. Your full name.
  2. Your company name.
  3. Company street address.
  4. City, state and ZIP code.
  5. Phone number.
  6. Email address.

Include a double space and then write the date of your letter. Format your date by placing the month first, followed by the day of the month and then the year. For example, “April 12, 2019.”

Include another double space in your block letter format and then write the recipient’s address. Whenever possible, always include a specific name of the person you’re writing to. If you don’t know who to address your letter to, call the business to find out who your contact may be. Format the recipient’s address by placing each of the following elements on their own line:

  1. Recipient’s full name.
  2. Recipient’s job title.
  3. Recipient’s company name.
  4. Company street address.
  5. City, state and ZIP code.

Choosing an Appropriate Salutation

After the addresses and date, it’s time to write the salutation of your letter. Include a double space after the last line of the recipient’s address and then write the salutation. Most business letters are written in formal language, so it’s vital to use a formal salutation such as “To” or “Dear,” followed by the name. Avoid using informal salutations such as “Hi” or “Hey” when writing a formal business letter. Include a colon after the recipient’s name, as in “Dear Dr. Ashton:”

Writing the Body of the Letter

Start the body of your letter after including a double space after the salutation. In block letter format, you do not indent paragraphs. All the text in each paragraph is justified to the left side of the page. In between each paragraph, you will need to insert a double space. This makes the content easy to read and signifies a change in the topic.

Ensure that the body of your letter is written succinctly and clearly, so that it is easy for the reader to understand the purpose or goal of your message. Be sure to end your letter with a call to action or note about next steps, so that the recipient knows what to do next after reading your letter.

Matching the Tone of the Letter with the Closing

The closing of your letter should match the rest of the tone of the document. Since most business letters are formal, use a formal closing such as “Sincerely.” Include a comma after the closing and then skip three lines. Then write your full name.

Adding Enclosures and Other Materials

If you’re providing your reader with attachments or enclosures with your business letter, write “Enclosures” two lines below your name. If there are multiple documents, you can either indicate the number of enclosures by adding a colon and then a numeral for how many you have added. You can also list the names of the enclosures in a list format below the word Enclosures.

References

About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.

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