How to Format Reference Initials

by Jon Zamboni; Updated September 26, 2017
Businesspeople working at desktop computer

When sending a dictated business letter, use reference initials to indicate who typed the letter. Reference initials are only used in this circumstance; if you typed the letter yourself, there is no need to include them. Reference initials consist of the initials of the person sending the letter, followed by the initials of the typist.

Reference Initial Placement

Reference initials are placed on the bottom of the letter page, formatted to the left side. Unless there is an enclosure with your letter, the reference initials will be placed on the bottommost line of the page. If there is an enclosure, place the reference initials above the enclosure line, separated by one blank line.

Reference initials consist of the sender's initials in capital letters, followed by the typist's initials in lowercase. The two sets of initials are separate by a colon -- though a slash may be used as well. Periods are not used in reference initials. For example, if Brian Martin is taking dictation for Mary Lawson, the reference initials will appear as follows:

ML:bm

About the Author

Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.

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