How to Type a Formal Business Letter

by Caroline Tung Richmond; Updated September 26, 2017

Think formal business letters are old-fashioned? Think again. Despite the abundance of emails and text messages nowadays, formal letters are still commonly used to conduct business. If you want to apply for a job, file a complaint or simply ask for more information about a company, there's a good chance you will need to type a business letter. The following steps explain how to type a business letter in the full block format, where all of the lines align to the left.

Use business letter with a computer. Use preprinted letterhead or white 8.5-by-11 inch paper.

Choose an easy-to-read font like Times New Roman or Courier with a point size of 10 or 12.

Hit the "enter" button four to six times from the top of the page. Then type your name, title and address. (If you have your own letterhead, ignore this step.)

Skip another three lines. Type in the date.

Type the recipient's full name, title and address a couple of lines below the date. Use the proper title before the recipient's name, such as Ms., Mr. or Dr.

Skip two lines and type the salutation followed by a colon. For example, "Dear Dr. Smith:" or "Dear Ms. Jones:"

Skip two more lines and start your letter. Your opening paragraph should explain the purpose of your correspondence--for example, "I am writing to complain about one of your products."

Complete the body of the letter by expanding on what you wrote in the first paragraph. Your final paragraph should briefly restate the purpose of your letter.

Before you finish your letter, refer to any documents you are enclosing--for example, "I have enclosed my resume and writing sample."

Skip two lines and finish the letter with a "Thank you" or "Sincerely" or your choice of professional closing.

Skip four lines and type your name. When your letter is printed, sign your name in the space provided.

Tips

  • Proofread your letter before you send it. It may be a good idea to have somebody else read it, too. If you don't own a computer, call your local library. Public libraries often offer free computer access. Brevity is important. Try to keep your letter to one page.

About the Author

A native of Washington, D.C., Caroline Tung Richmond has worked as a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles have appeared in both print and online publications such as the "Baltimore Sun," "Highlights" and Travels.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University.

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