Enclosure Cover Letter Does Mean Inches

By Judy Vorfeld

Have you ever won­dered if there’s a “best” way to write a busi­ness let­ter, in terms of lay­out? Let’s look the full block style for some guidelines.

Before we begin, let me say that there are many ways to put together a busi­ness let­ter. While you want it to look good, it’s equally impor­tant that you pro­vide all rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion in a way that’s easy to understand.

You may even go with lit­tle head­ings, or bul­lets, or num­bers. Whatever works for the reader’s convenience.

MARGINS
Generally one inch on all sides, at a min­i­mum. If you have a very brief let­ter, you’ll prob­a­bly want to have at least 1.5 inches on the left and right.

HEADING
Do you have let­ter­head? If so, make sure your left and right page mar­gins are close to the same width as the let­ter­head. If you don’t have let­ter­head, type your busi­ness name, address, and other infor­ma­tion (phone, fax, e-mail, URL, etc.) start­ing at least an inch from the top, and cen­ter it. You might make your busi­ness name larger than the rest of the let­ter­head, and pos­si­bly in a dif­fer­ent font, and bold. Play around with it.

You might use a thin line to divide your cre­ated let­ter­head from the body of the let­ter. If you don’t want or need a for­mal let­ter­head, then right align­ing your address and the date usu­ally looks good. The remain­der of your let­ter will be writ­ten from the left margin.

DATELINE
See above if you have no let­ter­head. Otherwise, press Enter at least twice from where the let­ter­head print­ing would end, then type in the date in the left mar­gin. Type the month, day, and year (January 14, 2002).

CONFIDENTIALNOTATION

If you use the word “CONFIDENTIAL,” press Enter twice after typ­ing in the date, and type CONFIDENTIAL. Otherwise move on to the Inside Address.

INSIDEADDRESS
Press Enter 2 – 4 times, then type the name and full address of the per­son or company.

SALUTATION — SUBJECTLINE
Press Enter twice, then your salu­ta­tion (like “Dear Mr. Hodgson”) fol­lowed by a colon. If your let­ter has an impor­tant sub­ject line, ref­er­enc­ing a legal sit­u­a­tion or a spe­cific num­ber or code, you may choose to use this instead of the salu­ta­tion. Or you can use both. If you use the Subject line, type it in all cap­i­tal let­ters on the third line below the Inside Address.

MESSAGE
Press Enter twice, then type the body of your mes­sage. Press Enter twice between para­graphs, and do not indent the first line of paragraphs.

(COMPLIMENTARY) CLOSING
Use a phrase like “Sincerely,” or “Very truly yours” fol­lowed by a comma, then press Enter about four times. If you want to be infor­mal, use some­thing like, “See you Monday!” and since it’s a com­plete sen­tence, don’t fol­low it with a comma. Hit the “enter” key 4 – 6 times.

COMPANYSIGNATURE
Type your name here, with your title below it, if appropriate.

REFERENCEINITIALS

Since the per­son dic­tat­ing or writ­ing already has his/her name directly above, use the typist’s ini­tials alone two lines below the com­pany sig­na­ture. It’s eas­i­est. If you are com­pos­ing and typ­ing the let­ter, omit ref­er­ence ini­tials. When using the typist’s ini­tials, use either upper or lower case (mrd or MRD) and when using both the writer’s and typist’s ini­tials (mrd/jhv or MRD/JHV), fol­low the same for­mat. Your choice.

FILENAMENOTATION
Press Enter twice. Sometimes peo­ple use the area below the sig­na­ture to indi­cate the com­puter file­name. Completely optional.

ENCLOSURENOTATION
Press Enter once (or twice, if you don’t use File Name Notation). Type in the word “Enclosure” or “Encl.“if you enclose any­thing. You might spec­ify the num­ber of enclo­sures and what they are, e.g.,
Enclosures — 2 Check #2343 dated May 13, 2001 for $5,000.00
     Certificate of Award

DELIVERYNOTATION

Press Enter once. In this area, indi­cate if you are send­ing it any way other than reg­u­lar mail. Example, “By Federal Express,” or “By Facsimile.” (Note: when pos­si­ble, insert the FedEx air­bill num­ber and the fax num­ber. Anything that may save time later!)

COPYNOTATION
Press Enter once, then type “cc:” You write in the names of those who will receive copies, e.g.,
cc: Ms. Jane Doe, Veterans Administration

     Mr. John Doe, American Legion
     File

ALLNOTATIONS are single-spaced and grouped at the bot­tom of the letter.

CHANGINGSETTINGSFORBETTERPRESENTATION

If you have a very short let­ter, you can increase your mar­gins and your font, and/or use a dif­fer­ent line spac­ing (e.g., 1.25 or 1.5). Verdana’s a good font if you’re try­ing to fill up space, since it’s wider and taller (or is that “higher”?) than most fonts. If you want a nice serif font that’s a bit larger than the default, try Georgia. Both were cre­ated for use on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them in your office.

Print out a copy of your let­ter and look at it as a whole. Then go back to your com­puter and make any adjust­ments needed. You want a good pre­sen­ta­tion. And don’t hes­i­tate to use a footer if you use more than one page.

On January 14, 2012   /   Business Documents, Typography   /   Leave a comment

Proper Business Letter Format

The Profcomm Center
Composition Program
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721

September 1, 2000

Center Interns
The Profcomm Center
3333 E. Main, Suite 16
Tucson, Arizona 85712

To all Center Interns:

(when you know the name of the person you are writing to, you can address the letter to "Dear Ms. Brown:")

Thank you for your interest in learning about business letters. In this sample, I have outlined the basic format requirements for a standard block-style business letter. You may be familiar with the business letter templates that many word processing packages offer--you will notice that there are several variations on the basic format, but the required elements are the same. In any letter, you should include

* date,
* name and position of the recipient as well as the organization's name and address,
* salutation (use the recipient's first name only if you would do so on the phone),
* body text,
* closing and signature, and
* a method of contacting you. (If you are not using letterhead, include your address and phone number at the top of the page, and position this information approximately five inches from the left edge of the page and two inches from the top of the page; if you are using letterhead, include your phone number and/or email address in the text of the letter, usually in the last paragraph.)

The "enclosure" and "CC" lines at the end of a business letter are optional. The "encl.:" line tells the reader that you have included an additional piece of documentation with the letter. The "CC" line tells the reader that you have also sent the letter to a secondary audience.

If appropriate, you can also include a "Subject:" line between the address and the salutation.
Margins and Text Spacing

When you use the block form to write a business letter, all the information is typed flush left, with one-inch margins all around. These margins can be adjusted slightly if you need to fit the letter onto one page, or if the page breaks create an awkward flow of information.

First provide the date, then skip a line and include the name, position, and business address of the addressee. Skip another line before the salutation. Then write the body of your letter as illustrated here, with no indentation at the beginning of paragraphs. Skip one line between paragraphs. Skip two lines before each heading within the body of the letter.

Do not double space the body text of your letter.
Using Headings

If your letter is more than two or three paragraphs, including headings can be helpful for your reader--be sure to use headings that capture the key topic of that section and capitalize each major word of the heading. Bolding or underlining the heading will help the visual design of your letter.

It is also helpful to include the date and page number in the footer of a letter that is more than one page long.
A Strong Finish

When you close a letter, it is a good idea to summarize the action that you would like the reader to take in response to the letter, thank the reader for their time, and provide a means of contacting you. If you have any further questions regarding business letters, please contact me at 555-5555 (mxh@u.arizona.edu).

Sincerely,

(Triple space here)

Maxine Howard
Center Instructor

(put 2 - 4 spaces between your signature and the enclosure or CC line, depending on the length of the letter)

Encl.: Center assignment specifications
cc: Tom Miller, Center CFO

 

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