11 Formatting a Formal Business Letter Information

Business Letters are a formal communication that business use outside of their business. There is a proper way to format a business letter. Appropriate spacing and positioning of the parts of a business letter are important. Please refer to the diagram of a business letter on page 3.

Business Letterhead: The letter head contains the following information on separate lines: (See Illustration of Letterhead)

Company Name
Street address of the company City, State, Zip Code
Phone number
E-mail address.

Business Letterhead: The letterhead information is centered on the page. To center a letter head, select the entire letterhead. From the HOME tab find the Paragraph Group. Locate the alignment that shows lines that are centered. Hover the mouse over the icon and it will indicate if you have chosen correctly.

The Company Name may be bolded and may have a larger font. After all the other information for the letterhead is inputted, there may be a solid line that goes margin to margin under that information.

Solid Line: After the last letter in an email address, enter once. Press the shift key plus the underline key (which is on the keyboard to the left of the plus sign – (SHFT+_). The Shift key is used for the underline key because the symbol for the underline is at the top of the key and can only be accessed by a Shift key. With SHIFT key pressed down, strike the underline key seven or eight time. Release the SHIFT key and Underline key. Press the [Enter] key. A solid line displays from margin to margin.

Following the letterhead information and solid drawn line, press the [ENTER] key three times.

Personal letterhead. Sometimes you may send a thank you letter for a job interview, or a letter requesting information. A personal letterhead is exactly the same as the letterhead for the company except that you use your own personal information

Your own name

Own street address

Own City, State, Zip Code

Own phone number

Own email.

Your name can be in a larger font and can also be bolded. A solid line can be put after your personal email. Follow the steps on Solid Line above. Also press [ENTER] three times after your personal letterhead.

Date. The next item typed in a business letter is the date. You ALWAYS spell out the month in a business letter. You would not use “th” or “rd” after the date. We may say the fifth or the third but those letters are not typed for the date. (See illustration for business letter dates.)

Following the year, press the [ENTER] key five times.

Inside Address. This is the address that also appears on the envelope. It is the mailing address of the individual or company where the letter is being sent. .

  • The first line of the inside address consists of the recipients title (such as Mr. Ms. Mrs., Dr., etc); recipient’s first and last name on the first line. Sometimes, if there is a position title (such as Owner) a comma follows the last name and the title is put on the same line as the individual name. Occasionally, the title is on its own line if it is lengthy.
  • On the second line, indicate the company name. If there is no company name, just put the next information underneath the title and name. Don’t skip a line if there is no information.
  • The second or third line consists of the street number and name, suite number (if available)
  • The third or fourth line includes the city, state and zip code.
  • The inside address does not include a phone number nor an e-mail address. (Refer to the illustration for business letters.)

Following the inside address, press the [ENTER] key three times.


Salutation. The salutation usually includes the word “Dear” followed by the individual’s title and last name (Dear Mr. Jones: for example). Occasionally the salutation may be “To Whom It May Concern.” NEVER use a person’s first name and last name following the word “Dear.” Just use their title and last name. Following the salutation, use a colon. This is found on the keyboard above the semicolon and the SHIFT key is used to access it. Proper salutation:
(Refer to the illustration for business letters.)

Dear Mr. Jones:

Following the Salutation, press the [ENTER] key two times.

Body. The body of a letter contains at least three paragraphs and each paragraph should have at least two or three lines. Between each of the paragraphs, you would enter two times, which leaves one blank line between the paragraphs. Although there are different ways to type the body, for this class we will left justify all the paragraphs. That means that the first line of each paragraph is against the margin and has not been indented. (Refer to the illustration for business letters.)

Following each paragraph, press the [ENTER] key two times even after the last paragraph.

Closing. There are several steps to a closing.
CAPS 111 Formatting a Formal Business Letter Information by Fran Wells is licensed by CC-BY 4.0 Page2

1. Closing notation. This refers to the words used to end the letter – Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Yours truly, Very truly yours are often used. You can choose any closing phrase as you wish. (Notice that if there are two words in a closing phrase, the second one is not capitalized.) (Refer to the illustration for business letters.)

After the closing phrase, press the [ENTER] key five times.

2. Name. The name is the author of the letter –not usually the one typing the letter. If this is a personal letter, you would type your first and last name. For this class, you will use your name unless otherwise instructed for the closing name. (Refer to the illustration for business letters.)

After the name, press the [ENTER] key once

3. Title. The title is the position of the author of the letter. It is usually on a separate line. For a personal letter, you do not have a title and you would skip this step. However, you may be asked to make up a title for yourself in the assignment. (Refer to the illustration for business letters.)

After the title, press the [ENTER] key two times.

Reference Initials. The reference initials indicate who typed the letter. The reference initials consist of the initial letters of your first and last name or, if you wish, you can use the initials of your first, middle and last name. Usually the initials are lower case, however, they can also be all uppercase. (Example: FBW)(Refer to the illustration for business letters.)

After the reference initials, press the [ENTER] key two times.

Enclosure notation. Not all letters need to use the enclosure notation. An enclosure is a document(s) that is/are being sent along with the letter. It is not necessary to staple additional pages to the letter. Enclosures could include brochures, another document, or a box. You just have to indicate that something is coming with the letter.

For the enclosure notation you can spell the word out or use an abbreviation. For example: Enclosure or Enc Followed by the number of enclosures if there is more than one. (Example: ENC (3).

Of course, if there is no mention of any enclosure in the letter, you would skip this step.


Example of a well formatted business letter.


Sally’s Dog Sitting Service

1089 Surfside Drive
Erie, PA 12345
Phone: 317-345-9978 Email: gotucovered@gmail.com



Inside Address








Closing Phrase



Reference Initials

Enclosure notation

September 14, 2016

Mrs. Catherine Snodgrass 20 Cat Lane
Erie, PA 12345

Dear Mrs. Snodgrass:

Thank you for inquiring about my dog sitting services. I have been in this business for three year. I love animals and I have several references if you would like to contact

I have two different services I can offer you. The first is to come in and check on your pet twice a day when you are gone. I check the animal’s food and water and spend at least an hour with your pet either taking it for a walk or petting it. For this I charge $10 and hour. The second service is that I can actually come to your house and house sit as well as dog sit. For this I charge $30 for the entire day.

Before I take on clients, I like to visit you and your pet in your home. That way I can observe the dog in his own setting. If this is something that appeals to you, please call me between 8 and 10 weekday mornings so we can set up a time to meet. I have included by business card.


Sally Jean Dunkirk



Enc (1)






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Introduction to Word Processing by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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