What is the Proper Business Letter Format?
A business letter should always follow a certain format and structure to ensure it is received as professional and up-to-standard. While there are many different types of business letters, this guide will go through a detailed example of the most classic business letter format.
Business Letter Overview
The tone you take in the letter will depend on who the audience is and what the purpose of the communication is. Sometimes you will need to be more formal, and other times a more casual voice is appropriate.
The example provided below is a neutral voice and a moderate level of formality.
Business Letter Structure
Below is an example of how a business letter is laid out and structured. Feel free to copy and paste the text into your own email, Word, or Google document and be sure to customize and proofread it thoroughly.
[Sender’s Company Name]
[Sender’s Street Address]
[Sender’s City, State/Province, & Zip/Postal Code]
[Sender’s phone number and/or email address]
[Recipient’s Company Name]
[Recipient’s Street Address]
[Recipient’s City, State/Province, & Zip/Postal Code]
[Recipient’s phone number and/or email address]
[Introduction – this is where you explain the purpose of the letter such as why you are writing it, what you hope to achieve from it, and any other important information you want to state upfront.]
[Middle Section – this is where you elaborate and provide more detail about what you outlined in the first paragraph. There may be several more paragraphs like this depending on how long the letter needs to be]
[Conclusion – this is the place where you wrap up and summarize things. There may be a call to action or next steps included in this paragraph.]
[Name of Sender]
Full Business Letter Example
Now that you’re familiar with the business letter format, let’s look at an example with real information built in.
ABC Education Inc.
1234 – 123 Street
New York, NY 01218
May 21, 2018
XYZ Company Inc.
6789 – 789 Street
New York, NY 04851
Re: Updated Billing Frequency
Dear Ms. Geenie,
I am writing to inform you of our new pricing model effective February 1, 2019. On the first of February, we will be switching from an annual billing cycle to a quarterly billing cycle and this letter contains important information that may impact your organization.
After conducting extensive research and receiving feedback from our customers, we have determined that most customers strongly prefer a quarterly billing cycle rather than an annual one. In order to best suit your needs, we have decided to offer this benefit, which will take effect on February 1, 2019.
This letter is simply to notify you of the upcoming changes, and no immediate action is required from you at this time. We thank you for your continued business.
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Additional Formatting Considerations
In addition to the overall format and structure laid out above, you may also want to consider the following information as standard business practices.
Common formatting standards include:
- Arial, Times New Roman, or a similar standard font
- Size 11 or 12 point
- Sentence case capitalization
- White background
- 5” x 11” size paper
- Portrait layout
- 1” margins
- Single, 1.5, or double spacing
- Black font color
- Use of corporate letterhead
- Single or double-sided printing
- Plain white background
Thank you for reading this guide on how to use the proper business letter format. CFI is a global provider of online education and offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)TM certification for financial analysts.
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