A business letter is a means of formal correspondence between professionals. Business letter format needs to be carefully selected to have maximum impact. It is a document that relays messages pertaining to a business entity. A business letter is all about specific information in an accurate manner.
It takes into consideration that the person reading the letter might be short on time and this contemplation results in keeping the letter short and succinct.
If you want to write a proper business letter then it is important to focus on format and template otherwise you might lose your way in the middle.
Most of the letters have an established pattern with a definite format that is easy-to-learn. It has the ability to adapt any content in accordance to your requirements.
1) Taking care of the business letter
Take care while drafting a business letter and keep the format formal to maintain its originality. A letter includes in precise order contact information, salutation, body, complimentary close and signature.
One has to follow the rules diligently, for instance, the width of margin, font size, the direct tone in the body of the letter by writing reasons in the first paragraph, specifics in the second and reiterate the reason in the third and thanking the recipient for reading the said letter.
Remember taking care of a business letter format is important while writing it so that it creates an impact on another person.
2) Select a professional font size and style
Whatever the content of your business letter a person should put his onus on the readability factor of the said letter. Pay attention to the fact that the letter must look clean and clear not cluttered and disorganized as professional letters have a standard to maintain.
Maintain simplicity and avoid stylistic font because it might make the letter look visually beautiful but the recipient will have a hard time reading it.
In a professional world, everyone is pressed for time and no one is going to waste precious time deciphering your letter. The most accepted fonts used for writing a business letter format are
- Times New Roman
- Open Sans
- Gill Sans
Remember font size is a very important aspect of a format hence stay between 10 – 12 pts for it as 10 points is generally considered readable. Smaller than 10 pts are considered inappropriate while more than 12 pts are too large to look professional while writing a business letter hence pay attention.
3) Include sections for information
When you are designing a business letter format it becomes imperative to maintain your focus on the layout. There is a proper way to include the information in a professional document and you just have to pay attention and follow the pattern. At the top a business letter includes
- The contact information of the sender – name, job title, company address, phone number and email one after another in a separate line
- The contact information of the recipient – name, job title, company name and company address one after another in separate lines. Keep a space of few lines from the date.
This information is written on the left side at the top of the letter one after another. It is followed by salutation, body, closing in the middle with signature again on the left side. It is important to draft all the information in specified sections.
4) Pay attention to spacing
Spacing is an important part to play if you are looking for ways to apply a business letter format in writing. Until you place proper spaces the recipient cannot read your letter properly.
You have written the contact information now put a line space and then write the date and again two line spaces and then the recipient’s contact information at the top.
While writing the body of the letters maintain a single space during each of the paragraphs and both before and after your closing. All the letters written in a professional capacity have to maintain the left-alignment.
Do not maintain right or centre alignment because other than left-alignment any other is considered inappropriate in a business letter.
5) Pay attention to margins
If you are looking for ways to maintain a proper business letter format pay attention to the margins. A document that has been written in a professional capacity has a one-inch margin.
Some letters use between 1-inch and 1 ¼ inch margin in their business letters and it is also widely accepted as appropriate. Maintain the proper format if you want to write a perfect business letter.
6) Pay attention to lines
Pay attention to lines if you are looking to adopt a proper business letter format while writing in a professional capacity. If you are using a letterhead then you must add a horizontal line beneath it as it is considered fitting in a professional letter.
7) Pay attention to punctuation
Pay attention to punctuation if you are looking for a proper business letter format.
The business letter can be written in American style where you have to use a colon and after the closing, you have to follow it with a comma. In British style, you have to use a comma after writing the salutation.
8) Pay attention to the beginning and end
Each word of the professional letter matters and it is better to maintain a proper business letter format while writing one to maintain its authenticity. How are you going to address the recipient sets the tone of the letter hence pay close attention to it?
If you do not know him personally use a general form f greeting for instance, “To Whom It May Concern”. You can also address the person by his job title for instance, “Dear Editor of Newspaper”.
If you are slightly acquainted with the person include a greeting like “Dear Ms. Smith” (last name) and if you know the person and are on good terms with him you can address him by his first name for instance, “Dear Sarah” The closing of a letter is as important as the beginning hence you should pay close attention to it.
Select any of the closings that you consider appropriate in the circumstances like All the best, Respectfully, and Sincerely. Follow it with your name (first and last name) and job title one after another. Always leave a space between the closing and your name.
Templates for the Business Letter
1) Full Block Format Letter Template
If you are looking at a template for a business letter format you can use Full Block format style. All the content is left-aligned and there is no indented paragraph. Skip one line between each section.
This template is very easy to type and follow and you can use it for all the occasions pertaining to the business. Enclosures should be added at the bottom left, few spaces after the signature. You just have to write enclosures and the name of the items that have been included inside the envelope.
A sample of Full Block Format Letter Template
Your first, last name, job title
2) Modified Block Format letter Template
If you are looking at a template for business letter format you can choose Modified Block Format Template. This style is less formal and is generally used when the sender has a good relationship with the recipient.
The address and related information begin at the centre point while other things are aligned-left and the paragraph is not indented. Enclosures are at the bottom left few spaces under the signature.
A sample of Modified Block Format Letter Template
Your first, last name
3) Standard Format Letter Template
You can choose a standard format letter template if you are looking for a proper business letter format. Everything is left- aligned and you have a subject line or RE: line for something specific. Make sure and underline it to give proper emphasis.
This template has three other valuable additions. Beneath the signature the sender’s initials are added in upper case letters and a colon is used to separate the initials of an assistant whose initials are in lower case letters.
It is to show that the letter was typed by the said assistant. “cc” is added beneath the initials and is followed by the partner’s name. It shows that a copy has also been forwarded to the partner. “encl” are written under it with a colon to add enclosures and if you have nothing to add as enclosures you can skip it.
A sample of Standard Format Letter Template
Subject: type the subject and underline it
Your first, last name, job title
cc: Business partner
4) Open Format Letter Template
If you are looking for a business letter format you can opt for an open format template style of writing. Its formal and clean look is suitable for all the letters related to business.
There is only one difference between this and other formats it does not include any punctuation after the greeting or after the closing.
5) Semi-Block Format Letter Template
Opt for semi-block format template if you are looking for ways to adopt a proper business letter format. It is slightly more formal than modified block format letter template and less than block format letter template.
If you are confused about the way to choose either formal or not then this is the middle ground you can opt for. The first line of each paragraph used is indented and enclosures are included in the bottom left as usual.
A sample of Semi-Block Format Letter Template
Your first, last name, job title
The business letter can be promotional, informational or even persuasive. It is targeted towards a specific issue and has to be concise to meet the demands of a hectic professional life. Writing a business letter is not an easy task because you have to adhere to the already set of intricate guidelines, style, and structure so as to maintain the exact certified standards.