Letter Formats and Fonts

When writing business, academic or even personal letters, it is important to remember that your letter should be not only informative and grammatically correct, but also readable for the recipient. Knowing how to format a letter correctly is one of the most important skills to learn in the art of formal correspondence. That is why you have to pay special attention to integral elements of a letter’s external appearance such as format and font will be discussed in detail below.

Basic Types of Format Used in Letter Writing

Block Format. It is the most common layout for formal letters. Using this format, the whole letter is left justified and single-spaced – only between paragraphs is double-spacing used.
Modified Block Format. It is another widely-used format in which the sender’s and receiver’s contact information as well as the body of the letter are left justified and single-spaced. As to the date and closing, you should tab to the center point and start typing.
Semi-Block Format. This style is the least used and it is similar to the modified block format except that each paragraph is indented rather than left justified.

Correct Letter Format for Correspondence

There is a generally accepted format for letter writing that specifies what information a letter should contain to be informative. It should be well-structured, free from grammatical mistakes, and typo-free. This ensures that the receiver will take the letter seriously and respond accordingly.

In your letter, you should include the following information:

  • Your contact information (the name, address, city, state, zip code, phone number, email address).
  • Date of writing the letter.
  • Contact information of the person or company you are writing to (the name, title, company, address, city, state, zip code).
  • Greeting (a formal salutation is appropriate for business correspondence, such as Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name).
  • Body of the letter. Each paragraph should be simple and focused, so the objective of your letter is clear.
  • Courteous closing, such as “Best regards”, “Yours truly”, and others.
  • Signature.

Professional Fonts Used for Letter Writing

In order to make your letter readable, you are supposed to use a font style which is clear, simple and commonplace. Also, it should be large enough so that the receiver does not have to squint to read a letter, but no so large that your writing does not fit on the page well. Depending on how much content there is in your letter, you should choose between a 10 or 12 point font size. They are the most appropriate for reading. Keep in mind that different fonts in the same point size vary in size.

There are basic fonts for letter writing:

  • Times New Roman
  • Arial
  • Verdana

When selecting a font, always consider your recipient. If you are addressing a letter to a conservative company, you should use Times New Roman, size 12. It is the generally accepted font. If your receiver is a more liberal company, then you have more freedom when selecting fonts.

If you want your letter to look professional in print, you have to take care of page margins as well. In accordance with the standards, left and right page margins of 1-1.5 inches are appropriate for a hard copy. However, you can adjust page margins to balance how your letter looks on the page.