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Business letter formats

Updated on February 13, 2013

Which business letter format to use?

If you have ever had to compose a business letter (people still do that these days), whether you are sending in online, or by mail, you have wondered which business letter format to use. There are some common letter formats that are still used in business correspondence today and here are a few of them.

Semi block format example

Semi block format

In semi block format, you letter set up has the following characteristics:

1. The sender address center-aligned

2. The Receiver's address is left aligned

3. The paragraphs are indented

4. There are no spaces between the paragraphs

5. The complimentary close lines up with the Sender's address

block style example

Block format

The block letter format is characterized by the following

1. Center-aligned sender contact information

2. Left-aligned receiver information

3. No indentations of the paragraphs

4. A blank line between paragraphs

5. Center-aligned complimentary close

Full block format example

Full block format

Full block business letter format is one of the most common business letter formats is characterized by the following:

1. All parts of the letter are left aligned

2.No indentations of the paragraphs

3. A full space between paragraphs


Simplified format example

Simplified letter format

Simplified business letter format is a lot like full block letter format.

1. Everything is left aligned.

2. There is a full space between paragraphs

3. Paragraphs are not indented

Where it is different is that there is no salutation (just an attention line). And there is a signature block instead of the more common complimentary close. This format is used if your message is short and sweet, such as in a transmittal situation.

Other tips

Notice how all letter formats are single spaced (not double spaced), with a space between paragraphs. Ideally, a letter should fit on one page.

  • Notice too, that all letters have a date between the Sender and Receiver contact information
  • Also, paragraphs in letters tend to be relatively short (no more than five lines). This makes the letter easy to read and to skim and scan.

Except for the simplified format, choosing a particular business letter format is a matter of choice, and there is no one style that is better than the other. It's still important, though that your letter be packaged nicely for your reader, and for those formal situations when a letter is required.

The video below describe all these points.

Business letter formats video

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