Answer: Business letters are often written in block format. The entire text is left-aligned and single-spaced in block style. A double space between paragraphs is an exception to the single spacing rule (instead of indents for paragraphs). Figures, photographs, and charts require additional space.
To create a business letter in block style, start by writing the header on a separate line. Then write the body of the letter including any attachments. When you reach the end of the page, start over at the top with another header. This header should include all the information from the previous one along with any additional information relevant to the subject at hand. You can also add notes about future events or issues related to the letter's content.
Don't forget to use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling when creating your letters!
This article is part of the "How to Write a Business Letter" article series. Read other articles in the series:
The text in the typical block format for letters is flush with the left margin. Every paragraph is double-spaced, while every line of text is single-spaced. The margins are set to one inch in a conventional word processor. A closing parenthesis is placed at the end of each paragraph.
The standard form for written communication between individuals or organizations is the letter. There are two main types of letters: formal and informal. Formal letters are used to make requests or give orders. Informal letters are used to share thoughts and feelings. They can be used instead of e-mail if you want to save time or if the other person does not have an e-mail address. You should still include your contact information, even if the recipient has not asked for it.
When writing a formal letter, use official paper with a white background and black type (no colored ink). Use a typewriter or computer keyboard with printed letters on each key. Be sure to print your name at the top of each page, along with the date. Place the letter in an envelope that has been preaddressed to someone specific. If you do not know who will receive the letter, place the return address on both the outside and the inside of the envelope.
Informal letters do not need to be written on official paper or with a white background.
"Block format" is the most frequent arrangement for a business letter. Except for the double space between paragraphs, the whole letter is left justified and single-spaced in this style. The modified block format is another popular format. In this version, each paragraph is separated from the next by one or more blank lines so that it's easy to see where one section ends and the next begins.
The classic block format looks like this:
Dear Mr. Smith,
The text following the introductory phrase ("Dear " followed by the recipient's name) is called the greeting. The greeting may be as formal or informal as you like; there are no fixed rules about how much formality is appropriate for any given correspondence.
In addition to the greeting, every letter should have a closing phrase at the end that expresses your opinion on the matter at hand and allows the reader to understand what kind of response is expected from him/her. For example:" I will be happy to discuss this further if you think it would help."
Letters written in block format usually start with a horizontal line (called a "rule") before the first paragraph and after each subsequent paragraph. The rule helps the writer keep his/her thoughts together and not get lost down the page.
Use the following standard business letter format and template: The most common format for business letters is "block style," in which the whole letter's content is justified left. Except for the double spacing between paragraphs, the text is single-spaced. A header and footer are usually included at the beginning and end of each letter.
In addition to the block style layout, there are two other popular formats used in correspondence courses and college textbooks: tabular style and agenda style. In tabular style, the correspondent's address is placed at the top of the letter with the rest of the information about the letter's subject following. There is no header or footer in tabular style letters. Agenda style letters contain a horizontal list of topics on one page followed by a similar list of actions to be taken on another page. There is no header or footer in agenda style letters either.
Finally, there is a format used mainly in legal documents: judicial style. In this format, the court where the case will be filed has first choice of using the letter as precedent. If it does not, a new letter must be written with the same contents as the previous one but including its own file number for reference purposes. Judicial style letters do not have a title page or a body; they are simply an outline of the issues involved in the case.
Rules for Block Letter Format (with Samples) Full block style, modified block style, and indented (semi-block) style are the three forms of block letter formats. It is important to understand the distinction between these in order to write professionally. Although they all look like blocks of text, each one has been designed specifically to display text effectively. Blocks can be used in any setting where space is limited, such as headlines, subheads, post titles, and ads. They are effective because they make reading easier by reducing visual clutter and allowing readers to focus on specific words or phrases.
Full block style: This is the most common form of block lettering. It takes up the entire width of a line or page break and should not be divided across pages. Full blocks should be separated from one another by a small amount of space. First, determine how many characters long your message should be. Multiply this number by 16 to get the total number of pixels wide your block should be. For example, if your message is 20 characters long, then your full block should be 40 pixels wide. Type the first line of text using full blocks, and then continue onto the next line by indenting the second set of blocks (see below for details on how to do this).
Modified block style: In some cases, it may be appropriate to use modified blocks instead of full blocks.
In a modified-block format letter, all text (save the author's address, date, and closure) is left aligned; paragraphs are not indented; and the author's address, date, and closing begin at the center point. Block letters should be used for formal correspondence.
The term "modified-block business letter" is generally applied to letters that are written in block style with no indentations or margins. These letters can be sent via facsimile transmission or electronic mail. They are commonly used by businesses to communicate with each other and their customers/clients.
The word "business" is used in its broadest sense here; therefore, a modified-block business letter could be called a "formal letter." However, since most businesses use letterhead designating specific departments or divisions within their organizations, we will use that terminology here. Thus, a modified-block business letter from Marketing to Sales regarding new product releases would be considered "formal" because it uses letterhead from Marketing indicating that they are writing to Sales about new products released by the company. The same letter written directly from Marketing to Management instead of through Sales would not be considered "formal" because there is no such designation on the letterhead. Instead, it would be called a "simple letter"; see below for more information on these two types of letters.