Letter Format

Letter Format

This article discusses the full block format of a business letter.

The modern and internationally popular letter format of a business letter is full block format with open punctuation. In full block format the whole text of the letter is left aligned with no indentation. Moreover, there is a double space between each part of the letter. Even between two paragraphs, we use double space. In this case, Open punctuation means no punctuation at the end of the parts.

full block letter format under a hand and a pen
full block letter format

Standard parts of the letter format

Following are the essential or standard parts of a full block business letter format.


Heading consists of name of the firm and its full address. Most companies use printed letterheads on which the essential details are given.


Date usually comes after two spaces below the last line of heading. The month should be fully spelled out and the year written with all four digits: e.g. October 12, 2005. The number of the date is pronounced as an ordinal figure, though the endings st, nd, rd, th, are often omitted in writing. The article ‘the’ before the number of the day is pronounced but not written. In the body of the letter, however, the article is written when the name of the month is not mentioned with the day.

The Inside Address

The inside address consists of the name and address of the person, organization, company, or department who is the receiver. It is called inside address because the same address is written outside on the envelope. These addresses must be in the same form. Thus the inside address performs three functions: it is identification for delivery by the receiver; it provides a record for the sender; likewise, it provides an additional address for delivery to the addressee if the envelope somehow separates from the letter.

People, normally, use three to four lines in the inside address. One or two-line address is not incorrect but it gives the letter a sketchy appearance. So mostly they avoid it.


Salutation is an expression of courtesy intended to put the reader in a friendly frame of mind. It is typed two spaces below the inside subject line. But the type of salutation depends on your relationship with the recipient. It normally begins with the word “Dear” and always includes the person’s last name. So use every resource possible to address your letter to an actual person. But if you do not know the name or the sex of your receiver, address it to Dear Madam/Sir or Dear Sales Manager or Dear Human Resources Director.

The Subject Line

Although subject line is an optional part of a business letter yet the modern day rapidness of business and shortage of time has made it more than the standard parts. Its inclusion can help the recipient in dealing successfully with the aims of your letter. Normally the subject sentence is preceded with the word Subject: or Re: Subject line may be emphasized by underlining, using bold font, or all capital letters. It is usually placed one line below the “inside address,” before the “greeting.”

The Body Paragraphs

The body is where you explain why you are writing. It’s the main part of the business letter. Make sure the receiver knows who you are and why you are writing but try to avoid starting with “I”. Use a new paragraph when you wish to introduce a new idea or element into your letter. Regardless of format, skip a line between paragraphs.

The Complimentary Close

Use complimentary close two spaces below the last line of the body. We also call it goodbye-line. It maintains the same degree of formality as it is in the salutation.

The complimentary close is in no case separate from the body of the letter due to the length of the text that carries it to a separate sheet. If it so happens somehow, the whole letter needs scrapping and rewriting with some part of the letter running over to the next sheet.

Always remember that only the first letter of the complimentary close is capital with no other capitalization and no comma between the words.

Signature and Writer’s Identification

Signature is the last part of the letter. Leave a space of 3 to 4 lines so that you may sign it after the print. We call this blank area as the signature area. Write your name and or designation below the signature area. Hence your signature includes your hand written signature and your typed name and or designation. Use black or blue ink for signature.

Layout of full block letter format

Heading/Sender’s address
Date (Full name of the month +day, year
Inside address/ Receiver’s address
Subject:               Key words/ Phrase

Complimentary Close  

(Mark your signature with blue of black ink)      

Name & Designation  

sample full block letter format

  Company Logo or Letterhead  

December 15, 2018  

Kashir Hasnain
Oxford University

Subject:           Details about Full Block Format of a Business Letter  

Dear Kashir  

Thank you for your inquiry about Full-Block letter format. What follows is a quick summary of the format and the conventions it uses.

Full block letter format is the most formal of the three styles. In full block format or style, every line is left justified. Similarly, the dateline is placed two to six line spaces below the last line of the heading or letterhead. However, the inside address placement varies depending upon the length of the letter. A common spacing is two to four line spaces below the date line. Then after a space of 2 line, Subject is mentioned to give a general idea of what is there in the main body. Moreover, the salutation is placed after double spaces below the subject line. When using full block, paragraphs are single spaced, with a double space between paragraphs.

While there are no set rules governing format use, full block letter format generally works for (1) requests or inquiries, (2) claims, (3) announcements, (4) records of agreement, (5) transmittal of other technical documents, and (6) job applications. Therefore, this page illustrates the spacing and layout of full block letter format.

Sincerely yours          

Yousaf Marwat
English Instructor  

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This Post Has 2 Comments

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