There is a lot of confusion in the professional world as to how one should properly go about addressing an envelope. Many people have their own ideas about how an envelope should be addressed and if everyone is put in the same room, it quickly becomes apparent as to how many methods people have for accomplishing this seemingly simple task.
Some people underestimate the importance of a properly addressed envelope. First and foremost, a well addressed envelope gets to its destination in good time. Envelopes lacking the proper information or information that is not written in the correct area often get delayed in the mail. If the documents being sent are time sensitive and business related then any delay can hurt productivity.
Generally, envelopes should have the following layout.
The address structure would be as follows:
- Line 1: Name
- Line 2: Street or P.O. Box
- Line 3: City, State, and Zip Code
- Line 4: Country (for international mailing)
The distances from the edges are detailed below, as recommended by the postal standards of different countries. However, take note that these are not exact science, especially when you are handwriting. It is not expected for you to measure each distance when you write it. The rule of thumb would be to estimate enough space to make your letter readable and presentable.
Addressing an Envelope in the United States of America
The United States Postal Service has put together a publication that can be downloaded in PDF format on the Internet that describes the standards for addressing an envelope. Publication 28, as it is called, describes in detail everything from private envelope standards to business envelope standards.
The PDF file can be found here. Remember to read this to fully understand the standard.
The most important information in this publication is in regards to the formatting of the envelope. It is suggested that envelopes be printed using a printer but can also be handwritten as long as the person uses upper case letters.
In addition, the receiver’s address should be no closer to the bottom than 5/8” and 1/2” from the left border. The lines of the address should all be parallel with the bottom of the envelope and space should be left above the address for the addition of any bar-codes required for the postal service’s use. This is just a small sample of the detailed information that can be found in Publication 28.
Note: Image taken from the US Publication 28.
Canada’s Addressing Guide
The complete guide to addressing envelope and letters in Canada can be found here.
Note: Image hosted by Canada Post.
Australia’s Addressing Guidelines
The guide for Australia’s addressing can be found here.
Note: Image hosted by Australia Post.
Businesses that want higher productivity and more efficient communications should have their employees reference the guidelines above in order to set a standard for envelope addressing and reduce confusion among employees. Any documents that are sent from a business, whether they are letters or reports, should be standardized and look professional. Having a mix mash of addressing formats simply does not reflect well on that business and does not give the impression of professionalism that is demanded in the business world.
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