How to Format and Write a Professional Business Letter

Updated on May 29, 2020
Teresa Coppens profile image

I worked for many years as a science teacher in Toronto, Ontario, and now am an occasional teacher working in the local school board.

A business letter is a daily ritual for some.
A business letter is a daily ritual for some. | Source

Business communication is the key to running a profitable, respected company. A business letter is a daily ritual for many businesses and their employees. A business letter can make or break a business deal, and obviously, a well-written letter is better able to seal the deal.

Sample professional business letter format.  Numbers refer to main components of a business letter.
Sample professional business letter format. Numbers refer to main components of a business letter. | Source

Main Components of a Great Business Letter

There are ten main components of a great business letter:

  1. Sender’s address
  2. Date
  3. Recipient’s address
  4. A good first impression (salutation)
  5. Reason for writing (the body of the letter)
  6. Ending to the letter
  7. Referring to future contact
  8. Closure of the letter
  9. Enclosures
  10. Typists initials

1. Sender’s Address

This component is often included on company letterhead. However, if you are not using letterhead, the sender’s address appears left justified two inches from the top of the page. Include only the street address, city, and zip code followed by a contact phone number, fax number, and email address, if applicable. The appropriate font for your letter should be easy to read and formal. The widely accepted font is Times New Roman, size 12 which is a conservative font.

2. Date

This component is used to indicate the date on which the letter was written. If it has taken you several days to compose the letter, then use the date on which the letter was finished. When writing to companies within the United States, use the American date format which places the month before the day (April 12, 2012). The dateline should be left justified and appear one line below the Sender’s Address.

3. Recipient’s Address

Leave one blank line after the sender’s address followed by the recipient’s address which should also be left justified. For international addresses, type the name of the country in all-capital letters on the last line. You should if at all possible write to a specific individual. Call the company or speak with employees from the company if you do not have the person’s name. Include an accurate personal title such as Ms., Mrs., Mr., or Dr. If in doubt of a woman’s preference of personal title, use Ms.

4. A Good First Impression (Salutation)

Your first impression on the reader will be the salutation of your letter. Make sure the person’s name and title are accurate and spelled correctly. If it has been impossible to find the person’s name use, “Dear Sir or Madam:” If you are unsure of the person’s gender you may use the full name in a salutation. For example, you might write Dear Chris Williams: if you were unsure of Chris’ gender. The name in your salutation should be the same name as used for the Recipient’s Address. Leave one blank line after the salutation.

5. Reason for Writing a Business Letter (the Body of the Letter)

Business letters can be written for many reasons, such as:

  • Inquiry (to ask for information)
  • Request ( to ask someone to do something)
  • Apology (to say sorry)
  • Complaint (to complain about a problem)

In writing a letter of inquiry or request, you could begin your letter saying, “Could you possibly…” or “I would be grateful if you would…” When giving bad news or apologizing, you should be tactful and polite, giving the reason for the problem. “Unfortunately we will be unable to process your order on time due to...” or “Unfortunately we will not be able to meet with you at this time due to overwhelming previous commitments.”

Use a block format when writing your letter. Do not indent paragraphs but do single space. Leave one blank space between paragraphs. It is very important when writing a business letter to remember that conciseness is key. In the first paragraph, open in a friendly manner and then state your purpose in writing. The next paragraph should provide details justifying the reason for writing. A third paragraph may provide background information and supporting details.

6. Ending the Business Letter

The closing paragraph should restate the purpose of the letter and if necessary request some type of action. “Please contact us if you have any further questions.” “I would like to meet with you at your convenience to discuss this matter further.” As well, if documents are to be enclosed, that should be indicated in the closing paragraph. “Please find enclosed…”

7. Allowing for Future Contact

The closing paragraph should also refer to future contact, such as, “I look forward to meeting with you next Wednesday.”

8. Closure of the Letter

The close of your letter depends upon your relationship with the recipient. ‘Yours faithfully,’ is much more formal than ‘Yours sincerely,’. If the reader is well-known to you then ‘Best regards,’ may be used. After the appropriate close followed by a comma, leave four lines for your signature then type your name and position.

9. Enclosures

If enclosures are included with the letter indicate this by writing ‘Enc.’ one line below the closing. If a number of documents are included, it is appropriate to name each document.

10. Typists Initials

If you composed the letter but someone else typed it or you have typed the letter for someone else, the typist’s initials appear after enclosures. If you are the sender and typed the letter yourself, omit the typist initials.

Take Your Time!

Professional business letters follow a formal outline that gives them a polished look. However, the content is the most important feature that will ensure a positive outcome to your letter's purpose. It is imperative that your spelling and grammar be immaculate. Therefore, proofread your work two or three times before sending. Make sure your phrasing is polite, tactful and to the point. Executives have time constraints and are not likely to spend time reading prose that rambles and takes too long to reach the point. Take the time to follow the guidelines within this article and carefully edit your concise content, and a professional letter will be the result.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Glad to be of help! So happy tou stopped by for the read. Good luck on your venture.

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Indonesia


      Your review really helped me this time

      I will follow the format of the letter that you describe above

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Alissa. Glad you found it useful. I try to use this format for any formal letters I write.

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 

      8 years ago from Normandy, TN

      I have been out of the business world for over four years now so this was a great refresher course on how to write a professional business letter. Great guide for all to read - voted up and useful!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)