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How to Write a Routine Business Letter

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In the business world, routine business letters are part of essential communication practices among companies, clients and vendors. A business letter is used as a means of providing important information to the recipient about any changes, updates or news an organization has to share. Business letters are formal documents and, as such, must be written in a professional tone. Formatting standards also apply to ensure that business letters have consistency and a professional appearance.

Open your writing application on your computer. Routine business letters must be typed, not hand-written. Create a blank document and save it to your computer files.

Space down approximately six spaces from the top of the page. You want to leave room at the top of your letter for your company's letterhead, which will be what the letter is printed on. Type the date on the far left of the page. Write the date out, such as "September 16th, 2011," rather than "9/16/11."

Move down two spaces from the date. Type the addressee's name, followed by his professional title. For instance, if you are addressing the letter to the CEO of a company, you would write "John Smith, CEO." Skip a line and write the name of the recipient's organization. Skip another line and include the complete address where the letter is being mailed to.

Type your salutation two spaces down from the inside address. For a routine business letter, an appropriate salutation is "Dear Mr. Smith" followed by a colon. You must always include a personal title, such as "Dr.," "Ms." and "Mr.," unless you do not know the gender of the recipient. If you are unsure of the recipient's gender, keep it neutral by eliminating the personal title and using the full name in the salutation, so it goes "Dear Chris Smith."

Skip one line and begin the body of your letter. Format the body with a left justify, block setting so that your paragraphs look neat. Type the body of your letter in a concise and professional manner. Your main point should be stated at the very beginning. You might write, "This letter is in response to the merger between..." Avoid adding fluff and fillers to the body of your letter. Recipients want to read only what they need to know.

Leave a single blank line between paragraphs if the body of your letter is longer than one paragraph.

Close the business letter by saying "Thank you," "Cordially" or "Sincerely." The closure should go one space after the last line in your body paragraph. Skip four lines and type your name. The blank space will be used for your wet signature once the letter is printed.

List any enclosures that you are attaching. Skip a line after your typed name and write Enclosures, followed by a colon and then the name of the document(s) you are sending along with the letter.


Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.

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