How To Address An Envelope/Package | [Complete Format Guide]



The art of letter writing seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years with the proliferation of emails and text messaging. However, there are still times when a letter sent through snail mail is the appropriate means of communication. Perhaps it is in a business setting or you simply want to send a handwritten note to a friend through the post office. If you want the USPS to deliver it to the right place, then you will need to make sure that the envelope is addressed properly. Sadly, many people today no longer know how to mail a letter. So, what is the right way to address an envelope or package? We are going to spell out all the details for you so that you can be certain your letter will make it to its proper destination.


How To Address An Envelope

Addressing an envelope is not difficult or complicated, but it does need to be done exactly right. There are specific places on the envelope where you need to place the return address, the recipient’s address, and the stamp. Failure to follow these envelope format rules could result in your letter being returned to you or even lost completely. Here are the steps you need to follow when learning how to send a letter.


Step #1: You will first want to start with writing your return address in the upper left hand corner of the envelope. This is not a requirement on all types of mail, but failure to include a return address means that your letter cannot be returned to you if it is undeliverable. You should include your full name on the first line and your full street address on the second line. If your address requires two lines, that is fine. On the next line, add your city, state, and ZIP code.


Step #2: Now you can move on to the recipient’s information. It should be added in the center of the envelope. Start with the recipient’s full name on the first line. If you are sending to a business, then the company name should be placed on the first line. Next comes their full street address. If they use a P.O. box number, then that should be placed on the address line. Using abbreviations for words like street, drive, and circle is fine. Be sure to include any suite numbers on the second address line. Finally, the city, state, and postal code should all be placed on the last line.


Step #3: Place a stamp in the upper right hand corner of the envelope. The size and weight of your envelope will determine how much postage is required to deliver your letter.


Step #4: Make sure that you have placed the addresses and the stamp on the front of the envelope. In some cases, you might choose to place the return address on the back of the envelope at the top. While this is acceptable, it is generally preferred to place it on the front.


Step #5: Now that you know how to label an envelope, drop your letter in the mailbox or at your local post office and it will be on its way!


How To Address A Package

Addressing a package is very similar to addressing an envelope. You should make sure that the package has a clean surface to write on with no other marks or lettering. Here is how to address your package to make sure it gets delivered on time to the right location.


Step #1: You will want to put the recipient’s name and address on the largest side of the package. If shipping to a business, then you should list the business name on the first line. The second line should contain “ATTN:” followed by the recipient’s name.


Step #2: After the name comes the mailing address. If you prefer to use all capital letters, that is totally fine and can make the address easier to read. Make sure you separate the city and state abbreviation with a comma. If shipping to a military address, make sure that you use the correct abbreviation – APO, DPO, or FPO depending on whether you are sending to an Army post office, fleet post office, or diplomatic post office.


Step #3: Next, you will want to place the sender’s address in the top left corner of the same side of the package where you placed the recipient’s address. The U.S. Postal Service needs to know where to return the package in case it is undeliverable. The address format you use here should be the same as the one you used for the addressee. If sending to an international address outside the U.S., make sure you place the country name on the final line of the address.


Step #4: The postage will be placed in the top right corner of the package. You can use stamps, but make sure you put enough. Typically, you will buy postage for a package and a sticker will be placed in the corner that acts as the stamp.


The Bottom Line

You may not have to address an envelope very often, but when you do, it needs to be done right. Putting information in the wrong place can prevent your letter or package from getting where it needs to go. When you need to learn how to write an envelope, just go through the steps listed in this article. Now you should know exactly where to place every detail on that envelope. Go ahead and mail those letters!


Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know how many stamps to use?

The number of stamps that you need to use depends on the size and weight of the package or envelope that you are sending. A standard sized envelope with just a couple sheets of paper will usually require just one first class stamp. However, a larger box with a heavy item inside might require $10 or more worth of postage. If you are unsure how much postage is needed, your local post office can weigh the package and tell you right away.


Where can I buy stamps?

You can buy stamps at many different locations today. The most obvious place is your local post office. But you can also find stamps at pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retailers. Lastly, you can buy stamps without even leaving home. The USPS website contains a large selection of stamp styles to choose from.


How do you send an envelope?

Sending an envelope is quite simple. You may not know how to fill out an envelope now, but it takes just a few quick steps. Simply place the recipient’s name and address in the center of the envelope. Then, place your return address in the upper left corner. Finally, place a stamp in the top right corner of the envelope, and the letter is ready to send. Drop it into the outgoing mail, and it will be delivered right away!

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