June 25, 2024
Learn how to fill out an envelope properly with our step-by-step guide. From addressing to postage, we got you covered on how to mail letters and packages


Filling out an envelope may seem like a no-brainer, but many of us have made mistakes that have resulted in undelivered or returned mail. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to fill out an envelope properly. Whether you’re sending a letter to a friend or an important document to a business partner, this guide is for you.

Step-by-step guide on how to fill out an envelope

Choosing the right envelope size and type is important to ensure that your mail is delivered safely and securely. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Write the recipient’s name and address

Write the recipient’s full name in the center of the envelope, followed by the street address on the next line, the city, state/province and zip/postal code on the subsequent lines. It’s important to write the recipient’s information legibly and accurately. If you’re not sure about the correct formatting of the address, use the USPS website or other credible sources to determine the proper format, such as whether or not to abbreviate certain words. The clearer and more accurate the address information, the easier it is for postal workers to sort and deliver the mail correctly.

Step 2: Add a return address

Adding a return address will ensure that if the mail is undeliverable, it will be returned to the sender. Write your full name and street address or P.O. box number in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope. Adding your phone number or email address may also be helpful, but it’s optional.

Step 3: Affix the appropriate postage stamp

Postage fees vary depending on the weight and size of the envelope, as well as the destination. You can purchase stamps at most post offices, online, or at authorized mailing stores. Remember that postal workers will reject envelopes that do not have enough postage or have invalid postage stamps.

Step 4: Seal the envelope

Don’t forget to properly seal the envelope. Use glue or a moistened adhesive strip along the flap to ensure it stays closed. Be sure that the contents of the envelope do not exceed the capacity of the envelope or its weight limit. Avoid using tape or any other sticky substance that may interfere with the machine processing of the mail.

Infographic or visual guide

The following visual guide will help clarify the different parts of an envelope:


Refer to the guide to make sure you’re filling out each part of the envelope properly:

Recipient’s Name and Address

Write out the recipient’s full name and address clearly and accurately in the center of the envelope. Use proper abbreviations where applicable, where it is appropriate or applicable. Use all capital letters if possible.

Sender’s Name and Address

Write your full name and address in the upper-left corner of the envelope. This is also known as the “return address”. Make sure the recipient knows who the mail is coming from. You may also provide your email address or phone number as part of the return address.


Affix the correct and adequate postage in the upper-right corner of the envelope. Adequacy of postage is important because letters or parcels may not be delivered to the recipient if they do not have sufficient postage stamped on them. You may enquire at the post office or USPS website for the current rates of the postal fees.

Comparing different types of envelopes

There are different types of envelopes that are designed to meet specific formatting requirements. Some of the most common include:

Regular Envelope

The most common type of envelope is the regular envelope, also known as the commercial envelope. This is typically a rectangular envelope used for business or personal correspondence. It is sized based on the standard paper size of your mail.

Window Envelope

Window envelopes are often used in business settings to simplify the mailing process. They have a transparent plastic window on the front that shows the recipient’s address, allowing for the use of printed mail merge mailing labels and saving time.

Return Envelope

Return or reply envelopes are those that already have the sender’s address on them, facilitating the mailing of a response or reply.

An incorrect or unsuitable envelope may result in misdirected or undelivered mail. By using the appropriate envelope, your mail will reach its destination more efficiently.

Tips and tricks for addressing envelopes

Addressing International Mail

Correct addressing of international mail follows a standard set of rules that must be adhered to. Address lines go from the most specific geographical information to the most general. Include a return address on the envelope. You may enquire at your local post office or check USPS website to get the required requirements and standards of the target country.

Addressing P.O. Box and Rural Routes

When sending mail to a P.O. box or rural route, write the recipient’s P.O. box or rural route on the address line directly above the city, followed by the postal code.

Formatting Multiple Recipients

For multiple recipients, write “ATTN:” or “Attention” above the recipient’s name, followed by a specific name or description in capital letters, such as “Sales Manager” or “Human Resources Department”. Include the company name or organization on the next line.

Dangers and mistakes to avoid

Making mistakes when addressing an envelope can be costly and potentially dangerous. It may lead to undelivered mail to the recipient or even delivery to the wrong address. Here are some of the common mistakes to avoid:

Incorrect Grammar or Spelling

Incorrect grammar or spelling may severely affect or completely prevent the timely delivery of the mail. Always double-check spelling and grammar.

Insufficient Postage

If the postage is insufficient, USPS may return the mail to the sender or charge the recipient for the fees. Verify with the post office for the mail’s postage requirements to get it delivered safely and efficiently.

Overstuffing Envelope

Your envelope must have enough space for its contents, or it may tear or jam the postal equipment, causing damage to the mail or the machine. Be sure to use an envelope that is big enough for the contents.


In conclusion, filling out an envelope is a critical aspect of mailing that should not be taken lightly. It’s essential to follow the right format and use the right envelope to ensure that your mail is delivered accurately and on time. We hope this guide has provided you with the knowledge to effectively address your envelopes and avoid common mistakes. We encourage you to follow the steps and tips to safely and securely send your mail.

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