The Easiest Way to Address an Envelope

When mailing a letter, how you address or label the letter’s envelope is very important. 

Incorrectly labeling an envelope slows down and even hinders the process of your letter getting to its intended recipient. Incorrect labeling could also make your mail get delivered to the wrong address.

Follow these steps to learn how to correctly label an envelope to ensure its safe and prompt delivery.

Addressing an Envelope

In this age of technology where people can easily send texts or emails to friends and family, it might seem old school that anyone would still know how to write and address a letter. 

In some cases, it is okay to send emails for certain messages, requests, and proposals. However, there are several occasions where you’ll be required to use the old-fashioned method of communication.

Sending letters requires learning how to correctly address an envelope

Whether you are mailing a business correspondence, an informal letter, a holiday card, an invitation, or even a thank you note, you will need to properly and correctly include all basic information on the envelope to ensure that it reaches its destination on time.

You can decide whatever to write on the letter, but it is expedient to follow these specific guidelines for the outside of the letter’s envelope to ensure your letter gets to its intended recipient.

To correctly address an envelope, you must put your name and return address, the recipient’s name and address in the right position. You must also cross-check the information to ensure you have written the full names and correct addresses. 


When you write or print the names and addresses, use black or blue ink on white or light-colored paper, avoid fancy fonts for easy readability, and avoid reverse printing on black paper

How to Address an Envelope

Here are the different ways to address an envelope:

A. Writing the Return Address

The return address is important and necessary in case the envelope is misdelivered or undeliverable. If the mail cannot be delivered to its destination, the postal service mails it back to the address written in the return address.

Step 1

Place your envelope on a flat surface. The envelope flap is to face down, and the front of the envelope faces up, towards you. 

When you begin labeling your envelope, the envelopes’ length should run from your left to right hand. 

The front of the envelope is where all the information you intend to write will go.

Step 2

Write your title(e.g Mrs., Mr., Miss, or the title earned from your place of work), name, and home address for the return address. 

The return address is written at the top left corner of the envelope in three lines.

On the first line is your title and name(you are to write your full legal name).

Step 3

On the second line of your return address, still at the top left corner, write your street address. You should include your apartment number if you have one. If you don’t receive your mail at home but only at a post office box, you should write its address on the second line.

Step 4

Your city, state, and zip code should go on the third line. If it is too long to write and will take up space far out into the middle of the envelope, you can write the zip code on the fourth line.

B. Writing the Mailing Address 

The mailing address indicates the address your mail is intended to be delivered. It includes the title, name, and address of the recipient. It is to be written in the center of the envelope. 

Step 1

On the first line, write the title and name of the person your mail is intended for. I.e, Mr. Jack Hyde, General John Foster. It is necessary that you add a title as writing a name without a title is rude and disrespectful. 

Be sure to begin this address high enough to avoid running out of space. 

Now, if the person you are mailing the letter to is someone who works at a company, and you want the letter delivered directly to that person’s office, you have to use an “attention” line. 

Begin the first line with the name of the company. Then write the name and title of the recipient below the company’s address with “ATTN”.

For example, “ATTN: Mr. Jack Hyde, Manager of Finance”. 

You can also use the designation ” c/o” which stands for “in care of” instead of using “ATTN”.

“c/o” can be used when mailing a letter to a person or business organization but you know it will be opened or handled by an intermediary.

In this case, the first line of the mailing address will include the name of the person the letter is intended for(e.g. Peter Parker, CEO of lane pharmaceuticals) and on the second line “c/o Mr. Jack Hyde(Secretary of CEO).

c/o can also be used when you want to send a letter to someone whose address you don’t have or no longer have, but have the address of someone you know who can forward the letter to your intended recipient.

For example, if you want to reach a friend whose new address you don’t have, but you know where his parents live, you can mail the letter to them. 

The first line of your mailing address should include your friend’s name, and on the second line ” c/o Parent’s Name”, then the parent’s address on a third line. 

Step 2

Once you have written the name and title of the recipient, write the street address of the recipient.

This is to be written on the line below the name. It could be the second or third line of the mailing address, depending on whether you used an attention line or c/o.

Include any other relevant information like apartment number or directions such as SE(southeast) to the address. 

Step 3

Write the recipient’s city, state, and zip code on the next line. 

If the mail is being sent outside your country, be sure to include the country.

C. Writing to a Military Address

A military address format is the same as the regular address format, but it requires more information.

On the first line is the recipient’s complete legal name.

The PSC number, unit number, or ship name should go on the second line. 

On the third line where you normally have the city name, write APO (Air/Army Post Office), DPO (Diplomatic Post Office), or FPO (Fleet Post Office).

The state’s name should be replaced with

AA (Armed Forces America), AE (Armed Forces Europe), or AP (Armed Forces Pacific) depending on the recipient’s duty station.

And lastly, the zip code should include the full ZIP+4

For the state,  are used, depending on the duty station.

D. Applying Postage

Postage is required when sending mail through postal services in many countries. If your envelope is a standard business envelope, you will most likely be needing just one stamp to mail your letter. 

One stamp is only sufficient for an envelope that does not weigh more than one ounce. Anything above one ounce will require more than a stamp. You can take your envelope to a local post office to be weighed and the correct number of postage be affixed. 

How to Apply Stamps

The stamp is to go on the top right corner of the envelope. Ensure that the stamp is pasted on a blank part. Do not cover any part of the address with the stamp.

And also make sure nothing is written over the stamp.

Cross-check all the information you have written down, and make sure you have the necessary and correct information. Now  you are ready to mail your letter.

Leave a Comment