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How To Type A Formal Letter

Formal letters are used for many occasions—to inform of serious issues, to apply for jobs, or to make a request. It is important to make formal letters look professional, and a word processing program can help you produce clean, well-formatted formal letters.

If you do not already have a word processing program, there are many available for free online. HowSpot recommends OpenOffice Writer, a free open source alternative to Microsoft Word.

You can download a variety of formal letter templates here.


  • 1

    Download and install OpenOffice Writer.

  • 2

    Once installation is complete, open OpenOffice Writer for use.

  • 3

    Click File > New to create a new document.

  • 4

    Choose a clear and legible font, such as Times New Roman or Arial.

  • 5

    Type your address and telephone number on the top left hand side of the page. After the address, press Enter twice to create one line of space beneath it.

  • 6

    Type the date directly below the sender’s address. Press Enter twice to create another line of space.

  • 7

    Write the recipient's name and their mailing address on the left hand side of the page directly below the date. If writing to a business rather than an individual, include the business name above the address. Press Enter twice to create another line of space.

  • 8

    Place the recipient’s name, including a formal title. For example: “Dear Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr. Press Enter twice to create another line of space.

  • 9

    Type the body of your letter. This should contain what you intend the letter to state, such as a complaint, request, or application. Try to be as concise as possible. Press Enter twice to create a line of space.

  • 10

    Sign off your letter with the appropriate salutation. For example, “Sincerely,” or “Best”. Also offer you’re the best way to reach you and your preferred contact information.

  • 11

    Proofread your letter. OpenOffice Writer has a spelling & grammar function to assist you with this.

  • 12

    Save your changes by clicking File > Save. You can also Save as a PDF to preserve the formatting if you need to send the letter over email.

  • 13

    If you need to print your letter and send it by mail, click File > Print.


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