POSTCARDS, LETTERS, LARGE ENVELOPES/FLATS & PACKAGES
There are three standards for identifying the category of a mailpiece:
2. Physical Size, and
The Post Office usually has at least one rate change a year-depending on weight in ounces. Also, an item
once considered a letter is now classified as a letter, flat or package--based on its thickness. Thickness
is measured with the item lying on a flat surface--NOT pressed down.
A POSTCARD is larger than 3½” x 5”, smaller
than 4¼” x 6”, between 0.007” and 0.016” and
weighs less than one ounce.
A LETTER is usually a #10 envelope with correspondence. It is larger than 3½” x 5”, smaller than 6 ⅛” high x 11 ½” long,
be LESS than ¼” thick and weigh less than 3½ ounces.
A FLAT is a large envelope with correspondence. It is smaller than 12” high x 15” long, must be
LESS than ¾” thick and
weigh less than 13 ounces.
Tips for saving postage:
1. If a #10 envelope is over thick (over ¼”) it will be classified as a “flat” and postage is twice as much as the same item folded in half and placed in a 6 “ x 9” envelope at the letter rate.
2. A letter can go up to 6 ⅛” x 11 ½”. An envelope 6 3/16” x 11 ½” is a flat and postage is twice as much. Is the extra 1/16” really needed and worth the additional postage?
The following is recommended in the sequence and position indicated for addressing to insure efficient handling and delivery by the US Postal Service.
You will get the best possible service if you:
- CAPITALIZE EVERYTHING IN THE ADDRESS
- Use 2-letter state abbreviations (see Addressing Standards in
State Agency Mail Information section)
- Eliminate all punctuation (except the hyphen
between ZIP Code and plus four)
- Use appropriate abbreviations (see Addressing Standards in
State Agency Mail Information section), City names are NEVER Abbreviated
- Use ZIP + 4 Codes
Make sure the place where you want the mail delivered appears on the line immediately above
the city, state and ZIP code line. Never put the APT# or Lot# on the line just above the city
and state (See Exhibit 2).
If both the street address and the P O Box are on the same line, the mail piece will be delivered to the P O Box.
Example: in Exhibit 2, you will notice our physical address and our PO BOX DELIVERY ADDRESS.
Placement of the address on the face of an envelope
should conform to USPS specifications as shown on (Exhibit
Labels for use on parcels, packages or large envelopes must be addressed according to the recommended
format in (Exhibit 2). Improperly prepared labels will be returned to you for correction and/or completion.
Labels that are applied must be parallel to the bottom edge of the envelope to be processed by the USPS on
FONT STYLE SHEET
ADDRESSING 'BEST PRACTICES' AND FORMAT
- Type or machine-print all address information.
- Make sure print is clear and sharp.
- Ensure address characters don't touch or overlap.
- Black ink on a white background is best.
- Maintain a uniform left margin.
- Use upper-case letters
- Omit all punctuation
- Include floor, suite and apartment numbers whenever possible.
- Put the city, state and ZIP Code or ZIP + 4 code in that order on the last line. If there's not enough room, you can put the ZIP Code or ZIP + 4 code alone on the bottom line.
- Use standard two-letter state abbreviations.
- When using window envelopes, make sure the complete address is always visible, even when the insert moves.
- Leave one or two spaces between words and between the state abbreviation and ZIP Code or ZIP + 4 code.
STANDARD ADDRESS ABBREVIATIONS
See Addressing Standards in State Agency Mail Information
section and identified appendix:
Mail of any kind for transport by the US Postal Service should be enclosed in an
appropriate envelope or parcel and sealed. The types of enclosures determine the
The following are samples of non-mailables in envelopes:
Paper Clips, Metal
Pieces, Glass Chips, Sand
In addition to jamming and/or damaging the mailing
machines, these items can also cause serious injury to Mail Center employees.
The following are also classified as non-mailables and will be returned to
Envelopes and Cards if pieces are less than:
3 1/2" in height
5" in length
.007" in thickness (thickness of a post card)
All foreign countries also impose various restrictions depending on country and
item(s) being mailed. It is recommended that when mailing questionable items to
US or foreign destinations, the mailer should call Mail Services for assistance.
Window Envelope Enclosures
Enclosures must be designed so that the address appears in the window and should not be stapled to prevent movement
of the address from window view. If the addressed enclosure does not properly fit the window, use an envelope without a window.
Sizes and Types
The size of the envelope should properly accommodate the contents. In the US Postal System there are two categories of
envelopes: letter size and flats.
- Letters, non-letters and bar-coded flats are rated differently by the USPS. To assure the best rate, call Mail Services for size and rates before preparing the mail piece. Use light colored
envelopes for legibility and please avoid brilliant colors.
- Letter size mail must be rectangular in shape for automated processing by USPS.
- To ensure prompt and efficient processing of First-Class mail, it is recommended that all envelopes and cards.
a. Have an aspect ratio (length divided by height) between 1 to 1.3 and 1 to 2.5 inclusive. See Mail Services for envelope template if you are not sure of sizing.
b. Be sealed or secured on all four edges so that they can be handled by machines.
c. Meet the following dimensions for automated processing by USPS: