In today's world, machines handle most of the mail that the United States
Postal Service (USPS) delivers. This makes it very important to
optimize the addressing of your envelopes for a machine to read. This
allows the USPS to sort the mail faster and get your letter to it's
- Print or type addresses with black ink. Place the address
horizontally in the center of the envelope and keep each line of the
address flush left.
- Use capital and lowercase letters. Omit periods, commas, and
apostrophes to separate the city, state and ZIP Codes, because optical
scanners and bar code sorters work better when they don't have to read
- Use standard abbreviations, such as ST for street and DR for drive.
Always provide apartment and suite numbers, adjacent to or above the
street address line — never below.
- Always use correct ZIP Codes or the correct ZIP+4, if known. (You
can check this on
- When using an attention line, place it on top of the address block.
- Leave a 1/8 inch area in the lower right-hand corner of the envelope
blank, because that's where the optical scanner sprays the bar code.
- Always include a return address on all letters and packages.