All mail needs a delivery address and a return address. The following information is recommended in the sequence and position indicated for addressing:
The Address Area. The complete address should be located within this white area (no return address information). Extraneous (non-address) printing or markings should appear as high on the mail piece and as far away from the address as possible.
Bar Code Read Area. Please make sure that this area remains clear of all printing. It's reserved for the bar code that will be printed by the Optical Character Reader (OCR).
Envelopes: Placement of the address on the face of an envelope should conform to USPS specifications as shown above. For letter size envelopes, the delivery address must be parallel with the longest edge. On larger mail pieces, format the address area so that the return address is in the upper left and the postage is in the upper right, relative to the delivery address.
Labels: Labels for use on parcels, packages or large envelopes must be addressed according to the format shown above. The address must be complete. Improperly prepared labels will be returned to you for correction and/or completion. Apply labels parallel to the bottom (long) edge of the envelope for processing by automated USPS equipment.
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. 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 space between words and two spaces between the state abbreviation and the ZIP + 4 code.
You will get the best possible service if you:
- Use standard abbreviations for street names and suffixes
- Eliminate all punctuation (except the hyphen in the ZIP + 4 Code)
- Use 2 letter state abbreviations
- Use ZIP + 4 Codes
- Make sure the place (not office # or suite) where you want the mail delivered appears on the line immediately above the city, state and ZIP code line; i.e.:
123 W MAIN ST STE 400
P O BOX 125
BUT NOT BOTH on the same line!