Delivery Address Format
The delivery address is the most important information on your mail piece and poorly addressed mail (including illegible handwriting) could either be undelivered, misdirected, or delayed. Mail processing machines read addresses from bottom up, beginning with city, state, and zip code, followed by delivery address. Please note the following guidelines for the proper addressing of mail:
- Address fonts should be between 8 and 18 points. However, the USPS recommends a font size between 10-12 points. Addresses in an 8-point type size should be in uppercase to ensure OCR readability.
- San serif type styles (those without little tails or curves) with uniform stroke thickness are preferred as embellished styles (italics, script, condensed, etc.), are not OCR readable.
- Left justify each line of the address leaving one space between the city and state and two spaces between the state and zip code.
- Avoid placing logos, slogans, or similar information below the delivery address as this could cause mail to be misdirected.
- Use ZIP+4 code, if known. Otherwise, use 5-digit zip code.
If using a window envelope, leave at least 1/8-inch clearance around the address. If using labels, make sure that no important information is cut off and that the labels are not crooked or slanted more than five degrees from the bottom edge of the mailpiece. Mail processing machines cannot read the address if there is not enough clearance space or if the address is not applied straight on the mail piece. A sample business address format may be found here. The basic layout of address placement and readability on letter-size mail pieces can be found here.
The last line of an international address should show the country's name only. It should be written in full, preferably in uppercase, and should not be underlined. Postal codes of foreign countries should not be listed on the last line of the address. A sample address format may be found here.
Overseas military addresses must contain the APO or FPO designation along with a two character "state" abbreviation of AE (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Canada), AP (Pacific), or AA (Americas) and the ZIP Code or ZIP+4 Code. A sample address format may be found here.