A Multiple Page Business Letter, a Rule or an Exception?

Dixie is sure you have had at least a few instances in your career when you needed to write a multiple page business letter or two. Contract letters, legal findings, claim summaries and some other types of business letters can often run to many pages. And even in writing not so long letters there are cases when a letter can be squeezed on a single page but it would mean forsaking margins, formatting and white space that the eyes need to discern the writing easily. In such cases, Dixie would advise you to use two pages.

Nowadays with information overload and everyone's busy schedules it is preferable to write shorter business letters and Dixie would encourage you to keep the majority of your letters to one page. But do write multiple page letters when you need them.

The "How to" of Multiple Page Letters

When there are more pages than one in a letter it is normal practice to put nothing at the end of the first page. Since there is no closing line or signature it is obvious that there is another page, so Dixie would say it is quite logical. Subsequent pages do not contain the letterhead and are printed on plain paper. Instead they have a special identification of the letter, which is usually called "header" or "heading". It usually (but not always) contains the name of the addressee, the page number, and the date. In the picture below Dixie offers to your attention examples of the subsequent page header.

Multiple Page Business Letter Header

Be warned though that there might be even more variations of the above. Dixie covered the most widely spread formats, but the header, for instance, can even be placed at the top right margin of the page instead of the left.

For a long time we have been using single sided letters in business. And the standard multiple page letter formatting is certainly a remnant from those times. Nowadays it is possible to print double sided letters as easily as single sided and Dixie thinks we will probably use double sided printing more and more in the nearest future as it saves paper. And we will probably drop the multiple page letter heading from the double sided two paged letters. Even now some business writing experts recommend using the header starting from the third page justifying it by the fact that if there are just two pages in a letter it's easy to understand which is which.

But Dixie would like to emphasize that it's still common practice to number any subsequent page in a business letter, page 2 being no exception. And even double sided multiple page business letters, especially those that contain three pages and more would still need at least the page number, preferably on each page.

Dixie invites you to look at the picture of a single sided two paged business letter below which contains all the elements of multiple page business letter formatting accepted by the office standards in the US.

Multiple Page Business Letter Format Page 1

Multiple Page Business Letter Format Page 2

To Format a Multiple Page Letter Properly

Stapling Pages Together in a Multiple Page Business Letter

You may not realize it but there's an ongoing debate whether pages of a multiple page business letter should be stapled (or not) before mailing. The old school says definitely no! The original should not be stapled, though the rule is not so strict for the copies. Not long ago experts recommended using paper clips (or nothing) instead of staples. But nowadays stapling is so common that this rule is changing along with so many others as you might have noticed. Besides, removing staples before making copies or scanning has become very easy. So, Dixie would say this is a matter of personal preferences. Isn't it nice to have a choice in the matter?!

And as Dixie has addressed the matter of stapling here, she would suggest stapling multiple pages of enclosures together, but not stapling those enclosures to the letter. Either leave them loose or use a paper clip, your choice again!

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