Official letters are entirely formal, in the sense that they have to follow forme traditionally laid down. The following points have to be borne in mind while writing official letters :
(a) Official letters which are issued from the office bear the name and address of the office at the top.
(b) There is usually an office Reference Number or Memo Number, at the top left-hand corner. This facilitates further correspondence.
(c) The date of writing the letter is placed at the right-hand corner.
(d) The name with designation and address of the writer should be preceded by From. Sometimes the name is omitted and The is used before the designation.
(e) Just below it, the name, the official designation, and address of the addressee is written, preceded by To. Sometimes the name is omitted and The is used before the designation.
(f) From and To should be written in separate paragraphs with a colon or no punctuation mark after them.
(g) Commas are used after the designation and after every line of address and a full stop at the end. But open punctuation is common in most letters nowadays.
(h) There should be a brief reference to the subject of the letter in a few words or in a short sentence before the salutation.
(i) The salutation should be Sir or Madam. Dear Sir or Dear Madam may be used in Demi-official letters but never use My dear Sir or My dear Madam.
(j) The body of the official letter must be to the point and its language must be logical and unambiguous. If there are several points to be dealt with, separate paragraphs should be used for them.
(k) The letter ends with the subscription Yours faithfully or Yours truly with a comma after that. Then there should be the full signature of the writer.
(l) The superscription on the envelope contains the full name and/or full designation (if the name is omitted The is used before the designation), and the official address of the addressee.
Official letters are written on various official purposes. Such official letters may be of various types. For example:
1. Applications for jobs
2. From an employee/employees to the authority, and vice versa
3. From the public to any authority, and vice versa
4. From one office to some other office(s)
5. Demi-official letters
6. Circular letters/Notices/Memos