Business Letter Enclosure Notation. What is it?
In any business, being able to write a grammatically correct, properly formatted letter helps to show you're smart and professional. You probably already know the basics of things like letter headers and closing lines. It's also a good idea to learn about the right notation for letter enclosures.
This part of a letter might not be taught in standard English classes, but it's extremely useful in business letters or direct mail. To make the most out of your business letter, check out our guide to letter enclosure notation.
What's a Business Letter Enclosure?
Heard people talking about "enclosure notation" but have no clue what they're discussing? Before we get into all the details of letter enclosure formats, we'll give you the enclosure definition. To put it simply, enclosures are anything you send along with the letter. Traditionally, enclosures were papers added to an envelope, but in modern times, they're usually email attachments. Examples of enclosures include:
- News articles
- Financial documents
- Computer files
Why do you need to notify the reader about a letter enclosure?
When people discuss letter enclosure notation, they usually aren't talking about the enclosure itself. Instead, what they're talking about is the part of the letter where you let the reader know you've also sent along some enclosures.
This part of the letter is important because it reminds the reader to check out your enclosures. You cannot assume that they will notice email attachments or other documents inside the envelope. Without the right notation, the reader might just skim your letter and miss other essential documents. The notation also lets the reader see if you accidentally forgot to include any important information.
Where do you put the notification of enclosure in a letter?
So how do you encourage the reader to look at your enclosures? The basic rule of thumb is simply mentioning them after everything else. In a professional letter, you formally end it with your signature, then you list the enclosures. After writing the enclosure notation, you attach your documents or slip the extra documents into the envelope.
Overall, the basic business letter format will look like this:
- Sender’s address
- Recipient’s address
- Closing line
- Enclosure notations
What Are the Letter Enclosure Format and Attachment Abbreviation?
Just like anything else you will do in the world of business, there's a traditional way of handling enclosures. Casually listing them can make a letter look confusing, messy, or overly wordy. To keep the letter looking professional, you need to use specific formatting and abbreviations. There are two separate ways to write an enclosure notification.
Just mention the total amount of enclosures
The absolute simplest way to format your letter is just to write "Enclosures" followed by the number of them in parentheses. So, for example, if you were sending a product brochure and three photos, your notation would read "Enclosures (4)."
This method works well when you want a short, simple enclosure notation. Usually, it is a good option for more casual business letters or for letters that include a lot of very similar enclosure types.
List individual enclosure types
If you're including a lot of documents, it can be clearer to list them separately. Start your notification with an abbreviated version of "Enclosure." You can write "Encl:" or "Enc:".
Next, list each item type in lowercase letters, followed by the number of that item in parentheses, and separate the items in the list with commas. For example, if you were sending a product brochure and three photos, you would write, "Encl: product brochure (1), product photos (3)."
This method works best when you are enclosing a variety of different documents. It keeps things more organized and prevents any enclosures from being skipped.
A Sample Letter With Enclosed Documents
Still not sure how letter enclosure notifications work? Check out this enclosure letter sample to get a better idea of how your enclosure notification should be formatted.
Ms. Alex Lee, CEO Lee's Ice Cream 123 Ice Cream Blvd. Rocktown, NY 11021 (478) 555-3423
January 5, 2022
Mr. John Park, VP of Sales Chocolate Inc. 345 Candy Ave. Riverfield, PA 15045 (423) 555-5873
Dear Mr. Park:
I am writing to you to inquire about a potential collaboration between our two companies. In the past few years, Lee's Ice Cream has become one of the most popular ice cream manufacturers in the region. We are currently listed as the Rocktown Daily News' Top Ice Cream Company of 2021.
To take our product to the next level, I want to include more high-quality chocolate in our recipe. Therefore, I believe we could work together to enhance the Lee's Ice Cream recipe while also improving brand recognition for Chocolate Inc. If you are amenable, I would like to schedule a meeting to discuss the collaboration further.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Alex Lee, CEO
Encl: Ice cream recipe (1), newspaper article (1), product photos (2)