What Is the Enclosure Notation in a Business Letter?

Kelly Spors

Are you familiar with the enclosure notation in a business letter? If you’re a business owner, you should be.

Understanding proper business letter formats, not to mention the parts of a business letter, can help ensure that your business communications are clear and effective.

Constructing a business letter properly also helps ensure that you will clear the hurdle of being taken seriously professionally, and the enclosure notation is a standard part of a business letter worth knowing.

What is the enclosure of a business letter?

The enclosures notation actually plays an important role: It reminds the recipients that additional items were included with the letter (and what those items were, if you include that level of detail).

Even if you’re sending an email versus an actual printed letter, it still could be useful to include an enclosures notation to cover your email attachments. Plus, if you intend to attach a file and then forget to do so, the enclosures notation will alert the recipient that everything wasn’t included.

Whether you’re writing a standard business letter or something a bit different, like a memo, the style for the enclosure notation is generally the same.

The enclosure notation goes near the bottom of the letter, three lines below your signature or one line below the typist’s initials, in the case of a regular business letter.

Out of the seven basic parts of a business letter, the enclosure notation is the last. The sender’s address, date, recipient’s address, salutation, body, and closing/signature all come before the enclosure notation.

What is the abbreviation for enclosures on a business letter?

Use this style if, for example, you want to indicate that there are two enclosures:

Enclosures (2)

If you want to list each separate item, use this style:

Encl: product brochure (1), product photos (2)

Enc. is also an acceptable abbreviation for “enclosures.”

Avoid overloading the recipient with too many enclosures. And make sure that the enclosures truly enhance the message you are sending.

If you send an envelope stuffed full of enclosures to a busy business executive, the odds are good that it will end up in their wastepaper basket or the office paper recycling.

What is CC notation in a business letter?

Not too long ago, people would place a piece of carbon paper between two sheets of paper in order to produce a copy of the letter or document being written on top. Although a “carbon copy” and use of carbon paper to make letter copies is antiquated technology now, “CC” is alive and well in the world of emails. It lists additional recipients who also are receiving the communication.

The abbreviations “cc:,” “c.c.:,” “CC:,” or “Copy to:” are all acceptable to use with printed business letters.

The point is to alert the person who has received the letter that others directly involved with the letter have also been copied on it.

In a printed letter, the CC line might go before or after the enclosures line. Whichever you choose, it needs to be below the signature line.

What do the initials at the bottom of a letter mean?

Initials included at the bottom of a business letter are called typist’s initials. Some companies require them so that they know who actually typed the letter versus who composed it, in order to determine who is responsible for typos, misspellings, and other mistakes that took place when the letter was produced.

Omitted details in a business letter can make a difference, so it’s important to know who typed the letter if an item that the sender wanted in the letter does not end up in the finished document.

The typist’s initials are one of the last elements of the business letter. They include the initials of the letter’s writer in all caps, followed by a slash mark or colon, and then the initials of the typist in lower case. For example, if William Shakespeare typed a letter for his manager Virginia Woolf, the typist’s initials would be: VW/ws.

The typist’s initials, of course, are not a required element if the signer of the letter also typed it.

What does PC stand for in a business letter?

In some places, it is customary to use the abbreviation PC, for “photocopy,” instead of the CC abbreviation. No matter what, both abbreviations involve old-school methods for copying correspondence.

An extra line might also show a BCC or BC, which stands for “blind carbon copy.” The BCC line lists third parties who are not mentioned in the letter but who are receiving copies of the letter. You use a BCC when you want to include others in the correspondence, without alerting the original recipient that the others have been included. For example, perhaps you are writing to your local City Council to complain about a new development taking place near your business location. You might include your business’s neighbors by sending BCC copies to them, of which the City Council would not be aware.

It’s possible to format business letters in a wide variety of ways, but the enclosure notation is an element to be aware of with many of them. This article was intended to help you become better acquainted with this sometimes obscure part of a business letter, as well as other elements such as CC (or BCC) lines and typist’s initials that may come at the end.

Many of these elements are not only useful in a printed letter, but also may apply when you’re writing electronic communications.

An enclosure notation can be truly useful for your reader—both in business letters and in other types of communication you are using.

As a small business owner, you’re an expert, too. We want to hear about how you feel about business letters. Let us—and your fellow SBOs—know by sharing a comment below.

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