How to Select a Professional Letter Font and Font Size

Young man having a coffee and working at home
lechatnoir / Getty Images

What's the best font to use for a business letter? When writing formal letters, of course, it's important to make sure the content of your letter is clear and easy to understand. However, you should also think carefully about the font and font size.

The font is the style of the text you use in your letter or email message. It's important to make sure the font you choose for your professional correspondence, both printed and emailed, is clear and easy to read. Otherwise, your reader might not take the time to read your letter.

This is particularly important when writing job application letters, such as cover letters. If an employer cannot easily read your letter because the font is too small or too difficult to read, they may not bother to look at your resume.

Your best bet is to keep your font and font size simple and professional. Make sure your message—not your font—stands out.

The Best Font to Choose

It's important to select a font that is easy to read. You should select a font that is large enough so that the reader doesn't have to squint to read your letter, but not so big that your letter doesn't fit well on a single page.

Using a simple font will ensure that your message is clear. Basic fonts like Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Verdana, Courier New, and Times New Roman work well. Avoid novelty fonts like Comic Sans, or fonts in script or handwriting style.

What Size Font to Use

Once you have selected your font style, select a 10- or 12-point font size. The size will depend on how much content you have; it's best if you can format your letter so it fits on one page.

If your letter has a heading (such as a heading with your name and contact information), you might choose to make the heading font slightly larger (14 or 16). However, this is not necessary.

Tips on Font Style

In addition, avoid writing in all capital letters when you format your letter. Letters and email messages in all caps make it seem as if you are yelling. Also avoid underlining, bolding, and italicizing; these can make text difficult to read.

How to Select a Font

You may need to try a few font styles and size variations so your letter fits on a single page with enough white space that it's not crowded.

Below are steps to take when writing a letter and selecting a font size and style:

  • Select a font from the list at the top of your document before you start writing your letter, or:
  • Type your letter.
  • Highlight the content of your letter.
  • Either select the font from the pop-up window or select the font from the list at the top of the document.
  • Select the font size you want to use the same way. Try some different fonts and font sizes until the letter fits onto one page. Again, make sure there is white space in your letter. Consider playing with the spacing and margins as well.
  • Proofread your letter.

After completing and proofreading your draft, print your letter (even if you are going to upload it online or email it) to make sure that it is formatted, properly spaced, and looks the way you want it to.

Include Plenty of White Space

Regardless of the font and font size you select, there should be white space at the top, bottom, and sides of your letter. You also want to leave some white space between each paragraph, after the body of the letter and before your closing, and between the closing and your signature. A squished letter without enough spacing is hard to read.

More Tips on Spacing Your Letter:

  • Keep your letter to one page or less, if possible. Email letters should be a few paragraphs long and be easy to scan.
  • Align your cover to the left.
  • For email letters, use your formatted email signature to close the message.

Try a variety of font types and sizes to see which one allows you to fit your letter on one page, while still leaving some white space.

You might also adjust the margins of the page to be slightly bigger or smaller to keep some white space while making the letter fit on one page. As a general rule, margins should be no wider than 1” and no narrower than .7”.

Proofread Your Letter Carefully

Be sure to thoroughly proofread your letter for grammar and spelling errors. Even if your font and font size are easy to read, errors will make you look unprofessional. If this is a cover letter, an error might even cost you a job offer. More proofreading tips:

  • Read your letter out loud. You’ll find any typos and might also spot opportunities to improve your word choice and sentence structure.
  • Check and double-check the spelling of all company and personal names.
  • Take a break before you review your final document. You may find errors with fresh eyes that you wouldn’t have found right after writing the letter.
  • Ask an eagle-eyed friend to review your letter before you send it.
  • For email letters, be sure to send yourself a test message before emailing the document to a hiring manager. You might uncover spacing oddities and formatting errors that you wouldn’t have seen without a test.

Once it's set, send the letter and cc: yourself so you have a copy for your records.