Your mail is important. Therefore, to help expedite processing, please follow the following mail preparation procedures.
Mail Services DOES NOT offer packaging materials for sale. We offer recycled shipping materials at no charge when available. We accept properly packaged and addressed parcels, and reserve the right to refuse improperly packaged articles or substances.
It is the responsibility of the sender to prepare packages for shipping and provide protection against deterioration or degradation of the contents.
Mail Services' equipment cannot seal overstuffed envelopes (max. 1/4" thick), manila, invitations style, tri folded flyers, or catalog style (end-opening) envelopes.
Mail Services requires envelope flaps be down to seal. If you send envelopes that are already sealed, separate sealed envelopes from the unsealed. If these envelopes are not separated, damage and delay occurs.
These are the keys to addressing an envelope, so that it can be sorted by on optical character reader (OCR). This is important because it allows the U.S. Post Office to sort the mail faster and get the letter to it's destination quicker.
The OCR (optical character reader) looks for the address within an imaginary rectangle on each piece of mail called a "read area". The delivery address must be located within the following boundaries on your mail or the OCR will have trouble reading the address.
Sides of the rectangle - 1" from the right and left edges
Bottom of the rectangle - 5/8" up from the bottom edge
Top of the rectangle - 2 3/4" up from the bottom edge
Please make sure that no portion of the return address appears in the read area!
Please make sure that the three lower lines of the address has the name of recipient, the delivery address and the city, state and zip on the last line. Please use the Post Office approved abbreviations for the states because the machine can recognize them instantly.
Please keep all non-address information out of the address location that was explained above.
The OCR will place a bar code on the piece after it reads the destination of the letter. The space that the bar code will be placed needs to be clear... 4 1/2" from the right of the piece.
Make sure that all of the address is visible through the window.
The OCR can read most typewritten and other machine printed addresses. It cannot read handwriting and print styles such as script, italic, artistic and other highly stylized characters.
The print needs to be clear, sharp print.
The OCR reads black ink on a white background best.
An OCR needs to have a contrast between the ink and the paper. Keep the ink as dark as possible and the background as light as possible.
The OCR must see a clear vertical space between each character or it won't know where one ends and the next begins. For similar reasons, it also needs a clear horizontal space between each line of the address.
The United States Postal Service is now using new automated equipment which requires certain standards.
JOHN DOE, DIRECTOR
DEPT / OFFICE
201 HIGH STREET
FARMVILLE, VA 23909
MR JOHN SMITH
102 LOW ST
SOMEWHERE, VA. 23900
DEPT / OFFICE
ATTN: DR. JOHN DOE
For more information on address formatting, see the Frequently Asked Questions.