Addressing for Success

Properly address your mail, and it will be processed and delivered faster.  These tips help postal optical character readers identify and recognize addresses.

Addressing Tips

  • Machine print all address information.  Handwritten pieces are manually processed, adding to delivery time.
  • Do not use fancy fonts.  Plain text is best.
  • Make sure address characters do not touch or overlap.
  • Black ink on a white background is preferred.
  • Do not use red or dark colored envelopes.  We are required to use red ink for the postage imprint, and it is not visible on dark colors.
  • Align the left margin of the address.
  • Use all capital letters.
  • Omit all punctuation except the hyphen in the zip + 4 code (Example: 12345-6789)
  • Use standard abbreviations, especially for the state.
  • Include floor, suite, or apartment numbers.
  • Do NOT include a telephone number in the address block.
  • Do not place an attention line below the city/state/zip line.
  • When using window envelopes, apply the standard tap test.  Tap the envelope on each of its four sides.  Check address visibility after each tap.  The envelope contents should not shift enough to move the address out of view.
Postal equipment reads bottom to top, right to left.  Use this format for addresses:
For Delivery to a Street Address
Department Name (if available)
Recipient’s Name 
Company/Institution Name
Suite, Building, Apartment #
Street Address 
City State Zip+4

For Delivery to a Post Office Box Address
Department Name (if available)
Recipient’s Name 
Company/Institution Name
P.O. Box Number
City State Zip+4

Do not use a P.O. Box and a street name in the same address.  Whichever is directly above the City/State/Zip is where it will go, and that might not be the delivery location you prefer.
A zip code for a business street address could be different from the zip code for the same business P.O. box address.

Faculty/Staff Mailing Address Format:
Your Name
Your Department Name
Furman University (Optional)
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville SC 29613

Student Mailing Address Format:  
(For all items mailed or shipped via USPS, Federal Express or UPS.)
Student Name (First and Last)
Furman PMB _ _ _ _ _    (student’s personal mail box number)
3300 Poinsett Highway
Greenville SC  29613

Student Address for Campus Mail ONLY:
Student’s Name – First, then last
# # # # # (student’s personal 5-digit mail box number)

Envelope Layout - Mail Piece Clear Zones

Please contact the Furman Post Office for a visual exhibit that shows the area on letter mail where address information should be located to be read by multi-line optical character readers (MLOCRs). The automation specifications are as follows:
  • The MLOCR read area requires only ?-inch margins on the left and right sides.
  • The entire address (except the optional lines above the recipient line) should appear within an imaginary rectangle that extends from 5/8-inch to 2 inches from the bottom edge of the mail piece, with at least 1/2-inch margins on the left and right sides.  This is the postal requirement for any letter-size mail piece.
  • For pieces longer than 10-1/2 inches, the address should begin no more than 9-3/4 inches from the right edge.

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