Effective Date: March 24, 2006
Expiration Date: March 24, 2026
|| TOC | ChangeHistory | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | Chapter6 | Chapter7 | Chapter8 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | AppendixD | AppendixE | AppendixF | AppendixG | AppendixH | AppendixI | AppendixJ | ALL ||
3.1.1 Study the figures in this chapter before preparing letters. These guidelines are standard features for correct letter formatting for NASA.
3.1.2 Administrator's Correspondence. For specific instructions on preparing correspondence for the Office of the Administrator, see Appendix A: Administrator's Correspondence Preparation and Control.
3.1.3 Stationery. Upon depletion of current stocks, all official correspondence initiated by the Office of the Administrator, Headquarters offices, and Centers will be prepared on letterhead containing the red, white, and blue "meatball" NASA logo. Refer to the NASA Style Guide for more information. For letterhead ordering procedures, contact the Headquarters or Center Printing Office. Use plain bond paper for succeeding pages.
3.1.4 Font. Times New Roman 12 is preferred. Use script or italic only for occasional emphasis. Do not type letters in script or italic.
3.1.5 Ink. Use black or blue-black ink to sign correspondence.
3.1.6 Margins. Set the left margin two spaces to the right of the printed caption "Reply to Attn of:" (1.2 or 1 1/8 inches). Set the right and bottom margins at approximately 1 inch. Set the top margin at 1 inch on the second and succeeding pages. Do not justify the right margin.
3.1.7 File Copies
a. Official File Copy. Prepare a white copy visibly marked in the upper right corner with "Official File" or "Official Record Copy."
b. Other File Copies. Prepare only the number of copies required for distribution based on the correspondence practices of the preparing office.
3.1.8 Reply to Attn of: line. For Headquarters correspondence, type the writer's organization title (abbreviation is acceptable) which serves as a basic identification symbol and shall appear on all outgoing correspondence. Centers use office codes.
3.1.9 Dating Correspondence. Center the date two lines above the "Reply to Attn of:" line (e.g., August 20, 2005). Do not use military style (e.g., 20 Aug 2005) or endings such as "st" or "th" after the day (e.g., Aug 20th). Type or stamp the date.
3.1.10 Inside Address
126.96.36.199 Type the address at the left margin, three typing returns below the "Reply to Attn of:" line. Type the addressee's full name and title. Do not abbreviate names or use nicknames. If the gender is unknown, address the individual by first and last name in the salutation line; e.g., "Dear Kris Szaniawski:" Do not address the individual by title. Single-space the address and arrange it in block style.
188.8.131.52 Type the elements of the address information as follows:
a. Line 1: Name of Recipient;
b. Line 2: Title, if applicable;
c. Line 3: Company, Federal Agency, Organization;
d. Line 4: Delivery or Street Address;
e. Line 5: City, State, and ZIP Code.
3.1.11 The following examples show the various acceptable order of the address information:
Mr. Paul B. Smith
President and Chief Executive Officer
United Space Alliance
1150 Gemini Avenue
Houston, TX 77058
Non-NASA with Nine-Digit ZIP Code
Mr. Thomas R. Wittor
Director of Personnel
Providence Software Company, Inc.
892 Market Street
Chicago, IL 60601-1234
Mr. J. Richard Brown
National Aviation Club
1500 N. Johnson Street, Suite 104*
Alexandria, VA 22311
*Preferred Suite Placement
Mr. Kevin Garrett
Kennedy Space Center
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
(Shows "NASA" written out)
Mr. James. R. Johnson
NASA Glenn Research Center
21000 Brookpark Road
Cleveland, OH 44135
(Shows "NASA" and "Center" on one line)
Dr. Parker A. Roberts
Director, NASA Management Office
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
(Shows "NASA" and "Center" on one line)
with Unidentifiable Gender
1 Great Cumberland Place
London W1 H7AL
**Preferred for inside address but mandatory for addressing the envelope.
with Delivery Zone
Mr. W. MacDonald Evans
Canadian Space Agency
6767 route de l'Aeroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec J3Y 8Y9
**Preferred for inside address but mandatory for addressing the envelope.
Ms. Jane Smith
Chief Information Officer
Washington, DC 20546-0001
Non-NASA with Nine-Digit ZIP Code
Mr. N. T. Saunders
Chairman, Ethics Committee
U.S. Department of Transportation
2100 Second Street, SW
Washington, DC 20593-0001
3.1.12 Address Lines. No line of the address should be longer than 3 1/2 inches. If an item requires two lines, indent the second line two spaces from the left margin. Limit the address to five lines if possible. See Chapter 7: Envelopes and Mailing, for further information and the proper placement of address information on envelopes and mailers.
3.1.13 Address Salutation. Appendix F: Forms of Addresses, contains proper salutations for domestic and international addresses. The incoming document usually contains the correct address format and is also a good reference.
3.1.14 Salutation. A personalized business letter requires a salutation. See Figures 3-1 and 3-2 of this chapter and Appendix F: Forms of Addresses, for examples of proper salutations.
3.1.15 Body of Letter. Single-space text and double-space between paragraphs. Type text paragraphs in block form. When a paragraph is separated into subparagraphs, number and letter the subparagraphs as shown in Figure 3-2 of this chapter. Hyphenate sparingly to ensure a uniform right margin. Avoid hyphenating more than two consecutive lines. Also, avoid hyphenating at the end of the first line or at the end of the last full line of a paragraph.
3.1.16 Widows and Orphans. Do not begin a paragraph near the end of a page unless there is room for at least two lines on that page. Do not continue a paragraph on the following page unless two lines of that paragraph can be carried over to that page. See Figure 3-3 of this chapter for instructions on numbering pages.
3.1.17 Succeeding Pages. Type succeeding page(s) of a letter on plain bond paper. Beginning with the second page, type the page number five lines from the top of the page, approximately 1 inch to the left of the right edge of the page. Continue the body of the letter two lines below the page number. Allow the same margins as for the first page. See Figure 3-3 of this chapter for instructions on numbering pages.
3.1.18 Complimentary Close. A personalized business letter requires a complimentary close. Use "Sincerely," for all NASA correspondence. Use "Respectfully," when the letter is addressed to the President of the United States.
3.1.19 Signature Blocks
a. Format. Type the signature information at the left margin, four or five typing returns below the complimentary close. Type the name, title, and office of the signing official. Do not use titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Dr. in the signature block. Indent runover title lines two spaces.
Cheryl L. Ellison
Office of the Chief Engineer
Susan D. Minor
Chief of Staff
Office of the Administrator
b. Dual-Signature Blocks. If two people are to sign a letter, arrange the two signature blocks side by side or one beneath the other.
c. If signature blocks are to be placed side by side, begin the first signature block at the left margin and the second block at center. If this arrangement is used, the complimentary close should also begin at the left margin. (This arrangement is appropriate for all letter styles.) When NASA is the originating Agency, the signature block for the NASA official should be at the left margin. Example:
| Robert T. Morgan
National Aeronautics and Space
| Margaret Garvey
Federal Aviation Administration
d. If the signature blocks are positioned one beneath the other, begin typing the second block on the fourth line below the end of the first block, aligned at left.
Robert T. Morgan
National Aeronautics and
Federal Aviation Administration
3.1.20 Acting Official. If it is known before typing that an acting official will sign the letter, type that person's name and the word "Acting" before the title in the signature block. If the letter has been prepared for the signature of the signing official but is actually to be signed by another, the person signing will write "for" in front of the typed name. Mark courtesy copies with the actual signer's name to establish for the record which person actually signed the letter.
3.1.21 Enclosures. When an enclosure accompanies a letter, type the word "Enclosure" flush with the left margin, two lines below the last line of the signer's name or title. For consistency, identify either all or none of the enclosures in the text.
a. Enclosures Identified in the Text. When possible, identify enclosures in the text in as few words as possible or by title. If there is more than one enclosure, indicate the number as follows:
b. Enclosures Not Identified in the Text. When enclosures are not identified in the text, type the list at the left margin. List each enclosure on a separate line as in the following examples:
Example of unnumbered enclosures:
Form Letters Handbook
Plain Letters Pamphlet
The NASA Scientific and Technical Information System
Example of numbered enclosures:
1. Form Letters Handbook
2. Plain Letters Pamphlet
3. Organizational Chart
c. Marking Enclosures.
(1) On the first page of each enclosure, type the word "Enclosure" in the lower right corner, e.g., Enclosure, Enclosure 1, or Enclosure 2.
(2) Before mailing the letter, ensure the number of enclosures shown in the enclosure notation agrees with the number cited in the body of the letter and with the number of items actually enclosed.
3.1.22. Postscripts. Although writing a postscript is discouraged, one may be added to a letter to avoid retyping. Type the postscript two typing returns below the signer's name or title or any other notation, e.g., "Enclosure." At the left margin, type "P.S.:" followed by the postscript. The author then signs or initials the postscript. When the signer handwrites a postscript, type it on all copies or photocopy the original for the file.
3.1.23. Material Sent Under Separate Cover. When material referred to in the text is sent under separate cover, type "Separate Cover:" at the left margin, two typing returns below the signer's title or the "Enclosure" notation if there is one. List the material, whether or not it is identified in the text. Send a copy of the letter with the material that is mailed under separate cover.
Form Letters Handbook-10 Copies
Plain Letters Pamphlet-10 Copies
Correspondence Handbook-10 Copies
3.1.24. Courtesy Copies
a. Courtesy Copies (cc:). Type the distribution list of courtesy copies on the original when the recipient needs to know who received copies. Type "cc:" at the left margin two typing returns below the last typed line of the signature block, the enclosure line, or separate cover listing. Directly below the "cc:" single space the list of recipients, using office or organizational codes. Always use titles such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Dr. on correspondence outside NASA; titles are preferred on NASA internal correspondence but may be omitted as long as names are listed in a consistent format. Examples (listed in order of preference):
Ofc of Gen Counsel/Mr. Brown
Ofc of Gen Counsel/Mr. E. Brown
Ofc of Gen Counsel/E. Brown
Examples of a designated official in an "Acting" capacity:
cc:CIO/Mr. Smith (Acting)
b. A dual-column "cc:" distribution list is permitted when the list is too long to fit in a single column on one page.
c. Preferred Order. Before typing the list of recipients of courtesy copies, study the example below for the correct order. If the letter has enclosures, indicate any recipients who were not sent enclosures by typing the notation "(w/o encls.)" after their names.
Example of a "cc:" list on correspondence originating from GSFC:
|GSFC/100/Mr. Gonzales||1. Originator's addressees first*|
|HQ/Chief Education Officer/Ms. Roberts||2. Headquarters addressees next.*|
|HQ/Ofc of the Administrator/Ms. Johnson|
|ARC/200-1/Ms. Chenier||3. Centers' codes next.*|
|**EPA/Mr. Johnson (w/o encl.)||4. Federal agencies next.*|
|**GSA/Mr. Brown (w/o encl.)|
|AT&T/Ms. Smith||5. Non-Federal organizations last.**|
*All lists should be in seniority order. If seniority is unknown, list in alphabetical and numerical order.
**If an organizational acronym is used without first spelling it out, it should be well known to the recipient of the letter.
3.1.25. Official Record Copy Preparation. The official record copy includes all relevant drafting information concerning the correspondence.
a. Blind Courtesy Copies (bcc:). Use blind courtesy copies when the recipient does not need to know who received copies or to document the office of record. Type "bcc:" on the official file copy two typing returns below the "cc:" listing. Never type "bcc:'s" on the original. The list should include the official file copy with the Agency filing scheme number from Appendix A of NPR 1441.1, NASA Records Retention Schedules. If the letter has enclosures, indicate any recipients who were not sent enclosures by typing the notation "(w/o encl.)" after their names or organizations. Identifying "bcc:" recipients and using dual-column "bcc:" lists will follow the same guidelines as stated in this paragraph. Example:
OSO/Official File 1330
OSO/Reading File (w/o encl.)
b. Identification of Office, Writer, and Typist
(1) On the bottom of file copies of the signature page, type the organization of the preparing office, the writer's first initial and surname, the preparer's initials, the date of typing, and the writer's telephone extension. Example: OSO/JSmith:abd:2/20/05:1234
(2) Type the entire seven-digit telephone number if a Center or office has more than one telephone prefix. Example: OSO/JSmith:abd:2/20/05:823-1234
(3) If the letter is rewritten or retyped, type a second identification line directly below the first. Example:
c. NPR 1441.1, contains the Agency filing scheme for indexing files. Type the official file number on all file copies.
3.2.1 Obtaining and Documenting Concurrences
184.108.40.206 If concurrence are required, type the office titles, mail suites (if HQ), and names of concurring officials on the bottom of the official file copy (first page) of the letter. Concurring officials sign and date in the space provided.
220.127.116.11 Each time a letter is rewritten or retyped, add an updated identification line to the official record copy. Include the name of the person who rewrote it or the typist's initials. Replace and destroy all previous copies except the official file copy and the marked-up copy. Mark through the previous official file copy with a diagonal red line and staple that marked-up copy to the rewritten one. If the marked-up copy is other than the official file copy, fold it and place it on top of the package for the attention of the rewriter or reviewer. If someone else did the retyping, that person's initials should be in the identification line.
18.104.22.168 Sometimes it is necessary to have concurring or approving officials sign on an original letter or report, e.g., personnel documents requiring several reviewing officials, procurement documents, or planning documents requiring approval. In these cases, use the following format:
______________________ ________________________ (Name and Title) (Date) Approval: _______________________ _______________________ (Name and Title) (Date)
Assemble letters in accordance with the illustrations in Figure 3-1 of this chapter.
3.4.1 General. Study the figures in this section before preparing nonpersonalized business letters. The nonpersonalized business letter is a format for specific types of communications with organizations outside NASA. Use this format when the addressee's name is unknown or when a letter is addressed to an organization with attention to a specific individual for special handling.
3.4.2 Attention: Line. In the nonpersonalized business letter, an attention line generally follows the first line of the address at the left margin.
3.4.3 Salutation. There is no salutation.
3.4.4 Subject. Type the word "Subject:" at the left margin, three typing returns below the last line of the address. One-line subjects are preferred. If more than one line is needed for the subject, begin succeeding lines flush with the first character of the subject. Keep the subject short; state concisely the main topic of the letter. Lengthy subjects are discouraged. If responding to a letter with a "Subject:" line, use the same subject. If acronyms or abbreviations are used in the subject, spell them out, followed by the acronym in parentheses. If an abbreviation or acronym is frequently used in a letter, establish it in the subject line so that only the shortened form is necessary in the body of the correspondence. Capitalize the first letter of only key words within the subject line.
3.4.5 Reference. Avoid a separate reference line in a business letter, except when it contributes to the understanding of the correspondence and when the number of references is too great to be reasonably incorporated in the first paragraph of the letter. Type "Ref:" at the left margin, blocked, two typing returns below the last line of the subject, followed by an itemized listing of the references. Abbreviate items as much as possible; e.g., type dates in numerical figures (4/15/05). List references as (a), (b), (c), single-spaced, in chronological order with the most recent date listed first. See Figure 3-3 of this chapter.
3.4.6 Text. Prepare the text portion in block format, the same as the standard business letter.
3.4.7 Complimentary Close. There is no complimentary close.
3.5.1 General. The Office of the General Counsel, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Offices of the Chief and Patent Counsel at NASA Centers use the legal letter format. Use this format solely for legal correspondence relating to a specific case, protest, patent, or license.
3.5.2 Format. The legal letter format is based on the standard business letter with the exception of a caption as explained in paragraph 3.6.3 below. All other elements are the same as the standard business letter.
3.5.3 Caption. Begin the caption by typing "Re:" indented five spaces from the left margin. Use the caption to cite the specific case which is the topic of the letter; e.g., protest, patent, or license. If more than one line is needed, begin succeeding lines flush with the first line of the caption. Indent the entire caption five spaces from the right margin of the letter
3.6.1 General. Study the figures in this chapter before preparing a multiple-addressee letter. Use this format for addressees outside NASA or when a more personalized format is needed for addressees within NASA; e.g., award, thank you and congratulatory letters, or personal invitations.
3.6.2 Format. Prepare identical letters to more than one individual in the same format as the standard business letter.
3.6.3 Original and Copies. Prepare an original letter for each recipient and only one official file copy. Document the list of addressees as follows:
a. Original. When the recipient of a letter needs to know who received identical letters, type "Identical letter to:" two typing returns below the signature block or enclosure line. On the next line, begin the list of recipients of the letter. If there is not enough space at the bottom of the page, type the list on a separate sheet and attach it behind the letter.
b. File Copies. Document the recipients of the letter on the official file copy when the addressees do not need to know who received copies. On the file copy, type "Identical letter to:" two typing returns below the signature block, enclosure line, or the "cc:" line. On the next line, begin the list of the recipients of the letter. If there is not enough space at the bottom of the page, type the list on a separate page and place it behind the file copy.
3.6.4. Exception. When the list of addressees is mostly within NASA, but includes a few individuals from outside NASA, use the multiple-addressee letter as shown in this chapter. An example would be when non-NASA individuals participate in NASA committees or advisory groups.
3.7.1 General. Assemble a letter in the proper order so the signer can quickly identify and review all pertinent documents.
3.7.2 Instructions. Arrange the letter and accompanying documents as described in Appendix A when the letter is ready for final review and signature.
3.7.3 Administrator's Packages. See Appendix A for instructions for assembly of Administrator's correspondence packages. Complex packages, at any signature level, may be assembled this way for easier understanding.
3.8.1 A condolence letter will be prepared by the applicable office for the Administrator's signature upon notification of the death of an employee or upon the death of a former employee or immediate family member of a current or former employee.
3.8.2 The Office of the Administrator requests that the letter be completed and mailed within three business days after receipt of notification of the death.
3.8.3 The Executive Secretariat will provide assistance in drafting the letter.
3.8.4 A condolence letter, signed by the Administrator, does not preclude office members and colleagues from sending other condolence communications.
3.9.1 See Chapter 7: Envelopes and Mailing, for specific preparation instructions. Consult with your Center's Mail Manager for information on mailing services.
3.9.2 Do not type instructions on the letter indicating special handling or mailing services; e.g., Special Delivery, Certified, or Registered. Consult with your Center's Mail Manager for information on special mailing services.
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