Facilities Management

University of Colorado Boulder

Mailer's Guide

The CU-Boulder community of 30,000 students and more than 8,000 faculty and staff requires all the postal services of an ordinary community. In addition, CU needs many specialized services for handling the unique activities of university life.

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Mailing Services consists of two different service operations: Distribution processes incoming mail for the campus, while Meterline processes outgoing first class, international mail, UPS, and FedEx.

Both service operations of Mailing Services are located at the Distribution Center (3300 Walnut St). Our mailing address for all services is 60 UCB.

Mailing Services processed approximately 2.5 million pieces of incoming mail last year and approximately 97,000 pieces of outgoing mail.

Mailing Services encourages interested parties to tour the department. To arrange a tour contact the manager of the particular service area that is of interest to you or 303-492-6242.

Hours of Operation 

Distribution Center Reception Office:
Monday through Friday, 7:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
(Summer hours: 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.)

Meterline and Distribution teams:
Monday through Friday, 7:30 A.M. to 12:00 Noon and 1:00 P.M. to 4:30 P.M (year round)

Stamps/USPS products  

The UCB Mailing Services is not a post office and is not able to provide any USPS products or services to individuals on a cash-for-service basis (e.g. money orders, stamps, etc.). Find your closest USPS office.

Mailing Supplies

The Mailing Services receptionist will provide university departments with supplies for preparation of their outgoing mail at no charge (rubber bands, return receipts, customs forms, mail trays, mail tubs, etc.). Contact 303-492-6242.

Packaging supplies (envelopes, address labels, tape, etc.) may be purchased from the CU Bookstore.

USPS and University Policies

In accordance with the Private Express Statutes as interpreted by the Postal Service (regulations 39 C.F.R. parts 310 and 320), the campus mail service is for university business only.

  • A. Letters must be sent by, and/or addressed to staff and faculty members in their official capacity as representatives of UCB.
  • B. Personal letters of staff, faculty, or students may not be carried within the campus mail system (i.e. advertisements of a house for sale/rent, personal Christmas cards, Credit Union statements, etc.)
  • C. Outside businesses have very limited access to the campus mail system.  While University departments may use the campus mail system for University business, departments may not serve as a conduit of mail for the letters of outside organizations or individuals.
  • D. The University may carry letters of its bona fide affiliated student or faculty organizations to campus destinations. The restrictions outlined above apply.

Mail carriers are not permitted to pick up personal mail (i.e. bills, correspondence, etc.), for input into the U.S. Postal system. Departments and/or individuals must use the various U.S. Mail collection boxes located throughout campus for non-University business and/or personal mail.

University Policy

All incoming and outgoing mail processed by the University must relate to the business of the University.  Mailing Services may audit all campus mailings for content by visually inspecting a random sample from each mailing to ensure compliance with the relevant statutes and policies.  Mailing Services Distribution Supervisor and/or Distribution Manager will be responsible for auditing campus mailings for compliance with these regulations.

  • I.  Mailing Services may not be used for commercial, personal or private gain or for commercial advertising for organizations or individuals not affiliated with the University. 
  • II. Mailing Services can only accept mailings that clearly demonstrate that the mailing is sponsored by the University of Colorado system.  Acceptable mailings are written on University letterhead, have a University return address, or clearly and prominently state that the function is sponsored by a University department.
  • III. Mailing Services operations may not be used in any manner to imply University endorsement of a partisan, political, sectarian, or religious position.                                
  • IV. Mailing Services may not be used for fund raising, except as approved by the Vice Chancellor for Administration.
  • V.  The University may carry letters of its bona fide affiliated student or faculty organizations to campus destinations.  The restrictions outlined in this policy apply.
  • VI. Outside businesses are not generally allowed access to the Campus mail system. 

A.  While University departments may use the Campus mail system for University business, departments may not serve as a conduit for mail for the letters of outside organizations or individuals unless the material relates to the business of the University.

B.  Material generated off-campus must include a cover letter on University letterhead, stating that the mailing is sponsored by a University department.   

Billing Infomation

All charges appear in batch "MSS01" and reference "JE00055".  All postage charges appear in code 565; all Mailing Services labor charges appear in code 567.  All charges are fully listed on the Peoplesoft statement with the tracking number and the IN number if one was received.  Departments are required to control the sending of mail and which speed type is used.  An online system to look at Mailing Services Billing is in the construction stage and is projected to be available by July 2007.

Zip Codes 

The ZIP Code for Boulder campus departmental offices is 80309 plus the appropriate four-digit ZIP Code "add-on." The four-digit add-on is your departmental campus box number, plus the appropriate number of zeros to total four digits.  For example:

Board of Regents = 80309-0003     
Mailing Services = 80309-0060  
Human Resources = 80309-0565

The ZIP code for Boulder campus residence halls is 80310.

Private Carriers

Mailing Services accepts and delivers USPS mail only.  Private carriers, such as United Parcel Service (UPS), Federal Express, Airborne, and Pony Express deliver directly to the departments.

Campus Addresses

A campus box number assignment corresponds to a particular delivery route/location on campus.  It determines how effectively your mail processes from receipt to delivery.  This includes where your mail is sorted, who is sorting your mail, where your mail is queued for the route, and the order of delivery.  UCB campus box numbers are maintained and assigned by the Mailing Services General Manager or Distribution Supervisor.  If a department changes location such that the new location is on a different delivery route, the campus box number may be changed.  Relocation's may also require us to change our delivery routes to accommodate the move.  Contact the Distribution Supervisor at 2-2444 as soon as possible when departmental moves are planned to prepare for the change if one is required.

If a change in box number is necessary, Mailing Services maintains a one-year grace period on the old box number to allow time for the department to notify correspondents, change letterhead, etc.  Mail addressed to an old box number is forwarded to the new box number assignment during this time.

If your department is planning to move on a regular basis or will be re-locating to an off-campus location, other arrangements may be made for you to receive your mail.

Mailing Services evaluates requests for new box numbers solely from the standpoint of mail volume and geographical location.  Due to the steady increase in mail volume and growth of departments, combined with our fixed physical resources, Mailing Services is forced to centralize mail stops and box numbers as much as possible.  Contact the Distribution Supervisor for further details at X2-2444.

How to Address Mail

Incoming mail to on-campus departments must bear the correct name, department and campus box number on each piece.  The correct address formats are as follows:

mailing address main campus

mailng address east campus

intra-campus address

Jane Doe

Jane Doe

Jane Doe

English Department

Payroll and Benefits

English Department

University of Colorado

3100 Marine Street, 3rd Floor

226 UCB

226 UCB

565 UCB


Boulder, CO  80309-0226

Boulder, Colorado 80309-0565




The Campus Box number system of the University has been entered into the US Postal National Address Database as the "Delivery Address".  It is therefore imperative that the line immediately above the "City, State, ZIP" line contain only your box number with no leading zeros and campus code (your Campus Box number).  This will ensure that routing of incoming mail pieces through the postal equipment is correct.

For further information on postal automation and addressing standards, please refer to the section on "Addressing Standards.”

A listing of all campus box numbers is located in the front of the Boulder Campus Directory under "Campus Mailing Addresses" and or by contacting the Distribution Manager.

Misdelivered Mail

If a bundle of mail or a package is delivered to your department in error, please promptly report the error to Mailing Services so it can be quickly corrected.

Intra-campus Mailings Over 50 Pieces

A department invoice (IN) is required for all campus mailings 50 pieces or over.  Mailing Services audits mailings for compliance with the USPS. Private Express Statutes and University policy and assesses a sorting/delivery charge.  All mailings should be prepared in campus box number order to avoid the higher "campus delivery" rate.

Non-mail Items

Mailing Services was established to deliver, pick up, and process interdepartmental correspondence, mailings, and items to be mailed through our Meterline Services.  Non-mail items requiring general campus transport, such as boxes of computer paper, books, seminar materials, office supplies, shipments from private couriers, etc. or mailings involving more than 2,000 pounds of materials fall outside the scope and resources of this department.  Requests for such services should contact Moving and Hauling, at Property Services.  In addition, the Distribution Center stocks and delivers many types of supplies.

Reusable Envelopes

Mailing Services encourages the use of reusable envelopes for use on campus.  Despite our efforts to keep the campus supplied with these envelopes, the demand is greater than our supply.  We request that any department that have an excess supply of reusable envelopes to send them to Mailing Services so that they may reused.  If you have a large quantity of reusable envelopes to return to Mailing Services, please call in a package pick-up.  Please label your bundle "empty envelopes for reuse" and be sure that all envelopes are empty before returning them to Mailing Services.

Receipt of Express, Registered, Certified, and Insured Mail

"USPS accountable mail" is defined as "articles sent registered, certified, insured, and express which require a signature upon receipt as proof of delivery."  Mailing Services receives this mail from the USPS between 9:00 and 10:00 AM.  Monday through Friday with the exception of Holidays.  The Distribution Supervisor verifies and signs for each piece from the USPS and then creates a manifest of this mail for departmental signatures to complete the audit trail.  Distribution delivers this mail on a separate delivery route between 10:00 AM and 3:00 P.M.  The addressee or a responsible person at the addressee’s department must sign for these articles when campus carriers attempt delivery.  If the carrier cannot obtain a signature for the article, the article will be returned to Mailing Services and a notice of its arrival will be mailed to the addressee.  The articles can either be picked up at the Distribution Center (3300 Walnut) or re-delivery may be requested for the next day, provided there will be someone available to sign for the article.

If the USPS receives additional Express mail for the University during the day, they will make a special trip to Mailing Services.  Normally a Periodical delivery arrives around 3:00 P.M.  Mailing Services will call the department upon receipt.  The department may come to Mailing Services to pick up the piece, or have it delivered the following morning on the regular accountables route.

If a department needs to know if a particular piece of express mail has arrived, or pick it up ASAP, please contact Mailing Services at x2-6242.  We will contact you by phone as soon as possible and make the piece available for pick up.  For an additional charge, the department may request a "Express Services" delivery, and the piece will then be delivered to the department within one hour.

Preparation of Outgoing Mail

The mail from each stop on each route is merged with the other departments on the route.  To ensure same day processing, outgoing mail must be separated into:

            1)  Campus mail

            2)  Mail to be metered (separate international)

            3)  Stamped mail and business reply  

Each bundle must be securely rubber-banded, so that mail for each department and/or account number is not separated.  The bundle is directed to the appropriate service area upon the return to Mailing Services.  Loose mail is more likely to be delayed as well as damaged (bent, crushed) when merged with hundreds of other pieces along the route.  All Mail sent off campus must have a University return address.

Rubber bands are available through Mailing Services for bundling mail at no cost.  Please contact our receptionist at x2-6242 if you need rubber bands.

Package Pick-up Requests

Distribution package carriers pick up packages or large quantities of mail from departments for processing by Mailing Services that the letter carriers are not able to pick up on their walking routes.  To schedule a pickup of this type of mail, please click on this link to go to the Package Pickup Request form.  This mail should be placed for pick up in the normal carrier stop in the department.  For same-day service, requests must be called in to Mailing Services by 8:30 AM for departments, which normally receive their package mail in the mornings, and by 12:00 Noon for departments receiving their package mail in the afternoon.

When scheduling a package pickup, you will receive a package pickup number.  Place this number on each package, bundle, or tray being picked-up.  Loose mail will not be picked-up; box or bundle items to prevent loss and/or damage.

Mailing Services may spread out package pick-ups of 5 or more packages or boxes over two or more days (depending on the quantity) in order to maintain the daily campus delivery/pick up schedules.

Same-day pick up of large quantities of mail, emergency/immediate pickups, and pickups in locations other than the standard mail stop in the department depend on the availability of our resources (personnel/vehicles).  A prorated labor charge may be assessed to the department for such pickups.

To schedule a large mailing with the Supervisor of the Meterline call (2-2443) prior to calling for a package pickup.

Equipment:  A damage waiver must be signed for equipment such as computers being picked up for shipment through Mailing Services Meterline Services.  Please identify such items when requesting a package pickup.

Hazardous Materials:  There are strict rules for shipping hazardous materials.  All hazardous materials will ship through the Distribution Center rather than Mailing Services.  Please contact Materiel Management at the Distribution Center for further information.

Boulder-Denver Shuttle

Distribution operates the Boulder-Denver Shuttle Service on a daily schedule, Monday through Friday.  Regular daily stops are made to the State Services Building, the UCD Campus (currently being distributed through Auraria Business Services), and the Health Sciences Center.

Mail for the Boulder-Denver Shuttle received at Mailing Service before 12:00 Noon will be delivered that same afternoon to the various stops along the route.

Mail destined for delivery on the Shuttle must carry the correct department name, delivery address, and city of destination.  To expedite handling of items, the words “DENVER SHUTTLE" should be placed on each piece, bundle, or package to be delivered from Boulder to Denver.  Likewise, correspondents should write "BOULDER SHUTTLE" on all mail sent from Denver to Boulder.

As with UCB mail service, the Shuttle service is for the transfer of University correspondence rather than non-correspondence items such as boxes of materials, paper, goods, etc.  However, Mailing Services will try to accommodate boxes when space allows.  The limited capacity of the vehicle, combined with the varying quantities of mail to be picked up or delivered at each stop prevent any guarantee of delivery of non-correspondence items.

Express Service

Express Service is an on-call service designed to move small non-mail items and time sensitive correspondence to destinations on the Boulder campus or within Boulder city limits.  The targeted turnaround time for this service is 1 ½ hour. Mailing Services can handle most items through Messenger Service; however, large equipment or large quantities of items should be referred to Moving and Hauling at Property Services.  They can be reached at 2-6524.

The current cost of Messenger Service is $15.00 per delivery stop. If a department has items going to different destinations, $15.00 will be assessed for the first delivery stop and $10.00 for each additional delivery stop. Departmental speedtypes will be taken with the order over the phone for billing.

This service is offered 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 and 1:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. weekdays. After you have requested this service, our receptionist will request the following information: account number to be billed, contact person/department/building/ room number and phone number for pickup, and the same information for delivery.

The item for delivery should be packaged, addressed and ready for delivery at the time the call is made.  If requested, proof of delivery will be obtained when the item is delivered; therefore, the recipient or a departmental representative must be available to sign for the item at the time of delivery.

Campus Certified Mail

Due to the volume of mail received and processed each day, it is not possible to trace missing mail unless the pieces have been sent in "accountable" form.  Campus certified service is available to provide proof of delivery for important items. Campus certified mail is handled similarly to USPS certified mail within the campus mail system.

There is a nominal fee per piece for this service.  When your department wishes to send a campus certified through the campus mail system, please complete a campus certified form and retain the top copy for your records.  The bottom two copies should be attached to the article.  Please deliver the article to Mailing Services at 3300 Walnut St. so that the article can be properly logged in.  Campus Certified mail can be placed in your outgoing mail for pickup by Mailing Services.  It would be best to separate them so they don’t get mixed with other outgoing mail.  Campus certified forms are available by calling our receptionist (2-6242).

Please note that for same-day delivery of campus certified mail to be delivered on the Boulder-Denver Shuttle, the campus certified must be received by Mailing Services at 3300 Walnut St. by 11:45 A.M. to allow sufficient processing time.

Insufficient Address/Forwarding

Incoming USPS and intra-campus mail that has an insufficient address (undeliverable) will be delayed.  We regularly receive campus mail with only a name (sometimes only a first name!) to work with.  To avoid delays or returns, it is imperative to inform your correspondents of your correct and complete address.

Mailing Services uses the latest monthly Payroll database listing of personnel to determine the proper mailing address.  This same listing is used to correct mailing lists.  It is important that your PAF reflect the correct information.

Misaddressed Periodical and Standard (non-profit) bulk mailings are treated in accordance with the U.S. Postal policies:

Periodicals (normally a publication such as a magazine) which are insufficiently addressed are sent through to the addressee after the correct mailing address has been determined. 

Standard (non-profit) bulk mail consists of circulars, printed matter, newsletters, catalogues, and the like.  If the minimum addressing requirement for this class of mail is not met, the piece will be recycled unless an endorsement for "address correction requested" is specified on the piece.  In this instance, the piece will be returned to sender with the address correction.

Change of Address

Mailing Services provides change of address cards for departments to correct mailing addresses or delete unwanted correspondence.  The department must complete the card and return it to Mailing Services.  Mailing Services will pay for the postage on all business related change of address cards.

It is the responsibility of the individual departments to forward all mail addressed to former staff and faculty members, as the U.S. Postal Service and Mailing Services does not maintain change of address files for the University.

Meterline Services

--Preparation of mail to be metered--

Speed types
Use of a departmental IN (Invoice) is optional for processing First Class daily mail.  If an IN is not used, the speed type should be written in the upper left hand corner of the individual piece or on the top piece of each bundle. Any individual piece or bundle of outgoing daily business mail requiring postage must have valid speed type included.  The speed type on a piece or bundle authorizes Mailing Services to post that mail and recharge the department. Mail without a speed type will be delayed, and could be returned to the department.  Avoid any writing in the upper right hand corner of the envelope, or along the bottom of the envelope 5/8” from the bottom.

Departmental/ Mailing Services Invoices    
An invoice (IN) is required for any USPS special services (i.e. registered, express, certified, or insured mail) and all UPS or FedEx services.  In addition, all INs for UPS or Federal Express shipments must include the street address of the recipient.  This information serves as a tracking record for your parcels.  Please be specific as to the service requested.  IN’s will not be processed without an authorizing signature and a valid account number.

University of Colorado department return address 
A CU return address must appear on each piece of mail to be sent off campus.  This policy is to ensure compliance with the Colorado Revised Statutes 24-30-1111 regarding the penalty for private use of State installed postage meters.

Foreign Mail 
Foreign mail should be separated from Domestic Mail and clearly identified to ensure that it will be processed with the correct postage.  All foreign addresses must have the destination country spelled out in full (no abbreviations).  Any USPS, UPS or FedEx packages being shipped to a foreign destination that have a commercial value or over 1 lb., must include a description of contents and value for customs.  This includes packages sent to APO addresses.  Failure to include this information may result in a delay in shipping the package.

Default classes for processing mail 
Unmarked domestic mail will automatically be processed at the first class rate.  To avoid paying higher postage rates than necessary, consider lower rates such as media or library mail and mark the desired rate on the mailing piece.  If it is necessary to have the same day post mark on your mail, put a note on the piece or bundle, stating “Today’s post mark required.”

Unmarked Foreign mail will automatically be processed at the air letter class or air parcel post class if over 4 lbs. To avoid paying higher rates than necessary, consider economy letter post or economy parcel post rates, and mark your package accordingly.

Call ahead for larger mailings 
If your have a mailing larger than 2000 letters or 500 flats,  notify the Meterline at 2-2443 one day in advance, to guarantee timely processing.  Unscheduled mailings will be processed the same day only if time permits.

Information or Supplies
If you would like information on rates, the best way to ship packages, or to order USPS or FedEx supplies, call the Meterline at 2-2443 or 2-2445.

More information about fees and classes of services:

US Postal Service

--Labor charges--

Labor charges may be assessed for mail to be metered that requires additional preparation or handling. Mailings that may be assessed these charges are listed as follows:

  • A. Envelopes that cannot be sealed at the same time that they are metered,   (flaps that are perpendicular to the address) may be assessed a hand seal or machine seal charge for over 50 pieces. Please note that clasp envelopes cannot be run through the meter machines without damaging the equipment.
  • B. Mailings over 50 pieces that have a permit number that has to be blocked out, or that require a meter tape, may be assessed an additional handling fee.
  • C. If you have 10 or more pieces of special services (i.e. Certified, Registered,    Express) for processing, a labor charge may be assessed.  If return receipts are requested, labor charges will be reduced if you fill out the return receipts prior to submitting the mailing to the Meterline.  Please contact Mailing Services if you need a supply of return receipts.
  • D. If you have more than 10 foreign packages that require customs forms, you may be assessed a handling fee for filling out the required forms.  To avoid this fee, call Mailing Services for a supply of customs forms.
  • E. Mail requiring extra labor or preparation will be processed last, and may not go out the same day it is received. 


If you miss the regular scheduled pick up at your department, mail can be dropped off at the Mailing Services Office at 3300 Walnut Street, Boulder, CO.  Outgoing mail to be metered and UPS or FedEx mail to be processed by the Meterline must be at Mailing Services before 3:00 P.M. for same-day posting and delivery.  Special emergency or rush requests after 3:00 P.M. will be considered if time and volume permit.

Currently, our post office mail is shipped to the Boulder Post Office at 3:45 P.M., Monday through Friday.

UPS and Federal Express pick up from Mailing Services by 3.45 P.M. Monday through Friday. Mailing Services does not have accounts with DHL, Airborne Express or FedEx ground, so we can only accept pre-printed authorized return shipments for these vendors 

Block recharge on account numbers: Departments can flag account numbers through Mailing Services so that they are not recharged for daily mail to be metered. To flag an account number, send a memo to the Mailing Services accountant at 60 UCB. This flag affects daily mail only and does not affect transactions requested on an IN.

State Law - Meters

A special add plate reading "State of Colorado Official Mail, Penalty for Private Use" is required for each meter machine on campus.  Violations of this policy can result in the loss of meter privileges.  Any person who uses a state-installed meter for private purposes commits a Class-3 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in Section HB1170, LDO 83-0038/1, 1093 (up to $750.00 fine/6 months imprisonment).

Business Reply Mail

Business Reply Mail (BRM) enables a department to provide its correspondents with return reply envelopes or cards which the correspondent can return without paying postage.  The BRM permit holder (UCB Mailing Services) is then assessed the regular first-class rate plus a BRM handling fee on each piece that is returned.  Pre-printed BRM envelopes and cards are used mostly on this campus for return of information requested or questionnaires.  The advantage of BRM is that the department pays postage and fees only on the replies which are returned.

Permit #165 is currently approved for the BRMAS (Business Reply Mail Accounting Service) program.  Approval requires at least 98% of the incoming UCB permit #165 BRM pieces conform to USPS automation specifications.  This program reduces the BRM handling fee.

Departments wishing to use permit #165 for BRM envelopes and cards must have approval for the card or envelope from Imaging Services prior to printing. Departments wishing to use old BRM card or envelope stock also need to have the BRM stock reviewed.  The Postal Service will create and provide UCB with the BRMAS template that is needed at no charge.  BRM pieces that are printed incorrectly jeopardize the 7 cent per piece BRMAS discount for the rest of the campus. Departments printing off-campus or using materials that do not meet USPS specifications may not use permit account #165.

BRM Processing through Mailing Services

BRM arrives daily from the USPS.  Mailing Services will recharge all postage and fees billed to the University to the individual departments.  The department should have a valid account number pre-printed on the BRM envelope or card.  If the account number printed on your BRM piece is not current, please contact Jeremy Pine at 2-2206 to update the account number.

Mailing Services sorts all BRM pieces according to the account number printed on them, bundled, date-stamped and returned to the department with the quantity of pieces indicated on the bundle.  There is normally a 24-hour turnaround from the receipt of the BRM pieces by Mailing Services to delivery of the pieces to the department.  However, if the amount charged to our account by the Post Office does not correspond to the amount to an additional day delay may occur while the billing issue can be resolved.

Courtesy Reply Mail 

Courtesy reply provides the sender with a pre-printed card or envelope to return, but does not provide the postage.  The mailer must put the appropriate postage on the return piece.

To expedite the return of this mail through the automated equipment of the Postal Service, templates are available to pre-print the appropriate FIMs and barcode on the return piece.

Address correction/Return Services

Ancillary Services are provided by the USPS for mail endorsed "Address Correction Requested," and/or "Return Postage Guaranteed."  These services provide for a correct mailing address and/or return of the mail piece for mail undeliverable as addressed.  Fees charged to the University by the USPS for these services requested by the mailer are recharged to the individual departments.

As of November 1988, the USPS implemented new requirements for mailers who use endorsements to request address correction and return service.  In essence, the approved placement, size, abbreviation, and clear space are standardized.  If the mail does not match the updated standards it will rejected by the USPS. 

Addressing Standards

The USPS standards for addressing have changed to accommodate the high-speed automated equipment used in post offices nationwide.  This equipment includes optical character readers (OCRs) and bar code sorters (BCSs), programmed to "read" and sort up to 10 pieces per Periodical. To ensure proper delivery of outgoing mail, decrease processing/delivery time and take advantage of postage discounts, mail must  be "machineable" (right size and shape to go through equipment) and electronically "readable".  Following are the general format and address rules to follow:

* Use white or light-colored envelopes, and type (no script) the address in black ink.  The OCRs cannot recognize or read an address block if there is not enough contrast between the background color of the envelope and the ink used to type the address.  Avoid using red or green envelopes, as the OCR cannot "read" the piece.

* Center the address on the envelope.

* Format all lines of the address with a uniform left margin.

* The typewriter or printer used should leave a clear space between each character.  If any characters in the address touch each other, the OCR cannot tell where one ends and another one begins.

* Do not use any punctuation in the address, except for the hyphen in the ZIP + 4 Code.  Place one full character space between words and between the state abbreviation and ZIP Code.

* Do not place any printing below the city/state/ZIP Code line.  Place any "attention" line above the firm name.

* Make sure city/state/ZIP Code line is at least one inch above the bottom edge of the envelope.

* The address should be parallel to the bottom edge of the envelope, not slanted.

* In the last line of the address, spell out the city name in its entirety and use the appropriate two-character state abbreviation.

* The line immediately above the city/state/ZIP Code should indicate where you want the piece delivered.  This is important if both the street address and post office box number must be used in the address block.  (This process called "dual addressing" should be avoided whenever possible.)

* Use ZIP + 4 codes whenever possible.

* The address must be clearly visible in windowed envelopes, even when inserts shift.

Mail that is unreadable by the USPS equipment, it is routed to a letter sorting machine where the information is manually keyed in.  This will cause a delay of about a day in the routing of the piece of mail. 

State Abbreviations

Alabama  AL   
Alaska AK   
Arizona AZ    
Arkansas  AR  
California CA  
Colorado CO  
Connecticut  CT    
Delaware  DE  
District of Columbia  DC          
Florida FL    
Georgia  GA  
Guam  GU   
Hawaii  HI     
Idaho  ID   
Illinois IL    
Indiana  IN    
Iowa  IA    
Kansas  KS    
Kentucky KY
Louisiana  LA
Maine  ME
Massachusetts  MA
Michigan  MI
Minnesota  MN
Mississippi  MS
Missouri  MO
Montana  MT
Nebraska  NE
Mevada  NV
New Hampshire  NH
New Jersey  NJ
New Mexico  NM
New York  NY
North Carolina  NC
North Dakota ND
Ohio  OH
Oklahoma  OK
Pennsylvania  PA
Puerto Rico  PR
Rhode Island  RI
South Carolina  SC
South Dakota  SD
Tennessee  TN
Texas  TX
Utah  UT
Vermont  VT
Virginia  VA
Virgin Islands  VI
Washington  WA
Wisconsin  WI
Wyoming  WY