INFO





How to type addresses for mailing:

PURPOSE: To ensure addresses on mailing pieces can be read by the USPS computer so that your mailing pieces will arrive at your customers' doors.

When typing addresses for mailing, follow these guidelines:

  • Computers read all addresses these days, even handwritten addresses, so you must type the addresses in a manner that the USPS computers can read. (They can read about half of the handwritten addresses.) That means you must use the same format and abbreviations that have been given to the computers. If you don't, the mail piece will either be returned (or tossed) as undeliverable or it will be delayed while a human is found to read and interpret what you meant. Example: I know that "Sp" means "Space" and that it is a commonly used designation for a mobile home but the USPS computers only know "Unit" or "#".
  • Always ask your client/customer to to give you all parts of the address. Ask for the spelling of the street name. If they just say "Fremont", ask if it is "Fremont St" or "Fremont Ct", etc. Ask if there is an apartment or suite number. Ask for the zip code. (You can look up zip codes at USPS.COM or by calling 800-ASK-USPS.) If you have a list that is missing many zip codes, don't spend the time looking them up. We can do it faster.
  • Correctly spell the street name. If you are not absolutely certain how to spell the street name, and the customer/client can't spell it for you, look it up in a zip code book or on the web. Example: I was told verbally that a person lives on "Cable St" but the USPS computer refused it. I drove to the physical address and found that she really lives on "Kabel St". I understand that "Cable" is essentially the same as "Kabel" but the computer won't.
  • Type a numeric street name with a number not a word. Example: "7th Ave" is correct, "Seventh Ave" is not.
  • Never abbreviate a street name. You may know that "Mt." means "Mount" in a street name such as "Mount Scott Blvd" but the computer doesn't.
  • Always abbreviate street suffix names. These are things like "Ave", "St", etc. A list of the most common suffixes follows.
  • "Lp" is not a standard USPS abbreviation. I don't know why. If "Ave" is for "Avenue", I don't know why "Lp" can't work for "Loop" but in the world of USPS computers it isn't an abbreviation so don't use it.
  • Always abbreviate apartment and the other unit designators. A list of abbreviations for these follows. It is okay to use a number symbol - # - instead. But never use "No" instead of "#" because the computer won't recognize it. And never use "Apt #", use one or the other, not both.
  • Apartment (and other types of unit) numbers go after the address and on the same line as the address.
  • Don't use punctuation. As far as the computer is concerned, punctuation is just garbage. Don't use it. You can use a comma after the city name.
  • PO Box and street address listed? The street address is typed first, the PO Box second. The USPS computer actually reads from the bottom up: zip, state, city, delivery address. The PO Box is the actual delivery address so it should be placed just above the city/state/zip line. The street address is commonly kept on address lists in case the PO Box is closed.
  • "Attn: Joe Smith" goes on the line above the company name.
  • PMB" goes after the address, and after the suite # (if there is one) and on the same line as the address. "PMB" stands for Personal Mail Box. This is a box at one of the mail box services so the suite number designates the suite of the office where the mail box service exists; the "PMB" number designates that individual's personal box.
  • Directionals - NE, SE, NW, SW, N, S, E, W - are always abbreviated.
  • Never abbreviate the city name.
  • Use standard 2-digit state abbreviations. A full list of US state and Canadian province abbreviations follows.
  • Type the zip code if you know it. If you know the extra four digits, include those but don't worry if you don't have them because it's our job to get them, and they aren't required for First Class mail. Never type just part of the zip code; leave it off if you don't know all five digits.
  • Type foreign country names in full CAPS as the last line of the address block. Type Canadian addresses as you do US addresses (with CANADA on the last line). Their zip codes are similar but contain letters with numbers. Standard abbreviations for Canadian province names are on the attachment.
  • Unusual address not covered here? USPS Publication 28 covers everything anyone could ever want to know about addressing. You can find this in the Publication section of USPS.COM on the web (read it there or print an Adobe file) or you can call your city's main Post Office and ask to have it sent to you. Portland number - 503-294-2427begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 503-294-2427 end_of_the_skype_highlighting . Or you can call your friendly mailing house and ask for help. Vrla Mailing Services - 503-289-7158begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 503-289-7158 end_of_the_skype_highlighting . We're always happy to help.
  • Not sure if you have the right address and the customer isn't in front of you? If you have access to the Web, ANYWHO.COM and DEXONLINE.COM are great resources for locating addresses.
  • PROOF YOUR TYPING when you're done typing an address! Read it over. Look at the paper it came from or read it aloud, especially the numbers, to the client/customer in front of you to ensure it is correct.
Street Suffix Abbreviations:
(Common ones)
US State Abbreviations:
Alley
Avenue
Boulevard
Canyon
Center
Circle
Common
Court
Creek
Crossing
Drive
Expressway
Ferry
Freeway
Harbor
Heights
Highway
Hill
Island
Junction
Landing
Lane
Loop
Park
Parkway
Place
Plaza
Road
Route
Square
Street
Terrace
Trail
Turnpike
Walk
Way
Aly
Ave
Blvd
Cyn
Ctr
Cir
Cmn
CT
Crk
Xing
Dr
Expy
Fry
Fwy
Hbr
Hts
Hwy
Hl
Is
Jct
Lndg
Ln
Loop
Park
Pkwy
Pl
Plz
Rd
Rte
Sq
St
Ter
Trl
Tpke
Walk
Way
Alabama
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Palau
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virgin Islands
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
AL
AK
AS
AZ
AR
CA
CO
CT
DE
DC
FL
GA
GU
HI
ID
IL
IN
IA
KS
KY
LA
ME
MD
MA
MI
MN
MS
MO
MT
NE
NV
NH
NJ
NM
NY
NC
ND
OH
OK
OR
PW
PA
PR
RI
SC
SD
TN
TX
UT
VT
VI
VA
WA
WV
WI
WY
Unit Designator Abbreviations:
Apartment
Building
Floor
Suite
Unit
Room
Department
Apt
Bldg
Fl
Ste
Unit
Rm
Dept
Canadian Province Abbreviations:
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon Territory
AB
BC
MB
NB
NF
NT
NS
ON
PE
QC
SK
YT


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