All mail must be separated before arriving at Mail Services (campus, domestic, and international). Please put personal mail in USPS mail receptacles or give it to your U.S. Postal Carrier. Mail sent to Spartan Village is not considered campus mail—postage must be applied.
Photograph of a sign pointing to Bessey Hall on 434 Farm Lane

General Addressing

For most mailings, the address should be as close as possible to the center of the envelope. Destination address should be three or four lines and must include an address line, city, state, and zip to be deliverable.


  • Left justify address block information.
  • Use uniform font size and spacing throughout. Upper case is preferred. 
  • Keep advertising, logos, and other information clear of the address area.
  • Use 10-12 point font. Avoid using script or narrow font; san serif fonts work best. Good examples include Arial, Helvetica, OCR-A, and Tahoma.

Mailing internationally? Review International Mail requirements.

Destination Address Block Location

  • Letters:
    • Always maintain 1/2” clearance from the left and right sides and at least 5/8” from the bottom of the piece.
  • Flat Mail (larger than 6 1/8" by 11 1/2"):
    • The destination address should be a MINIMUM of 1” lower and 1” to the right of the return address, more is preferred.
    • The destination address block must be clearly separated from any extraneous text and graphics. Provide a minimum clear area of 3/8” (1/2” recommended) in each direction surrounding the address block.

Address Line Order Requirements

USPS equipment reads address information from the bottom to the top of the mailpiece. City, state, and zip code information should always be the very last line in the address. The delivery address line just above the city, state, and zip code is where the USPS will attempt delivery.

Return Addresses

All university business mail must include a return address. This is also a security requirement of the USPS. Please note that items being shipped domestically must have a domestic return address. View examples on how to format Michigan State University addresses.

Window Envelopes

Nothing should show through the window except address data. The complete address should be visible at all times. To make sure your address is visible, do a simple “tap-test.” With the mailpiece in the window envelope, tap the envelope to the right, left, and bottom. You should be able to see all of the address information with the full shift of the mailpiece.

Adhesive Labels

Place address labels uniformly, avoiding skew—should be skewed less than 5 degrees. Avoid using shipping labels that contain both a return and destination address on the same label. Labels should include only one address, otherwise the USPS automation equipment may read the wrong address.

P.O. Boxes

The only carrier that can deliver to P.O. boxes is the United States Postal Service (USPS). Other carriers (e.g. DHL, FedEx, UPS) will not be able to complete delivery when a P.O. box is listed as the delivery address.