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A site visitor was curious and pondered:
Are there formatting conventions I should know? I have always signed hard copy letters to the right, but it seems that e-mails are signed at the left margin. And are there requirements, like Sincerely, Regards, etc.?
While handwritten letters and personal e-mails are written communications, some of the “old-fashioned” rules simply do not apply to e-mail. That’s why this site exists. Glad you stopped by and submitted your question!
In the off-line world, whether you signed your name to the right or left was really a personal choice. With your day-to-day personal e-mail communications sign-offs which include your name are by default left-aligned.
Paper vs. E-mail
I guess if you really wanted to be different you could use the tab key to put your sign-off and name over to the right. However, the reason that would not be wise is you do not control how your message will display when received.
Written communication layouts are set the way they are created. The recipient cannot change your text layout or orientation. It is what it is. E-mails are fluid in layout and will display differently depending on platform. Computer vs. mobile for example.
As far as how you sign-off, using your examples of Sincerely or Regards, are important to include as they help to set the tone of your communication. You wouldn’t use “Sincerely” if you weren’t truly sincere, right? And you wouldn’t use “Regards,” with someone you are close to. Not including a sign-off at all, which at the very least should include your name properly typed, can be perceived as rude or curt.
I have a bunch of articles that you can review to determine what works for you! Here’s a few to start with:
- How important are E-mail Sign-Offs
- No Opening Greeting or Courtesy Closing?
- E-mail Sign-off Considerations Including Examples
- No Sign-Off? No Big Deal?
Business E-mails are Different
Although many established conventions for Business E-mails will apply when compared to business letterhead, for personal e-mails simply type your name left-aligned under your sign-off. Check out my Business E-mail Etiquette Blog for more business focused e-mail discussions.
The bottom line? Right or left justified isn’t as important to your sign-off as making sure that you close your e-mails in a way that solidifies your overall intent and tone.
Have a topic or question you would like to see me cover here on my blog? Let me know here!