Preparing Off-Campus Mail

All mail must be separated before arriving at Mail Services (Campus, domestic, 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.

General Addressing

For most mailings, the address should be as close as possible to the center of the envelope. For letter-sized and flat mail pieces always maintain 1/2” clearance from the left and right sides and at least 5/8” from the bottom of the piece.

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, COURIER, ORC-A, COURIER NEW, TAHOMA

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 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. For examples on how to format Michigan State University addresses, click here.

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 (less than 5 degrees).
  • Labels should include only one address. Avoid using shipping labels that contain both a return and destination address on the same label. This can cause the USPS automation equipment to read the wrong address.

Address Block Location for 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.