There are specific guidelines for spacing on various types of envelopes. Please refer to the following link on the United States Postal Service website at http://pe.usps.gov/text/dmm300/002_OCRreadarea_t.htm to see the optical scanning area for placing addresses on letter size envelopes. The postal machinery reads from the bottom up so there should be no markings or text either below or to the sides of the box area. Problems we've encountered with the scanning areas include slanted labels, color labels, color envelopes, addresses not showing in window envelopes and addresses either below or above the box area.
Please refer to the following link for Business Reply Mail at http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/507_BRMformat_t.htm. There are several scanning areas which should be free of any text. We prefer that you put your name and mailbox number in the upper left hand corner in the permit holder's area. It is also acceptable to put your information directly above the ECU return address line on the #9 envelopes we sell at our office. We need this information to know which account to charge for postage when the envelopes are returned to campus.
The type of mail you bring to our office determines whether or not the envelopes need to be sealed. Those that need to be sealed include foreign mail, student mail at the Bookstore, postage attached (including Business Reply Mail), card size (e.g. thank you notes), bulky envelopes and manila envelopes. Most of the ECU #10 letter size envelopes can be left unsealed if they are being sent as bulk mail or outgoing departmental mail that needs postage. We ask that you paper clip or band together bundles of mail and put your departmental mail code in the upper left hand corner of the first envelope. Please keep sealed and unsealed envelopes in separate stacks. We prefer that you moisten the flaps when sealing your envelopes. If you use tape, please secure the ends and middle portions of the flap to keep them from getting jammed in the postal machinery. We sometimes see envelopes where the papers have large folds or the plastic comb binds on them. Please place these on the bottom of the envelopes as the top part needs to be flatter in order to run through the postage machine.
Many offices buy their envelopes from off-campus vendors but they need to be light in color to show the postage indicia and avoid the large triangular flaps because our mail machine is designed to seal the smaller flaps. For manila envelopes, buy those without the metal clasps because they will need to be removed before mailing. New postal guidelines place surcharges for bulky or metallic items in envelopes to include alligator clips, bindings, pencils, pens, coins and keys. You should never place staples on your envelopes because they can catch on the machinery and present a health hazard to personnel handling the mail. You should instead seal the envelopes using the flaps or reinforcing them with a clear strapping tape approved for mailing.