In any business, there will be times when important, and sometimes sensitive information, will be sent from one individual to another, which requires clarification or an introduction. Brief explanations can be given by using a Transmittal letter that brings the individual’s attention to what the document contains.
A transmittal letter is a brief business or cover letter that is sent with a document. It explains what the importance or purpose of the document is, clarifying any correspondence so that there is less confusion. It lets the recipient know what they are receiving and why. For documents that are larger, a transmittal letter may also include important elements that you wish to bring to the attention of the recipient. They may also point out instructions and requirements for the documentation being sent.
When a Transmittal Letter Would be Used
Here are a number of situations in which a transmittal letter would be used:
- To explain instructions or requirements of the attached documentation
- Sending drafts or contracts that need approval or review.
- To explain why documentation needs to be read or considered.
- To emphasize a document’s important points.
- For projects that have diverged from their initial planning.
- For reports that show what decisions have been made after proposal submission.
- For times when an unforeseen challenge has occurred, that forces a project to be pushed back.
- For projects that have had some unexpected outcomes.
How to Create a Transmittal Letter
The majority of transmittal letters are brief; however, they can be longer when more information is required. They are written in a business format and on company letterhead. Here is the general format that you should follow when writing a transmittal letter.
Heading and Greeting
The heading of the transmittal letter should have the full name of the sender and the address of the company in the top left corner. The date should be included one line beneath this. One line beneath the date is where you will have the full name, official title, name of the organization, and full address of the recipient. Your transmittal letter should start with a short greeting.
Body of the Letter
There are 5 sections that should be included in your transmittal letter:
- Purpose – this is where you will explain what the documentation is that you are sending and why you have sent it.
- Details – for this part, you will give an overview of any important details, highlights the recipient needs to be aware of, and the name of the documentation being sent.
- Follow-up/Further Instructions – in this section, you would outline any further instructions required, such as signing the documentation, as well as detailing any follow-up requests, such as having the recipient contact you.
- Contact Details – In this section, you will give your contact details should the recipient need to ask further questions.
- Conclusion – Lastly, you would include a brief closing with final remarks regarding the documentation. This is followed by thanking the recipient for their time and consideration, and a closing salutation.
Other things, like sensitive information in the document, should be highlighted by the sender in the transmittal letter. For scientific documentation or proposals, the transmittal letter should use formal wording in a passive voice and should refrain from using technical information.
When Should a Transmittal Letter be Used?
A transmittal letter tends to be used when you are sending written information to people who are not fully involved in a project or who are outside of your organization. The most common documents that require the use of a transmittal letter are:
- Financial information or reports
- Reports that are technical or scientific
- Documents that are sensitive or confidential
- Proposals for a project or details that are specific
What Should be in a Transmittal Letter
Transmittal letters are used for a wide array of documents, so they will differ based on the information being sent. However, there are key elements to a transmittal letter that should have:
- It should present information in a format that is easy to read and clear.
- It should clearly explain what the content of the documentation is for.
- It should establish goodwill between the sender and recipient.
- It should be no more than one page long.
- It should include any important dates or deadlines.
- It should answer any questions that arise.
- It should clearly state the instructions or desires of the person sending it.
- It should use a promotional tone for the document, contract, product, or manuscript being sent.
Sample Letters and Examples
You can download one of our free templates or samples to get a better idea of what a Transmittal Letter should look like.
Example of Transmittal Letter
Name of Sender
Street Address of Sender
Sender’s City, State, Zip Code
Name of Receiver
Official Title of Receiver
Street Address of Receiver
Receiver’s City, State, Zip Code
Greeting (i.e., Dear Mr. Jones)
Purpose – Please find enclosed my 250-page manuscript entitled Best Sort Horror Stories, which I hope you will read and consider for publication.
Details – The attached manuscript os a compilation of 30 short horror stories based on urban legends from around the world. I have written these stories for an audience of 20 to 50 years of age who are horror fans but have found readers from most ages enjoying these stories.
Follow-up – I believe readers of the horror genre with find these short stories entertaining, and I respectfully request that you consider them for publication. If you have any questions, you can reach me at 212-123-4567 or at email@example.com.
Closing – Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sender’s Printed Name
Transmittal Letter Writing Tips
Here are some tips to help you write a transmittal letter that will be well-received:
- Make sure you are clear. Your letter should be easy to read and understand so that the recipient knows exactly what it is you are sending. Try not to use technical language, if at all possible.
- Make sure you are concise. The point of a transmittal letter is to give a brief outline of important details. It should be less than one page.
- Use a friendly tone. While a transmittal letter is considered to be a formal letter, it is still acceptable to use a conversational tone. You want to establish a sense of goodwill.
- While a transmittal letter is treated as a separate document, it should always accompany the documentation that you are introducing.
- Always keep a copy of the transmittal letter and documentation for your own records.
- Be sure to proofread your letter, or have someone else proofread it to check for errors.