How to Improve your Memo Format (With Memo Sample and Examples)

Updated November 21, 2022

A memo, or memorandum, is one of the most important forms of communication used in public and private organizations. It's important to use the proper format when communicating with colleagues and other internal stakeholders through a memo. This will ensure the readers understand the information being presented and are aware of any action required on their behalf. Understanding how to format a memo will help you communicate more effectively. In this article, we discuss the importance of memo formats, how to format a memo well and provide examples and templates.

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Is memo formatting important?

Considering memo format is important, and purposeful formatting will ensure your memo achieves its desired outcome. A memo is one of the simplest forms of passing information within an organization. It is short, to the point and often includes elements of persuasion or a call-to-action.

A poorly formatted memo may not deliver your message correctly or could distract and confuse the reader. As such, it is vital to consider formatting when you are writing a memo to ensure efficient communication.

How to choose a memo format

While all memos follow the same format, the content and tone of your memo will vary. The type of memo depends on the purpose of the memo, the message and the desired outcome. Here are some steps to follow when choosing a memo format:

  1. First, consider the purpose of your memo. Memos can ask for information, request confirmation, or suggest an action. You might also send a memo to provide a progress report or broader business update to people in your organization.

  2. If your memo requires a response or follow-up action from the recipients, include a section that clearly states what you require and any applicable deadlines.

  3. Remember, a memo does not require salutation and may not include a sign-off.

  4. Finally, consider the best method of sending your memo. Most memos are sent electronically via email, posted on an internal company webpage or sent through a messenger service, but you can also send a memo in printed form.

Related: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

Additional tips for choosing a memo format

A well-formatted memo will make your message easy to understand and will most effectively communicate your message. When preparing a memo, consider:

What is the subject of the memo?

Having a clear subject, which can be stated within the subject line of your memo, ensures your colleagues understand what the memo is about. While writing, keep this subject in mind to make sure your memo remains on topic, clear and concise.

What is the intended outcome?

Memos are often used to inform or to share business updates. However, if you require a follow-up action or response from your audience, be sure to make this clear within the memo, and provide a deadline where necessary.

Who do you want to read the memo?

Memos are typically shared company-wide or within a specific department or team. Consider who will read your memo and make sure you're sharing relevant information. For example, an update relating only to the Finance department does not need to be sent to the whole company. While all memos will maintain a professional tone, memos being shared within a particular department may include department-specific information.

Related: How To Write a Business Memo (With Template and Examples)

Memo format sample

Here is a standard format you can use to create business memos:

To: [Include recipients' name]
From: [Include your name and title]
Date: [Month Day, Year]
Subject: [Subject of the memo]
[A memo requires no salutation]
Body of the memo
[Start with a direct and brief introduction that states the reason for the memo.]
[Provide concise but detailed information to the reader.]
[End with a clear closing and a call-to-action. You can add a deadline here too.]
Read more: How to Write a Professional Email

Memo format examples

Memos are used to communicate a variety of different business updates. Here are five examples of business memos for different scenarios:

Example 1 - An upcoming training day:

To: All employees in the customer service department
From: Ash Harwood, Operations Manager, Staff Training and Development
Date: January 15, 2021
Subject: Mandatory training for new products
You are all aware of the company's upcoming Boho Dining collection launch later this month. The company expects this to be one of our best-selling collections yet, and we will probably hear from customers with pre-purchase questions regarding the upcoming additions.
To prepare you all for the launch, we will hold a remote training session to familiarize department staff with the new pieces on February 22, 2021. This will be an opportunity to see the new items, and our Product Specialist, Harper, will show you how to use the products and answer any questions.
We hope this training will allow everyone to see the new collection and prepare us all for a successful launch. Please check your calendars for an invitation to the video call. All departmental staff must attend the training event.

Example 2 - Notification of office maintenance:

To: Toronto HQ employees
From: Ainsley Paul, VP, Facilities Manager
Subject: Essential Office Maintenance
Date: January 4, 2021
I'm writing to inform you that, following the recent flooding of the basement washrooms at our Toronto HQ, we will be carrying out essential repairs to the basement level.
Over the next two weeks, Monday 11th to Friday 22nd of January, the basement level washrooms and showers will be off-limits to all employees while repairs are ongoing. Please, use the ground or first-floor facilities.
We are sorry for any inconvenience that may result from this maintenance and truly appreciate your understanding.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Example 3 - Data security alert:

To: All staff
From: Leila Smith, General Manager
Date: March 1, 2021
Subject: Recurring data security issues
It has come to my attention that the company has experienced a series of data breaches in the last two weeks because of the recent change in our firewall security system. I know some of you have lost files on your workstations, and there has been at least one accidental leak of sensitive company information. We are taking steps to address the issue and prevent further data security lapses.
In the meantime, we are switching to a temporary data management system until our engineers and external consultants fix the problem. We welcome comments and suggestions on how to solve this problem so we can get back to delivering results for our customers.
Thanks for your understanding.

Example 4 - Wedding invite:

To: All staff
From: Eli Tremblay, Marketing Manager
Date: February 15, 2021
Subject: Dakota's wedding
I'm writing to inform you of Dakota Brown's wedding that is coming up in the next two weeks. They would like every member of the department to be present on the special occasion.
The wedding will be held at the Barrie Country Club, on St . Vincent Street, Barrie, on Saturday, February 27, 2021. The reception begins at 2 p.m. in the banquet hall.
The company will provide a cocktail table with drinks and snacks. RSVP to Jacob by Thursday, February 18, and please include any dietary instructions in your RSVP.

Example 5 - Quota achievement:

*To: WW Logistics sales team
From: Joel Franklin, Head of Sales
Date: June 20, 2020
Subject: Sales quota achievement
I am writing to congratulate you on the commendable efforts and energy you have all put into delivering on your team's sales quota for the last quarter! Especially given the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19.
Your team has impressed our clients with your exemplary product knowledge and customer service. A special mention to Jo Gooding, who rolled out video conferencing software so the team could connect with our clients virtually.
Thanks for your ongoing commitment to excellence. We will send your bonus checks and letters of commendation by the end of the week.
Congratulations on this achievement!

Related: How to End an Email

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Frequently asked questions about memo format

Some common questions people ask regarding memo format include:

Is memo format double spaced?

You should format memos into paragraphs without indentations. Lines within a paragraph are single-spaced. However, use double spaces between the heading and paragraph and between paragraphs.

Should a memo be signed?

Memos rarely include a signature, however, you may wish to include your name or initials in the header.

What is the ideal memo length?

Memos should be under one page, and if you're unable to compact all relevant information into a single-page memo, you might need to consider an alternative way of communicating your message that will allow more in-depth communication. Depending on the type of memo, paragraphs can be as long as two to seven lines. Memos requesting information or providing a report often have brief sentences with less than 20 words.

Can a memo have bullets?

Yes, you can include bullets in a memo. However, keep bullets, numbered lists and bold and italic text to a minimum because they can distract readers and hinder information dissemination.

What is the difference between memo and memorandum?

"Memo" is the shortened form of "memorandum." The two words have the same meaning and are interchangeable.

Is a memo formal or informal?

Most memos are informal because we use them for communicating within an organization. However, the tone will vary depending on the purpose of the memo and may take a more formal tone when the content is serious.

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