When In Doubt, Use Extra Tabs!

The Truth About Tabs

Tabs are a tricky requirement in preparing your mailing since there are so many variations based on size, shape or paper weight of your mailpiece, and the location of the folded or bound edge.  When in doubt, use extra tabs!

The purpose of tabs is to prevent unenveloped, letter size mailpieces from jamming in USPS processing equipment.  Closures of some type are required to meet eligibility for automation postage rates.

Tabs, wafer seals, cellophane tape, continuous or spot glue must not interfere with the barcode location (remember folks – it’s 5/8” from bottom and extends 4 ¾” from right edge of mailpiece), postage or required address information.


The most common unenveloped mailpiece is a letter size folded self-mailer. Self-mailers are great for notices, promotions and newsletters.  For this type of mail, the folded edge must be parallel to the longest dimension (length) and address of the mailpiece.

If you plan to keep the folded edge of the mailpiece at the bottom, you may use just one tab for closure.  Tab should be placed in the middle, top edge of mailpiece.

  • Single folded sheet with one tab or wafer seal, minimum paper weight 70#
  • Two or more sheets sealed with one tab or wafer seal, minimum paper weight 60#

The folded edge may be at top or bottom of the mailpiece if using two tabs for closure:

  • Two tabs or wafer seals minimum paper weight 20#.  Tabs must be placed within 1” of both the left and right edges of the mailpiece.

The minimum thickness for a self-mailer is 0.009” for an automation compatible mailpiece.  This means that an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper, folded once to 8 ½” x 5 ½” may not meet the requirement.  Don’t get hit with extra postage, take your time to make sure you meet all requirements.

Double Postcards

A double postcard may have the folded edge at top or bottom.  The open edge must be secured with one tab in the middle.  The minimum paper weight for this type of mailpiece is 75#.

Simple Spine Booklets

This is where tabbing gets complicated.  There are so many configurations, each with their own requirements and paper basis weights.  Rather than risk muddying the waters, I have provided a link with the requirements and examples.  Scroll down the page to article 3.15.


Tabs are challenging but they bring a finished, professional look to your mailpiece and are a requirement if you want to take advantage of automation postage rates.

If you have any questions about designing your unenveloped mailpiece and where to place tabs, you are always welcome to contact one of Strahm’s Customer Service Representatives at (816) 756-2733.

Now go mail something!

  1. #1 by Zona Masias on December 19, 2011 - 6:51 am

    WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. ?

  2. #2 by Kimberly Tarpley on December 23, 2011 - 8:30 am

    Thanks, Zona, I’m glad you found this interesting. Tabs can really trip people up in a mailing!



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      Thanks for the feedback! Yes, there is a lot to keep in mind regarding the use of tabs.


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