USPS Automation Compatible Mail Specifications!

Meet USPS Automation Compatible Mail Specifications!

You’ve made the decision to use a mail service provider to presort your mail in order to take advantage of lower postage rates. Good decision!

Automation Benefits:

  • Greater postage discount
  • Faster mail processing
  • Better, more consistent service

Now you need to know what specifications your mail must meet in order to be considered automation compatible by the USPS.

Designing for Automation (First Class Letters and Postcards): 

    • Physical Characteristics Letters
      • Minimum size 3 ½” x 5”
      • Maximum size 6 1/8” x 11 ½”
      • Minimum thickness .007”
      • Maximum thickness .25”
    • Physical Characteristics postcards
      • Minimum size 3 ½” x 5”
      • Maximum size 4 ¼” x 6”
      • Minimum thickness .007”
      • Maximum thickness .0095”
    • Must be rectangular in shape
      • Length must be greater than height
      • Aspect ratio (length divided by height) between 1.3 and 2.5
      • Example: 5” x 9” mailpiece 9 divided by 5 = 1.8
    • Must meet rigidity and flexibility standards
    • Tabbing for Self-mailers and Booklets
    • No polywrap, polybag or shrink wrapping please!
    • Barcode clear zone
      • 5/8”  from bottom edge
      • Extending 4 ¾” from right edge
      • This entire area must be kept free of logos, verbiage, etc
      • This is the conventional barcode placement although the barcode may be printed above or below the address block as well
    • OCR Address Read Area
      • Begins ½” in from left and right edges of mailpiece
      • Extends up 2 ¾” from bottom of mailpiece
      • Don’t forget to leave the bottom 5/8” of the mailpiece clear for the barcode!
    • Return Address Area
      • Within left half of mailpiece
      • Top 1/3 of mailpiece
    • Preferred Type Fonts
      • Century
      • Arial
      • Univers
      • Trade Gothic
    • Address Format

Sue Sample
ABC Company
123 Main Street
Anytown, MO  ZIP+4

      • Address Tap Test (address readability through envelope window)
        • Mail using a window envelope must show complete address, with 1/8” clearance at top, bottom and both sides of window
        • Test address placement with two taps on bottom and two taps on each end – address should remain within window with 1/8” clear space

      • Print Contrast
        • Preference is dark type on light paper
        • Recommend light pastels or neutrals
        • Avoid dark, bright or black papers
        • Avoid dark fibers
        • Avoid bleed through

Is your mail automation compatible so that you take advantage of the best postage discounts?  Where could you make improvements?

As always, if you have questions or need more information, please contact one of Strahm’s Customer Service Representatives.  They can be reached at or (816) 756-2733.

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