While email has replaced the memo for everyday fast and efficient communication in business, the traditional memo is still used for more formal communication and should still be part of your office skills training.   As with business letters, memorandas (memos) have the same basic elements but vary in formatting. Varying the indentation of elements is one way of changing memo formats; indents can be varied by changing the tab stops. Word’s default tab stops are set for every ½ inch, but they can be changed and customized as desired.

Word’s Ribbon includes a command to display the date and time dialog box, which lets you insert and format the date and time displayed in a memo.

When formatting a memo with an attachment, type the word Attachment (rather than Enclosure) on the line below the typist initials.

Parts of a Traditional Memo

  • MEMO HEADINGS – Begin 2” from the top of the page. Typed in bold (including the colon). Press tab after the colon
  • MEMO TO– Name of recipient – separate name & title with a comma
  • FROM: Name of writer
  • DATE: month, day and year the memo was typed
  • SUBJECT: Subject of the memo
  • BODY:  Usually begins 2 lines below the subject heading.  This is your main body text for the memo.
  • TYPIST INITIALS:  Self explanatory.
  • ATTACHMENT:  Notation that there is an attachment

Traditional Memo Example

Basic parts of a memo

Creating Business Documents with WordGetting Ready to Type:

First, create a new document in Word.  Go to:

  1. Click File tab then click New or [Ctrl]+[N])
  2. Click on the single spaced blank document template to open it

Set Up the Memo

Turn on the Show/Hide Symbol

Your I-beam will be flashing at the top of the page which is the current insertion point.  Now turn on the Show/Hike Symbol so you can see your paragraph and line space marks.

  1. Click the Home Tab > Paragraph Group > Show/Hide Button
    Create a memo in Word 2016
  2. Click the View Tab > Show Group and select the Ruler Box to turn on the ruler. The Ruler will display.
    Create a memo in Word 2016
  3. Press ENTER 5 times to begin the first line of the memo 2 inches from the top of the page
  4. Type MEMO TO: in all caps and bold and then tap the TAB key and then type Bill Branson and tap ENTER once.
  5. Type FROM: in all caps and bold and tap the TAB key twice and type Kelly Scorcer and tap ENTER once. A red wavy line will appear indicating that Word doesn’t recognize the name.  You can ignore this.
  6. Type DATE: in all caps and bold and tab TAB twice.
    Creating a memo in Word 2016
  7. Click the Insert tab > Text Group> Insert Date and Time from the Ribbon to display the date and time dialog box.
  8. Click the third date format in the list.
  9. Make sure the Update Automatically box is checked so the date will update automatically the next time you open up the memo and then click OK.

Creating a memo in Word 2016

  1. Complete the SUBJECT line and the remainder of the memo as shown below. Type the body of the memo using blocked paragraphs, and press ENTER 2 times between paragraphs
  2. Press ENTER 2 times after the last paragraph in the body, and type your typist initials in lowercase letters without periods or spaces.

Create a memo in Word 2016

Click the Save button and save your document as Bill Branson Memo in your folder.

Tip!:  Don’t forget to Spell-check, proofread, and preview your document for spelling and formatting errors 

Inserting Page Breaks

  1. Click the Insert tab > Pages Group > Page Break to add a new page into your document.
  2. Notice at the bottom of the page, it now says 1 of 2. Also notice the page break marker appears in the page.

Add the Attachment 

Follow the directions below to add an attachment to the document:

  1. Scroll to the top of the second page and Click File > Open and and open up the announcement_start document.
  2. In the announcement_start file, tap CTRL+A to select the entire document. You can also do this from the Home tab > Editing Group > Select > All.
  3. Tab Ctrl C to copy the entire document.
  4. On the taskbar, click the Bill Branson Memo document to switch back to that document.
  5. Click the Home tab > Clipboard Group > Paste from the ribbon to paste the text on page 2 of your document.
  6. Click the Save button on the Quick Access Toolbar to save your file.
  7. Switch back to the announcement_start file and close it.

Learn how to prepare and format common business documents in Word by taking the Word 365 course officeskills.org.


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