Can You Write Cursive On An Envelope?

For many people, sending envelopes is a lost art. So if you want to send mail this way, you might be unsure of how you should or shouldn’t write on the envelope face. So read on to find out if you can write cursive on an envelope.

You can write cursive on an envelope. However, the writing must be legible. If the cursive is hard to read, the mail may go undelivered. Therefore, it’s best to digitally print the address on the envelope face or use print handwriting if the cursive is illegible.

Whether you can write in cursive is different from whether you should write in cursive. Carry on reading to find out more about mail etiquette regarding cursive.

Can You Write Cursive On An Envelope?

To some people, sending mail is a lost art. I mean, most of our long-distance communication has evolved from handwritten, slow-delivered postage to nearly instantaneous messages in the form of 0’s and 1’s A.k.a Texts and emails.

So if you want to send an envelope, you might not know what the requirements are for envelopes with handwriting on them; Because let’s face it, even a large portion of mail has printed information on the face of the envelope these days. However, you may or may not have already known that writing in print on an envelope is acceptable.

 But if you want to go for a more formal or artistic feel, you may want to write in cursive. But considering that many schools have chosen to stop teaching cursive, do post offices prohibit cursive writing because it just might be mistaken for some form of alien communication?

Okay. Maybe they won’t mistake it for alien communication – but you never know. So this begs the question, can you write in cursive on an envelope? The answer is yes. However, if your cursive does resemble alien symbols, you may want to refrain from writing cursive on your envelope.

Although machines in the US  are responsible for reading envelope addresses and postal sorting, they don’t always get it right. (I guess we don’t have to worry about Skynet just yet). As a result of sloppy penmanship, about 2% of all mail sent in the US is illegible.

This can equate to billions of illegible pieces of mail per year. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for the most part. Postal clerks throughout the United States receive digital images of these illegible mail addresses, who work day and night – using special software – to determine a valid physical address.

After that, the software confirms the address, and the mail is routed to the intended recipient. Out of all these illegible mail pieces, 200 million of them are still indecipherable.

These indecipherable mail pieces then go to postal clerks who sort out the mail by hand. If these postal clerks can’t figure it out, the mail is sent to one last stop – the nixie clerk. If the nixie clerk can’t figure out what the address is, well, your mail will never see the artificial light of your intended recipient’s home.

These mail pieces are either put up for auction (if they contain any valuables) or shredded. So, overall, if your cursive may cause problems at the post office, it is best to opt for more legible writing like bold letters or have the address printed out.

Should You Write Cursive On An Envelope?

Not to sound like a typical teacher who always corrected your ‘can I do X Y Z” question to “may I do X Y Z,” but there is a difference between whether you can do something and whether you should. So, should you write cursive on envelopes? It depends on your target recipient.

Some die-hard wedding traditionalist argues that handwritten envelopes are a must for all wedding invitations. Although how you decide your wedding invitation must look is up to you, adding cursive can aid to the formal feel of a wedding and aligns more with the wedding etiquette of the modern age.

 Some people even go so far as to hire a calligrapher to do their envelopes. If calligraphers are the route you want to take, you need to give the calligrapher at least 2-3 weeks’ minums to do the envelopes (some calligraphers may require more time).

Another example is if you wish to send the envelope to a client or potential job recruiter. People in these categories may interpret cursive writing on an envelope in a 50/50 manner.

Depending on your handwriting, some people may appreciate the personal touch, and it might even get read first as it won’t be mistaken for just another junk mail. On the other hand, some people may regard it as unprofessional.

If you are sending a handwritten envelope to a friend or family member, they may appreciate the effort you put into the envelope, the personalization and enjoy the sense of timelessness scriptwriting elicits. All in all, different factors and the intended recipient all affect whether you should use cursive on your envelope.

Cursive and Print on Envelopes

Depending on the intended recipient, you may decide to use different fonts on the envelope pre-face. Many calligraphers, for instance, will write the recipient’s name in cursive and the physical address in print letters.

 This way, the recipient’s address is legible, reducing the chances of the envelope going undelivered. Additionally, the recipient’s name still will have a personal touch to it. Thus, using different fonts can give you the best of both worlds.


One should be aware of how their cursive writing can come across to others, as bad handwriting can delay the envelope or even deem the envelope undeliverable. So, if you are part of the population that is blessed with doctors’ handwriting, ask someone with neater writing to address your envelope.

You can also opt for an alternative font or digitally print the address or consider hiring a professional calligrapher to write on your envelopes. All in all, there are many alternatives available if you can’t write cursive on an envelope.

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