What Is a Letter of Transmittal? (With Template and Example)

Updated July 31, 2023

In business, there are many situations when detailed reports or documents are shared among professionals. Sometimes these documents contain sensitive information or technical details that require a brief introduction. A letter of transmittal is something that can be attached to a complex document to give it more context.

In this article, we explain what a letter of transmittal is and how to write one, and we offer tips, a template and an example to help you write your own.

What is a letter of transmittal?

A letter of transmittal is a short cover letter that accompanies a more complex document to explain its purpose. This letter clarifies the intent of the document or report so that recipients understand what they are reading and why it was sent to them. Transmittal letters also clarify requirements or instructions regarding the attached document and may include specific details and main points being made in the document.

How are letters of transmittal used?

Here are some examples of how a transmittal letter is used:

  • When you need to explain requirements or instructions regarding an attached document

  • When sending contracts or drafts that require review or approval

  • When you need to explain why an attached document should be read and considered

  • When important points of a document need emphasis

  • When a project has deviated from original plans

  • When an attached report reflects decisions made after a submitted proposal

  • When unanticipated challenges occurred, pushing back a project

  • When a project yielded unexpected outcomes

When to use a letter of transmittal

A transmittal letter is normally used to communicate information in writing to recipients outside of your organization who are not fully involved in your project. Here are the most common uses for letters of transmittal:

  • Scientific and technical reports

  • Financial reports or information

  • Project proposals or specific details

  • Confidential and sensitive documents

How to write a letter of transmittal

There is no specific way to write a transmittal letter, but most will follow a standard business letter format and be typed on letterhead. Here is the general format to follow when writing your letter:

1. Include a heading with the date and recipient's address

Include a heading with your full name and company address, located in the top left corner of the page. One line below your name and address put the date you wrote the letter. Then, one line below the address put the recipient's full name, official title, organization and address.

2. Greet the recipient appropriately

Begin your transmittal letter with a short greeting addressed to the recipient of the letter.

3. Write the letter body

The body of the letter will normally include four sections:

  • The purpose of the letter: This section introduces the accompanying document and gives the reader context. Explain what the document is and why you sent it, so the recipient can respond and handle the document appropriately.

  • Details about the attached document: This section contains an overview of important details or highlights of the attached document the reader should know before reading it. Make sure to state the name of the document you have attached.

  • Request for follow-up or further instructions: This section may suggest to the recipient to contact the sender for more information or provide instructions on what to do with the attached document such as to review and sign it.

  • Contact information: Provide this information to the recipient so they can follow up to ask questions or get clarification on details in the document.

4. Include a short closing paragraph

In the conclusion, include final remarks about the attached document, a thank you to the recipient and a closing salutation, such as "Sincerely, [your name]" or "Regards, [your name]."

Related: 5 Steps for Great Business Writing

Tips for writing a letter of transmittal

The following tips will help guide you in writing a well-received transmittal letter:

  • Be clear. Your recipient should be able to easily read and understand exactly what the document attached is for. Keep the flow of the letter logical and use non-technical language unless necessary.

  • Be concise. The purpose of a transmittal letter is to simply provide important information about the accompanying document. Keep your letter to less than a page with sentences briefly outlining only the specific details the recipient needs to know before opening your document.

  • Be friendly. A more conversational tone is acceptable for transmittal letters, though they are still formal letters. Establish goodwill and maintain a positive tone throughout the letter.

  • Send with the document. A letter of transmittal should be treated as a separate document, but always sent at the same time as the document it introduces. This will ensure the recipient knows exactly what document the letter is referring to because it is directly attached.

  • Keep a copy. Along with the original letter you mail or email to your recipient, keep a copy for your files in case you need it for future reference.

  • Proofread. Always proofread your letter before sending it to check for errors and make sure you have communicated information clearly and fully.

Related: 27 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Resume

Letter of transmittal template

Here is a transmittal letter template to help you format your letter:

[Sender's Name]
[Sender's Address]

[Recipient's Name]
[Recipient's Title]
[Recipient's Organization]
[Recipient's Street Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]

[Dear (Mr./Mrs./Ms.) First and Last Name,]

[The first introductory paragraph contains the purpose of the letter and what accompanying report or other document is included. This paragraph should contain background details about the document such as who prepared it and when.]

[This second paragraph will contain details about the attached document such as important information the recipient needs to understand about the document, an overview of results, or highlights of the main results and any surprising results.]

[This last paragraph will be the conclusion paragraph. In this paragraph, you will provide any additional notes about the attached document and a call to action if needed.]

[If you have any questions regarding the attached report, please contact (principal contact) at (phone number).]


[Sender's name]

Letter of transmittal example

This example will help you write your first letter of transmittal:

Jen Henderson
Digital Drive Inc.
123 Fall Avenue
Madison, WI 53716

Hannah Richardson
Richardson Organic Farm
456 Summer Lane
Lodi, WI 53555

Dear Mrs. Richardson,

Within the attached R.O.F. Marketing Report, you will find information on the feasibility of marketing your organic products through the Organic Nature website and our recommendations for a specific plan of action.

Our analysis included researching the organic market in Wisconsin and the success of similar businesses marketing their products online. We have spoken directly with the team at Organic Nature to gather data and insights into how their website will increase your market visibility and online sales. Based on our research, we concluded the online market will be a beneficial space for your business. We have provided an outline for a marketing plan in the attached report for your review.

Thank you for trusting us to complete this market research for you. We appreciate your business and look forward to working with you. Please review the official report and respond with your thoughts.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me anytime at jen.henderson@digitaldrive.com or (608) 123-4567. I look forward to speaking with you further on this project.



Jen Henderson

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between transmittal and submittal?

Submittals are the outgoing contents submitted for review, such as financial reports or research. Transmittals are supporting documents that a party may include with their submittals, confirming the receipt.

Is a letter of transmittal necessary?

A letter of transmittal is necessary any time you're sending somebody a complex document or formal report. It's especially important if the recipient is unaware you're sending the documents or is unsure of the context. In such cases, the letter can help ensure they understand what they're going to read and why it's important, allowing you to better communicate your purpose for sending the documents. You can also add clarifying information that you think may benefit the reader.

Is a letter of transmittal the same thing as a memo of transmittal?

Letters of transmittal are sometimes called memos or memos of transmittal. Some people also refer to them as cover letters or cover documents.


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