Email Etiquette: How to Be Professional

Everyone uses email for work. In fact, most offices have become paperless. Email is fast and convenient and can help get work done quicker. Email is as great for both office and personal communication. However, unlike in personal communication, email used for official purposes needs to follow certain rules.

Subject Line

When sending official communication via email, make sure that you use a proper and clear subject line. Nothing is more annoying than a mail without a subject line than one that has an incorrect subject line. It is best to stick to the point in the subject line and keep it short and simple. Do not use capital letters unless you are writing the code of a communication.

Black Text

The text of the email should be in black font in a readable size. Do not use colors unless absolutely necessary. If possible, avoid red because it is considered a "shouting" color.

Sentence Case

Use sentences for the text of the email. Do not use all capital letters unless you want to `shout' out the message. All capital letters is considered rude.

Abbreviations and Shortened Forms

These are best avoided in an official email. They only show you to be lazy and the recipient might not be familiar with your usage of the short forms. Stick to the full words and explain everything clearly.


It is best to number the points that you are making in an email. This will make it easier for the recipient to understand what you want to say.


Make sure than any attachments you send are virus free. There is no point in introducing a virus into someone else's system. Check and double check for viruses, especially if you are forwarding an attachment from someone else.


Do not forward jokes and other such email to office collogues or business associates, unless you know that the recipient will enjoy receiving them. No adult content should be circulated via office networks. You never know in whose hands they might fall.


Please do keep in mind that emails can and are store for future reference. Do not put in an email something that you would not commit to paper. If you do, you might find yourself quoted from an email that you sent.


When replying to an email answer all questions in one go, thus preventing further mails on the subject. Be concise without being rude. Remember to use the reply option so that the recipient knows what the questions are. You can also take the liberty of answering each question below the question itself. This will help make communication clearer.

Be Prompt

Answer each email as you read it. This will save both you and the recipient a lot of time. Even if you have scheduled only certain times of the day for answering emails, this rule applies and can be followed effectively.