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A form letter is a
letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
written from a
template Template may refer to: Tools * Die (manufacturing) A die is a specialized machine tool A machine tool is a machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an action. Machines can be ...
, rather than being specially composed for a specific recipient. The most general kind of form letter consists of one or more regions of
boilerplate text Boilerplate text, or simply boilerplate, is any written text ( copy) that can be reused in new contexts or applications without significant changes to the original. The term is used in reference to statements, contracts and computer code, and is us ...
interspersed with one or more substitution placeholders. Although form letters are generally intended for a wide audience, many form letters include stylistic elements or features intended to appear specifically tailored to the recipient. For example, they might be signed by
autopen An autopen or signing machine is a device used for the automatic signing of a signature 's signature is the most prominent on the United States Declaration of Independence The United States Declaration of Independence is the pronounceme ...
and use features such as
mail mergeMail merge consists of combining mail and Letter (message), letters and pre-addressed envelopes or mailing labels for mass mailings from a form letter. This feature is usually employed in a word processor, word processing document which contains fix ...
, which automatically inserts the names of the individual recipients.


Uses

Form letters are often used as replies from people who get large amounts of correspondence, such as
celebrities Celebrity is a condition of wikt:fame, fame and broad public recognition of an individual or group, or occasionally a character or animal, as a result of the attention given to them by mass media. A person may attain a celebrity status from hav ...
or
politician A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected legal seat, seat in government. Politicians propose, support, and create laws that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "p ...

politician
s. This can lead to controversy if a form letter is used where a more personalised message would have been appropriate, such as when offering condolences. Other form letters are used to notify candidates as part of an application process, such as acceptance or rejection letters from publishing companies, governing bodies, colleges, universities or prospective employers.


See also

*
E-mail spam 300px, An email box folder filled with spam messages. Email spam, also referred to as junk email, is unsolicited messages sent in bulk by email ( spamming). The name comes from a Monty Python sketch in which the name of the canned pork product ...
Letters (message) {{Lit-genre-stub