Mailing Letter Rates using Direct Mail Automation
How to Use the Notice 67 Automation Template
Mailing letter rate pieces that follow automation standards can be difficult without the right requirements. There are some articles and guide lines provided by the USPS® to help you with this process. However, they do not go too deep into exactly what the Notice 67 tool is or how it's used.
The USPS®’ “Notice 67” is a plastic tool used by direct mailers, mail rooms, graphic designers and printers. It ensures that mail pieces (primarily letters and envelopes) are designed, printed and mailed in compliance with USPS standards for automation (letter) handling. The item is technically a clear plastic overlay that simplifies address placement, identifies the barcode clear zone, and includes positioning marks for facing identification mark (FIM) patterns. If you are in the industry, you might want to have one – be sure that you have the most recent version which is April 2013. The Notice 67 is available by contacting your regional Business Mail Entry Office which you may find using the USPS® Locator.
Here is how we use the Notice 67 tool for mailing letter rates and making sure they meet automation standards:
- Measuring Intelligent Mail® barcode (IMb) height and length gauge.
- Identification of Envelope FIMs (Facing Identification Marks) and FIM location. Here, you would almost only certainly be using the template regarding FIM A or FIM C. Learn about FIM A and FIM C through our postal definitions page .
- Measuring Envelope or Postcard Size. The maximum size of any letter-rate envelope is 6.1258” x 11.5” and the minimum size is 3.5” x 5”. Postcards must be 4.25” x 6” maximum size and also minimally sized 3.5” x 5”. You might also look into a Notice 3A, the Letter-Size Mail Dimensional Standards Template, a white plastic guide that assist with height/length measurement and has an additional cut-out slot to gauge mail piece thickness.
- Placement of Address Block within the OCR Read Area. Highlighted in yellow, the Notice 67 shows where your destination address should appear; and, it has two (2) areas for IMb placement. Specifically for the IMb bottom right placement option, be sure to double-check that your barcode starts within the “hatched” area.
- Window-Envelope Positioning of Address Block. The template helps you see clearly the minimum 1/8” clearance necessary. It’s not enough to have the delivery address show through the window. There must also be this .125” clearance around the address block as it shows through the window.
- Spacing Requirement of IMb and the address block. The barcode is not supposed to be closer than .040” or more than .125” from the address.
- Determining the 1/2” buffer and 5/8” from the bottom where neither IM barcode or address block is meant to encroach.
- Notice 67 can also help with some other minor measurements, such as character height or spacing, as well as with character stroke thickness and rule thickness.
- Finally, the USPS recommends that users of the Notice 67 design mail with reference to the Publication 25 which has much greater detail and guidance for mail piece design.