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USPS Basics

We maintain an up-to-date and comprehensive knowledgebase of postal regulations. Because regulation or rate changes can immediately affect our customers, we have a fully trained and qualified staff across the plant as well as a team of Postal Partners on the premises to answer and verify any USPS specification. For your convenience, please refer to the links below to gain immediate access to USPS information, or go to our Contact Us section and enter your specific request.

Designing Letters and Cards for Automated Processing (Quick Service Guide 201a)

This publication is based on the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), which is the official source of domestic postal mailing standards, and can be used to verify technical specifications for mailpieces. The Postal Service processes mail through either Manual or Automation operations. There is significant cost savings and efficiencies in designing automation compatible mailpieces. The size of the mailpiece determines which sorting equipment the Postal Service will use to process the piece. In turn, the type of processing often determines the postal discount.
If the mailpiece is accurately barcoded, then the Multiline Optical Character Reader (MLOCR) is skipped and the piece goes directly to a barcode sorter. Mail in this category can receive a maximum postage discount. Mail Design Analysts can proactively assist in helping the mailpieces meet the guidelines in Quick Service Guide 201a and determine the automation compatibility and readability of the mailpieces. Specialists at Desert Paper and Envelope can also assist you in the evaluation. Download Quick Service Guide 201a Here. (will open in a new window)

BRM and CRM Templates

The USPS has designed Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) templates that meet the correct spacing and positioning requirements for most standard business size letters and cards. The templates are provided online and are customizable for unique zip codes and bar codes as well as permit numbers. Follow this link to access the templates. (will open in a new window)

USPS Mailpiece Design Analyst Lookup

In order to avoid a delay in delivery and to receive the best postage rate possible, it is important to have a properly designed mailpiece. Lookup a USPS Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) for your area Here. (will open in a new window) He or she can advise you as to proper mailpiece design, including technical issues regarding acceptability for automated rates.


MERLIN (Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument) is a tool that assists Business Mail Entry Units (BMEUs) with the acceptance of mail. This automated tool verifies First Class, Standard, and Periodical mail against the standards set in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) for proper postage discounts, sorting, barcodes, and piece counts. MERLIN also performs other acceptance tests including address accuracy, mail makeup, and mailpiece characterisitcs, for letter-size and flat-size mailings. BMEUs equipped with MERLIN test mailings with 10,000 or more mailpieces and about 16% of mailings with piece counts of 10,000 or under.
The minimum size of a mailpiece MERLIN can process is at least 3-1/2" x 5" and at least 0.007" thick. The maximum size of a flat piece MERLIN can process is at most 15" in length by 12" in width and is not thicker than .75". Also, mailpieces do not have to be tabbed or sealed in order to be processed by MERLIN. To find out more about MERLIN, go to this link. (will open in a new window)

Rapid Information Bulletin Board (RIBBS)

RIBBS is a massive information resource for USPS related topics, ranging from the implementation of the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB), lookups and rate calculators, to weather conditions. Federal Register Notices are available and accessible through RIBBS for both the USPS and the United States Postal Commission for the last seven years. RIBBS also offers helpful links to locating a Post Office and associated services. Go to RIBBS Here. (will open in a new window)