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12.3 Composing Memos

Learning Objectives

  1. Recognize the typical usage for memos.
  2. Understand the parts of a memo.

A memo is less formal than a business letter but more formal than an e-mail. Memos are usually sent within a company addressing a single issue or meeting and are typically short. A common feature of memos is the heading followed by a colon. Memos typically include the following set components.

Companies often have blank memo forms in digital and hard-copy formats.

Figure 12.1 Example of a Blank Memo Form

Key Takeaways

  • Typically memos are short, are used for internal company matters, and cover a single issue.
  • Typically memos include six parts: to, from, subject, date, carbon copy, and body text.


  1. Make a list of five reasons a person might use a memo at work instead of sending an e-mail or mailing a business letter to employees.
  2. Create a memo form in your computer. Use your form to create a handwritten memo and a typed memo.
  3. Use a memo template for the next writer’s memo you submit with a college writing project. (See Chapter 5 "Planning" for more on how to develop a writer’s memo and a statement of purpose that describes message, audience, voice, attitude, reception, and tone.)