Speed Up Your Post

- your guide to speedier deliveries

Want to ensure your post gets there as quickly as possible? Did you know that the colour, size and the weight of your envelope can dictate how soon your mail gets to its destination?

 Follow our guidelines to speed up your delivery. A few simple rules will pave the way to faster deliveries and better service all round.

How does it work?

An Post uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) - the next generation in mail processing equipment which can sort through 40,000 pieces of mail per hour.

Simply decide if you are sending a standard envelope or a large envelope and make sure you stick to our guidelines on size, weight, colour and paper thickness.

To get the most out of OCR follow some simple steps below.

If you're posting a large amount of mail, find out more about the volume discounts you're entitled to. 

Step by step

General Guidelines

  • Font type
    The recommended address font is Arial, black text on white. Other fonts that can be used include Century, Courier, Letter Gothic and Helvetica.

    You should never use colour, italics, underlining or punctuation in an address.

  • Font size
    The recommended fonts sizes are 11pt, 12pt and 13pt are perfect with a pitch value of 10, 11 or 12 (in other words letters not too close together).

  • Hand written addresses.
    Always use block capitals when hand writing addresses.

  • Security Patterns
    Avoid using security patterns or embossing in either the address block or postage area.

  • Colour
    OCR recognises cream and pastel coloured envelopes. Dark backgrounds such as red, yellow, orange, blue or green are unreadable and should not be used.

  • Spacing
    Address lines should ideally have a spacing of 3mm and a maximum spacing of 4mm in between each line of address. There should be a maximum of 32 characters per line (excluding spaces).

  • Contents
    Check contents are not loose in the envelope, otherwise the address can disappear from the window.

    If you are posting keys, coins, metal objects, loose materials or thick card it is best to use a jiffy or padded envelope. Staples, metal or plastic clips cannot be used on the envelope itself.

Windows and address labels

Your address label or window should appear within the Address Block. Text should always be left aligned.

Label sizes
Minimum     32mm by 70mm
Maximum     50mm by 120mm

Make sure that only the address appears in the window or on the label. Text should not be closer than 15mm from the left edge of the window or label and not closer than 5mm from the top, bottom or right hand side of either the window or label.

The surface of your window should be shiny rather than matt with no wrinkles. Contrast ratio should be greater than 50%. While window opacity should be less than 25% with window transparency greater than 75%.
You should always ensure your address, and address label if using one, is straight. The maximum tolerance for text skew is 5 degrees from the horizontal.

Paper quality should not be so poor that letter text is visible through either the envelope or address area.

Envelope Layout

The address side of your envelope is divided into five distinct areas. 

  • Return address area measuring 80mm X 50mm located in top left hand corner.
  • Postage area measuring 90mm X 50mm located in the top right hand corner (120mm X 50mm on large portrait envelopes)
  • Advertising area located between the postage and return address areas.
  • Clear zone these are clearly marked on the images below and are a minimum  of 20mm on three of the four edges. Standard envelopes also have a clear zone on the reverse of the envelope. Large envelopes also have a clear zone of 120mm.
  • Address block.
    The dimensions of these areas are specific to the type of envelope you are using.
Standard Envelope


Dimension Minimum Maximum









Paper Grade

Weight Size 




 Postcard 104mm width by 140mm length


 Postcard 160mm width by 250mm length

Clear Zones

Standard envelopes also require a clear zone on the reverse of the envelope.


Large Envelope


Dimension Minimum Maximum









Paper Grade and Plastic

Recommended minimimum paper weight for envelopes is 75gsm. Transparent, plastic and shrink wrapped items are fine for OCR but shrink wrapped items should have a consistent surface and plastic wrapping tightly fitted.

Please ensure the address is printed on a white label when using plastic or shrink wrapped items.

Clear Zones

Items for addresses outside of the country should be marked Air Mail. You can pick up Air Mail labels at your local Post Office. This label should appear to the left of the postage area.


Speed Up Your Post PDF (new window)

Glossary of Terms




Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

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