USPS Homepage Skip navigation     USPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
Section divider line


Quick Service Guide 201b

Commercial Letters and Cards

Using Tabs, Wafer Seals, and Glue Strips

May 12, 2008
Printer-Friendly PDF

Overview

Section divider line

Unenveloped letter-size mailpieces prepared for automation rate mailings must be secured (tabbed) to prevent an open edge from jamming high-speed processing equipment. Standards for tabbing are based on basis weight of paper stock used and the location of the folded or bound edge. As an alternative to tabs or wafer seals, the open edge of the length of the mailpiece may be continuously glued or spot glued. Continuous glue or spot glue is permissible with single-sheet self-mailers and cards.

Physical Standards (201.3.10)

Section divider line

Number and location of tabs or wafer seals are specified for particular types of letter-size mail. In all cases, additional tabs may be used.

Tabs, wafer seals, cellophane tape, or permanent glue (continuous or spot) must not interfere with recognition of the barcode, rate marking, postage identification, or required address information. In all cases additional tabs or seals may be used. Cellophane tape is not acceptable within the barcode clear zone. Tabs or wafer seals placed in the barcode clear zone must contain a paper face meeting the standards for background reflectance and, if the barcode is not preprinted by the mailer, the standards for water-based ink.

Adequate adhesion is required.

Basis weight: the minimum basis weight standards vary, depending on the construction of the mailpiece (see reverse) and the sheet size below.

Letter-Size Folded Self-Mailers (201.3.13)

Section divider line

Folded edge (top or bottom) must be parallel to the longest dimension (length) and address of the mailpiece.

With one tab or wafer seal: folded edge at bottom of mailpiece, tab or wafer seal in middle of top edge of mailpiece.

  • Single folded sheet, sealed with one tab or wafer seal, minimum basis weight: 28 pounds (17 by 22 inches by 500 sheets) or 70 pounds (25 by 38 inches by 500 sheets).
  • Two or more sheets, sealed with one tab or wafer seal, minimum basis weight: 24 pounds (17 by 22 inches by 500 sheets) or 60 pounds (25 by 38 inches by 500 sheets).

With two tabs or wafer seals: minimum basis weight 20 pounds (17 by 22 inches by 500 sheets) if folded edge is at top or bottom of the mailpiece. Tabs or wafer seals must be placed within 1 inch of the right and left edges of mailpiece (see reverse).

With folded edge on right (leading) edge: left (trailing) edge and other open edges must be secured with at least one tab or a glue line; additional tabs may be required based on trim size and basis weight.

Letter-Size Booklet-Type Mailpiece (201.3.13.2)

Section divider line

The bound edge (spine) must be at the bottom and parallel to the longest dimension (length) and the address of the mailpiece, unless preapproved by the USPS. The mailpiece must be tabbed (secured) in one of two ways:

  • Top (unbound edge) must have at least two tabs or wafer seals placed within 1 inch of the right and left edges (see reverse).
  • The right (leading) and left (trailing) edges must be secured with tabs or wafer seals placed within 1 inch of the top right and top left edges of the mailpiece.

Cover must have a minimum basis weight of 20 pounds.

With spine on right (leading) edge: minimum basis weight 20-pound bond paper. Address must be parallel to longest dimension (length) and unbound left (trailing) edge must be tabbed (secured):

  • If no more than 4-1/4 inches high and 6 inches long, 1 tab or wafer seal in middle of trailing left edge.
  • If more than 4-1/4 inches high or more than 6 inches long, 2 tabs or wafer seals within 1 inch of top and bottom edges.

Postcard (201.3.13.4)

Section divider line

Minimum basis weight 75 pounds or greater. Double postcards must have folded edge at the top or bottom. The open edge must be secured with one tab in the middle.

Flat-Size Booklet-Type Mailers (301.3.6)

Section divider line

The contents of the mailpiece prepared in sleeves or other wrappers must be sufficiently secure in the sleeve or wrapper to stay in place during processing. If material bearing the delivery information or barcode for the mailpiece is enclosed in a partial wrapper, that wrapper must be sufficiently secure to prevent the contents from shifting and obscuring the delivery address or barcode.

For the specific DMM standards applicable to this category of mail, consult the DMM sections referenced above and the general sections within each DMM module.

Placement of Tabs and Wafer Seals (201.3.13)

This graphic shows the placement of tabs and wafer seals as described in the text.

Specifications for Automation-Compatible Letter-Size Mailpieces
Double Postcard
Tabs 1 (middle)
Folded Edge Top or Bottom
Sheets Single
Basis Weight 75 lb.

This graphic shows a double postcard as described in the text.

Folded Self-Mailer
(Invitation Fold)
Tab Address Label
Folds Top and Bottom
Sheets Multiple
Basis Weight 20 lb.

This graphic shows a folded self-mailer (invitational fold) basis weight 20 pounds as described in the text

Folded Self-Mailer
Tabs 2 (start 1 inch
from edges)
Folded Edge Top or Bottom
Sheets Single
Basis Weight 20 lb.

This graphic shows a folded self-mailer basis weight 20 pounds as described in the text.

Folded Self-Mailer
(Continuous Glue Strip)
Open Edge Top
Folded Edge Bottom
Sheets Single
Basis Weight 20 lb.

This graphic shows folded self-mailer (continuous glue strip) basis weight 20 pounds as described in the text

Folded Self-Mailer
Tabs 1 (middle)
Folded Edge Bottom
Sheets Multiple
Basis Weight 24 lb.

This graphic shows a folded self-mailer basis weight 24 pounds as described in the text.

Booklet
Tabs 2 (start 1 inch
from edges)
Spine Bottom
Sheets Multiple w/ Cover
Basis Weight 20 lb. (Cover)

This graphic shows a booklet basis weight 20 pounds as described in the text.

Folded Self-Mailer
Tabs 1 (middle)
Folded Edge Bottom
Sheets Single
Basis Weight 28 lb.

This graphic shows a folded self-mailer basis weight 28 pounds as described in the text.

Folded Booklet
Tabs 2 (start 1 inch
from edges)
Spine Left
Folded Edge Bottom
Sheets Multiple w/ Cover
Basis Weight 20 lb. (Cover)

This graphic shows a folded booklet basis weight 20 pounds as described in the text.

Folded Self-Mailer
Tabs 3 (left and
open edges)
Folded Edge Right
Sheets Single
Basis Weight 75 lb.

This graphic shows a folded self-mailer basis weight 75 pounds as described in the text.

Folded Booklet
Tabs 2 (start 1 inch
from top edge)
Spine Bottom
Folded Edge Bottom
Sheets Multiple w/ Cover
Basis Weight 20 lb. (Cover)

This graphic shows a folded booklet basis weight 20 pounds as described in the text.

An 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet of 20, 24, or 28 pound paper folded once to 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches does not meet the minimum thickness of 0.009 inch for an automation-compatible letter.
Booklet
Tabs 2 (start 1 inch
from top and
bottom edges)
Spine Right (open edge
left)
Folded Edge Right
Sheets Multiple w/ Cover
Basis Weight 20 lb. (Cover)

This graphic shows a booklet basis weight 24 pounds as described in the text.

 

Back to Top