25 Thank you note writing tips

Improve your thank-you notes by following some or all of the thank-you note tips below.

If you to see the layout of a thank-note, there are easy to follow instructions on how to write a thank-you note are on the cheat sheet, 5 easy steps to writing a thank-you note, or in the book.

The quick thank you note tips below are my basic tips for writing a good note to express your gratitude by being organized, timely, choosing the wording, and notecard.

If you want to take your note writing to the next level, check out the how the tips for a better note here.

Basic Thank You Note Writing Tips

1. Be Specific. Specifically mention the gift and include a detail about it, which is the #1 tip for a great thank-you note.

This shows your appreciation and lets the person know that you know what they gave you. When you receive multiple gifts from the same person at the same time, mention each gift in the thank-you note.

Knowing exactly what to write in a thank you card, is usually the most difficult part of thank you note writing.

Here at Tons of Thanks, we provide plenty of examples for many situations (boss, gifts, help, money), with thank you note examples for that occasion (instead of a generic list of sayings).

You can review the list of all posts on this site here.

2. Handwrite the note to make your thank you note stand out.

People are more likely to remember handwritten notes. Email is easy, but most people will appreciate the extra time and effort you took to handwrite the note. And people also like to get something other than bills in the mailbox! If handwriting isn’t for you, check out this list of ways to express your gratitude.

Job interview thank-you notes may be an exception where you should email rather than handwrite a note.

3. Be yourself when writing the thank you note. Only use words that you would use in your own life. If you copy an example that uses words you’d never say, the recipient may sense this when reading it. They may think you copied the note from somewhere!

4. Use a thesaurus or search for synonym lists on Pinterest to find words other than “good,” “great,” etc., that you would say in real life. In other words, use tools to be creative but still follow tip #3. 

5. Check your grammar. A tool like Grammarly makes this easy. If you are handwriting a note, you can still type it into Grammarly before writing it into a notecard. Links to Grammarly are affiliate links.

Grammarly Writing Support

6. Try writing slower if you struggle with legible handwriting. Don’t let poor handwriting be an excuse for not writing a note.

7. Be neat. Do not write with a cheap pen that leaves behind ink blobs. No one wants to see ink blobs or smears in a thank you note!

8. Know when to start your note over. Review these guidelines to determine if you should start over or keep going when you make a mistake in a handwritten note.

9. The wording. When stumped for the words to write in your note, think about what you’d like to see in a thank you note written to you or review examples. Or check out these sentence completion exercises.

10. Spelling Matters. Spell the recipient’s name correctly. For example, is there one or two L’s in their spelling of Michelle?

11. Remember to sign your name!

Thank you written across a card

Note Timing

12. Send your thank you notes as soon as possible. Send the note promptly, as soon after receiving the gift as possible. Within a week is a good timeline.

I know some people who keep graduation party invitations on their refrigerator until they receive a thank-you note!

14. Better late than never. Sending a thank-you note late is better than not at all in most situations. However, as Postable points out, that when a lot of time has gone by (a year or more), it may feel too awkward to send the thank you notes.

13. Good Habits. Make thank-you note writing a habit by sending the note within two or three days of receiving a gift every time you receive a gift. My favorite books on habits are Better Than Before and Atomic Habits (Amazon affiliate links).

15. Be Ready. Keep a box of thank-you notes on hand. That way, you will be ready when you need to write a note.

16. Organization can help. Be organized and have a plan when you have many notes to write at one time. Follow this guide to write 100 notes without feeling overwhelmed.

17. Combine notes. If your birthday is close to a holiday where gifts are given, you can write one thank-you note for the birthday gifts and holiday gifts to those that gave you a gift for both!

Cards and Envelopes

18. Handwrite their address on the envelope. Address labels may be used for the return address label. A handwritten address usually indicates to the receiver that this is not a bill or junk mail. In addition, handwriting the recipient’s address on the envelope increases the likelihood of it being opened.

19. Use a quality thank you note card. This means a notecard where you cannot see through the envelope or the card. My recommendations are on the Resources page. Or you can print a card here.

20. Use stickers for an informal thank-you note to give the envelopes some personality! I love cat stickers​

21. Card Design. Follow these 7 tips when choosing the design of a notecard to choose a card. A card with thank you on the front and blank on the inside will usually work fine (if you want to keep things easy or professional). ​

22. Obtaining Addresses. If you do not know the address of a person for a thank-you note, ask them for it. There are seven more address-finding tips here.

If you are thanking a coworker, asking for their home address may be awkward. Instead, you can opt to hand them the note or leave it on their desk.

23. Size matters. Mailing a card with a non-standard envelope size? It may cost extra postage. Know your dimensions! Here is this link to check for those in the United States: https://www.usps.com/business/prices.htm


24. “Meaning to send a thank-you note but then not doing it is exactly the same as never thinking to send one — that person is still receiving zero thank you notes.” ― Kelly Williams Brown, Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps. Note: I have not read this book, but I love the quote and that there is a cat on the front cover of the book! Link is an affiliate link.

25. Think of thank-you note writing as a way to bless others! People like to feel appreciated.

Infographics and guides