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Which is Better: Handwritten or Typed Notes?

I’m sure it’s safe to say that all students have gone through a time when they constantly switch between note-taking methods. One method may seem like it has its advantages, yet when you switch to another method, you start to see the disadvantages the prior method had. However, you also begin to see its advantages. So now you’re back to square one, undecided about which method truly works for you.

Out of the several note-taking methods, the two most effective ones are handwritten and typed. Both have their pros and cons, as will be discussed, so it may seem like you can’t decide which to choose. However, if you make a list of three factors you need in a note-taking method, whichever one has the three main points will be you’re the closest match to perfect.

So go ahead, make that list of three. These factors can be anything, from time efficiency, the effort needed, information retained, etc. After reading the rest of this article, access which method best meets your requirements, and from there, research different ways to perform it.

Handwritten Notes

Although handwriting notes in class during a lesson takes up more time than typing notes, multiple benefits may substitute for the extra time it takes. Edugage provides a few benefits of handwritten notes that will likely not be achieved by typed notes. They are as follows:

Increasing your ability to focus

The demand of handwriting encourages us to concentrate, as we must use muscular effort to pen each word. Typing with a computer, on the other hand, is a rapid hit of a key, requiring less work than writing each word.

Increasing your comprehension

Likely, when writing, you will have to remember the key points said so you can write them down. This will improve your comprehension of the information at the end of the lesson. When typing with a keyboard, the speed at which you type will be similar to the speed at which the teacher is talking, thus, there is no need to remember the point to note it.

Inspiring your creativity

The unfettered ability to scribble phrases, diagrams, or doodles allows you to be creative when taking notes. Creative notes might make reviewing them afterward more enjoyable. So get out your coloured pens, markers, and highlighters and have some fun taking notes! If you don’t find time to decorate your notes in class, during lecture, you could always write jot-notes in class, then re-write them in a more organized matter later. This will help you revise the information while letting your creativity go wild.

Improving your organization of information

As you begin to handwrite notes in a customizable fashion, you will also learn how to best organize thoughts and facts into a logical format.

Improving your prioritizing skills

Unlike typing, where you can potentially write down word-for-word what is being told, with handwritten notes, you don’t have the time to do that and keep up with the lesson. Thus, you will begin to grab the most important topics in the sentence and write that down, in a fashion you comprehend. This way, only the most important notes are written down, prioritizing the amount of information you must revise later.

Typed Notes

It may seem that I have persuaded you that handwritten notes are the way to go. However, let me counteract such an argument by explaining the benefits of typed notes, outlined by Glean.


It goes without saying that typing notes take much less time than handwriting them. This way, during lessons, you will spend less time writing down information and more time actively paying attention and listening. With speed also comes the added con of potentially writing down unnecessary information, lengthening your page, and resulting in the need to sift through more information while revising. However, if you work on listening to the information during your downtime, then writing down the main points from that group, you likely wouldn’t run into problems later.

Time Management

With handwritten notes, you will likely only get time to roughly jot down points and will have to re-write them nicely when you return home. This can waste a lot of time, especially if you aren’t focused on revising the information and instead are focused on creatively decorating it. With the speed provided in typed notes, you won’t have to re-write your notes upon arriving home; instead, you can mindfully review them.


With typed notes, it’s fine to make mistakes as you are always able to click the ‘backspace’ button and have it disappear in a second. Want to move one section above the other for better chronological order? No problem, just copy and paste! There’s no need to re-write sections and waste time when typing notes.


Unlike pen and paper, where you must lug around a notebook, textbook, pens, and pencils in order to study, typed notes are in the comfort of one device. They can be made to files, easily shared and copied, and save space in backpacks.

Which One Wins?

Written note-taking is more effective, according to Science News for Students, because it requires “thinking about and producing the shape of each letter, retrieving memories of what the letters look like, controlling our hands” while writing, and “watching the shape of each letter take form.” When you type, all you’re doing is pressing keys on a keyboard. Your mind isn’t compelled to work in the same manner.

So handwritten notes, despite taking longer, are the most effective way to retain information the first time. But it’s not digital, meaning it takes up space, isn’t customizable, and is hard to share and copy.

If only there were a way to get the best of both worlds. Wait, there is!

Electronically Written Notes

Electronically written notes can be done on tablets using an e-pencil. It performs just like pen and paper, as you can write using different colours, sizes, and textures. Yet this time, all are available on one pencil. Like typed notes, you have customization abilities where you can easily move sections around or erase certain portions. You can add external sources to the notes, and due to its digital home, transport it easily around. In addition, sharing and copying notes are made easy with just a click of a button. Although the resources may be pricey, they could provide a step up in your note-taking and studying efficiency. As an added bonus, it is more environmentally friendly, as you no longer need endless pieces of paper to take notes on.

Which Will You Choose?

After learning about these note-taking methods, learning their pros and cons, and examining your list of top 3 priorities, which one better fits your needs?

Article author: Subangki Velmahiban

Article editors: Sherilyn Wen, Victoria Huang


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