Pros & Cons: Taking Notes on Paper vs Keyboard

Are you struggling to decide whether to take notes on a keyboard or on a piece of paper? Note taking is a very important process, and where you take your notes should be a decision you consider thoroughly. Notes help you organize your day, keep your finances in check and keep track of your ideas. They are your go-to source for when your memory fails you. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of taking notes on a piece of paper vs. taking notes on a keyboard.

Keyboard Pros and Paper Cons

  • Speed - The average person can type 40 words per minute. Try writing 40 words per minute, and your handwriting will probably end up looking pretty sloppy. One of the biggest benefit of typing notes on a keyboard is that you will be able to write much faster than you would if you were writing them down on a piece of paper.
  • Accuracy - Have you ever looked back on your own handwriting and wondered to yourself what you wrote? Paper notes can easily smear and become illegible. When you take notes on a keyboard, you never have to worry about not being able to read your own handwriting.
  • Security - If you write your notes in a word document and email them to yourself, you never have to worry about losing them. Handwritten notes, on the other hand, are always at risk of getting lost. It's extremely easy to leave your notebook on the subway or at some other public place. Crossing out or erasing things on a piece of paper can make your notes look very sloppy. With a keyboard, however, you can edit as much as you want and your document will not look sloppy.
  • Easy to Share - It's much easier to share a note on a keyboard with multiple people. Just attach it to an email and you're good to go.

Paper Pros and Keyboard Cons

  • Health Reasons - Long hours of typing can be bad for the body's health. Staring at a screen for too long can be especially detrimental to your eyes. Staring at a piece of paper, on the other hand, has no negative side effects.
  • Less Typos - You are a lot less prone to typos and mistakes when writing by hand. This is because you write much more deliberately and slowly than you type.
  • Personal Touch - Notes on paper have a much better "personal touch" than notes on a computer.
  • Comprehension - Perhaps the biggest benefit of writing on a piece of paper is that it helps you retain more information. According to research by Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, students who take notes on a piece of paper perform better on exams than students who type their notes on a keyboard. Being able to type down everything verbatim may seem like an advantage, but it actually prevents your brain from comprehending what's being said. Instead, you are just mindlessly typing. Because you can't write as fast as someone can speak, you are forced to summarize what's being said. And therefore, comprehend everything better.

In the end, your decision to write or type your notes should be based on personal preference, not what others tell you.

Definitely weigh the pros and cons of each method, but ultimately choose the one that works best for you!