Typing and Writing: Pros and Cons

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Virtually all students these days use laptops to take notes; however, some come to classes with a paper notepad and a pen. Without further ado, below is our list of pros and cons of each method – don’t be too harsh on that, after all, this is the old-school understanding and a biased opinion.

Typing: Pros and Cons

Pros of Typing:

  1. It is fast. If you have grown up with a computer and a laptop in your hands, typing for you is natural. I am often amazed by the speed of typing of some of my students – they take notes with a speed of professional typeset from the 70s and 80s. For the sake of speed, one has to use all of their 10 fingers and not look at the keyboard, as everything happens in the visual memory. I think that typing is at least two times faster than writing.
  2. It’s editable. Not that writing is not possible to edit, however, the convenience and effectiveness are nowhere near the editing capacity of a typing process. While typing you can always go back to any previous word or sentence and quickly fix it, drastically change it, rewrite, or even delete it. The overall text and meaning will not suffer as with each editing iteration, you basically end up with a new and clean text. A certain degree of convenience in this regard is added by the AI, or the software that makes auto-changes while typing – typos and mistakes get corrected automatically while one is typing. To be fair, though, not always these algorithms are perfect – they make mistakes and instead of the best word choice can suggest something awkward.
  3. It’s compact. It is no secret that typed text is more compact than written one. Approximately one page of a typed text will fit on two pages written on paper. Though, this advantage is only viable when you print your text and keep it on paper.
  4. It’s sharable. A huge advantage of typed text is that it is vastly better sharable than written text. One can save it on their computer, send it to their friends immediately, save it in the cloud, etc.

Cons of Typing:

  1. When typing, you depend on your laptop (stationary PC at home if you write an article or a book) and its battery capacity if you sit in a class where there is no easy access to a power socket. If your laptop suddenly dies or the battery stops working – the game is over, and you cannot take notes.
  2. It’s easier to lose. Actually, this con of typing comes from one of its pros – the ability to share. Often, we lose important files on our computers due to simple human errors (deleting files by mistake) or errors in our software – a virus, malware, computer burnout, etc. 
  3. Typing depends on two hands. If, for any reason, you cannot use one of your hands, typing with a single hand, right or left, becomes hard if not impossible. In that case, it is subpar to writing, which always happens with a single hand. 

Writing: Pros and Cons

Pros of writing:

  1. Writing by hand gives me a warm feeling of doing something natural, usual, and important. It spikes memories from childhood when we learned to write by hand at home and in school, and that gives a sense of responsibility and attention to the process of writing itself.
  2. When writing by hand, you don’t depend on your laptop, its battery, and its power supply. For instance, when you accidentally drop your laptop, you will still have your piece of paper and pen to take notes.
  3. Written text has a better overall survivability – it’s not subject to a software glitch, or a human error when cleaning your PC and deleting junk files. When I write something by hand I can store it for decades if not for centuries.
  4. Writing puts less strain on your shoulders – in the class setting, bringing with you and carrying around campus a thin paper notepad is generally lighter than a heavy laptop with a power supply unit.  

Cons of writing:

  1. Writing by hand is less environmentally friendly since we are using paper, which requires cutting wood somewhere, depleting our planet’s natural resources, which eventually contributes to climate change.
  2. Writing by hand requires more attention and concentration – it has to be clean and correct from the first try, since making changes and correcting errors is much harder, if not impossible, compared to typing.
  3. Writing is slow. Putting the same volume of text on paper takes longer than typing it in an electronic form. In addition, a written text takes up larger space than a typed one (when you need to print the latter one, of course).  

That’s all. We’ve tried to make the list balanced when it comes to the number of bullet points so that it becomes easier for you to compare and evaluate the two methods. Which one is better, writing or typing, we will leave it for you to discuss and decide.