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Handwritten vs. electronic note taking

The decision to take either handwritten or electronic notes is a tricky one and comes down to personal preference; but there are definitely benefits to using either technique:

Handwritten notes

  • Some people handwrite faster than they type
  • Easy to adjust your note taking style to the content
  • You can print handouts or powerpoints and write straight on them
  • Handwriting connects you to the topic more, typing is more of an automatic response without thinking about the content
  • More of a tendency to put things in your own words
  • Can be hard to distinguish later
  • Requires a filing system of some sort as notes can be easy to lose

Electronic notes

  • You have all of your notes easily accessible wherever you are
  • Fewer mistakes and concern for spelling etc.
  • All of your notes will be in the same place and you won’t lose them
  • You can search through your notes for keywords
  • You can take pictures or upload files to be stored with your notes
  • You can share them immediately with your peers
  • Some people type faster than they write
  • You can pre-prepare your note taking format
  • It is easy to just copy down what you are told instead of putting things in your own words
As you can see there are more benefits to taking notes electronically – and we would recommend you do this and keep your notes on an online note-taking service. We recommend OneNote as a system since it is free as part of the Microsoft Campus Agreement Student Advantage Programme with the University of Auckland and accessible online from any device.

Our pick: Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is a note taking app that you can use to take notes wherever you are. You can download Microsoft Student Advantage for FREE (including OneNote) here if you are a student at the University of Auckland, or download OneNote for free.

Check out what you can do with OneNote:

  • OneNote layout
    Organise your notes in folders to keep your notes in order