Earlier in the week, Lifehacker highlighted a post at Carolyn Blogs titled “My Classmates Are Taking Their Notes Digitally, But I Can’t Fathom How They Keep Up.” That’s me, too… my preferred OS is a pad of paper and a pen. 

But the debate ensued at Lifehacker and they posted some highlights, today. 

So, how about we settle it once and for all?– with a comprehensive comparison of by-hand and by-keyboard notetaking tactics. I’ve scoured the Lifehacker post, the web and my own (amazing) brain. I’ll tally the official pros and cons of each, and keep the list right here. Leave your additions in the comments. 

Advantages of Keyboarding

  • Faster (with practice)
  • Easy erasure and/or re-ordering
  • Standardized/legible
  • Easy to share/collaborate
  • Searchable
  • Accessible remotely
  • Unlimited space
  • Easy to back-up
  • Potential to copy/paste into assignments and papers
  • Has a built-in reference materials
  • Can include real images

Advantages of Using Your Hands 

  • Easily create diagrams/visuals
  • Faster with special symbols
  • Cheap
  • Helps you retain information
  • Unlimited battery life
  • Easy on the eyes
  • Less bothersome noise
  • Potentially more portable
  • No online poker (and other distractions)

Advantages of Using a Tablet

[we're not even going to go there!]

Let’s not forget that both can give you carpal tunnel syndrome. Maybe the best option is to not take notes at all…