Do You Take Notes Electronically or with Pen and Paper?


As gadgets and machines take up more and more of our daily lives, they are beginning to tackle more and more of our tasks. One of those tasks, taking notes, is particularly important to our writers here. We asked them whether they still take notes with pen and paper or whether they are now taking them electronically.

Our Opinion

First, there are the writers who are still young and organized enough to not need to take any notes. Derrik falls into that category. He says he “just tries to remember things, but on a rare occasion he’ll use Google Keep“. Christopher also relies on his good memory and finds that it doesn’t fail him, but when he does need to jot it down, he relies on tech.

Despite being wrapped up in our technological worlds, there are still those of us who rely on pen and paper. Phil relies on it and has found in his research that “writing with a pen programmed the words into the brain more successfully” because it’s “more of a commitment.” He sometimes uses notecards as well to lay out his ideas. But he’s not adverse to keeping longer notes in Evernote.


For Vamsi, it’s more habit than anything else. He uses pen and paper to quickly write down ideas or a to-do list. But he, too, isn’t against organizing notes with technology and uses OneNote on occasion.

Damien and Judy both use their phones to write down notes. He likes to do that and then sync it to the cloud so that he always has access to it anywhere, anytime. But if he has to do some type of sketching, he’ll use pen and paper. She feels pen and paper is faster but likes not having to worry about where she left her notes when she does it on her phone.

Mahesh and I both take tech notes wherever we happen to be. He uses Stickies if he’s on his Mac, but if on his iPhone, he’ll use the Notes app. It’s been a long time since the gadgets replaced pencil and paper for him. I take notes in my Inbox app, my Split Pea writing app, or the Notes app on my iPad or iPhone. I also have special apps to help such as shopping apps to keep track of my lists.

Your Opinion

Our writers are very much split on this issue, but it should be noted that no matter what method they rely on, they always use tech at some point. We’d like to hear from you as well on this. Do you take notes electronically or with pen and paper? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Pete O’Shea via Wikimedia Commons

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. I’ve been doing this with OneNote for years, and I’m completely electronic. I have done this on both Windows and iOS based tablets with both keyboard and pen. As a corporate Software QA VP, being able to go from meeting to meeting with just one slim tablet where I can take both handwritten and typed notes without having to manage paper is huge for me.

    I’ve used a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 8.x or Windows 10 with OneNote 2013/2016 or an iPad Pro with OneNote 2013/2016 for iOS. The notes sync back and forth between either of those and my office PC, so I always have my notes where I need them.

    For me, OneNote is really the only app to handle this. I’ve used other “universal” note apps, like Evernote, but I always come back to OneNote due to its Office integration, and its ability to work with both pen (including built-in OCR) and keyboard. I find that I have better in-app tools than with Evernote (which does go cross platform, but historically hasn’t offered Office integration, though it may now) or iOS Notes (which doesn’t go cross platform).

  2. They’ll have to pry my pen and paper from my cold, dead hands. I can’t type and listen at the same time, good for those who can. Like dragonmouth, I also use a voice recorder for meetings.

  3. It rather depends on your purpose in taking notes. Start with the simple question: do I want/need to learn this? If the answer is NO, then electronic notes are the way to go – full text search. If the answer is YES, then pen and pare is the way to go. Lots of studies in the past few tears have elaborated the distinctions/strengths/weaknesses of the two methods. If you don’t want to dig into the details of the science then the above IF is reasonably accurate and simple.

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