Are the days of handwriting numbered?

Deborah Salmi 26 Jun 2012

When was the last time you wrote anything by hand? Did you fill out a form or jot down items on a grocery list?

Learning handwritingWhen was the last time you wrote anything by hand? Did you fill out a form or jot down items on a grocery list? Send a thank you card for your birthday gift? Online stationer Docmail asked 2,000 adults about their handwriting habits, and respondents said that it had been on average 41 days since they wrote anything by hand. It also found that one in three of us has not had cause to write anything “properly” for more than six months. The convenience of typing on a computer keyboard or entering text via a touchscreen is making handwriting obsolete.

Hasn’t the handwriting been on the wall about penmanship for a while now? Even ‘back in the day’ official or formal letters would not have been handwritten, but typed. Schools still teach printing in the first grade, and cursive in the second or third grade, but after that, kids are not required to use it because they master keyboarding (a strange term which replaced the old-fashioned term typing.)

Handwriting’s decline can be traced back further than your touchscreen though. Back in the 1800s, handwriting transformed from ornate, calligraphic script to a simpler form of cursive we’re familiar with today. It became speedier and legible, which made business processes like accounting more productive. Then typewriters became the wave of the future, so time devoted to penmanship lessons was significantly reduced to allow more time for typing skills. In the 1990s, when computers gained popularity at home and in the office, teaching handwriting became even less of a priority.

So are the days of putting pen to paper really numbered? We work and communicate via our electronic devices now, so the decline of handwriting is just the reality of progress. I don’t think handwriting is being lost – it’s just changing with the times. What do you think? Use your keyboard or touchscreen to join the conversation on our avast! Facebook page. Or, you can write us a note. Send it c/o Deborah Salmi at

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