There is an interesting question on this site:

Does writing something down help memorize it?

Now my question is, does writing something on computer (i.e. using Word, Notepad, ...) help memorize it?

I usually learn by rewriting texts I read on computer. I never use copy-paste and always rewrite text myself and change it a little (acording to my needs, also I often translate it).

I use computer mainly because:

  • I can write faster on computer than on paper
  • I am often lazy to find paper and I don't want to waste paper when I will probably throw it away 2 days later anyway (consider environment, please don't consider as a "throw away exam")
  • It easier to edit text written on computer, can search within it, ...

So does the writing text on computer have the same advantages as writing down on paper?

Sub question: Does formatting of text have any influence on this?

  • $\begingroup$ Why do you want to memorize? $\endgroup$
    – user3832
    Jan 16, 2014 at 13:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Does this change asnwer in any way? ... Many times knowing how things work isn't enough (at exams), and you need to memorize some background around it (how were things made, when, by who, ...), or need to memorize which facts/examples/diagrams/formulas are needed to provide. $\endgroup$
    – Buksy
    Jan 16, 2014 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ if you were memorizing to use at a future date you would want to study differently than if you were memorizing for a throw away exam. $\endgroup$
    – user3832
    Jan 16, 2014 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ I may have badly described one of the reasons to use computer. Please consider environment save in second point... $\endgroup$
    – Buksy
    Jan 16, 2014 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Great, I was just onto asking this question... $\endgroup$
    – draks ...
    Mar 25, 2014 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


According to a study by Anne Mangen and Jean-Luc Velay of the University of Stavanger, handwriting is better than typing for learning: http://www.uis.no/research-and-phd-studies/research-areas/school-and-learning/learning-environment/better-learning-through-handwriting-article29782-8869.html

Mangen refers to an experiment involving two groups of adults, in which the participants were assigned the task of having to learn to write in an unknown alphabet, consisting of approximately twenty letters. One group was taught to write by hand, while the other was using a keyboard. Three and six weeks into the experiment, the participants’ recollection of these letters, as well as their rapidity in distinguishing right and reversed letters, were tested. Those who had learned the letters by handwriting came out best in all tests. Furthermore, fMRI brain scans indicated an activation of the Brocas area within this group. Among those who had learned by typing on keyboards, there was little or no activation of this area.

However, I'm having a hard time finding the actual research paper.


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