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Death of Handwriting

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The average person hasn’t written by hand for 41 days, it has been revealed.

The full extent to which technology has taken over our lives was revealed in a study of 2,000 Brits – one in three hasn’t had cause to hand write anything properly for over six months.

Gone are the days of handwritten phone-books, writing reminders or noting something on the calendar – the study revealed all of these are now more likely to be done without using a pen. Two thirds of people say if they do still handwrite something, it’s usually for their eyes only – mostly hastily scribbled reminders or a quick note.

The research, which was commissioned by print and post specialist Docmail, found that more than half the study no longer takes pride in their handwriting.

Dave Broadway, managing director for Docmail, said: “It’s a shame that handwriting is in general decline, but that’s come about from the need for convenience and communication that is clear and quick.

“People by habit will always look for shortcuts or to make their life easier, and that’s the reason technology is so prominent in our everyday lives.

“What will always be of importance is the quality of what we’re communicating and how we convey ourselves. Handwriting will always carry a sentimental value but inevitably makes way when it comes to the need to be efficient.

“The only time we see handwriting used in Docmail is when someone includes a scanned signature in a letter they have uploaded to our service. Even a scanned signature is still seen to add that personal touch that digital print can’t convey.”

One in five can’t remember the last time they had to write something neatly. Over half of the study admits their handwriting has noticeably declined over time, with one in seven people very ashamed of the standard of their written word.

Today, creating a shopping list, taking notes in a meeting or even wishing someone a happy birthday are more often done via electronics. Nearly half (44%) said that their scribing is neither nice nor easy to read; as a result, a third said that when they do write something down, they often struggle to read their own writing when coming back to it later on.

A sixth of Brits don’t even think handwriting should still be taught in schools. The decline in handwriting quality was blamed mostly on the lack of a place for it in the average modern life, with the need to be able to reach many people and constantly edit documents quickly being regarded as crucial.

Indeed, forty per cent of people claim that when they do have to write it never needs to be neat, so they stop trying.  A further one in three said they used to have smart handwriting but that today their style is much scruffier- the same number would get someone else to write for them if it had to be smart and presentable.

Four in ten Brits rely on predictive text and increasingly rely on it for their spelling, with one in four regularly using abbreviations or ‘text talk.’ LOL (laugh out loud), U (you) and FYI (for your information) are the most regularly used abbreviations.

One in three Brits describe handwriting as ‘nice’ but not something they would want to do every day.

Dave Broadway, managing director for Docmail print and post, continued: “Technology puts everyone on a level playing field when it comes to the ability to communicate clearly.

“For business matters and occasions that require speed, clarity and cost efficiency or delivering to a wide audience, a technology-based solution will always be the most beneficial.

“But even if its usefulness is reduced, it’s important that people maintain their ability to communicate without a full reliance on technology.”



1. LOL (laugh out loud)

2. U (you)

3. FYI (for your information)

4. R (are)

5. 4 (for)

6. 2 (too/ to)

7. OMG (Oh my God)

8. Gr8 (great)

9. MSG (message)

10. K (OK)

Technology puts everyone on a level playing field when it comes to the ability to communicate clearly

Dave Broadway, managing director for Docmail print and post

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