Is it ever ok to send a typed note?

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My husband recently wondered if we could send a typed thank you note to a friend who’d helped us out during the storm… we had a lot to thank her for, and he felt it would be easier to compose the note on a computer, where we could rearrange and polish phrases as needed.

Reflexively, I said “no,” but then I found myself wondering if conventions would change in the future. Then again, even now, handwritten notes are special precisely because of their rareness. And why print out a typed note, at that point, when you can just as easily email it?

What do you think? Are there any situations in which it’s ok to send a typed note?

9 thoughts on “Is it ever ok to send a typed note?

  1. I thought I’d take the liberty of sharing a very considered response that came to us via email:

    Handwritten thank you notes are always preferred, but some people prefer to type on the computer as it has spell check, punctuation hints, etc.

    If you have been through a natural disaster ( and our family has) , essential services like post offices, stamps and dry paper are in short supply.

    A compromise might be using a type font that mimics handwriting ( they also don’t teach cursive in a lot of places any more!) …But try to print it out and send it, or fold it up and send it inside a beautiful small card that could be framed….

    Some people’s handwriting is atrocious ( my spouse and son), both prefer the computer to compose on….there are also sample phrases online to cut and past ( copyright issues?)

    If you have small children, are displaced, and work full time, it’s a lot of effort to collect all the necessary accoutrements to write a letter of thanks.

    That said, since your company is in the business of fine papers and fine writing instruments, it would be next to impossible and quite improbable that you could ” get away with it” without feeling some guilt, especially if it is a good friend. On the other hand, a good friend would understand, a business acquaintance or business friend may not.

    When in doubt, write it out! You will be glad you did.
    The content isn’t the most important part. The most important part is acknowledging the kindness of others…

  2. Interesting question!

    Any notebooks better than no note.

    A note handwritten on the fly is probably more meaningful to most people.

    A note polished through revision (on a computer perhaps) and then handwritten is the most impressive, but can feel a bit odd in the doing.

  3. Personally, I never would type a letter of any kind, but these days I suppose a typed one is better than no letter at all. Interesting question!

  4. Hi Leah
    What a cop-out to say ‘my handwriting is bad’. You CAN improve it. It’s a bit like saying, ‘I am always late’, or ‘I cannot navigate’ … nonsense, you can and should take control of your life and address what you know to be bad. Improving your handwriting is as simple as grabbing a Quo Vadis journal and a pen and getting on with it.
    I always use handwriting for personal notes and the keyboard for business stuff. But then we were possibly brought up with different standards of courtesy in England!
    Have a wonderful 2013 anyway.

  5. Any note is better than none. But if your handwriting is bad (increasingly common these days) or if you are writing to someone with poor eyesite, a typed note might actually be more courteous. Presentation is everything! If I decide to go this route, I use a printer-friendly stationary vs plain printer paper, and then cut it out or fold it to work as the insert for a nice card (often hand-made). I hand-write a short salutation. I think that bridges the personal touch with need for legibility.

  6. Definitely handwritten. I am part of a student organization where we often are required to send thank-you notes, and if possible I always handwrite mine. There are two exceptions: 1) when I don’t have a person’s mailing address and have no easy way of acquiring it; 2) when I am thanking other students in my group (there are a lot of these notes and it does not make financial sense to send a thank-you note one week when I know I’ll be sending another the next).

    My handwriting used to be chicken scratch, but I have worked hard at improving it. Slowing down and purchasing Michael Sull’s “American Cursive Handwriting” (no afil) have both helped immensely, as have my fountain pens 🙂 But if you’re going to send an email thank you note, don’t make excuses for your handwriting. Just send the email and be done with it.

    Whenever I’m tempted to take the easy way out and type up a quick email thank you, I remember how much I enjoy getting real thank you notes in the mail and this cures me of the desire to email my thanks!

  7. I always try my best to thank people personally. If I can’t, I write them a thank you letter or note. This makes the “thank you” more personal and special.

  8. While the vast majority of my letters are handwritten – with fountain pens, specifically – my correspondents occasionally enjoy letters produced on one of my old manual typewriters. In this day and age, it has the same “special” feeling as a handwritten note, and, with all its typos and pressure variations, it has the character of something that isn’t computer-generated.

  9. In this day and age, any note is a good note. While writing by hand is preferable there are some, me included, whose hand writing is atrocious so typing up a note is essential for legibility. I would explain in the typed letter that your hand writing is bad say, but if that’s not the case you should always hand write a note.

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