Legible Vs. Readable Handwriting


Most of us while discussing good handwriting skills often mistake the two words i.e. legibility and readability to be synonyms. But, in reality both of these words mean different. Both these terms are adjectives used for describing the quality of handwriting. Now, let us understand the point of differences between Legibility and Readability.




The characteristics of readability are:

·         It is an ability to write in a way that the reader is able to extract information from the written content

·         It is not judged on the basis of every single letter instead on the combination of letters on a whole

·         The reading of such handwriting may be tedious and involve extra efforts, but still can be read

·          A readable handwriting may skip the use of correct grammar, punctuation etc. thereby affecting the readability

·         There may be a distortion in the sizes, shapes and spacing of the letters but not affecting the content to be deciphered

·         The texts can be dull, difficult or nonsensical to an extent, still readable.




The characteristics of legibility are:

·         It is the ability to write error free, without any technical flaws in the content and its quality

·         It is judged on each parameter from the size, shape, fonts, zones (upper, middle and lower) of letters to words

·         The handwritten content is next to perfect and so it does not involve any extra efforts i.e. the reading process is as smooth as butter

·          Not only the quality, but also the grammar is correct, no spelling mistakes, language is full-fledged with appropriate use of punctuations

·         The letters, words and handwriting is easy to be deciphered

·         The writing is clear, sharp and precise. It allows extracting the right information which has to be given to the reader.


Both the words legibility and readability are quite commonly used as replacements of each other. The more popular word among the two is ‘Legibility’. A readable handwriting may not necessarily legible, but a legible handwriting is always readable. Anyone can write a readable handwriting, but it requires deep study and analysis to be a legible writer.


Legibility is all about a letter’s individual identity within the whole content written on a piece of paper. Readability is basically an identity of the complete text that can be read.


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