Joined Up Writing

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The quick easy replacement for cursive handwriting!

Join up writing is just what it sounds like.

You join printed letters within words

to increase your writing speed

and make words easy to read and write.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog sentence with dog and fox illustrated

Learn the simplest style of joined up writing right now!   

Hybrid-style handwriting improves readability and writing speed!

This makes it the most practical style of cursive handwriting

Print-style letters are joined up simply so you can write more easily, and your pen leaves the paper less often so you can write more quickly.

By joining letters this way you avoid 3 problems with traditional cursive:

  1. There is no need to change letter forms just so you can join them
  2. You don't have write on a slant and struggle to keep the slant uniform
  3. Joins are simple, and easy to make, as there are only 3 different kinds

Joins are just links between letters

You use a familiar form of print writing you've used for years, and only join letters that link naturally and easily.

Forget what you learned in school!

It's time to get practical! Joined up handwriting, that is neither cursive nor manuscript, is actually a hybrid form that's a cross between print writing and typical cursive handwriting. This hybrid form is the most useful and efficient form of handwriting. What's more, you can completely personalize it, and make it your own.

Remember why you're joining letters! You're linking letters within words so you can write more quickly while still writing easily, neatly, clearly and consistently.

So don't go crazy! You'll want to stick with familiar print letter forms and make as few changes to your letters and words as possible.

You're are 3 steps away from improving your writing, but first ... 

The following suggestions will ensure better results:

  • Don't put joins where they're not needed (don't use them before the first, or after the last, letter in words)
  • Don't change letter shapes unless you absolutely have to (so only e, f, r, s  and z, if necessary, to make them easier to join)
  • Save your loops for letters that already have curves in their printed form. For example:
  • The letter f with a top curve should probably have a loop on top (but neither l, t, b or d should get one)
  • Letters that have bottom curves like j, g, q and y should get loops, and g needs a front loop to distinguish it from q which needs a back loop (but p shouldn't get a loop, and probably not even f or z)
  • Adding a loop to the letter k makes it more likely to be confused with the letters 'le'
  • Consider the whole word you're going to write, not just the individual letters. For example, the word 'the' is the most common word of all. It may be quicker to write if you pause to cross your t, before joining to h.

NOTE: There are 10 changes that can help you write more quickly and neatly.

When you're done, click the button at the bottom of this page to learn the other 9!

Ready? Let's get started ...

1. Choose the letter styles you prefer

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Think about the advice you just got, as you compare the hybrid (print/cursive) style (blue), and the typical cursive style (brown) below.

2 forms of The quick brown fox ... one in cursive, one in joined up writing

How many differences can you find???
Which letter forms do you prefer?

Right here and now you're going to decide which letter forms you'll use before you decide which letters you'll join to and from and which letters you won't join! Why not make your decisions as you link letters while writing the alphabet. Did you get some clarity?

Now write out the sentence above as you try out the letter forms you've chosen. Make your final decision on which letter forms you prefer based on two things. Choose the style you enjoy writing and enjoy looking at!

2. Learn the 3 simple joins and how and when to use them

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Join as many letters as possible, but don't worry about joining every letter.

Joins begin where the previous letter ends, and end where the next letter begins. You can sometimes get a more readable word by breaking it in a place where it's hard to create a good join.

the word fox with a red arrow pointing to the bottom of the second stroke of the letter x

For example, the letter x is difficult to join from, since your end point in on the inside of the word.

The word lazy with a red arrow pointing to the start of the letter z

In addition, the letter z is difficult to join to, because it begins in an awkward place.

There are only 3 basic types of joins: underhand, overhand and across:

Spacing is also important when thinking of joins   

In #7 of the Wordskillz™ post How to Change your Handwriting in 10 Steps or Less (if you haven't read the post yet you'll find it here), we looked at letter and word spacing. Keep the same guidelines you learned there in mind when joining letters. So half a letter 'o' between letters within words, and a full letter 'o' between words.

3. Practice your joined up writing in the very best way

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There is less opportunity for any kind of handwriting these days. So a little practice with this fast, efficient handwriting style can sharpen your skills and prepare you for all occasions when nice, neat, quick handwriting is required.

Linking letters leads makes handwriting a more fluid rhythmic process. Now you've decided what letter styles you prefer, and what joins you'll need to use, it's time to practice your joined up writing!

1. Practice your joins on the examples below using the letter styles you prefer:

○ Underhand: a to t, c to h, b to u
○ Overhand: a to d, e to a, i to g
○ Across: v to e, o to r, w to h

2. Practice joining letters in a string, and in words and sentences, using what you've learned:

a. Write out the alphabet joining all the letters
b. Write 10 very common words: the, be, to, of, and, in, that, have, for, with
c. Write the following pangrams (sentences that contain all the letters of the alphabet):

  • The five boxing wizards jump quickly.
  • A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
  • Pack my red box with five dozen quality jugs.

Why not stick with traditional cursive writing?

Think of the fonts you see most of the time on signs, online and in books and magazines. These common fonts are similar to the print writing we learned in school. Why? Because they are easy to recognize and read. Compare those fonts to cursive writing forms. It's like you're writing in another language!

Why are we asked to print when filling in forms? For the same reason most fonts we read are a printed style. Those letters are so uniform they can be read easily by machines.

In the same way, a joined up writing style with no slant, having letters that closely match print or manuscript forms, will be consistently neat and easy to read while at the same time being quick and easy to write.

Isn't it time you switched to a hybrid style?

A handwriting style that is familiar to the eye can boost your ability to spell and read. When words look as familiar as the face of a friend, less thought is needed to read and spell them. Your brain can create a familiar and memorable image of a word, so you read, write and spell with less effort.

You can also more easily remember what you've written. In fact, this style of handwriting is one of the best memory aids you can use.

This hybrid style is also the perfect handwriting for everyday. Your signature and works of art may contain more elaborate and creative letters, but you'll want to use this simple type of lettering most of the time.


You've known how to print letters since you were a small child. So you don't need to change how you form letters. Just keep it simple, and let the printed form dominate. But also avoid lifting your pen from the paper as much as possible. The result?  You'll write more words per minute and those words will be easy to read!

Any questions? Contact me here

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