An Easy Way to Write Shorthand

Many people find it cumbersome to take full-length, handwritten notes. An easy solution is to use shorthand. There are numerous techniques and methods for shorthand writing, or you can develop your own method. These methods vary from complex shorthand that requires new shapes and characters to other alphabetic methods that primarily involve abbreviations and require less memorization.

Determine which shorthand method is right for you

Choose a system such as Gregg or Pitman shorthand if you wish to learn a cursive style. These systems are artistic, fast and not necessarily readable by others. Some systems allow dedicated students to reach 160 to 200 words per minute with a lot of practice.

Select the Handywrite system if you seek a cursive system that is unambiguous when read. This combines the speed of a method such as Gregg but adds a full complement of characters for all vowel sounds. This reduces confusion when decoding your notes after you have written them.

Choose an alphabetic system if you do not wish to learn new characters and have less time to devote to learning a shorthand system. The main methods are Speedwriting, Easyscript and Keyscript. All claim to be much faster, easier to learn and easier to read than cursive systems. Alphabetic systems can also be used when typing, and a word processor can be programmed to automatically decode your shorthand based on the common rules.

Select Teeline to maintain an alphabetic system as opposed to a phonetic system. Developed by journalism professors in the United Kingdom, this popular system often omits vowels for brevity. It does not require cursive characters and does not use the standard alphabetic characters.

Practice, practice, practice

Find online resources for the system you choose. Many companies offer advanced education in shorthand, which often require a fee.

Obtain a set of the alphabetic system used and the rules to decode the shorthand. With these alone, and enough practice, you should be able to learn shorthand without purchasing or attending a course.

Practice your shorthand writing. Use a variety of materials to practice converting into shorthand to give yourself a wide variety of writing types, words and vocabulary.

Time yourself as you write shorthand so that you have a baseline for measuring your progress. This will help you see your results and motivate you to continue.


Given the pervasiveness of computer technology, the most effective shorthand method will be one that can be used while using a keyboard and a word processor. This will likely mean that many of the cursive based shorthand systems will be relegated to the history books.

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