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Tips for better shorthand note writing

Updated on February 21, 2016

Learn shorthand

Learning shorthand online or with a teacher takes a lot of practise. Regular lessons will help to teach the fundamentals of how to write in shorthand.

However, there are loads of handy little tips from people who have learned shorthand that can help.

People who have been there and learned shorthand - just like you are doing now - often have the most experience in the field. They have picked up dozens of little tips and secrets that can be passed on to students now learning this speed writing and note-taking skill.

On this page you'll find fifteen great pointers that will help you learn shorthand whether you are a student, a journalist, a secretary or somebody who is just doing it fun.

  • Use a ring bound reporters notepad. The short distance to the edge of the page is the perfect length for quick note-taking
  • Draw a left-hand a margin on the page. Jot key words in the margin during note-taking. They'll provide easy reference points later
  • Write newspaper articles out into shorthand then read the notes back. This will help shorthand speed and writing skills.
  • Stay calm and relaxed when writing in shorthand. Gently stretch fingers to make them more flexible and responsive.
  • Press lightly with the pen so that it glides across the page. Pressing too hard writing too quickly creates tension which causes slower shorthand writing.
  • Remember any missed word and leave a space in the notes . Quickly write the word in the gap when there's a break in speech.
  • Decipher other people's shorthand. This helps to recognises outlines and words easier and quicker.

Notes: An extract from Abraham Lincoln's shorthand notes for a speech
Notes: An extract from Abraham Lincoln's shorthand notes for a speech
  • Write in shorthand as small as possible. This creates faster note-taking as it takes less time to write the outlines.
  • Use a simple black or blue plast biro pen. They're light and easy to write with.
  • Fit as many outlines on a singe line as possible. Constant changing to line below wastes time which could be used for note-taking.
  • Write the lyrics to your favourite songs - in shorthand. This keeps practising fun and makes a welcome change from dictation.
  • Keep a second pen on the desk or very close to hand in case the one being written with runs out.
  • When using shorthand in court, read back the sentences and write the words in long hand above each symbol. This makes typing the notes quicker.
  • Leave one line of space between each sentence of speech in the notepad. This makes it clearer to read back notes in shorthand.

Free shorthand lessons from


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    • profile image

      faqeer cahnd 3 years ago

      Hi! I'm from Pakistan. I'm learning short, I want to improve my speed. Sometimes I couldn't understand my outline,suggest me what should I do?

    • profile image

      faqeer cahnd 3 years ago

      Hi! I'm from Pakistan. I'm learning short, I want to improve my speed. Sometimes I couldn't understand my outline,suggest me what should I do?

    • profile image

      kamal verma 5 years ago

      hi i want to learn shorthand typing can you tell me how to learn shorthand typing any tips any institute for it.

    • profile image

      shivangi 5 years ago

      hi i m learning shorthand in English. i m India and i want to improve my speed as soon as so i could job in govt , but i have no time for reglur practice so plz help me .....

    • profile image

      Jalbani Baloch 6 years ago

      Please follow the following tips that will surely result in improving your shorthand speed.

      1. Regularly practice a written passage of about 500 words with a variable dictations, starting from 60 to 80 wpm.

      2. During the first two dictations, use full outlines of medium size.

      3. Invent your own outlines and short forms or short-cuts for personal nouns e.g. names of organizations, institutions and etc.

      4. Always incalculate habit of reading your outlines after each dictation.

      5. Learn by practice the increased use of halving principle, thr, der and joining of more than one words.

    • profile image

      rana abbas 6 years ago

      I am improvement in shorthand typing speed.

    • profile image

      GM 6 years ago

      There is best blog for learning shorthand in your own language.

    • profile image

      manzar 6 years ago

      We can eachother to gain knowledge not only of Short hand but also English speaking. so please contact me at, or 0300-4784194

    • profile image

      ADOKUN KEHINDE 7 years ago

      Shorthand is my best course. I love it so much. I will appreciate it if I can get the address where I can get the mp3 recording dictation of shorthand

    • profile image

      Rana Arslan 7 years ago

      I am learning shorthand in english, i am from pakistan and i want to improve my speed as soon as so that i could job in govt office or court

      I also wants dictations of shorthand recording mp3

      where from i can get mp3 recording dictation of shorthand


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