How to Learn Shorthand

How to Learn Shorthand

Shorthand is a useful skill to have, especially for people working in roles that involve writing or taking notes during meetings. Shorthand essentially involves writing words in a simplified form, and can help you take notes quickly, easily and accurately. However, learning shorthand for the first time can often be intimidating. This detailed guide will provide you with all the steps you will need to take in order to master the skill.

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with the Alphabet

The most important step to learning shorthand is to familiarize yourself with the alphabet. Shorthand is written with a simplified version of the alphabet and there are several different forms of shorthand available, so it is important to find the one that best suits your needs. The most popular forms of shorthand are Gregg Shorthand, Pitman Shorthand, and Teeline Shorthand, so if you don’t already have a preferred style of shorthand, start by researching these.

Once you’ve made your choice of shorthand, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the abbreviations and symbols that go along with it. Many of these will be phonetic and represent the sounds of spoken English words, so try to match up the sounds with the symbols and abbreviations. Doing this will put you in a great position to start writing in shorthand.

Step 2: Learn the Basics

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the alphabet, it’s time to move on to the basics of shorthand. There are many different techniques and tips you will need to understand in order to become a proficient shorthand writer. These include the use of abbreviations, consonants, vowel sounds, and phrase and sentence punctuation. You will also need to understand the various methods of stroke formation, such as curves and straight lines, as well as how to write words effectively and accurately.

To learn the basics of shorthand, you can take an online class or purchase a book that specifically covers the topic. There are also many free tutorials available online that can teach you the basics. Whichever route you choose, make sure to spend some time reviewing the material until you feel comfortable enough to start writing in shorthand.

Step 3: Practice Writing

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with shorthand and its basics, it’s time to start practicing. The best way to become a good shorthand writer is to practice writing sentences and words using the symbols and abbreviations you’ve learned. This will help you to become comfortable with the different strokes and forms used in the writing system. It is recommended that you practice writing in shorthand every day to make sure you’re constantly improving your skills.

When practicing your shorthand, pay attention to your handwriting. Make sure that your strokes are neat and consistent, and that your shorthand looks legible and clear. Doing this will help you write shorthand quickly and accurately, and will also make it easier for you to read back what you’ve written.

Step 4: Take Tests and Use Online Resources

In addition to regular practice, there are several other resources available to help you learn shorthand. One of the most effective is taking tests. Taking tests can help you evaluate your progress and identify the areas that you need to work on. These tests can also help you improve your speed and accuracy when writing in shorthand.

You can also make use of online resources such as websites, forums, and videos. These can provide you with tips and tricks on how to improve your shorthand skills, and can give you an insight into the different techniques used by experienced shorthand writers. Additionally, these resources can provide you with an opportunity to connect with other shorthand enthusiasts and ask questions or get advice.

Step 5: Track Your Progress

The final step in learning shorthand is to track your progress. Keeping track of your shorthand scores and performance over time will help you determine which areas you need to work on and which techniques you should be focusing on. Again, taking tests can be a great way to track your progress, as it will give you an indication of whether you are improving or not.

Additionally, keep a record of all the shorthand words and sentences that you’ve written, as this will give you a point of reference when you want to compare your progress. You can also create a portfolio of your shorthand work that you can look back on and be proud of.


Learning shorthand is a challenging yet rewarding skill. With the right approach and dedication, you can become a proficient shorthand writer in no time. Make sure to follow the steps outlined in this guide and practice regularly in order to become a confident and successful shorthand writer.

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