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There are several written stenography systems (like Gregg shorthand) that allow for quickly and efficiently condensing text into a series of symbols. Those systems would take hours and hours of studying and practice to learn. Are there any simplified shorthand systems (for example, just abbreviating or replacing certain words) that could be used in jotting down notes, reminders, etc. to improve productivity?

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I recently just got a LiveScribe pen which, if you are taking notes about verbal content, may greatly reduce the amount of material you need to jot down since each word has audio associated with it. It may compact your notes so much that you don't even need a shorthand system in the first place. I find that it's easier to focus on the material rather than note taking when using the pen since I don't need to take down every word. There are similar software solutions too. – Senseful Sep 24 '11 at 2:22
up vote 5 down vote accepted

After searching some more, I found there are several shorthand systems resembling standard writing, such as: * EasyScript Speed Writing * Forkner Shorthand * Keyscript Shorthand * Personal Shorthand * Speedwriting * Stenoscript * SuperWrite

If anyone has experience with any of these I'd be curious to hear your comments on them.

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There is Simplified Gregg shorthand, which reduces the amount of brief forms that needed to be memorized to only 181. Another one, Diamond Jubilee Gregg shorthand takes this down to 129 brief forms.

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Ford Shorthand (devised by Michael Ford 2012) is a simplified alphabet that allows you to replace your existing longhand letters with ones that are very much shorter and quicker to write. It is similar to Teeline but, as it just replaces the existing written letters, it has no rules. Learning time is minimal, and, as there is no reliance on technology, the cost is zero apart from maybe printing off the website page for reference. This is a good alternative if you do not wish to learn one of the more established and faster systems, but just want to speed up your longhand. I am a Pitman writer but recognise Ford Shorthand as filling a need for a method of quick writing that is easy to learn and read back, and would certainly have found it very useful for taking fuller notes at school, if it had been around at that time.

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This. Learned it in 15 minutes (literally). Not sure how useful it will be yet, but this certainly beats Gregg, which I spent 3 days on, about 20 pages, and then gave up. – drozzy Apr 24 '15 at 1:31
@drozzy So how's your verdict after eight months? – Tobias Kienzler Dec 23 '15 at 11:12
@TobiasKienzler Ford was pretty nice to learn. I even used it a few times when taking notes... but haven't really had a need for "shorthand" since. – drozzy Dec 23 '15 at 18:05

You can leave out the vowels and just write the consonants. This method does take some getting used to, but it does not depend on learning anything new. When you read it back you will be surprised how readable it is.

An example: Y cn lv t th vwls nd jst wrt th cnsnnts. Ths mthd ds tk sm gttng sd t, bt t ds nt dpnd n lrnng nthng nw. Whn y rd t bck y wll b srprsd hw rdbl t s.

Off course, this does not yield fantastic results, but it does mean less letters to write!

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Tht's rlly cl, thnks fr shrng! – jrdioko Jul 1 '11 at 22:42
Ths nswr hs svr frmttng r cntnt prblms. Ths nswr s nlkl t b slvgbl thrgh dtng, nd mght nd t b rmvd. – Tom Wijsman Jul 1 '11 at 22:46
I thnk th prblms mght b rltd t Ggl's rcnt vwl tg. – jrdioko Jul 5 '11 at 18:41

SWYPE is a revolutionary typing system engineered by the same inventor of T9 - Cliff Kushler. It's required to have a touchscreen device compatible with the app.

enter image description here It reads: quick

How does it work?

Touch the letters of any word and allow the app to guess it. You don't have to precisely touch the letters but merely make a move close enough. If the app is presented to more than one probable guess you're gonna see a small window displaying the options. You can imagine how awesome it works with long words and technical terms.

enter image description here Comparison chart.

I strongly recommend SWYPE for taking notes and sending messages but it's not handy to type anything longer than a paragraph as it doesn't replace the good old keyboard. The app adapts to the words you use the most and it only requires you to type a new word manually once. Try swyping the name of a contact - it already stored their names!


The app is supported by a growing number of mobile and tablet operational systems. Refer to this wikipedia article for more information but it's easier to search for swype in your app store.

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I was thinking more for handwriting, but SWYPE is definitely cool! I've been using SwiftKey on my phone and found it even faster to use than SWYPE. – jrdioko Jun 30 '11 at 18:24
A similar application is Dasher where you aim for incoming letters from the right. But how does this answer the question which is asking for another set of symbols? It still isn't faster than the keyboard in general, you could be faster with Dasher which allows for high speeds but (s)he isn't looking for alternative text entry... – Tom Wijsman Jun 30 '11 at 19:07
@Tom I don't think you must answer everything literally. If he wasn't using any digital device Swype would be a great replacement for a system that requires memorization. – Renan Jun 30 '11 at 21:09
Please note that people who are looking for (simplified) shorthand systems, stenography and condensing text will be visiting this question. Using an electronic device with a different way of text entry is not a focused answer to this problem, but rather a focused answer to a limited target public based on some assumptions. If I were a Journalist, an electronic device is non-feasible and SWYPE and even Dasher would be too slow for me. Even a simplified stenography system allows you to take notes at a double speed... – Tom Wijsman Jul 1 '11 at 2:00
I think this is fine even though it is a little off topic. Since the original poster found it interesting, I could see others might as well. "Hey, maybe I should consider a non-written form." And it will probably not be the top voted/accepted answer when this question is closed. – Jeanne Boyarsky Sep 24 '11 at 17:00

Teeline is a professional shorthand system (used by journalists in UK) that is still very easy to learn. You can quickly pick up what you need for personal use from this tiny book

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Interesting. That looks a lot like Gregg, but maybe with just a lot less rules. – jrdioko Jul 12 '11 at 21:20
I tried to learn Gregg a long time ago. I found teeline much easier. The shapes Teeline strokes are loosely based on the letters they represent making them easier to remember. Another conceptual difference from most other shorthands is that it is based on spelling rather than phonetics. – Daniel Mahler Jul 13 '11 at 18:41

Another method is Handywrite Shorthand, I haven't learned or used it, but it seems promising. I think some of the main advantages are exactly the drawbacks you describe in the other short hand systems in that it takes a lot of effort to start being able to write fast in them.

If you do end up using this method, please leave a comment about your evaluation of the system. I would definitely want to know what others think about it, and if you find that it's worth the effort to learn.

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