Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If someone has never used Gregg shorthand before, how long does it take to learn the system? On average, how long would it take to be able to write it as quickly as normal longhand? A bit faster than longhand? Full speed?

share|improve this question
Also how long to read it as fast as normal longhand should be a factor, right? – Jeanne Boyarsky Jul 13 '11 at 1:21
@Jeanne: That's a factor too, although I'm more interested in the writing aspect (it's nice to be able to jot down notes quickly, even if it takes a little longer to decipher them after). – jrdioko Jul 13 '11 at 16:12
8 semesters according to my memory of my high school class guide. Gregg, if I remember correctly, is very similar to Chinese, lots of essentially distinct symbols with some phonetic hints to the word. So you have to learn a lot of symbols. There are many, many short hands systems. I recommend looking around for something with the right balance of speed and ease of learning that works for you. – MatthewMartin Jul 14 '11 at 14:50
Really, 4 full years? In my tiny bit of experience with Gregg it seemed very different than Chinese. Chinese is distinct symbols with some phonetic hints, Gregg is an "alphabet" of sounds that combine to form words. But maybe the brief forms are more memorization than "sounding out." – jrdioko Jul 14 '11 at 16:12
learn chinese already! doubles as an actual language too. – Vic Goldfeld Nov 22 '11 at 5:35
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'm currently learning Gregg shorthand, been about 2 months. If you peruse the manual, you will find the rules to be efficient and sensible. The simplicity of the individual strokes are apparent and really, not a comparison to Chinese characters.

To reach the speed of longhand, which is really at most 30 wpm (pretty slow), will maybe take few months at most depending on which version of Gregg you choose to learn. I'm already at that level with Anniversary Gregg. To reach the speed of an average typing speed (70 wpm) I would give half a year at most. Of course this would mean diligence (hour a day recommended but I've varied). To reach a sensible speed, where you can write down a speech of average speed (about 150 wpm) I would give at least a year. Of course it varies with each person and which version, but these are my approximations for the Simplified Gregg.

I would personally recommend either Simplified or Anniversary--the latter having more memory load but more efficient--to really enjoy the benefits long run.

For more information I would recommend the Gregg angelfishy website or Gregg multiply group.

share|improve this answer
oh of course the above mentioned periods of time were of required to write down words verbatim-word by word. If you want to learn for notetaking, then it would take less time. – Guksung An Apr 12 '12 at 10:33

The Wikipedia article you mentioned mentions:

Due to the very simple alphabet, Gregg shorthand is very fast in writing; however, it takes a great deal of practice to master it. Speeds of 280 WPM (where a word is 1.4 syllables) have been reached with this system before, and those notes are still legible to other who know the system.

We can't really put an actual time on this as that differs from person to person, learning to learning method.

If you are deciding if you want to learn it, decide on whether you really want it. I'm happy I learned Dvorak.

share|improve this answer

I learned Pitman's at college in 3 months, with a further 6 months to get up to usable speed (120 wpm). As I believe Pitman's is probably slightly more complicated than Gregg, this would seem to be a reasonable time to expect if you study and practise most days. The more you practise, the faster you will reach whatever speed goal you have in mind. I found that the more quickly you can get through the studying, the better the result, as you don't end up forgetting the lessons, which would tend to happen if there are long gaps between study periods. The period could be much shorter than that, if you only wanted to match longhand speed, which is about 20-30 wpm.

share|improve this answer

I learned greg by studying on my own off and on for about six months. I find that I use the small words mixed in with longhand (and, its, the, into, etc.) and it speeds me up considerably. However, when I go to write completely in shorthand, I'll speedily write a word, and then there will be a pause while I think about how to write the next word. Really, it's much easier to learn to read shorthand words by sounding them out, but you can't write it that way; you have to memorize the way words look and write them without thinking about each individual letter-stroke. I haven't reached that point yet.

share|improve this answer

Basic Steps to Learn Shorthand: Learn thoroughly the alphabets, brief forms, phrases, word families; how to connect the words effectively. Practice by copying printed materials and taking down voice tapes and be able to read/transcribe them. Challenge yourselves from difficult materials. Whenever there are speeches on TV try your best to take them down. How long does to learn shorthand, entirely depends on how motivated you are. The sheer joy of learning it would be your reward.

share|improve this answer
You are not answering the actual question. – Jan Doggen Apr 23 at 17:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.