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Learn shorthand writing online

A brief introduction to shorthand

Shorthand is essential for anybody who works in or is planning to work as a journalist in the news media. This included reporters, editors and broadcasters on newspapers, magazines and TV or radio stations.

Authors and researchers will also benefit from using shorthand when they interview people for research. Writing in shorthand is also commonly used by secretaries and people who regularly take notes in meetings.

Students benefit greatly from knowing shorthand as they're able to take down lecture notes quickly and easily. Lawyers and solicitors who often have to make notes from legal speeches in courts can also use shorthand to make sure that they can write quickly.

Shorthand is a way to record speech very quickly and accurately. If you've ever tried writing down somebody's words while they are speaking you will know how incredibly difficult this can be. In fact, it's impossible to actually write down everything that somebody says.

People speak on average 180 words a minute - that's three words a second. Can you write three words a second? No, thought not! That's why professionals and academics need an accurate note-taking system that is guaranteed to be correct 100 per cent of the time. Each word is important, and learning shorthand is the perfect way to ensure that nothing is missed.

More great shorthand pages

What is shorthand

Shorthand is a speed writing system that allows people to take notes very quickly and accurately. It was first developed by Sir Isaac Pitman in 1837 in a style known as Pitman shorthand. Pitman is phonetic and uses symbols to represent the sound that words make. Pressing harder with a pen on certain symbols to create a darker mark also creates different meaning for a word.

Pitman shorthand is considered the most difficult form of shorthand and it can take two to three years to learn. In the US Pitman has been overtaken by Gregg shorthand and in the UK Teeline Shorthand is now widely taught.

Teeline Shorthand is the quickest form of teeline to learn. Within a couple of months people can be writing accurately at a speed of 50 words per minute.

The technique uses parts of letters to represent the whole letter or groups of letters. For example, a vertical line represents the letter h. This is formed by taking away the curved part of the h and just leaving the stick part of the original letter which looks like this I.

The letter r is represented by a forward leaning line that looks like this /. This is because when Rs were written by hand the upright part of the R often leant forward.

Now it's possible to put the I of the h and the / of the R together. This represents a word that uses h and r as it's main letters. The symbol looks like this I/ and it could represent the word hour, hair or here among others. The context of the rest of the sentence will determine what word it is.

BBC broadcaster John Humphrys' pitman notes

BBC broadcaster John Humphrys' pitman notes


Tips for learning shorthand

  • Use a ring bound reporters notepad. The size of paper is just right to make note taking as quick as possible.
  • Draw a line down the left-hand side to create a margin where key words of the notes can be jotted down in order to provide quick reference points later
  • Try translating newspaper articles in shorthand as quickly as possible then read the notes back to yourself to make sure you understand them.
  • Take deep breaths to keep calm and relaxed when writing in shorthand. Try a few stretches to limber up the finger muscles and make them responsive.
  • Press down very lightly with the pen so that it glides effortlessly across the page. Pressing hard and trying to go too fast creates tension and will slow writing down.
  • If you've missed a word because it was too long or complicated quickly go back over the passage during a gap in speech and fill in the word.
  • Try transcribing somebody else's shorthand. This will help you to recognises outlines and words easier.

Why do we need shorthand?

If you are planning to become a journalist in print, TV, radio or magazine then you'll definitely need to be able to write in shorthand. Regardless of what some people say about using dictaphones or other recording devices, shorthand is an essential skill for any journalist. If you can write in shorthand, you will be more likely to get a job. In general, your abilities as a journalist will be rated more highly than somebody who doesn't know shorthand.

Even if you're a freelance writer or author trying to have your work published then you will need to interview people for quotes and research. Shorthand will prove very useful for note-taking.

Working as a journalist or writer will involve interviewing people. You will need to write down snippets of what they say. They will be talking far too quickly - 180 words a minute is the average speed of normal speech - to write in longhand. This is where shorthand comes in. You can make accurate copies of what is being said. Recording equipment is legally not allowed in courts, inquests, tribunals, disciplinary hearings. This is why you will have to accurately report what has been said. And believe me, it's almost impossible to remember long sentences and jot them down accurately in longhand.

Recording equipment Vs shorthand

The media is fast paced. There is often not time to record interviews on Dictaphones. It is far quicker to write the quotes in shorthand and quickly read them back rather than skip through hours of a recording to find one line that yo want to use. What's more, if the the recording equipment runs out of power then there's no way back. Plus, people are very impressed by shorthand and it looks cool.

Quite simply, being on top of your game with shorthand makes the difference between being an excellent journalist and writer or an average one who's always walking the tightrope of missing quotes.

How can I learn Shorthand?

Anybody who is enrolled on a journalism course at a college or university should have shorthand lessons included in the package. But perhaps you want to learn shorthand to boost your CV, for work as a secretariat, or maybe in the past you could write in shorthand and want to improve the skills you once had. Whatever the case, having face-to-face lessons with a tutor is always the best method. This allows the teacher to give feedback on your own work and help you out quickly with problems you may have had. Tutors will also include with their lessons all the necessary equipment such as work books and recordings.

It's essential that shorthand students listen to recordings of speech to practise. One fun way to practice is to write in shorthand what is being said on the news, in a TV program or in a song on the radio. The more varied and fun you make it the easier it will become.

People who do not see a private or class tutor can take lessons online or through a study book available online in shops like Amazon. This can be effective but for anybody who is starting for the first time, it helps to have somebody explaining shorthand face-to-face and answer any questions.

Many journalism courses at colleges and universities will teach shorthand with daily two hour lessons for a whole academic year. In addition to the two hours of lessons it's recommended that students practice for at least an hour each night - three hours a day or 15 hours a week. And that's not including weekends!

Shorthand lessons from www.shorthandcourse.co.uk


sanjeev kumar on March 30, 2017:

short hand is the most usefull part in our life

Hummingbird5356 on July 11, 2015:

This is not the Pitman shorthand that I learned.

Shivnarayan Prasad on September 26, 2014:

Pragya Steno Booster





What a wonderful new way to boost your shorthand speed

-And improve accuracy tool It's like a brush-up course - and

It's perfect for every type of shorthand!

DICTATION AT 100- 160 Wpm

WAQEF KHAN on March 18, 2014:

I have learned short hand but I am worried about the speed of shorthand that how i will complete and command on 110/120 words per minute pls tell me speed method anybody pls help me

Rajinder Singh on January 05, 2014:

i want to learn shorthand in punjabi online ,please tell me how? I am waiting your response ,please reply early

mobile no. 9855611922, 9216402371


savaji on October 22, 2013:

note passing

Shivnarayan Prasad on October 01, 2013:

I Teach Bilingual Shorthand( Hindi and English) Very Fast and easy way since 1987 In Bhopal Madhya Pradesh. Saket Nagar . I Establish our own research center . Name Pragya Shorthand Please Contect 09981816703 Brain Training Shorthand , No Theory Little Practice.

Wellcome A+ Grade Students. I also provide Training SSC Grade C and D

Des on September 19, 2013:

I just want two words in shorthand. But I can't find anyone who knows shorthand where I am from. Can anyone help?

Patricia O on September 19, 2013:

If anybody is learning shorthand in the London area - or wants to keep their existing shorthand "ticking over" live dictation is provided by the Incorporated Phonographic Society on Thursday evenings in term time. The website is http://www.the-ips.org.uk/ (has contact details etc). It's not free but it's expensive BUT IF SOMEONE WANTS TO TRY IT OUT THE FIRST TIME ATTENDANCE IS FREE to see if he/she likes it.

B@LU on July 08, 2013:

When provided to online shorthand

salman ali on July 05, 2013:

i want to learn shorthand free online please

call me 03323361402

Keneilwe Mositi Makwati on June 28, 2013:

I have done shorthand while I was doing my secretarial course, first I felt that I wont manage but at the end I ended up enjoying it. I want to have its own certificate how can I enrol

Haiderbaloch on June 24, 2013:

Shorthand is very useful subject.I know shorthan very well,this is my passion, I write shothand having 100 w.p.m. if you want to learn shothand this is a 6 month course with (hard toil)

renu jakhar on May 14, 2013:

I want to learn shorthand vry well . I like shorthand study. I am interesting to do it.

Shivnarayan Prasad on May 02, 2013:

Intelligence learned shorthand, shorthand in just one month

Pragya Shorthand

Saketnagar Bhopal

Ermiyas on April 09, 2013:

I want to learn shorthand & video .I improve speak & write english.please to help at any person by any materials.tahnks .

Ermiyas on April 09, 2013:

I want to learn shorthand & video .I improve speak & write english.please to help at any person by any materials.tahnks .

khorsed on March 12, 2013:

I want to learn shorthand. I m from bangladesh. Mail: khorsedalamcht@gmail.com. Plz help me.

Janet on February 22, 2013:

Look up 'Keyscript Shorthand'. It uses only the letters of the alphabet and saves 60% of the writing.

juju on February 14, 2013:

don't need to learn it is useless and too hard to learn it is almost impossible to learn , who likes shorthand writing he/she is mad from its birth

lalit kumar on February 07, 2013:

i want to read short hand please tell me how i can read short hand.

anju on February 05, 2013:

i learn shorthand bt plz tell me what is the age limit of apply form for any job ........... plz tell me

Naveed Ahmad on January 23, 2013:

this is Naveed Ahmad from Kashmir want to learn shot hand ,is it possible please.



abid on January 20, 2013:

i have good shorthand speed but unfortunately my job income is very low. that is why i am so worry. i am looking for good job.

Ankush Kumar on January 14, 2013:

confused... shorthand needs a very sharp memory

kamal on January 08, 2013:

i don't know shorthand. i want to learn shorthand online now.

mudassar ali on December 05, 2012:

shorthand is on my tips, and now it is easiest thing for me,, i can write every word just before speaking

K.Shailaja on December 04, 2012:

I want to learn Shorthand in 2 or 3 months online. is it possible. if yes then how and where on Net to learn?

Kiran on October 27, 2012:

hello iam learning in shorthand its easy but lot of patience and time cool place and when learn the shorthand increase the english spelling.

Dinesh Bhandari on October 11, 2012:

Hello Friends how are you. Friends i want to learn shorthand....Can you tell me that how to learn shorthand becouse I don't have any idea.

delphine99 on September 22, 2012:

I am in 9th grade and I am learning shorthand for fun and it is really easy!

Lyndsay on September 11, 2012:

Very interesting...thanks!

Shahbaz Haider on September 11, 2012:

I want o learn Shorthand in 2 or 3 months online. is it possible. if yes then how and where on Net to learn?

nishita chaudhary on September 10, 2012:

i want to learn short hand in just 20 days...can i ????? what will i hanve to do for this ?????

d.k. on August 28, 2012:

short hand is my passion.....

same time did't understand but i Like it....

deepak on August 16, 2012:

I also want to learn shorthand please help me

HaleyMCruz from California on August 15, 2012:

Wow, this was pretty interesting! I always knew about shorthand, but never knew of a guide to do it! And I love how you have videos here to show your readers how to do shorthand themselves. Cool hub.

tina on July 16, 2012:

i want to know about shorthand

raman babu on July 16, 2012:

learn entire Pitman shorthand course in 40 days, even u can learn in 10 days... pl. visit... www.shorthandlive.blogspot.in 60 to 80 wpm speed in just 15 days.

ashwini on July 15, 2012:

Its vry dffclt....bt i wnt to learn it...

Shiloh Raj on July 14, 2012:

Hey Rick, tried many times to join the mailing list, but i wonder if it is working or not ? do please look into it .. btw my mail id: shilohraj.07k@gmail.com .. add me to ur mailing list if pos !!

LALIT BHATT on June 18, 2012:

hi sir mam i want to learn shorthand ...i ask something . if i start shorthand to how many time a day ya hours in a day to do shorthand plz tell me ...m also want to hindi shorthand learn plz help me ......

nodey on June 18, 2012:

wht is this is vry tuf

Rickrideshorses (author) from England on June 12, 2012:

Go to www.shorthandcourse.co.uk

Hamad Iqbal on June 12, 2012:

i am hamid i want to learn short hand course online.plz help me.\

Pulkit on June 06, 2012:

i have completed this course but i am not able to reach 120wpm anyone tell me how to get speed beside 120wpm

Prakash Gour on June 01, 2012:

Shorthand sikhne ke bad koun-2 si noukari ke liye aplicable ho sakte hai.

Jim on May 31, 2012:

I am studing shorthand at benpoly, i luv it so much,

Sandy on May 30, 2012:

i want to know about short hand. how long time does it take to learn short hand for SSC skil test. they demand 80speed. plz tell me what time to take this. and what is the result of it. mene exam to clear kr lia h bt short hand n ati.......boring to ni h na........?

sedn me on e-mail:- sandyanimation1@gmail.com

zara on May 28, 2012:

i want to learn short hand plz sugeets me how to learn online

Chris on May 21, 2012:

Me again for the third time. my email address is thekittycat63@bigpond.com



Chris on May 21, 2012:

Hi, me again. I just sent through an email regarding help with re-learning Pittman Shorthand. I should have written I have been trying for years to re-learn this but have a huge amount of difficulty with trying to do this myself. I have a passion to get as good as I possibly can with this as I love it so much and would appreciate any help I am given. As mentioned in my email I live in Singleton NSW Hunter Valley and am hopeing to find someone who can do one on one with me or can I learn on line efficiently?

Chris on May 21, 2012:

I live in Singleton the Hunter Valley and wondering is there anyone near by who can help one on one with up dating my Pitman Shorthand

Anees ur rehman 03139596091 on May 14, 2012:


amitsahu123 on April 30, 2012:

i'm a high school student..! studding stenography, really loved it, awesome technical language.. and also good for job seekers! but as a student because of commotion in class & gossips with friends, never take this subject so seriously! i'm still studding and at last wanna to repel my precious time.! :p

mino mooly on April 30, 2012:

diligently it is an amazing secret language I really liked it,but you never stop practicing even when you finished the course

Amit kumar on April 29, 2012:

Shorthand is my passion . Because i wana be a good teacher in shorthand . nd go for a good job it's a very tough task but not possible . It's a very tough to learn for every one . Shorthand show u in different in other people .

kiran on April 24, 2012:

shaorthand is the most usefull and interesting language i really enjoye the shorthand skill i will pass eng 120 wpm

touqeer ali on April 19, 2012:

shorthand is sintefic language i learn shorthand four months a go i love shorthand one day my friend looking this language who say main this language is bed wwho say me i said me this language now gove show 19 skill jobs my afriend is loghaning i say ok i said may i go

touqeer ali on April 19, 2012:

i learn shorthand help me please

GARBA MALAMI on April 09, 2012:

shorthand are very essential course, I like very well for me not you.

waseemkhattak on April 05, 2012:

i like this shorthand language.

swarna on April 04, 2012:

Rickrideshorses!!!!!!! tell me how much time does it take to learn this wonderful language

Eleko Fidelis on March 31, 2012:


AMJDA KHAN AFRIDI on March 19, 2012:


Abdul funmilola modinat on March 19, 2012:

How can i improve in writing shorthand

JOYCE O. LAPID on March 11, 2012:

Hi,My name is Joyce Lapid, yes i know how to write shorthand. In my college days in year 2000, this has been my expertise, in fact my Professor gave me a grade of 1.00 (98-100) just for this subject..surprisingly, 8years after i graduated in 2004, i still know how to write steno or short hand writing, but i still need to work out on my speed.This is so great....The learning is fun...you are so different from the rest. This is not just a common learning that one can learned from everywhere. This is something that one have to put value. I swear.

Aminat muraina on March 03, 2012:

Shorthand is hard to know but want to know it

ANJUM2020 on March 03, 2012:

i AM also going to learn it and will come back successfullly INSHA'ALLAH .................MY TUTOR HAS TOLD ME THAT WITH IN 3 MONTHS I'LL BE EXPERT .............LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENED ..............BUT I AM HOPE FULL

Rana Naveed on March 02, 2012:

Its really very good for a man who wants to improve himself.I am also doing my best to learn it. GOOD LUCK

KRISHNENTHU P.NAIR on March 01, 2012:

I just completed the Course. It is very interesting and much more useful.....Do it...

mr.wahid on February 25, 2012:

every one wants the short cut method so, the short hand is the best . i an trying to learn the short cut methods for writing,


Liton Deb Joy on February 23, 2012:

tnx for the post!!!

saurabh rajput on February 20, 2012:

i m in 11th class i have this subject but this very hard i can't under stand this shorthand writing...

zara on February 17, 2012:

i want to learn and im not understnding it sign ...mean

i have start from alptibitical or mean from basic...plz help me out

sachin karwal on February 14, 2012:

I know shorthand but few i want complete shorthand lear

Mani Gul on February 06, 2012:

Very Lenthi nd intrstng lngug

mahmood ahmad on February 06, 2012:

i wana learn short hand quickly

SUMIT SHARMA on February 01, 2012:

I love short hand , it is very important in court job's

so i like.

thanks sir/madam upload this vedio's

TAHIR SALEEM on January 31, 2012:


TAHIR SALEEM PAKISTAN on January 31, 2012:


Cherry Mattey on January 31, 2012:

I teach Pitman and Teeline shorthand to beginners and students who wish to increase their shorthand speed.

TAHIR SALEEM on January 30, 2012:



TAHIR SALEEM on January 30, 2012:


asad rehman on January 26, 2012:

main be yhai rake ha lakan sumje nai ate tareqa batna please mare face book per asad_rehman007@live.com

Lawal on January 23, 2012:

Please i want to learn shorthand but i dnt knw may be i cn learn it here? And how long is going to take please?

Tina Siuagan from Rizal, Philippines on January 21, 2012:

My mom is an educator and one of the subjects she teaches her students enrolled in secretarial courses is shorthand writing. Thank you for sharing this hub. I now know that learning how to write with it is important for fast and precise note-taking. :D

This made me think of getting a crash course or something. Lol. :D

J P S on January 18, 2012:

Can any one explain me below................. ?a8 åjìWa9hßv ea7="?Au?T?¥Lav?æw£? v?Å ìÑdt?4OKÑ d?èÅOAp0öævO§n?9 ìge?HZ?gAd4YÆßWYt?ñ:ìYkPÄÅ"?Ad7(lN¥noyZér o pöß KdP Ñù3K 7YÆß?A[Receiving Text]d tÆ4'WIy4äøJ;A1?æm$IKs:(=ì?Sn2ؤN?A

renu on January 15, 2012:

really shorthand is difficult but its very useful. practice makes perfect.

Zeeshan Ali Faisalabad on January 12, 2012:

How can i learn shorthand with out a learner.

H.M.Awais on January 04, 2012:

very easy book

mujeeb on January 03, 2012:

i dont have any idea about short hand but its cool i wanna learn it, anybody please help me finding the beginners course

raju on December 26, 2011:

my skill test and short hand test on 13 jan. From ssc but i can not understand what is short hand please help me

jasmer Singh on December 11, 2011:

very intersting languages

kaka haidari on December 08, 2011:

It is to hard to get.

Kate on December 07, 2011:

is there a short hand for the word "life" or would you spell it out with the shorthand alphabet??

if you know please tell me :) kate.armes96@gmail.com

shabab on December 01, 2011:

I want to learn this kind of language

ravi on November 30, 2011:

this is very useful for personal secretaries of various executives in India.

Rickrideshorses (author) from England on November 28, 2011:

Hi Gary, sure, send over the photo and I'll translate it. Send the picture to number1shorthandcourse@gmail.com

hah on November 27, 2011:

hey gary! where r u frm? calicut? whatever. gud work rick. you r so gud n kind. may god bless uuuuuu