How to Learn Shorthand Writing up to 200 Words per minute?

Before getting into the process of how to learn Shorthand Writing, let’s find out how shorthand writing can make our lives simpler. Well, shorthand is nothing but a system of rapidly noting down any lengthy information or data in the shortest way possible. This strategy of writing is basically applied while attending lectures for long hours or while transcribing speech.

In the 21st century, shorthand is an inevitable skill, typically mandatory for people working as journalists, stenographers, business administrators, etc. Therefore, you can say that learning shorthand has now become an added criterion to add to your existing qualifications. Though the learning takes time and practice based on your grasping power, it is still possible.

So, let’s move on to the stepwise process of how to learn shorthand writing.

shorthand writing

Choose a Method 

There are innumerous methods available on the internet, but it is better to first consider some decisive factors prior to selecting a shorthand learning method:

  • How long do you have in hand to learn the entire method?
  • What is your ultimate speed requirement on being able to write shorthand?
  • Is any standard system of learning shorthand available for your occupation?

Go for the  Gregg Anniversary, New Era Pitman, or Gregg Pre-Anniversary if speed in writing shorthand is ultimately what you are looking for. Pitman and Gregg have been the top and trending rivals in shorthand English writing since the 19th century. Plus, both systems have been transformed into several other languages. 

The Gregg system was established by John Robert Gregg in 1888 and since then  this system has undergone a couple of adaptations. Gregg Anniversary and Pre-Anniversary refer to the system outlined in 1929 and 1916, respectively. There is no denying that the system inculcates a load of symbols to be memorized. However, the bigger trade-off is to manage to write more than 200 words/minute. 

shorthand writing in paper

Pitman was established by Sir Isaac Pitman in 1837. New Era Pitman is the streamlined edition of the main theory that dated back to 1922. The version is quite complicated, yet you can manage to write more than 200 words/minute. As thin and thick writing strokes represent varied pairs of sounds, you will require a steel-tipped pen for writing. Plus, you will need lined papers as the lines on it are also part of this shorthand writing system.

If you are confused about which one to take, go for the Gregg Simplified to attain maximum writing speed with a moderate load in learning. It lets you write up to 200 words/minute. This edition was established by McGraw-Hill in 1949 and was the first shorthand system, typically meant for the business purpose. There are a couple of significant things required to be memorized compared to Gregg Anniversary. 

If you have time constraints, go with Gregg Diamond Jubilee or Pitman 2000. With either of these two systems, you can manage to write about 160 words/minute.  

Note: Follow the alphabetic method for swift and convenient learning of shorthand. Unlike the symbol systems, where circles, lines, and curves represent sounds, the alphabetic procedure is totally related to the alphabet. This makes it easier for the learner to grasp the knowledge faster, though it will still take time in grasping the writing speed. However, if you are an adept speedwriter, making over 120 words/minute won’t be a great deal for you. 

If you are a journalist or intending to be so, go with  Teeline Shorthand. Teeline is a fused system which is majorly based on the alphabetical forms. This shorthand theory is the most preferred in the UK’s National Council to train the journalists and is widely taught to the journalism majors there.

Gather Resources on Writing Shorthand

Go to a local bookstore or library and grab the books related to learning shorthand. Or, you can straightway order the relevant books online. You will get lots of book recommendations on this subject; just give a diligent search on the internet. The rest you know what to do. Some shorthand learning books are available in the public domain for free download. 


If you want to go with self-help and learn the process, then look for the older “text kits.” These kits are typically designed for people who prefer teaching themselves without taking any external help. These book kits include tapes or records with texts, self-test, and dictation followed by additional study materials.

For the records and tapes, make sure to have a cassette player with you. Also, get yourself a shorthand dictionary, which will be widely needed in this system. If you manage to get a list of other shorthand resources online like some tutorials, shorthand writing samples, etc., collect them all. 

Get enrolled in a shorthand learning class. You might get many online courses where they offer preliminary shorthand learning classes for absolutely free. Else, you may go for the premium option to get personalized classes in person. Whatever you choose, pay heed to the overall learning period and see if you can manage the schedule with your other workload or not.   

Practise Shorthand 

This is the ultimate key to your learning success. Make time for practicing shorthand on a daily basis. Be it only 15 to 30 minutes, yet every short session is better than sitting once in a week for several hours at a stretch. Next is prioritizing the writing speed. You need to master the speed and try to break the maximum number of words per minute limit. For that, you must first focus on grasping the word-building principles. The speed will naturally develop following the former. 

shorthand practice

Drill stepwise. First, start with the alphabet method of filling every line of your notebook paper with a single letter. Second, proceed to word makings following the same approach. When it is done, move to a group of words that are common. 

Note: Reading out the words aloud while writing them lets your brain to establish a memorizable link between the symbol and phonemic. On the other hand, frequent practice through dictations increases your writing speed.  

Career Scope

Though the use of shorthand is already discussed earlier in this article, we will now directly check out the career scope that you will meet after completing your shorthand course:

  • Stenography
  • Court Report Writing
  • Lawyer meetings or in any private job (post of a personal assistant) 
  • UPSC, SSC, State Service Selection Boards, and other government recruitment boards offer the stenographer positions

Hope it helps!

Ranbeer Maver is a Computer Science undergraduate. He's a geek who embraces any new consumer technology with inhuman enthusiasm.