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Gregg Shorthand Dictation at 140 WPM on a Tablet PC



Here’s a demo of a student practicing Gregg Shorthand on a Tablet PC. YouTube user IhaveaKugelschreiberscreen shows how it’s possible to ink at 140 words per minute into OneNote.

Obviously this is a lot faster than I can type, but I’m sure it takes a lot of practice to get up to this speed with shorthand.

I was expecting a slower speed, but that was far from a problem. The major problem was the smoothness of the screen. This meant that it was easy to exaggerate strokes, and accentuates any difficulties I have with pen control.



  1. smh

    03/22/2009 at 3:32 pm

    Is it just me or does anybody else find reading the script difficult?

    Otherwise I seem to be able to follow his speed, although i find preforming the task via keyboard more pleasurable as the text then is more useful :)
    The problem on x200 tablet is that the screen real estate is low therefore the actual amount of writing per page is low. Sigh, how I wish lenovo would make a 1440×900 screen available.

  2. Michael

    03/22/2009 at 7:13 pm

    As the creator of this video, I’d like to thank you for referencing it. Shorthand is hardly known these days. As this is a computer forum, I can tell you I recorded this on my brother’s Acer. I forgot the model number, but it definitely had an “F” somewhere and the screen real estate was 13″ in portrait mode.

    Obviously its not too hard to get a useful speed of 80-100wpm in typing, and with that speed you get perfect clarity. Shorthand on the other hand, is phonetically based so you read by context, and any mistakes can jeopardize you’re ability to transcribe.

    MY PERSONAL laptop is running Windows FLP and has a 10 minute battery life, and I don’t particularly like carrying it around, and in that case, shorthand can serve a lot of benefit in lectures etc. Also, the idea that a universal shorthand system could replace PDA input and therefore make PDA’s much more useful is a enticing concept.

    Too bad the only shorthand systems I’ve seen so far for PDA’s is one where you slide the stylus along the keyboard to form the word. I haven’t used it, but I have a feeling it would be hardly faster than typing.

    • thomasjhall2012

      07/30/2013 at 2:06 pm

      Hello Michael,

      Thank you for a very thought provoking video. Is it possible to train OneNote to automatically translate your shorthand into printed text? Years ago I could approximate that feat with a Palm PDA and the Graffiti input program, but those devices were long ago worn out. Current smartphone and tablet apps, although better looking, don’t seem to have the same robustness and productivity as the old Palm apps.

      But I digress. The ability to take notes in shorthand and have them automatically translated would be a great help to me. Does such a program exist, to your knowledge?

      Racine, Wisconsin, USA

  3. James Kendrick

    03/23/2009 at 5:05 am

    Impressive but inking in shorthand, while fast, defeats the single greatest advantage to inking on the Tablet PC. That would be the fact that shorthand cannot be searched as can standard handwriting.

  4. Sumocat

    03/23/2009 at 7:00 am

    James: the lack of searchability would be easily remedied with a post-dictation sweep to fill in critical terms and names. Just need to double-space, add a margin, widen the page, or otherwise leave space for adding longhand keywords later. I’d also use a different color to make them easy to spot.

    Should only take a few minutes depending on the size of the document, and with the proper key, one could quicken the method further with abbreviations. For example, if “notebook” appeared multiple times, one could abbreviate it to “nb,” making sure to include a key (on the top or maybe on a subpage), so that one knows to use “nb” for an internal search and the file is tagged with “notebook” so the full word can be found in an external search.

    It’s similar to document coding for litigation support, except it’s all done in-document. I would also liken it to a written analogue of the active reading method in which one does a quick read-through first then goes back to pick up details. Regardless, a post-sweep is just good note-taking practice.

  5. smh

    03/23/2009 at 12:45 pm

    You just said the magic word! :)
    I, like you have been looking for a easy note taking interface/input. The problem is that you can’t do the same basic operations as you would on a paper.

    I like the method InkSeine is build, you should try it out and see if it is a improvement compared to onenote. InkSeine is build with the users in mind, they have thought about that most users use the stylus/pen to complete most tasks when using the tablet mode, therefore they have implemented basic commands in the user interface(such as directional flicks in menus) which makes using the program a pleasure.

  6. Mike Reilly

    03/23/2009 at 3:41 pm

    Is there a program that can be integrated with One Note, or otherwise by itself, that will convert the shorthand to text.
    If you have that, you have the Rosetta Stone for shorthand, and this whole idea would be great for note taking.
    Without that, though, I don’t see how this would work very well.

  7. prasad

    08/13/2012 at 7:01 am

    pl establish more 140 wpm dictations

  8. Tom Hall

    09/19/2012 at 9:08 am

    First, I’m impressed that anyone as young as Mr. Lanier appears and sounds even knows shorthand.

    Looking at some of the comments, and being an old fart, I should make a note about shorthand. When it was in common use, there were three main systems – Gregg, Pitman and I don’t recall the third. Users of one system had trouble reading the other system. In addition, each stenographer tended to develop his/her own style, making it even harder to read. There’s even a scene in an old Bob Hope movie, in which Hope is a stenographer suspected of having some state secret. Experts in the various shorthand methods are brought in and cannot read it, concluding that Mr. Hope was taking notes in “gibberish.” It is much funnier than my description; trust me.

    I also second Mr. Reilly’s question – is there a way to teach a tablet to translate shorthand into text? Years ago I could something close to that with a Palm PDA and the Graffiti program. It was good for taking quick notes and jotting assignments, but the small Palm screen was not a good place to draft contracts (I’m an attorney).

    At this point I’m almost tempted to try to learn to program in Android to try to build such an app. Then I stop and realize I’m a lawyer, not a programmer!

    For the developers out there – there’s a fortune to be made if you can help people turn their tablets into “infinite” yellow pads, where their scribbles could become text, searched, organized, etc. And in return for that tip, I claim dibs on being the first beta tester. I use an ASUS transformer….

  9. Penny

    07/26/2013 at 9:27 am

    I think perhaps the other “main system” you were thinking of was Teeline, which is popular in the UK, especially with journalists, and still taught.

    I use Teeline myself, and was toying with the idea of getting a pen-input tablet, now that the technology may be able to keep up the speed! I used to use the Palm system myself, but to be able to use convential Teeline on a screen instead of paper would be very useful.

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