Shorthand for a New Age

I have this old Pitman Shorthand book that used to belong to my mother, and it’s always fascinated me because the little symbols look like an indecipherable bunch of hieroglyphics. But I can see how it would be useful when your work consists of a lot of note-taking at rapid speeds.

Now we have computers that keep up with what we are typing as we are typing it, so it’s rare when a typist goes so fast that the computer has to catch up with her. However, there are still those phrases that you end up typing over and over again, so over time, you probably develop your own shorthand for those.

And there’s a tool called PhraseExpander to make it easier. I haven’t used it, but it sounds like it would be good if I ever wanted to avoid typing the same author queries over and over while I was editing someone’s file. You create a list of phrases that you use frequently, then set up keyboard shortcuts for them. PhraseExpander allows you to use these phrases in programs like MS Word, Notepad, Gmail, and more.

There’s a lot more to it than that, but it sounds like it’d be revolutionary for data entry or technical support staff who have to type the same thing multiple times. So instead of relying on handwritten symbols or even very fast typing, we have a friendly macro to do this tedious work for us.

One thought on “Shorthand for a New Age

  1. My mother knew Pittman shorthand, and used it for taking notes throughout her life. Secretarial skills like that got her employed at a major museum — she moved into other types of jobs there, but shorthand was part of how she got in the door.

    I had a word processing job once, and one of the operators used a steno machine — like court reporters use — for heavy input jobs. We had some fast typists there, but she was much faster. For that job, it’s a better tool.


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