Creating a Personal Shorthand Writing Style

Having your own personal shorthand writing style will make your notetaking faster and more efficient. Read on to learn how, and get some ideas that you can use to create your own.

  • Published: 2020-02-09
  • Updated: 2020-11-12
  • 3 min read

A simple way to make yourself more efficient, is to begin writing in shorthand. Shorthand writing is a method of writing where instead of writing complete words (longhand), you use symbolic abbreviations.

There are several styles that have already been developed. Some use pure symbols, like Pitman shorthand and Gregg shorthand, while others rely on alphabetic characters, like Speedwriting and Stenoscript. Learning and habituating these systems will take a considerable amount of time and effort, especially those that use completely unique symbols.

On the other hand, something that you can implement almost immediately, is to create your own writing style, a simple system that makes sense to you and is for your own personal use.

By developing your own shorthand style, you will increase your writing speed, spending less time writing down the thoughts you’re having or the things you’re hearing.

A side benefit that comes as a result of writing abbreviated words and symbols, as opposed to complete words, is the decrease in space used, leaving more room on the paper for whatever else you might need to write.


There are a couple of ways to go about transitioning from your current writing, into a new shorthand writing system.

  1. Develop and implement a complete system at once.
  2. This will require more effort and time in the beginning, while you create and habituate your new writing style, but once you do, you’ll receive the complete benefits of shorthand much faster.

  3. Evolve your writing style a few words at a time.
  4. A simpler method would be to change your writing a little at a time. For example, start off by finding a few words that you use most often (because, then, when), develop shorthand equivalents of those words, then begin using them instead of the longhand. Once it becomes natural, choose some more words and repeat the process.

Ideas and Examples

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Remove vowels and other unnecessary letters.

what wt
when wn
because bcs
downtown dwntn

Use temporary abbreviations (abbreviations that only pertain to the current subject you’re writing about).

Republic of the Congo RC
Martin Luther ML
Renaissance ren

Replace common suffixes with symbols.

ing think-, try-, someth-
ment > accomplish>, firma>
tion quest”, fixa”

Replace common words with symbols.

and . I want apples . oranges
because / It was / he was black
the ^ It was ^ cat who did it

Replace words with a single character that sounds the same.

to, too, two 2
for, four 4
fate, hate, mate f8, h8, m8

Drop smaller words whenever possible.

The time he spent overseas changed him time spent overseas changed him
She bought a new dress at the mall she bought new dress at mall

Here’s what it could look like:

ren end 2001
The Renaissance ended in 2001

i ws thnk- abt ^ RC ystd
I was thinking about the Republic of the Congo yesterday.

i h8 ppl who ques” ML . his phil
I hate people who question Martin Luther and his philosophy.


In your arsenal of productivity and efficiency tools, having a shorthand writing style is a no-brainer. You’re going to keep writing for the remainder of your life so you might as well improve it. Start by changing a few of your most commonly used words or create a complete system from the beginning.

If this is not enough for you and you want to improve your writing speed to the highest level, or if you just want to use a pre-established method, then check out some of these alternative and shorthand writing systems.

NOTE: If you’re interested in shorthand writing and want to learn more, click here for a list of shorthand resources.