The two kinds of shorthand, known as Gregg and Pitman, are both are phonetic writing. Sounds are written as a shape. Each method differs in how vowel sounds are written. Vowels sounds are optional in the Pitman method or written as dots or dashes next to the consonant shape. Vowel sounds are represented as hooks and circles attached to the consonant strokes in the Gregg method. Shorthand is an efficient method of taking notes during meetings, taking dictation or recording verbal conversations.

Obtain a shorthand instructional text book at your local library or buy a textbook at a local college bookstore. Download a free PDF file of the Gregg or Pitman shorthand system of writing. Teach yourself shorthand by following the textbook and completing practice assignments in the book.

Enroll in a college or technical school course for shorthand writing instruction. Consider taking an online course that allows you to proceed at your own pace. Select a free "Teach Yourself" online course to learn shorthand at your own pace and as your schedule allows.

Practice writing shorthand every day. Make grocery lists and to-do lists using shorthand. Practice taking dictation of recorded television or radio programming in shorthand to improve your speed and accuracy. Play back recordings after taking dictation to check your accuracy.