Alphabetic shorthand systems use characters from the Roman alphabet. They drop most vowels, use semi-phonetic spelling and are twice as fast as writing longhand. There are several alphabetic shorthand systems, including EasyScript, Forkner and Speedwriting.


Leave short vowels out and write long vowels only. So "you" becomes "u" and "are" becomes "r." (This is a lot like text messaging abbreviations.)

Use the letter "k" for the k or hard-c sounds, as in "kd" for "could." Use the letter "j" for the sound j or soft g as in "aj" for "age." Write the letter "c" for the sound ch as in "ec" for "each."

Become familiar with symbols. The word "the" is represented with a period and the end of the sentence is marked with a slash. For example, the sentence "The new book is big" is written as ". Nu bk s bg\".

Forkner Shorthand

Reduce the alphabet to 19 letters such as "V" for every and ever.

Use symbols for vowels. For example, easy becomes "e-z".

Use brief forms of words such as "Db" for distribute. Use abbreviations and phrasing.

Draw a line through the letters "C," "S" or "T" to represent the sounds ch, sh or th.


Divide words into five categories: simple, prefix, suffix, prefix/suffix and compound. A simple word is a word that doesn't have a prefix or suffix such as "have," which would be written "hv." Another example of a simple word combination is "thank you," which would be written as "ty".

Use a one-letter code for prefixes and suffixes. An example is "u" for under and the word "understand" would then be written, "usta."

Use more than one letter for compound words and separate with a slash, as in "co/ri" for "copyright."

Use Alphabetic Shorthand

Take notes in meetings or in class. Keep up with an interesting professor, lecturer or tour guide. Alphabetic shorthand allows you to catch most of the information conveyed.

Jot down people's orders at a restaurant if you're the waitperson. Since shorthand uses the alphabet, the cooks should be able to decipher it. If in doubt, you can always put some words in longhand.

Enter medical information with alphabetic shorthand if a medical employee. Doctors often use shorthand on medical records and in their notes.

Use shorthand in your journal or diary. If you can't write fast enough for your thoughts, alphabetic shorthand is a convenient way to keep up. In addition, snoopy people may have a more difficult time deciphering what you write.