Best stenopads?

Can anybody recommend their favorite brand of steno pad? I think the one’s I’ve been using are made by Meade, and I like them fine, but I wouldn’t mind finding something smoother (I write with a fountain pen) and a heavier weight. They can be a bit scratchy and some inks bleed a little.

(by marcoleavitt for everyone)

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  1. I like the Ampad Greentint pads. The durable hard-stock front cover is nice for standing it up next to the computer while transcribing. I find the green tint pelasing to the eye, but the paper is very absorbent. On the bright side, thristy paper means less ink smears.

  2. I use Ampad Evidence for steno notebooks and Sparco Reporter's Notebooks as well.   The bleeding on the paper may be caused by (1) cheap paper, usually recycled paper, or (2) a thin ink.  I avoid writing Gregg with my fountain pen on recycled paper because of that.

  3. As I recall, Routine-Sibiling, the green tint was "easier on the eyes in artifical light." The same was true for purple ink ON green paper which was supposed to be easy to read.

    Consequently, court reporters used green paper and purple ink. Being color blind myself, I really don't know if it's true!


  4. I have a question regarding the Pengad RG-63.  The description says for both Gregg and Pitman writers.  This worries me.  Ptiman ruling was a bit wider than the standard Gregg ruling.  Can you tell me if it's more Greggish than Pitmanish?

  5. per my testing with fountain pens, I have found Ampad Gold Fiber to bleed the least (virtually not at all), but they're thich (144 sheets)

    Ampad Greentint work just as well, with 60, 70, or 80 sheets, as do Sparco with 70 sheets.

    The Mead Evidence pads mentioned above also work well, but cost 2-3 times as much, as least from my supplier.

    For information regarding ruling, I found standards on the Ampad website:

    Pitman: 1/2"
    Wide, Gregg 11/32"
    Medium or College ruling 9/32"
    Narrow or Legal ruling 1/4"

    There's _alot_ of difference between Pitman at 1/2" and Gregg at under 3/8", at least according to this chart. All the writing pads, whether steno or junior or legal by any manufacturer that I have checked are very close to the measurements given above for ruling width.

  6. This is great.  Thanks so much.  For virtually all of my writing, a run-of-the-mill steno pad is fine.  I use a ballpoint (quite fond of the Pilot EasyTouch retractable at the moment).    Thanks for the site information and the clarification.  

  7. Annifan1: I have a stack of RG-62 that I got from E-bay, and the RG-62 are Gregg Ruled: it contains 26 spaces in 9 inches, which is approximately 1/3 inch.  Those depicted in the Pengad site (RG-63) appear to be 25 spaces in 9 inches, slightly larger than Gregg, but not as wide as Pitman (1/2").  These notebooks are made by the W. G. Fry Corporation.  The paper is high quality and heavy.  The downside is that since they are 96 pages, they feel slighly odd when writing, as the notebook is somewhat thick, and your fingers will be slightly higher than normal.   Their website is  You may want to give them a call as to how to obtain their notebooks.


    I can answer that question, being an aspiring Pitman writer.
    Pitman pads, indeed, are closer to 1/2 inch. Whether or not a person buys Pitman-ruled or Gregg-ruled pads, though, depends upon his aims at learning Pitman.

    Pitman-ruled pads work fine for diary-keeping or for amanuensis, but the real pros–pros who want to attain 140wpm or higher–scoff at Pitman-ruled pads.

    Why? Pitman-ruled pads encourage the writer to write too-large outlines. Mega-speeds are attained by keeping the outlines from 1/6 inch to 1/4 inch long.

    So Pitman court reporters (and many others) traditionally used Gregg-ruled pads.

  9. I was taught that a really speedy writer would gradually slide the notebook sheet toward the top of the pad as the end of the second column was neared (a bit of a trick, probably done in the instant while moving the pen to a new line).  Thus no time would be wasted flipping the page, and the pen would automatically be positioned at the top of the next page.   Was this a standard technique, a trade secret, or a product of my imagination?   Cheers,   Don Ramsey

  10. I learned that technique in an old secretary manual.  I liked those manuals as they usually had a chapter on shorthand.  Things like, Keep a rubber band around used pages to flip to a blank page… one long diaganol line to indicate transcribed matter (so you can review it if needed)… date the bottom right of each page… use one side then flip the book over and use the other side of the paper… Things like that.  Debbi

  11. I wonder if the Gregg Division of McGraw-Hill still supplies what might be called a "genuine Gregg" steno pad.  Or for that matter, does the Gregg Division still exist?  They used to supply lots of non-shorthand textbooks on typing, bookkeeping, etc.   One of the virtues of the spiral binding, of course, is that the notebook can be stood up in a triangular fashion during transcription.  Problem, of course, is getting it to stay that way, especially considering the vibration from a manual typewriter.  I seem to recall that some manufacturers would put a rubber coating on the edges of their notebooks to minimize creeping.   Anyway, I recall my Dad, who worked at Gregg's in the 1930s and 1940s, describing a little notebook stand that Gregg's would supply, consisting of a couple of shoe buttons (you remember shoe buttons, of course), connected by a short piece of string.  I never saw one.  I have no idea if they were sold, given as prizes, premiums, or whatever.  I guess the compleat Gregg writer could improvise one nowadays using a couple of non-shoe buttons of the type that come with a metal loop on the back.   There was, of course, a similar problem with typing textbooks.  Some schools would make little wooden stands to hold the book upright.    Cheers,   Don Ramsey

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