Using Graphic Arts Software for Shorthand

I’m curious if anyone has tried to use any kind of graphic arts or drawing software for shorthand (like CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator, or any of the freeware programs).   If so, what do you recommend?  What kind of results did you get?  Could you easily create the Gregg outlines using such software?  Did you use a stylus or the mouse?  I’m thinking about getting CorelDraw for this purpose, so I was wondering if anyone had any experience trying this out.

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  1. I tried using a stylus and a digitizing pad a long while back, but was never happy with the result, plus I never got used to seeing the screen while writing (I found that odd). Maybe the technology has improved nowadays, but I haven't tried again.

    1. Yes, I've tried the Boogie Board and Penultimate and the penmanship was far from the elegant script found in our Gregg textbooks!  No matter how careful I was.

      The reason I'm asking is that I'd still like to continue working on the Notehand dictionary I started a few years ago.  I'd like to put the actual shorthand outlines in there, instead of just a textual representation.  It would be so tedious to write and then scan each and every outline, and then insert it into WordPerfect (another alternative I thought of is to print off a page of the text from WordPerfect, hand-letter the outlines carefully, and then scan in the entire page, one page at a time.  This could be tedious, too, since I know my penmanship won't always be stellar and might have to be re-done… which would mean printing off a new page and starting all over again.)  I'm wondering if I used a program like CorelDraw if that'd save me a few steps.  A drawing program would probably allow me to "clean up" outlines, too, if they were less than perfect the first time.


      1. I see two options:

        1. Scan the whole page with the shorthand outlines, import the image in a drawing program and type the longhand word next to it.

        2. Scan each outline individually. Import in your favorite word processor. This has the advantage of flexibility, but it's the more time consuming.

        You can always clean the outlines using a drawing program. The cleaning is not a chore, because once you know that you have a wrong outline, you can always write the correct outline in the margin or somewhere else on the same page, so that when you scan, you'll be scanning both the correct and the wrong outlines.

        As a comparison, for book plates, the writer would write the shorthand on a separate special paper. If there is a mistake, they would write the correct outline on a small piece of paper, and cut and paste the word on top of the incorrect one before taking a picture. After that, it was placed on the printed page for reproduction. I think this is much more tedious!

      2. I use Onenote (from Microsoft) in a surface pro computer.  The electronic pen can be set at the thickness you like and you write directly on the screen.  You can erase and redo very easily. You can also write over lines and later remove the background lines to leave your shorthand outlines as if you just wrote on blank paper.

  2. Another option is to write 10 outlines and keep them together. 1/10 the number of images.

    I would use a table in Word, with two columns. Row 1 column 1 is a picture of 10 outlines. Beside it is the clear text for those outlines. Row 2 has the second set of outlines and the clear text. Using a table will help keep things lined up. it's not quite as nice as one line per word, but takes less space and is much faster to do.

    10 is a guess. You might want to do more or fewer to fit your space, or if words group naturally.



    1. Thanks for all the tips! 

      I went ahead and ordered CorelDraw (it went on sale on Prime Day).  I'll play with it when I can and see what I can do with it shorthand-wise.

  3. Hi

    I think any of the vector art software will work, if you’re comfortable with it. I see you bought Corel so you should be fine. A stylus is convenient and required to duplicate handwriting, but if you’re looking to create a shape library as for a textbook (versus note taking), you could use the mouse with pen tool, or shapes and shape operations. 

    For myself, I’ve done some shorthand note taking using the Apple Pencil with the iPad in the Concepts app. That’s not being done as production quality.  

  4. I recently tried Procreate for iPad, it has a calligraphy brush with a streamline setting that you can adjust to your liking, it really smooths out your strokes allowing your outlines to be legible and beautiful looking, as those in the textbooks

    1. Oh neat!  What kind of stylus do you use with it?  And what file formats can you save the outlines to?  Can they be exported to other programs, such as a wordprocessing program?

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