Gregg shorthand is a stenography system designed to help various professionals make transcripts of dictated speech quickly and efficiently. It consists of a series of symbols representing phonetic sounds, rather than the actual spellings of the spoken words. Pen strokes of Gregg shorthand are formed as straight lines, ellipses, or curved lines in varying sizes; each shape is assigned to a specific letter sound. These shapes are then joined together to form whole words according to the same basic principle of writing in cursive longhand. Along with Pitman shorthand, the Gregg method is one of the shorthand types commonly taught in office skills courses at either the high school or college level.
Uses of Gregg shorthand have traditionally included note-taking in lectures and business meetings, as well as in some types of journalism. The speed of normal human speech is too fast for the average person to write out thorough transcriptions in long-hand cursive without missing noticeable parts of the information. Professionals who are proficient in Gregg shorthand usually find they are able to capture spoken presentations with a much higher rate of accuracy and completeness. People with several years of Gregg shorthand experience are often able to transcribe at rates of over 200 words per minute.
This kind of hand-written shorthand also forms the basis for court reporter training. In order to complete accurate transcriptions, a court reporter needs to master the use of a stenotype machine. This type of legal professional uses this apparatus to create typed reports of court proceedings with a keyboard that renders shorthand symbols rather than the letters of the alphabet. Since more than one symbol is needed to create a complete word, the court reporter needs to press more than one of the correct keys simultaneously. Prior to learning the use of a stenotype machine, an aspiring court reporter typically needs to master hand-written shorthand to be able to select the correct symbols to type at a rapid pace.
Another device commonly used in the field of stenography is the stenomask, which is made up of a microphone built into a noise-cancelling mouthpiece. The stenomask is then connected to speech-recognition software that renders text from the user's spoken words. The resulting transcripts are then completed in typed longhand rather than in the symbols of Gregg shorthand. While a stenomask has its advantages of high accuracy rates without the need for repetitive typing, this device is sometimes not as widely adopted in courtroom sessions.