Short Text

Short Text is a way to use one or two letters each to type a fairly large vocabulary of words. It speeds both typing and handwriting.

There’s a detailed explanation in the Introducing Short Text post. As time goes on I’ll post more about Short Text, including learning strategies.

A key thing about Short Text is you can use as much of it or as little of it as you want. The first step is to to use “t” in place of the most common word in the English language – “the”. As you add short text words, your typing and handwriting become more efficient.

To start, take a look at most common three words of each letter – here’s the Top Three Words PDF, which gives you a short text vocabulary of about 75 common words. The sheet also lays out the basic endings rules, which will Increase your vocabulary fairly painlessly.

Once you’re comfortable with those, the next step is to add some two-letter shortcuts. It helps to look at these as pairs. For instance, “ne” is “neat” and “en” is “enough”. It’s also fun to find words in a row that have meaning, for instance, going down the L’s starting with LF: “life long laugh line”, or through different letters, for instance starting with EB: “enable fabulous garbage habit”. The 2-page Layer 2.1 PDF gives you the most common word for every two-letter slot, which adds another 650 root words to your short text vocabulary.

If you want to go further, take a look at the full Short Text dictionary PDF. It’s more than 5,000 words – with endings you’ve got more than 15,000 words. This gives you a fairly large vocabulary of unambiguous shortcuts to draw on. Short Text also leaves room for you to add 2-letter custom shortcuts that start with q or z.

Keep in mind that, in general, the 100 most common words make up around 50 percent of your writing, and the 1,000 most common words make up around 90 percent of your writing.

Also, note the date on the dictionary PDF – I intend to keep adding words, so this will expand as time goes on.

I’m using Short Text on an iPhone and iPad using Text Replacements (Settings/General/Keyboard/Text Replacements). Unfortunately, Text Replacements are currently limited to 9,999 entries. Also unfortunately, it’s not easy to save and share Text Replacements. You can Share Text Replacements on a Mac, and the words will show up on connected devices, but you can’t currently save and share among iPhones and iPads.

I also have Short Text enabled on a PC, using Word Expander, a free text replacement app. It is possible to import word lists into Word Expander, and you can import many more entries than you can using Text Replacements.

Feel free to contact me if you want me to share either of these lists.

I’m also using Short Text for handwriting. If you want to go full old technology, you can print out the short text dictionary as a lookup, and handwrite Short Text using tic marks for repeated letters.

I’m finding that typing short text on an iPhone and also handwriting it, then reading back is a good combination for learning.

If you do take a look, please get in touch – I’d like to know what you think, and how you might be using this, including if there are words you use that aren’t in the dictionary and what those words are. You can also let me know if you want a heads-up when there are updates to the Short Text dictionary PDF.