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shorthand expanders

Posted By: anon on 2007-11-26
In Reply to: Shorthand for Windows - cherie

when I want to have all caps, I use a 2 after the abbreviation.  For example, cbc2 is CBC and cbc is complete blood count, xr2 is XR xr is x-ray.  I always do this so I can be consistent and remember. 

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I took shorthand too. But it sure comes in helpful for my expanders. I view words in shorthand for
i did use shorthand once in a job but i was so nervous the "boss" took pity and dictated the report on dictaphone.
Expanders: Shorthand vs. Shortcut....
Has anyone used both of these?  And if so, did you like one more than the other?  Thanks!
Just 1 more tip for shorthand. Macros versus expanders.

Terminology is so important here.  A macro is a function usually designed in the word processing program (Word, Word Perfect, etc.) and unless using the old DOS system, is usually used for making shortcuts for commands.  It can be used for documents, but is a little cumbersome to do it.

Expanders are just that.  They convert a series of Keystrokes into whatever has been defined for those keystrokes.  It can be a word, phrase, sentence, even a whole document.  But sometimes it can be a little slow if it is a long entry. 

The easiest and fastest way I have found to insert my "normals" or "canned dictations", even those I made myself in either Word or Word Perfect is to use an import function.  It is much easier to revise the normal, too, and easier to copy.  

In Word, establish the file location where documents will be stored.  I usually set mine to the name of the account I am working on (and change that data in the settings on Word - options/ file locations - when I change accounts.)   I store all my normals, whether created by the hospital or by me, in that file.  (By the way, I use a different shorthand dictionary for each account by using links.)   I give the document a logical name, and then create an import link in Shorthand.

So, my account is Onion Hospital.  My file location is set to C:onion.  My document is a physical by Dr. Celery, which I named as celerypx.    My Shorthand dictionary is onionhosp.

My command to retrieve this is: 

{@KEYDOWN Alt}il{@PAUSE}{@KEYUP Alt}celerypx.doc{@KEY Enter}

When Dr. Celery dictates his hp, I get to the physical and type celerypx and the document is imported instantly.

This is even more helpful with op reports, where you have rather routine dictations for things like cataracts, foot surgeries, etc., and need to change from left or right or bilateral. 

It is easier to copy the "normal" document and create one for each instance - left, right, or bilateral, that it is to pull up another command to search and replace the right, left, or bilateral, and change the verb tenses if it is bilateral. 

So, Dr. Corn does a lot of cataract extractions.  I have



corncatbil.doc (never heard of bilateral cataracts, but just an example).

My command in shorthand reflects each one.

{@KEYDOWN Alt}il{@PAUSE}{@KEYUP Alt}corncatrt.doc{@KEY Enter}

(It is also easier to see if I do have a canned report for a doctor in shorthand this way.  I just pull up shorthand (Ctrl F10) and type corn in the screen.  It will show me all the entries I have for Dr. Corn. 











Your Shorthand expanders can become separate glossary. s/m KyITuser

Instant text actually comes loaded with dozens of different glossaries stored into a separate glossary folder.  For instance, to name a few:  Medwords.glo, (glo is a filename for glossary), Legal.glo, ER.glo, GenMed.glo, etc.  I could go on.  After I imported my PRD+ expanders, I created a folder for it and just named it (after my first name), Toni.glo.  So when I pull up IT, I just click on my Toni.glo file and go to work.

Ironically, I'm looking into ShortHand because even though IT has SO, SO many different functions...so many that I will never learn in this lifetime, that in itself is the only con...other than the price $189.00 and no trial period is offered!

Personally, the best advice I can give is to visit the productivity board and browse through it.  Don't get me wrong, IT has to be the most advanced expansion program on the market, but again, being so advanced is it's only pitfall.  If you are like me, an IC paid on production, I just don't have the time to sit around and play with it.  I hope I didn't confuse you even more.  Good luck!

Are there any text expanders that would use the same saved files from Shorthand?... nm

SpeedType and Shorthand are the exact same program. Shorthand is lots cheaper and also has a trial.
{@KEY BkSp}-pack-per-year is for Shorthand. Using the semicolon works with both Shorthand and

;yo = -year-old

;py= -pack-year


Shorthand and SpeedType are exact same program. Shorthand will cost you lots less.
you can import your autocorrect into Shorthand.
If it is Shorthand, save the SPF file to a disk, then if you buy Shorthand yourself....
you can just drop the SPF file into it. That is not dishonest since you are the one who put the macros in. I am sure is it is another Expander there is a way to save the macro file and then drop it in the expander you buy on your own.
What is S/H? Are we allowed to run these programs with DQS? If so, where do you purchase them? I would be more than happy to spend $120 if I could get my quota.

Thanks for the tips.

I have worked in Meditech for about a year and a half and find that Shorthand does work just fine with it.


Also, Abbreviate works well.

I keep seeing people say get an Expander you will get more lines.  I currently just use what is provided on the DQS (the Ctrl+E function).  Forgive my ignorance, but is this a separate program that you can use with DQS?  If so, tell me what it is and where to get it, PLEASE.  I am to the point of throwing my hands up and working at McDonald's.  I am so frustrated.  I normally typed close to 2,000 lines per shift before DQS, now I am getting no where near that.  I have been on this for over a year.   

if i didn't have instant text, i'd be an unhappy person; i use it for probably 40% of my stuff; i also use autocorrect for words and small phrases.
The only Expander I have ever used is InstantText. I can add really long entries in there with bold, underline, etc..... you add the entry into InstantText and then there is a "formatting" button that you click on and it will keep the original formatting from when it was copied/cut and pasted from Word or your report. I really like InstantText.

Looking to get an Expander and curious which expander most use.  TIA

I was very interested in trying to get Smartype but I think from what I am reading it is not compatible with Word Perfect which is my main account and then I use Microsoft Works Suite.   I was wondering if there are any other Expanders out that could particularly be used with Word Perfect.  I thought I remembered talk about Fast Type that could be downloaded here from MTStars but I'm not able to locate that and I don't know if it can be used with Word Perfect or not.   Any suggestions or help??
They should expand the text in whatever font your document is currently using.

Actually, I use auto correct specifically for those instances when the the font, formatting, and size cannot be changed...if that makes any sense.
Expanders. sm
How do you use such abbreviations without going into your autotext you already have running.  I.E. I think if I tried to abbreviate Webster's words, It would clash with my medical words I have.  Any suggestions appreciated.
Which is the best Expander program?
ROI of expanders

An Expander pays for itself within weeks as your productivity goes up and you will make more lines per day.

What you need to consider is which expander provides the best productivity features as well as the best comfort level for you.

Looking at expanders and

I have been working as an employee with the EXText system/Wordclient by Dictaphone.  I really love the "esp" system that is part of this program as I find it very quick and easy to use.

Years ago I tried IT and didn't really care for it, but I don't know if I didn't become familiar enough with it. 

I guess it comes down to an Expander that works with just hitting the spacebar and entering the shortcut I know I am getting with that abbreviation.  Really mastering the shortcuts without having a list to choose from.

If anyone out there has any recommendations for a similar expander as the Dictaphone esps, I would love to hear what you have to say.


Thank you for your input.

Hi Robbie,

I was told that Instant Text V Pro works well with Meditech. I just received the program yesterday and installed it, but haven't had a chance to see how well it works.

I keep seeing everyone uses expanders.  Those of you that use them are you on set accounts?  I can't figure out how I would use them when I do a whole pool of about 20 different doctors.  I have some things in my quick correct but I just find it easier to type it then to remember to turn on the correct as you type option and then remember the abbreviations...everyone keeps saying that you are more productive with the use of expanders...I guess my question is how do you incorporate this with different doctors?
My goodness - EVERY doctor uses the same words i.e.the patient, blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, etc.  also "the" that' those" Every op report states the patient tolerated the procedure well, usually, and the patient  was extubated.  You make up Expanders for common english stuff plus most of the medicine names and dosage times amd acceptable abbreviations like LAD, MI, CAD, CHF, etc. and headings in a physical exam, and body parts/anatomy. Expanders increase your speed greatly plus cuts spell check time also.  I currently work an account with 40+ docs on staff and I'm using the same expanders I used for my 200+ account. 
Which system are you on?

Believe it or not, I have been transcribing for 20 years, and have never used an Expander such as Instant Text.  Is it truly worth investing in.  Does it really increase your production more than the expander that is in the Dictaphone program?

If I produce approx 200 lines an hour, would it be worth the investment?
I just started using Instant Text after 18 years transcribing. I think it slows me down sometimes because I am still getting used to it, but I feel it is worth it because there is less wear and tear on my hands/wrists. Even if I only equal my production with it, I feel in the long run I am better off if it helps me avoid carpal tunnel, etc.
Expanders/ASR or VR
ASR takes just as long as straight typing. You might save 5 to 10 minutes, especially if you are dealing with an accent or a doctor who mumbles (which I run into a lot). Eventually everybody will move to ASR because they will go out of business if they don't. Who wants to pay 10 cents a line when you can pay 5 cents per line? Then soon we will be competing with the Phillipine's wages...God help us! We are headed nowhere and FAST if we don't do something quick. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I am speaking the truth.
Of course I use Expanders - most companies that you work for supply an expansion program and if you are an IC you can still get one that would make your money back for you quickly... regardless of whether I type the lines or I use an Expander program to do it, I am still producing those lines and it makes me more than minimum wage.
Expanders?? SM
Please tell me what the names of them are, where to get them, easy to install or learn?? TIA Doing this for 14 years and almost on welfare now.

As to your first question, Smartype only works with Word. whereas Shorthand, Speedtype, and Instant Text work with mostly all transcription platforms.

As to your second question, each Expander is different except for Speedtype and ShortHand which, as mentioned, are the same.

Smartype comes with quite a substantial vocabulary file and uses a word completion feature.

Instant Text includes a large number of glossaries with medical words, phrases, and drug names, and IT has some unique features described on the Textware website.

Marianne Kleen
Textware Solutions


No, I never thought to get one.  I would though if there are less bugs.  Which do you recommend?
Hey Carla I've got over 2000 Expanders in my list, and I can remember almost all of them at any given time because of the logic I used to create them.

Anyone is welcome to a copy in Excel format, if they'd like. Just drop me an e-mail!
RE: expanders
I just got the book Saving Keystrokes. It is wonderful. For anybody out there that needs shortcuts, get that book. I can't just sit and think them up. This gives me good stuff to go by.
I used Smartype when I worked on a word program, but now I am using meditech.  How do you use Expanders with other programs?  An old MT asking for help. 
How much do expanders help you?
I have never used an Expander since I started transcribing which was a little over a year ago.  How valuable are they?  Do they really help you with your line count?  Does anyone know of a good free one?  I do not have a lot of money to spend on expensive software.  Thanks!
Ah, NO!!!!!!! Expanders are the only way to go, until
What exactly do you mean by the word Expander in word? I am computer illiterate. Would that be the same expander I use in Extext where I put a phrase or word in, and make a shortcut for it? Is that any different than an expander you can purchase? I have been an MT for 21 years, and currently do 200-250 lph on average. Would another expander benefit me? TIA
You definitely want to use some kind of word/text expander, whether it's Word's Auto-Correct or Auto-Text utilities or some other retail product. They're especially useful for alphanumeric terms and phrases that are dictated frequently but not so consistently that using a macro is possible every time that situation arises. Once you get the hang of it and figure out how your brain best remembers expansion clues, you can create your shortcuts quickly and they won't be difficult to remember as you're typing.

If you're like me, I hate having to type out -year-old after every age, so although it took a little time, I created an entry for every age from 1 to 99 that I key in as the age followed by yo, e.g., 43yo, which then expands to 43-year-old. For phrases or multiple-word terms, some MTs like to create a shortcut using just the first letter of each word. That works for a lot of things but not everything because of accepted abbreviations. I create shortcuts based on what my brain knows it will remember and how it feels when I type it. I experiment with it a little bit until I come up with a shortcut that will fly off my fingertips. I use lapchole for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, but avh for auditory or visual hallucinations. Be creative!

You can also create custom toolbars for various accounts and/or speakers, then create toolbar buttons out of Auto-Text entries for longer passages or pain-in-the-neck stuff like inside addresses you type frequently, and drag and drop them to those custom toolbars. It takes a couple of minutes to set up a toolbar button, but it's worth it for certain kinds of text expansion data.

Another tip: Create a toolbar on your desktop for your work-related programs and resources. To do it, right click on your system tray, select Toolbars, and give your new toolbar a name. I call mine My MT. Then create a folder on your desktop with the same name you gave your new toolbar. Drag and drop or copy links to the items you want in your toolbar to the new desktop folder, and voila, they immediately show up on your toolbar. Customize your icons so you can easily find the one you want, and keep your link names short to maximize how many links your toolbar can hold and use the space efficiently. The kinds of links I have on my My MT toolbar include Google, One-Look, Word, Excel, My Documents (shortened to Docs), platform links, Volume and Audio controls...anything you know you use a lot and don't like having to minimize windows for to find on your desktop.

Have fun!
An Expander (or macro)program allows you to save keystrokes. There are many different Expanders out there; in the jobs I've worked they've been built into the platform. You can also purchase ones like Instant Text and many others. You create your own expansions in a way that makes sense to you. I think of it as typing in shorthand. So instead of typing "the patient tolerated the procedure well" over and over, I just type tpttpw and it spits the whole phrase out. It is the absolute best way to increase your speed. A great book I could recommend is "When the Name of the Game is Saving Keystrokes" by Diana Rolland.
Thank you very  much.  I will check into this.  anything to make my life easier, right!
expanders and such
Thank you VERY much. What Expander programs do you recommend? Also, I wanted to ask you something else. I had started my MT training several years ago, ended up stopping halfway through to work for a company that does medical conferences. It's a lot different, easier, I think. You get paid by the word, not the line. So my question is, in your opinion, do you think the traditional kind of MT work would be better? In other words, is the field a good one to get into? I see a lot of mixed thinking on that in here, so I would like to get your opinion. Thank you, again, in advance.
Never used expanders
I actually did start when we were on typewriters and no expanders. I don't use one now, but would like to are they hard to learn??? Is there one you all would recommend???
I've been using Smartype since 1996 when I was still using WP 5.1.  I would fell like the fingers of my right hand were gone if I didn't have it to work with.  Love it!
How are they using their expanders

I use my Expander and still cannot get a line count at 7 cpl.  Specifically tell us what they are putting in those Expanders please




I use Instant Text and absolutely love it!  However, I did check out the websites you listed here.  The first one, vsisystems, I would not go with for sure, as there are typos and incorrect grammar on their website.  I mean, that is not good advertisement at all - - lol!  The second one in the list, soft411, doesn't sound as if it is for Word, it sounds as if it has more to do with getting around on the Internet, but I may be wrong.  The third one in the list, thinkabdul, is a little confusing to me; so, I don't know about that one.  Just my thoughts on the matter.

Instant Text does take a little bit of time to get used to, but once you do, it is wonderful. 




I have some expanders for
some common numbers, sxy for 60, tymg for 20 mg, etc., so just was wondering if there was a "system" that has been tried and proved. I know I was looking for a needle in a haystack , so guess I just need to start training myself on my number keys a bit better instead of the going over to the key pad :-)
Try productivitytalk.com