Pitman Ruled Paper Template

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  • March 9, 2019 Updated
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Similar to Gregg ruled paper, Pitman ruled paper is a type of lined paper used for stenography. Stenography is the process of writing in shorthand, which is basically a super-speedy way of taking notes or transcribing information. Stenographers usually write about 100 words per minute, and a few people were able to write about 300 words per minute! Sir Isaac Pitman’s shorthand system came before Gregg’s, and Pitman ruled paper is slightly wider that Gregg ruled paper. For the hobbyist or professional, we offer Pitman writing paper in two different line color schemes.

Template Contents

Below is a list of worksheets included in this printable template.

US Letter

Lined paper with evenly spaced, blue horizontal lines. Spacing between each horizontal line measures 0.5 inches. A thicker red vertical line bisects the page. This worksheet is formatted in US letter paper size (8.5” x 11.0”).

US Letter BW

Lined paper with evenly spaced, black horizontal lines. Spacing between each horizontal line measures 0.5 inches. A thicker black vertical line bisects the page. This worksheet is formatted in US letter paper size (8.5” x 11.0”).

Pitman Paper History

In 1837, Sir Isaac Pitman invented a shorthand writing system, roughly 50 years before John Robert Gregg introduced his own shorthand writing system. Pitman was the first to use line thickness in phonetic symbols to describe speech sounds as voiced or unvoiced. Sir Isaac Pitman’s brothers, Benjamin and Jacob Pitman, played a big role in introducing Pitman shorthand across the globe. Pitman shorthand was eventually adapted for 15 languages. Gregg shorthand later surpassed Pitman shorthand in popularity in the United States, but Pitman shorthand is still widely used in the United Kingdom.

Using Pitman Ruled Paper

This type of lined paper is most useful for writing in shorthand. Most stenographers can write in shorthand much faster than the average person can type using a keyboard. So, no need to do anything on the computer - just hit print. Print out multiple copies of this lined paper and create a “steno-pad” by clipping the pages to a clipboard. You can also use a hole-puncher to create a steno notebook with a 3-ring binder.

Shorthand has long been a popular form of handwriting. Its heyday may have been before the advent of the word processing computer, but modern day stenography is still useful in situations where information must be written very quickly. For example, in court cases, stenographers are relied upon to take quick and accurate notes, using shorthand writing. The Pitman shorthand writing system is phonetic (based on sound) and it uses characters to express the sounds being spoken. It also uses techniques called shading to signal heavy sounds.

An example of Pitman shorthand writing.

Pitman Ruled Paper Shorthand Writing

Writing sample courtesy of The Joy of Pitman Shorthand.

Note: In Pitman shorthand, characters are often written on the line. In other types of shorthand, characters are written above the line.

If you are interested in learning Pitman shorthand for personal or professional use, educational resources are listed below.

Video tutorials

Pitman Shorthand, part 1 of 3

Pitman Shorthand, part 2 of 3

Pitman Shorthand, part 3 of 3

Pitman vs Other Shorthand Systems

It is difficult to tell which shorthand system allows the scribe to write the fastest. Perhaps speed depends on how well one has mastered Pitman, Gregg, or any other shorthand system because each system seems to have unique advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of Pitman is that it is easier to decipher than Gregg shorthand, because each Pitman symbol has a unique sound. This is not the case with Gregg shorthand vowel symbols, which have some ambiguity.

In Pitman shorthand, lined paper is essential because the placement of a sound symbol in relation to the line indicates the “position” of that symbol, which represents a unique sound. For example, a symbol can be placed above the line, on the line, or through the line to indicate the position. Other systems, such as Gregg shorthand, do not rely on lined paper to help interpret sounds. The use of horizontal lines in Pitman shorthand can be viewed as a limitation, but when going for maximum speed, this formality can be omitted.

Why the Line?

Pitman Ruled Paper Lines Example

If writing 100 words per minute isn’t enough, the line in the center of the page will help you tack on a few more words per minute. The line bisecting the page is meant to accelerate writing even further. For example, it takes half the time to move your hand from one side of the page to the center, than it does to move your hand from one side of the page to the other side. In short, the line is intended to eliminate excess movement to increase writing speed and efficiency.


Change Paper Size

The Pitman ruled paper worksheets are formatted in letter size. But you can change the paper size if you prefer to work at a different scale.

Tip: See this tutorial on how to change paper size:


If scale is extended, additional lines may also need to be continued down to fit the new size of the paper. Below is an example of what may happen to lined paper when switching from letter size to legal size.

Pitman Ruled Paper Legal Size

To add more lines, simply copy the last row (with lines) and paste to fill in the rest of the page.

Pitman Ruled Paper Add Lines

Change Color Scheme

Tired of the ordinary white background and blue lines? You can easily modify background color, line color, and line style. For example, add an off-white background and change the line colors to something fun like green and purple, as shown below.

Pitman Ruled Paper Custom Background

Listed here are some quick tutorials on how to make changes to color and style.

Change Background Color


Change Line Style and Color


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