Getting Started with Steno

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of stenography and Plover for a while; typing a single character at a time can seem inefficient since I know I’m capable of thinking in syllables. I do feel like “I don’t know what I don’t know” about this though - surely this is extraordinarily challenging to pick up!

I see there is a Model 01 plugin for this, and wonder if either git contributor (@jesse @algernon) have gotten far with this? I’d love to see a video of this in action. I feel like I’ll be comfortable with the daily use of this new hardware in the next few months to try this myself!

I haven’t gotten far, unfortunately. I memorized a few simple things, but my speed is abysmal even if I type the words I know. I always tell myself that one of these days, I’ll start practicing Steno more, but in the end, never get around to it. Perhaps once I have a little more time, I’ll be able to! Until then, it will remain a goal to achieve. Plover has some very good resources on getting started, by the way.

Do you want a video of the Model01 in action, or would any keyboard work, as long as the same steno method is used? Mirabai Knight (Plover’s designer) has a few, very interesting videos:

And the talk that sparked my interest in Steno (it wasn’t hard to spark, my late Grandmother used to be a typist & stenographer):


I was also wondering about that. I had a Plover layer on my Ergodox that I could flip to and play with.

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In this initial getting the keyboard and learning how to use it (and getting into customizing it to adjust all those things that suddenly feel wrong because you got used to them over the years) stumbled upon plover again. This seems like this might be a better thing to learn than a different keyboard layout like Dvorak, Colemak or Workman, as I’d be able to keep being able to use other people’s computers.

Thanks for having the library setup


I took a stab at adding this to my firmware, (sloppily removing a toggle layer in the same commit), but it’s not working yet. There are however a couple interesting quirks; depressing just the right fn key will activate the LED on the second LockLayer key!

My question is about the steno example in the arduino library: that default keymap should work as listed correct? Like despite all my Colemak stuff I believe this layer will match the qwerty examples in the docs, and a chord in the Getting Started doc would be on the qwerty keycaps RNO to make ‘hel’. Currently nothing happens once I go to this layer.

The keymap in the example is different (IMHO better!) than the standard Plover QWERTY layout. The homerow (QWERTY’s asdfjkl;) is the top row of Plover, the row below (QWERTY’s zxcvm,./) is the bottom row of Plover, and the outer thumb keys (“cmd” and “shift” on the left, “shift” and “alt” on the right with QWERTY’s default legends) are the vowel keys. So, ‘hel’ is f-rshift-l.

Also as a sanity check, make sure Plover is running and activated before trying to type on the Steno layer, otherwise it won’t do anything.


lololol. Ok, run the plover app. That’s funny. It may be working now, I wish I had more time to play now. Hitting the qwerty labels of X+M spit out the word ‘you’ and C+M was ‘awe’ which is what I feel. I am seriously stoked to dig into this!


New question! How tricky is it to make an LED scheme that lights up only the steno keys?

So in Plover once I went into configuration and selected Gemini PR on the USB Port I was able to get the layer working well. All the documentation is hard to parse because the mappings are off by a row. Add to this the fact that I’ve been using only Colemak for nearly 3 years and it is a mental exercise! I plan to make a graphical aid for my fellow Model 01 would-be stenographers.

In the mean time, what I was able to tinker out (without reading any instructions, just mashing around after making my own crude guide):

to type the words “key board”:
the qwerty mappings (the steno mappings)
X+CMD+Right Shift (KAE)
D+C+CMD+Right Shift+M+" (PWAORD)

tab is a backspace key.

I’ve got to actually read the docs now. I found some Anki flashcards I may queue up, and a bunch of questions to answer. Thought I’d share my progress.


I’ve found the Learn Plover “book”/guide to be a good gentle/gradual introduction to Plover. It doesn’t assume any particular mapping, but shows things in terms of the steno keyboard (which I find easy to mentally map to the Model 01, at least myself).

Re: LED scheme, check out the Colormap plugin I think.

Tiny correction for anyone else following along, “board” (PWAORD) uses Left Shift not Right Shift.

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Im struggling to follow along here. I edited my firmware to look like arley, but plover doesn’t seem to recognize my keyboard in geminipr mode. any hints?

turns out im an idiot and didn’t look at the configure button in plover. For future reference, if you have multiple serial ports connected make sure that plover is looking at the right one.