Review: Pens, Need We Say More?

Okay, so they’re not the most fascinating items in the world (for most people), but choosing a good pen can play a vital role in ensuring your shorthand flows smoothly, your note is neat and legible and your wrist doesn’t ache after prolongued use or practice. Moreover, as Shorthand World found in testing some of the following pens, picking the best point can boost your speed by up to seven words a minute. In preparing this article, Shorthand World asked a number of experienced shorthand practitioners for their views and recommendations. Here are the four pens which stood out from the rest.

Pilot V5 Extra Fine Needlepoint Rollerball Blue Box of 12

The Pilot V5, is an excellent pen. The ink runs smoothe, feels great in the hand and glides over the page. On our test, this pen improved shorthand speed the most – a staggering 7wpm over the standard disposable ballpoint at 100wpm. A great buy.

Bic Velocity Gel Rollerball Pen Comfort Grip Retractable 0.7mm Tip 0.3mm Line Blue Ref 820566 [Pack 12]

Again, this is a great pen. The gel ink is smoothe and it feels incredibly comfortable in the hand. Although on our test the improvement on speed was not as high as the Pilot V5 (at an extra 4wpm) it is more comfortable. So for those using shorthand throughout the day or relentlessly engaged in practice or exam preparation, this pen is hard to beat.

Waterman Expert Fountain Pen Lacque Black/Gold Medium

This fine fountain pen is roughly the shape of a fat cigar, looks stunning and is a joy to use. Shorthand notes are clean and crisp and the nib flows effortlessly across paper. A number of our shorthand experts recommended this pen. The price is steep compared with the others, but is good value for a quality fountain pen that will give years of writing and shorthand pleasure.

6 thoughts on “Review: Pens, Need We Say More?

  • July 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I have a really lovely shorthand pen years ago when I first learned shorthand, then I dropped it, and I’ve never been able to find a good one since. It was a Senator. Anyone know of a source?


  • August 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Me, too. I had a Senator professional (with a gold nib!) which I had taken years to wear in beautifully. It needed a clean so I left in soak in a washbasin in the staff toilets at work. I forgot about it and a few days later I asked the cleaner what had happended to it and she said she had thrown it away because it was leaking!!

    I have been trying ever since to find another one. So HELP anyone.


  • May 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Type of pen is, of course, critical in good and fast short-hand writing.

    But less attention seems to be given to the question of quality of the paper on which the short-hand is written. I myself write on the hard, glossy paper we find in the standard “reporter’s notebooks”.

    But by chance (that is, by doodling on old newspapers while watching tv) I have found that newsprint is MUCH EASIER to write neat short-hand on than the hard, glossy paper of the standard “reporter’s notebooks”.

    Does expert opinion sustain that impression? And where can I get notebooks in which the paper-quality is similar to newsprint?

  • May 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    And a question about practice-cds. Wade Media cds only to to 130. But where can one get speed-building cds that go up to – say – a speed of 160?

  • July 7, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I have a new and unused Senator by by Merz & Krell in sage green for sale in eBay. This is specifically designed for shorthand. Start bid price is £9.99
    (eBay name ‘Kalaheera’)


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