Professional Development for Healthcare Professions Blog

Wednesday Transcription Tip- Word Expanders

Posted by Chad Sines on Wed, Apr 04, 2012 @ 04:54 PM

increaseIf you have not started exploring the topic of text expanders, then now is a good time to start. Text expanders allow an MT to drastically increase their productivity by minimizing key strokes. A typical expander works by recognizing short forms that you develop for words and then expanding them into the long form. Many suggest using the first three letters of a word and the last letter as the short form. An example might be abdl for abdominal. Every time you would use this shortcut you would save about four letters. Many use pt for patient, hy for history, rx for prescription, and so on. Just these few simple shortcuts can save many keystrokes over time. 

An MT can and should develop their own list of shortcuts over time. This is much better than simply importing lists that others give you. The goal is to use shortcuts that you know and will use versus just looking to build a large database.  

A lot of people begin by using MS Words autocorrect to define some basic shortcuts. While this works okay in the beginning, it quickly becomes burdensome to add new forms quickly, backup, and take the shortcuts with you. Using a commercial expander program like SpeedType allows an MT to quickly develop, edit, import, and export shortcuts. It also allows you to take the shortcuts with you to multiple computers and works with any Windows program seamlessly. Over a very short course of time these programs pay for themselves.

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