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Plover Cheat Sheet

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The listing here is based on the default Plover dictionary files.

In the Plover repository on GitHub the file main.json contains the default dictionary while commands.json contains commands, and user.json is available for customizations.

Other steno theories and stenographers will use other dictionaries, and it's important to remember that you have the power to change any of these dictionary entries according to your preferences. These definitions are mainly meant as guidelines; don't be afraid to tinker with your own dictionary until it suits your needs.

If you prefer a dictionary with UK/Canadian/Australian spellings rather than American spellings, you can download one here.

For more information on dictionary editing see Learn Plover! Appendix: The Dictionary Format or Joshua Lifton's 2010 documentation.

If your customizations in user.json begin to grow with more use of Plover it can be a good idea to make periodic backups in some way.[1]

See also the dictionary page on this wiki.

Beginning Sounds

Sound Brief Examples
"re^" RE renew, replenish
"in^" EUPB instead, intend
"un^" UPB undesirable, undo
"de^" TKE define, depend
"anti-^" A*EUPBT antidote, antipathy
"non-^" TPHAUPB non-refundable, nonsense
"over^" AUFR overwhelm, overcoat
"sub^" SAUB submarine, subdued
"dis^" TKEUS disgruntle, dismiss
"pre-^" PRE preview, precise
"up^" AUP upside, uptown
"en^" EPB entrap, entrance
"con^" KAUPB conference, condemn
"inter^" EUPBT interpret, interstitial
"out^" AOUT outrage, outlaw
"co-^" KOE coworker, cooperate
"self-^" SEF self-righteous, selfish
"hyper^" HAOEURP hyperbole, hyperbola
"micro^" PHAOEURBG microscope, microgram
"pro^" PRO process, provoke
"down^" KWROUPB downgrade, downhill
"back^" PWAEBG background, backup
"im^" EUPL impossible, imminent
"under^" UPBD underground, understand
"mis^" PHEUZ misidentify, mistrust
"intro^" EURPBT introduce, introspection
"super^" SAOUP supervise, superannuated
"for^" TPAUR fortune, forbid

Ending Sounds

See Steno 101 Lesson Three for more detailed explanations.

Sound Brief Examples
"-dge" -PBLG edge, badge, or Raj
"-rve" -FRB nerve, serve
"-rch" or "-nch" -FRPB perch, bench, crunch, church
"-tious, -cious, -xious" -RBS delicious, obnoxious, precious
"-th" *-T fifth, plinth, or bath
"-mp" *-PL plump, lamp
"-lk" *LG milk, whelk, balk
"-st" FT taste, blast, boost
"-tion, -cian, -cean, -sion, -gion," GS notion, ocean, passion, fashion, Titian, fission, elision, region, physician
"-ction" BGS faction, traction, constriction, diction
"-sh" -RB dish, fish, niche


This section lists the ways to add contraction endings to words. Note that for many (if not all) pronouns with contractions, there exists single-stroke briefs (many of which are fairly intuitive). It is advised that one learn those, using the briefs in this table only as a last resort.

Contraction Brief
"-'s" A*ES
"-'d" *D
"-'ll" AOEL (works with pronouns)


Output Dictionary Entry
" (ending) "KR-GS": "{^~|\"}",
" (leading) "KW-GS": "{~|\"^}",
- (Hyphen, no auto-spacing) "H-B": "{^-^}",
-- "TK-RB": "--",
, (no spacing) "*RBGS": "{^,^}",
. ... (period and then ellipsis) "-FPLT/HR-PS": "{.}...{-|}",
 ! "SKHRAPL": "{!}",
. "-P": "{.}",
. (no auto-spacing) "P-P": "{^.^}",
... "SKWR-RBGS": "{^...}{-|}",
 : "KHR*PB": "{:^}",
 ; "SKWR*RBGS": "{;}",
' (ending) "AE": "{^~|'}",
' (leading) "A*E": "{~|'^}",
(space) "S-P": "{^ ^}",
(Tab) "TA*B": "{#Tab}{^}",


Output Dictionary Entry
(Spacebar) "S*PS": "{^ ^}",
 % "PERS": "{&%}",
$ "TK-PL": "${^}",
00 "OZ": "00",
1/2 "HA*F": "1/2",
* "PWHRET": "*",


Command Dictionary Entry
(Delete last stroke and retranslate buffer) *[2]
(Backspace) "PW-FP": "{#BackSpace}"[3]
(Capitalize, add space) "KPA": "{}{-|}",
(Capitalize, no space) "KPA*": "{^}{-|}",
(Left) "STPH-R": "{#Left}{^}",
(Right) "STPH-G": "{#Right}{^}",
(Up) "STPH-P": "{#Up}{^}",
(Down) "STPH-B": "{#Down}{^}",
(Left by word) "STPH-RB": "{#Control_L(Left)}{^}",
(Right by word) "STPH-BG": "{#Control_L(Right)}{^}",
(Escape) "TPEFBG": "{#Escape}",
(Return) "R-R": "{^}{#Return}{^}{-|}",
(Return, capitalize new letter) "SKWRAURBGS": "{#Return}{#Return}{^}{-|}",
(Don't Auto-space before next word) "TK-LS": "{^^}",
(Flush the buffer) TPHR-RB[4]

Plover Meta-Commands

See also Learn Plover! Appendix: The Dictionary Format, The {Plover:} Control Commands

MetaCommand Dictionary Entry/Meta-Command
(Launch prompt to add brief to dictionary) "TKUPT": "{PLOVER:ADD_TRANSLATION}",
(Toggle activation of Plover) "PHROLG": "{PLOVER:TOGGLE}",
(Suspend Plover translation) "PHROF": "{PLOVER:SUSPEND}",
(Resume Plover translation) "PHROPB": "{PLOVER:RESUME}",
(Configure Plover) "{PLOVER:CONFIGURE}",
(Bring Plover window into focus) "{PLOVER:FOCUS}",
(Quit Plover) "{PLOVER:QUIT}",

Non-intuitive Briefs (Gotchas)

For some common words, the only briefs that work are not easily guessed by a beginner, and will probably require memorization to learn. The following table lists some of those. Misstroke definitions are put in the dictionary to correctly translate a word that is frequently misstroked by the stenographer. If you write HEFP frequently when you try to write HEP, sometimes the simplest solution is to define HEFP as "help" as well.

Output Brief Explanation
been PW-B Misstroke definition for PW-PB (BeeN)
help HEP, HEFP HEFP is misstroke definition for HEP
a AEU Typing 'A' (prefix stroke) will result in misplaced word boundary
in TPH, PH Typing 'EUPB' (prefix stroke) will result in misplaced word boundary. PH is misstroke definition for TPH.
continued T-PBD Continue is T-PB ('conTiNue'); T-PBD adds -ed suffix.

Briefs That Beginners Might Want to Delete

Some briefs can save more strokes than others. For example PH-FR mapping to "manufacturer" is a brief which does a word in one stroke that done syllable wise would be five strokes PHAPB/KWRU/TPABG/KHUR/ER; however, other definitions will not save as much time. For example TO/AEUB mapping "to be a" could be done in three strokes as TO/-B/AEU which is just one additional stroke, and all of the strokes are simple and can be done in quick succession.

Dictionary entries such as TO/AEUB mapping to "to be a" can help experienced stenographers gain a speed edge but for beginners they don't offer as much over the simpler way. In addition they can lead to word boundary errors. For example in seeking to do the text "And God said to Abraham..." it could come out as "And God said to be a Ra ham..." since one definition of "Abraham" is AEUB/RA/HAPL. Over time one can seek to get sufficiently accustomed to the dictionary and to stenography so that such errors can be avoided.

Dictionaries can also be structured consistent with recurring words and phrases particular to a given subject, field, sub-field, etc. and developed empirically over time in the course of practice and work.

For the above case "Abraham" could be stroked instead as AEURB/HAPL (the second "a" is unstressed as talked about in Learn Plover! in Lesson 2 and there is also an inversion between the R and the B -- inversions are also talked about in that part of Learn Plover!).

In this table are listed some entries which beginners might wish to delete. Some of these may already be deleted in the dictionary.

One could also decide to keep some of these not necessarily for the purpose of gaining more speed but to avoid misstrokes. For example if one finds that when trying to do TO/-B/AEU the last two strokes are getting hit together then TO/AEUB mapping to "to be a" could make sense (see Non-intuitive Briefs (Gotchas) above).

Strokes Definition Example of Error
TO/AEUB "to be a" "And God said to Abraham..." becomes "And God said to be a Ra ham..." (from Genesis 17:9)
OPB/KWROPBD "on beyond" "Tell her to dry it on yonder thorn..." becomes "Tell her to dry it on beyonder thorn..." (from the lyrics to Scarborough Fair)
THA/RA "that are" "...loved that rascal Puff..." becomes "...loved that ares cal Puff..." (from the lyrics of Puff the Magic Dragon) (no longer in the dictionary when checked on 04:47, 14 December 2016 (EST))
TPORT "for the" (no specific error but some might prefer this to map to fort instead)
PW/SEP "by accept" "...wedded to him not by union but by separation..." becomes "...wedded to him not by union but by accept regulation..." (from a slight misremembering of the lyrics by Edgar Lee Masters on the tomb of Ann Rutledge who was the the first love of Abraham Lincoln; actual verse goes as "Wedded to him, not through union,/But through separation.")

Make your own!

It is easy to make custom "cheat codes" to improve our day-to-day workflow with the power of Plover. The table below summarizes some examples that Mirabai has been using to speed up computer interactions beyond text entry. Adding entries like these to the Plover dictionary greatly extends the usefulness of the Plover platform by keeping your hands on the keyboard. [5]

Dictionary editing has been talked about in this forum on the site.

Command Dictionary Entry
Copy "KHR-BG": "{#Control_L(c)}",
Paste "KHR*F": "{#Control_L(v)}",
Save Document "STPHA*EUF" : "{#Escape}:w{#Return}{#Control_L(End)A } ",
Name File "STPAO*EUL" : "{#Escape}:w c:/proj/.txt{#Left}{#Left}{#Left}{#Left}{^}",
Delete to End of Document "TKHREPBD" : "^vG$xo",
Cancel Selection "SKHR*EBGS" : "{#Escape}/zxzxz{#Return}A",
Substitute Word Throughout Document "SPWAO*UT" : "{#Escape}:%s/{^}",
Go to End of Document "SR-RS": "{#Control_L(End(Escape))A }",
Launch Chrome window (with Ctrl-Alt-g as shortcut for Chrome) "SPA*US": "{#Control_L(Alt_L(g))}",
Close tab/window "KHR*T": "{#Control_L(w)}",
Search in Chrome "KHR*BG": "{#Control_L(k)}",
Alt-Tab "TA*BT": "{#Alt_L(Tab(Tab))}",
Winamp (custom definition via Global Hotkeys)
Back up three seconds "KH-FG": "{`^}",
Play/Pause "TR-RL": "{|}",
Plover Dictionary Management
Add Last Entered Word to Dictionary (or do a lookup) "TKUPT" : "{#Control_L(Shift_L(Left) Control_L(c) Control_L(Right)}{PLOVER:ADD_TRANSLATION}{#Tab Control_L(v) Shift_L(Tab)}",[6]
Add Clipboard Contents to Dictionary (or do a lookup) "TK*UPT" : "{PLOVER:ADD_TRANSLATION}{#Tab Control_L(v) Shift_L(Tab)}",[7]

Additional Resources - Website to look up words. As of Plover 3.0 dictionary lookup is also included in the software, which will be based on the state of the local dictionary; however, the website also has a categorization, and will give a long list of suggestions as letters are typed. - This seeks to document the motivation for a particular stroke.


  1. Plover Google Groups Post: Keeping user.json backed up
  2. No dictionary entry, but built into Plover
  3. As of June 1, 2016 by default overwritten in main.json to be "before", but may be changed.
  4. (Flush the buffer) - this seems to have been removed
  5. Re: Editing text (Was: Plover study group starting in May?) : Mirabi Knight speaks about some of the chords she has defined for different situations
  6. See Cool Little Plover Trick on the Plover Blog for more information
  7. See the third comment of the post Cool Little Plover Trick on the Plover Blog for more information