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Shortcuts Corner: Root Word Creativity

Shortcuts Corner

Root Word Creativity

By Betsy Ertel, CEO, AHDI-F, and Kristin Wall, CHDS, AHDI-F



Developing a pattern for creating shortcuts for word endings starts with the base, or root, word. As you can see below, starting with the base “rec” for the word “recommend,” you simply add an extra letter for plural endings (s or es), past tense (ed), and so forth.


rec = recommend
recs = recommends
recd = recommended
recg = recommending
recn = recommendation


Using that same pattern, the following would be the shortcuts to type for “follow.”


fol = follow

fols = follows

fold = followed

folg = following


Did you notice anything different with this one? If you noticed that the past tense shortcut is also an actual word on its own, fold, you got it! While “fold” may or may not be a commonly dictated word on its own, it’s important to pay attention to such things as you proofread your work to be sure that the words expand appropriately when you want them to and that you don’t expand them when you don’t want them to. With many word expansion programs you can use certain keystrokes, such as the ESC key, immediately after a shortcut to keep it from expanding. Alternately, you could insert a hyphen (fold-) or add another letter after the shortcut plus ending letter (foldd) if you want to keep the word spelling (fold) as is.


Shortcuts can pop up even when you least expect them. Typing the name Bob may invoke the shortcut “bowel or bladder,” which can provide a little chuckle, just be sure to correct it.


Many word expansion programs can be used in many applications other than transcription platforms and for other uses than transcription. For example, when preparing Christmas cards, wouldn’t it be nice to have a shortcuts dictionary with all your mailing addresses listed by name? If you have a universal Windows driven shortcut system that you use, you can now even populate a friend’s name and address straight from your shortcuts dictionary into your mailer label program.

How do you know which shortcut you want before you type it with a matching expansion? Many word expansion programs have small popup windows that display key words and phrases so you can easily see what your keyed-in shortcut will expand to before you invoke it. This alleviates bloopers or unnecessary backspacing errors to correct something mistyped.


Remember, if you learn to create a base shortcut, you can build many entries including all their past, present, and future tenses utilizing the same root word. There are many word expansion programs on the market with differing features. Be sure to do your research to find the program that will complement the way you think and your work style. Technology wisely used can save you time, money, and many keystrokes!


This Shortcuts Corner will enlighten you on more keystroke-saving techniques. Stay tuned for what’s next around the Shortcuts Corner!


*Disclaimer: Vendors or software programs mentioned in this article are for informational purposes only and should not be seen as an endorsement by AHDI of any particular vendor or service. Users are encouraged to complete independent research all products and services available on the market in order to make the best choice for your needs and circumstances.