on the cheap and sleazy side (www.cheapandsleazy.net)

By G.D. Warner

Quick and Easy Plover

Plover for the Left-Brained


This is intended to be a version of the Plover instructions for those that are of the "Just the facts, ma'am!" persuasion.


Get Plover:

current build

This is what the Windows page looks like:

Plover Download:  Windows

Plover Download: Windows

Once downloaded, move it to your "Programs" folder.

You may have to right-click and select "Run as Administrator" if you're running Windows 7 or above.

Configure Plover

You will need to know which COM port your USB-Serial adapter is on.

In order to do this, you need to open the Device Manager ... and there are seven ways to do that. This article shows you four of them.

My favorite method: Right-click an empty spot on the desktop, select "New," then select "Shortcut, " and when asked, type in "devmgmt.msc".

Device Manager

The Device Manager

Memorize or write down the appropriate COM port number, switch to Plover, and click the Configure button.

Here's my Windows Plover install's list of serial ports:

Windows Plover:  COM Ports

Windows Plover: COM Ports

Select the number you wrote down earlier. If you don't see your COM port listed, click the "Scan" button and look again.

Make the appropriate selection and click Okay.

Writer Selection

Click the "Machine" tab.

Do you see the "extra" configure button to the right of the window? Click the button to the left of it. That's where you should see a list of the writers supported in Plover:

Windows Plover Steno Machine Select List

Windows Plover Steno Machine Select List

Make your selection and click "Save."

Note the checked box there on the left, near "Automatically Start."

You're going to want that checked. Otherwise, Plover will just sit there and do nothing after you double-click it.


Click the "Dictionary" tab. When you do that, you should see something like this:

Win Plover: Default Dictionary

Windows Default Dictionary

Unless that's the theory you write, you should click the red minus sign and remove the dictionary that's there.

If you have an .rtf version of your theory dictionary on your computer, click the "Add Dictionary" button, and use the file navigation window that appears to find your .rtf dictionary.

If you don't have one, now's the time to fix that.

Next, you should have an empty .rtf dictionary, so you can add your own outlines to it, and not have them go into your main dictionary. You can get one of those empty .rtf dictionaries here.

Once you've got your dictionaries where they're supposed to be, click "Save."

Okay, now you can test Plover to make sure everything's working the way it's supposed to be ... and you can do that by opening either NotePad or WordPad, and writing something.

Did it work? Hope so! If not, go back and look over the instructions and make sure you didn't miss anything, then try it again. Once you have written your first few words and you can see that they are translating correctly, tear yourself away, because there's more work to be done!

Making Dictionary Entries From Your Writer

Switch to Plover and click the "Configure" button, then click the "Add Translation" button. You should see something like this:

Add Translation Window

Add Translation Window

Next, you're going to add three entries into that empty .rtf dictionary I had you add:

(1) A stroke you use in your CAT software to add stuff to your dictionary;

(2) A stroke that emulates the "tab" keystroke;

(3) Another stroke that emulates a "return" stroke

If you don't have strokes for either of these, come up with something, and write them down somewhere. For now, I'll use the ones I use ... so where you see the steno outlines in the next couple of pictures, imagine your own steno outlines in there.

My "Add Dictionary" stroke is this one:


That one came from digitalCAT, less the asterisk, but I think those of you on Case Catalyst might use "Def/Def" or something similar.

Whatever stroke you've decided on, stroke it in that left field (where it says, "Strokes:").

In the "Translation" field, either type or copy and paste this in:


Once you've done so, click the "Add to Dictionary" button. This will close the Add Translation window.

For the tab entry (I'm using TAE-B, by the way), go ahead and stroke the "Add Dictionary" stroke. This should open the Add Dictionary window.

Stroke your desired tab entry, and either type or copy and paste this in the Translation field:


Again, click the Add Dictionary button to add that to your dictionary.

Lastly -- for these three, anyway -- you will be doing the "return" entry.

Stroke your "Add Dictionary" stroke to open the "Add Translation" window.

Stroke the outline you selected for your "return" stroke.

Either type or paste this into the Translation field:


Click the Add Translation button.

Now you should be able to do all of those steps from your writer.

Steno Translation What it Does
KP*-PB {^ ^}{-|} KP*-PB is cap next with a space.
KP-PB {^^}{-|}{^^}{-|} KP-PB is cap next without a space.
FPLT {^.}{-|} A period, a space, and a Cap Next.
*E-FBG {#Escape} This is the Esscape key.
STKPWHR {#Return}{#Tab}Q.{^ ^} The Q. symbol, for a document that's already set up as double-spaced.
FRPBLGTS {#Return}{#Tab}A.{^ ^} The A. symbol, for a document that's already set up as double-spaced.
STKPWHR-FRPBLGTS {#Return}{#Tab}THE COURT{:} One for the Court.
PBA*EU-FL {^}{#Return}THE BALIFF{:} One for the Baliff.
TKPW-FRPBLGTS {#Return}{#Tab}MR. GOODE: {^^}{-|} A generic speaker ID from my last transcription job.

Q&A Tips

Chances are good that when you tried to enter those Q&A entries up there in the Strokes window, you noticed that the Add Translation window closed before you could actually add anything, right?

Yes, when that first happened to me, I didn't find that to be the most pleasant surprise. Fortunately, there's a fix.

When the Add Translation window appears, stroke your desired stroke -- but this time, either add or leave out one key from your desired stroke. Now you can either delete or add the appropriate key into the Strokes window, and then you can add in your desired translation and not worry about the Add Translation window going away on you.

"Testing ... testing ... one, two, three --!"

Go ahead and test those and make sure that they work.

Did they work? If so, you know what to do ...

Yes, that's right -- throw your head back and laugh like a mad scientist!! Mu-hu-hu-ha-ha-ha!!

You, as a Mad Scientist

You, as a Mad Scientist

Well. That's it! Hope this is enough to get you started.

Good luck!