Beginner’s Guide to Using a Steno Machine

\nCongratulations on the purchase of your new steno machine! We’re sure you’re eager to start working as a court reporter, but before you get started, there are a few basic things you need to know. Below are some common equipment questions we get asked from new stenographers. We recommend you review some of these basic steps and try them out at home. Once you’re comfortable with your new equipment, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running as a real court reporter on your first assignment!\n

How to Attach Your Steno Machine to a Tripod

\nIt won’t be long before you feel like your machine is an extension of you. Until then, some of the most basic things can feel like a puzzle – such as setting up your tripod. Although Stenograph machines are built to make this easy (and it is!), we’ve created a quick video demo that helps those at home get the hang of it.\n\n\n

How Long Will the Batteries Last?

\nAll Diamante machines purchased from Used Writers come with rechargeable batteries. Make sure your batteries are fully charged and you have a backup ready before taking your machine on the job. We recommend replacing batteries every twelve to eighteen months.\n

How Should I Position My Body When Using My Machine?

\nThe way you position your body when using a steno machine influences the way you write and can reduce injury and fatigue. Here are some tips to ensure your body is positioned in a way that will optimize your performance:\n


  • Maintain a straight wrist position
  • \n

  • Avoid resting your wrists while writing
  • \n

  • Pivot at the elbow, not the wrist
  • \n

  • Adjust your machine so it floats right above your knees
  • \n

  • Pivot your machine up or down to reduce glare
  • \n

  • Support your lower back
  • \n

  • If you experience any aching, numbing or tingling in your arms, wrists or hands, consult a qualified health care professional
  • \n


How Do I Adjust Keyboard and Depth Tension Controls?

\nIn order to adjust the keyboard depth, turn the thumbwheel on the left side of your machine. To shorten the stroke depth, roll the left thumbwheel toward the front of the Diamante. To lengthen the stroke depth, roll the left thumbwheel toward the back of the Diamante. If you’d like to adjust the keyboard tension, us the thumbwheel on the right side of your machine. Roll the right thumbwheel toward the front of the Diamante to decrease the tension for a softer touch. For a firmer touch, roll the right thumbwheel toward the back of the Diamante.\n

How Do I Clean my Steno Machine?

\nIt is best to turn off your steno machine before cleaning – the darker screen makes it easier to see the dirty areas. Using a microfiber cleaning cloth, gently wipe the screen. Avoid using materials such as paper towels, tissue paper or your shirt sleeve as they can scratch the screen. If the cloth does not completely remove the dirt, it is okay to dampen the cloth with optical-quality spray cleanser and gently wipe the screen clean.\n

Want to Learn More about Steno Machines and Equipment?

\nTo learn more about how to use your new steno machine, or to understand what other new and used steno equipment is available to make your life as a court reporter easier and more efficient, connect with one of our Stenograph representatives or call 1-800-323-4247.