Typing is a part of many lives, especially during this pandemic. With COVID-19, more people have been typing or communicating through text than ever before, whether it’s with your fingers or your thumbs. Many people learned to type when they were young to learn the basics, but they didn’t keep up with it or practice proper technique. Today, the average typing speed sits around 41.4 words per minute (WPM).
There are quite a few benefits to an increased typing speed; however, many people are unsure of how they can improve. Well, the answer is fairly simple, and it depends on your current skill level. If you do not use ten fingers and are around the average speed (41.4 wpm) or slower, then the best solution is to learn touch typing. But if you already use all ten fingers and want to increase your speed, then the best solution is to practice and work on accuracy and endings of words.
Introduction to touch typing / Overview
As children, many people used the technique called “Hunt and Peck,” or some variant, where you look at the keys while typing and press the letters with a few fingers. Touch typing is a method of typing where you use all ten fingers and refrain from looking at the keyboard. To start, you put all of your fingers on the home row, with your pointer fingers on the keys F and J (which also have little bumps to help you find them), and then you can type words by moving your fingers to their assigned keys. For example, the right pointer finger is “assigned” to the J, H, N, U, Y, B, and M keys. Some fingers are assigned fewer positions, like the right middle finger, which is “assigned” to the I and K keys (special characters and numbers not included).
The goal of this hand placement is that you don’t have to move your hands nearly as much when you type, improving your efficiency and speed. You don’t look at the keys, and each letter on the keyboard is pressed with a certain finger. After some practice, looking at the keys isn’t difficult because it becomes muscle memory at that point.
One thing to consider is all the benefits of learning to type faster. One important benefit is how you can create a state of flow when typing fast. You can focus on the screen and the words you’re writing rather than focusing on the typing itself. The speed at which we think is very fast, much faster than we can write or type. The restriction we face on our writing output is not how fast we can think but rather how fast we can type what we think. Every time you look down and try to find a key, you are losing concentration and focusing more on the letters you are typing instead of what you’re trying to say. In a state of flow, it is much easier to create a fluent piece of writing.
Another benefit of an increased typing speed is how you can save time and be more productive. We are typing almost every day—writing emails, essays, assignments—and saved time adds up. You can do more in the same amount of time if you type faster.
Even when applying for a job, having the ability to type fast and accurately will put you at a big advantage. Employers like to know that their employees can type properly because it will make them more productive and improve the accuracy of their work, so if you state a fast word per minute (WPM) on your resume, more opportunities may come your way.
Practice is the key to typing faster. If you’re just starting out, then you must practice learning the layout of the keyboard and where each of your fingers go. You will not be perfect when you first start out; after all, no one is perfect at typing. But practicing will allow you to improve.
If you already use ten fingers and know the layout of the keyboard, then a great idea is to develop muscle memory for typing commonly used letter pairings. Learning to type common prefixes, suffixes, and words (especially words you have a hard time typing) quickly will give you a huge boost in your typing speed. Keep on practicing these words or letter pairings that give you trouble to the point where you no longer need to think about how to type them.
While practicing, focus on getting rid of bad typing habits and replace them with good ones. If you press the shift key with your thumb rather than your pinky, try slowly working towards pressing the shift with your pinky. Use every finger when typing instead of relying on fingers with which you’re comfortable.
When practicing, you do have to be careful with only attempting to increase speed. Accuracy is the most important part of learning to type faster. Progress is not always linear, and you may find yourself becoming slower because you’re typing at a speed at which you can type accurately. Typing as fast as possible won’t get you anywhere; just because you can hit the keyboard quickly does not mean you’re typing effectively. All of the typos, missed letters, and inaccuracies can be costly. Don’t expect to never make a mistake, but if you type with proper technique, you can either maintain or improve your typing accuracy while improving your speed, which will increase typing efficiency and effectiveness.
Touch typing can be difficult to learn at first, especially if it’s new and unnatural to you, but it gets better. However, using proper technique and practicing regularly will bring you a lot of improvement in a relatively short period of time as your muscle memory becomes better and better.
Tips and Tricks
Before you start practicing, it’s important to know a few tips. First of all, posture is important when typing. Make sure you are sitting up straight and in a comfortable position, which not only will help your typing speed but also will bring health benefits.
Second of all, if you are in a position where you have to type a lot in a short amount of time, make sure you stretch your hands and fingers to keep from stiff wrists or achy hands.
Don’t overdo it!
Try to space out your practice and typing in general. Like many things, consistent and moderate practice works out really well when attempting to increase your typing speed. Typing too much so that your fingers hurt, your wrists become stiff, and your hands ache is not very effective or good for you, and typing too little won’t give you enough practice and time to actually become faster. So try to find a good spot in the middle that works for you. Any typing, even if it’s just typing out an email, an essay, or homework questions, is good practice if you use good technique. Typing every day is not necessary, though, just practicing when you can—and if you use good habits when you do type, then increasing your speed will come much easier.
There’s a lot of ways to practice, and besides typing in general, utilizing typing websites is also a great way to practice. There are more than I will name, but I will give some of the best options based on your skill level and how you want to practice.
Websites / How to learn
Keybr.com is a website designed to help people learn touch typing. Even if you use two fingers, look at the keyboard, or have any other bad habits, keybr.com will help you to resolve them and learn touch typing quickly. There are many customizable settings, like a keyboard on screen that shows which keys you are pressing (you can adjust this and more in the settings menu). Keybr.com also gives lessons for each letter so that you can learn to type all of them using proper technique and finger placement, and it automatically provides you with default text which adjusts depending on the letters you’ve practiced. Stats for each letter are also stored on the website, and you can click on a letter to see them. Since the whole website is customizable and built for a comfortable experience for the user, you can even change the text to customizable text and configure other personal settings.
Even if you’re not a beginner, and you’re just trying to become faster, keybr.com is still a great website. There are also multiplayer typing games that you can join with quotes, text from books and websites, and more.
Number 2, nitrotype.com. Nitrotype.com is a fun little typing website that makes typing similar to playing a game. You get to choose a car and race others by typing passages of text which adjust depending on your skill level. The speed of your car depends on how fast you type. Your opponents are also automatically adjusted based on your typing speed, and even if there are no players available, you can still do races with bots, who will join and act like opponents. Overall, nitrotype.com makes practicing your typing quite enjoyable.
Number 3, monkeytype.com. Monkeytype.com creates a modern typing experience that is relaxing and extremely customizable. There are seven categories containing dozens of customizable settings, ranging from the layout, font-size, colors, caret style, different typing sounds, and much more. The best part is that you can change the tests themselves. The default test is a timed word test, but you can do so much more and make it so that the test targets what you want to work on. You can provide your own custom text, make it incorporate punctuation and capitalization, change the timer settings, make the test go by word count, and you can even practice popular quotes—short, medium, or long—and that’s only some of the settings.
Number 4, keyhero.com. Keyhero.com is a great site that has fun tests and typing lessons. The typing tests are difficult but effective for advanced training. You can also browse quotes and choose to practice with one that you like or seems challenging. Keyhero has some good beginner practice and lessons but is mainly meant as practice for advanced typists because it has a lot of difficult text.
Typingclub.com is the ultimate beginner website. If you are learning to touch type, this is one of the best websites out there. It has hundreds of lessons, starting from the beginning, learning hand placement, and slowly getting harder. The layout and design of the website actually makes it fun to type, and there are so many lessons that it can keep you occupied for hours and hours.
Freetypinggame.net is an interesting website with about 40 typing tests that you can take, ranging in difficulty. Feel free to try out the 26th typing test, named “Classic Tales,” on the 1 minute setting to calculate your typing speed. On this website, the typing tests are not random and do not change, so you can practice the same text to your heart’s content.
Overall, practicing proper typing is not too difficult to learn, and anyone can learn or improve with just a bit of dedication and practice. So start learning today, and enjoy the benefits that fast and accurate typing brings.