The ability to type quickly may not seem like a necessary skill, but there are plenty of great reasons to improve your typing speed. The best reason is it will make you far more productive day to day, increasing the time spent doing important work that may not require you to be at a keyboard.
Fast typing can also be more ergonomically sound; poor typing habits can lead to issues with your hands or wrists if you've developed poor ergonomic practices. In this article, we’ll discuss why faster typing is important, typing training apps that will help you improve your speed, whether you should worry about words per minute when learning to type, and some tips to continue improving your craft.
Typing Practice Apps
You could probably run through some typing exercises on your own, working your way through some online tutorial or a workbook, but that’s pretty boring. The best way to improve your typing speed while remaining engaged with the lessons is to use a typing practice app.
Several are available, but there are two which stand out from the crowd. KeyKey Typing Tutor focuses first on the ergonomics of how you should place your hands on the keyboard, with your two pointer fingers at the ‘f’ and ‘j’ keys. From there, it quickly coaches you that each finger is responsible for a row or rows of keys. Avoiding jumping around the keyboard is a key component to speedy typing; the more you train your fingers to stay in their rows, the faster you can process what you need to type, and the quicker you’ll be.
KeyKey Typing Tutor starts simply, running you through some basic exercises that incrementally teach you to keep your fingers dedicated to a space on the keyboard. At each turn, it tells you how accurate you are as well as how fast you are. Remember, quick typing means nothing if you don’t have accuracy, too!
KeyKey Typing Tutor works in English, German, French, Spanish, and Portugese. Not only does that make it useful for a wide audience, it’s a sensational app for those who are trying to become fluent in other languages. The app has seven lessons that take you from novice to expert, all focussed on ergonomic practices you’ll encounter daily. The idea is to train your hands to remember their responsibility on the keyboard, then how each action and finger can move seamlessly through your typing practices, and onto real-world scenarios.
KeyKey Typing Tutor also tracks your progression, rating you along the way so you know if there are spots you need to revisit to become a true speed-typing expert. Over time, your average typing speed will improve as you learn to type, but your accuracy will always be just as critical.
As you learn to type fast and put what you've learned from KeyKey Typing Tutor into practice, you’ll notice something: you often type the same things over again. Instead of wasting time typing the same words or phrases out, we suggest using Rocket Typist.
Rocket Typist is a text snippet organizer, but unlike most snippet libraries, it allows for abbreviations as keyboard shortcuts. It’s an excellent feature that will have you using shorthand for common phrases rather than saying the same thing over and over.
You could create several email signatures using Rocket Typist, then use them according to the tone or audience. Rather than a static signature, yours can be contextualized to the email you’re sending, underscoring your point as you see fit.
Abbreviations in Rocket Typist can be automatically pasted to your text if you like, another time saving feature we find really useful. Instead of asking yourself what is a good typing speed, consider using Rocket Typist to increase the efficiency of your time typing at a keyboard!
Learning to Type with “Ten Fast Fingers” Test
At the core of most typing tutorials or training apps is the “ten fast fingers” ethos, which focuses on the ergonomics of typing as well as the responsibility each finger has to the keyboard layout. It’s this principle that makes KeyKey Typing Tutor so great!
The ten fast fingers test is also something KeyKey Typing Tutor holds closely. It’s the foundation for its seven tests that aim to take you from a movie typist to an expert. The objective is to train your hands to act without you focusing on the actual action they take. As you form muscle memory for complex actions, you’re able to think more critically as you type.
This test has three main objectives. It helps increase your speed significantly by helping you form muscle memory for typing, increases your efficiency by avoiding your hands traveling around the keyboard hunting and pecking keys, and improves the ergonomics of your hands as well as overall body position while typing. Those who hunt and peck tend to slouch and search the keyboard with their eyes, while those with better training can sit or stand upright and not focus on the individual keys all the time.
How to Type Faster: 5 Tips
When learning to type, or type faster, there are some tips and tricks you should keep in mind.
Whether you sit or stand at your desk, be mindful of your body posture. Your back should be straight, and your feet should rest squarely on the ground. If you’re using an external monitor (or iMac), the top of the screen should be at your eye level when you’re sitting up straight and tall, and angled slightly upward to meet your glance.
Your forearms should be at a 90 degree angle to your desk, and keyboard. Ideally, you have between 50-70 centimeters of space between your eyes and monitor (15 inches or so), and your arms, shoulders, and wrists are relaxed.
Fingers on the home row keys
When you’re not typing, your index fingers should rest on the ‘f’ and ‘j’ keys, respectively. The rest of your fingers should rest on the keys flanking those keys, left and right: ASD for your left hand, and KL; for your right hand.
Keep your fingers slightly bent at a natural position to encourage natural motion and dexterity.
Follow the keyboard scheme and ‘ten fast fingers’ principles
As you learn to type quickly, don’t break stride! Keep your fingers responsible only to the keys they are associated with as apps like KeyKey Typing Tutor help you learn. Don’t allow your fingers to stray off onto other sections of the keyboard randomly.
While this may hinder your speed at first, it will ultimately make you a much faster and more accurate typist.
Go with the motions
Instead of hunting and pecking and looking for each key you type, let your fingers find the keys as you’re training them to do. Limit movement of your wrists as much as possible, and allow your fingers to scour the keyboard to find the right keys. Try doing all of this without looking!
Pay special attention to your pinky fingers on each hand, and how they interact with the keyboard as you type. These are the least trained fingers we have, and often fail at finding keys as you’re learning to type. Be patient, here; don’t assume they can’t do their job. Instead, go slower and help them learn their place in your keyboard scheme.
Go slow, then fast
Though apps and tests are meant to have you learning to type fast, respect the process. You may not immediately find your speed, and that’s okay! The results are what matters, and those don’t always arrive quickly.
Take your time, learn the proper methods for typing quickly, then speed up as it feels natural. It’s not a race to type fast! While you may want to be quick right out of the gate, allow yourself time to learn by going slowly at first.
KeyKey Typing Tutor and Rocket Typist are amazing apps for learning to type quickly and saving you time by creating keyboard shortcuts – and both are available for free as part of a seven day trial of Setapp, the world’s best suite of productivity apps for your Mac.
In addition to these two apps, you’ll get unlimited access to over 190 other apps when you start your trial. When your trial ends, Setapp is only $9.99 per month, or $19.99 per month for families with up to four Macs who want to learn how to type quickly.
So why wait? Give Setapp a try today!