How to Type Faster and More Accurately
Typing is an indispensable skill, whether you want to talk to your friends and family, or are using a keyboard for work or school. And, the faster you type, the more quickly you can finish anything from writing emails to finishing reports. Unfortunately, most people won't learn how to type faster overnight, but with dedicated practice, you can improve your typing speed and accuracy fairly quickly.
The Basics of Typing Faster
Your typing speed is affected by a few crucial factors including your familiarity with the keyboard, your hand placement, and your hand flexibility. With that in mind, you can learn how to type faster by mastering those specific details.
Understanding the Keyboard – if you were to look at a keyboard with no letters on it, would you be able to label the keys? A study by researchers at Kobe and Vanderbilt Universities found that fast typists can typically label more keys on a keyboard than slow typists. Knowing where letters and numbers are on the keyboard is crucial to typing quickly.
Hand Placement – proper hand placement is essential to typing. On a standard keyboard, your hands should be positioned over the keyboard with the wrists down (on the table or desk if your keyboard is very far away from the edge) with your left index finger on the letter F and your right index finger on the letter J. Most keyboards feature small bumps on the keys to make placement easier. Your thumbs should hover over the space bar.
On your left hand, your pinkie should be on the A, your ring finger on the S, and your middle finger should be on the D. On your right hand, your pinkie should be on the colon/semicolon, your ring finger on the L, and your middle finger on the K. Then, when you type, you simply lift your fingers up to hit the keys above or below that placement. The only time you have to move your wrists is when using the top two rows of keys, which are numbers and special commands. This placement is often difficult for gamers who place hands on the WASD keys, and for those who don’t normally type who usually use the index fingers to find all of the keys. However, with a little patience and persistence, typing in this position will be natural, and will allow you to type faster. If you find that you're spending more time looking at the keyboard and your fingers than typing, consider typing with 8 fingers. Studies show that you can type just as quickly with 6-8 fingers as with 10.
You can practice keeping this hand position by placing your wrists on a table or on a laptop so that you are forced to type by moving your fingers rather than your hands.
Hand Flexibility – for the most part, your hands will naturally become more flexible as you practice. However, if your hands are very stiff and are impeding your ability to type, you can consider hand exercises to loosen them, a hand exercise ball, or a hand grip. You can consider stretching and flexing your hands before you start typing no matter what. And, if you have trouble with flexibility, warming your hands up first will help.
Improving Your Typing Speed
WPM or Words Per Minute is the standard for judging typing speed. The average person types between 37 and 40 words per minute, but fast typists can type over 100 words per minute. You can check your WPM score on websites like Ratatype.com, TypingTest.com, and KeyHero.com. Each of these websites also includes training and typing lessons that you can use to study and improve your word per minute score. You can also check out fun options like TypeRacer, Word Mountain from Rapid Typing Zone, or the Sense-Lang Balloon Game.
Study the Keyboard – the first part of improving your speed and your accuracy is to memorize the keyboard so that you can type without looking. Touch typing is mostly muscle memory, which means that your fingers automatically type when you see the letter, and this takes a long time to develop. You can start out by picking a word and typing it until you can do so without looking at the keyboard. Try your name. When that's easy, you can upgrade to different words, and then to short sentences. Short exercises like this will help you to remember where letters are. However, it is important to change the words you use regularly so that you are learning the letters based rather than associating them with specific words.
Practice – it takes the average person 20 hours to pick up the rudimentary basics of a skill. If you dedicate 1 hour of a day, 5 days a week, to typing practice, you will greatly improve your typing speed and accuracy over the course of a single month. But, you'll find that your skills and your confidence will likely start to improve at around the 5-hour mark. How can you practice? You can use a website, especially if you aren't at all familiar with the keys. But, you can also start out by copying pages from a book or magazine propped up next to your screen.
- When you're comfortable typing when looking at the keyboard, start looking away. This will greatly decrease your accuracy at first, but you will quickly adapt.
- Spend about 5 hours practicing on your own, and then try chatting online for practice. Typing to a friend on Facebook chat is an easy way to log an hour of typing practice, just keep your hand placement in mind.
- If you're familiar with your keyboard, try competing with yourself to get yourself to type faster. A great exercise is to time yourself as you copy a page of a book, and try to beat your daily score the next day.
- Remember that speed isn't the most important aspect of writing, studies show that if you type too quickly, your writing will suffer because of it.
Choosing the Right Keyboard
While almost all of typing relies on practice and familiarity with the keyboard, some keyboards are easier to type on. For this reason, you may want to look for an ergonomic keyboard to make the hands more comfortable so that you can type more quickly. You can also look for hollow or convex keys that make it more difficult to hit the wrong key. Finally, look for keys listed as having a tactile feel, which means that there is a noise or a bump when the key is actuated, so that you know when you've fully hit the key to type. Mechanical keys are often the best. Some great options include the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, the Das Keyboard Model S, or even the Apple Magic Keyboard. Of course, there are hundreds of keyboards that are excellent for typing on, so you can find one inside of your budget.
Learning how to type faster will take some time, but with a bit of practice, you will be typing quickly before you know it.