9 Ways To Improve Your Touch Typing

9 Ways To Improve Your Touch Typing

If working from home has taught us anything, it’s that touch-typing skills are worth their weight in gold. From perfect posture to speeding up your average words-per-minute, here’s what the pros want you to know when it comes to improving your technique…


According to business skills experts Pitman Training, touch typing is considered the cornerstone of computer literacy by many employers. “When you learn how to touch type, you gain the ability to type without looking at your keyboard, using muscle memory to find the keys instead. Touch typing courses are essential for anyone who works with computers on a regular basis.” That said, perfecting your skills will require a time investment on your part. “Our shortest course is 25-hours long and should prepare a complete beginner to confidently type at least 40 words per minute (WPM). Our advanced courses are slightly longer, taking upwards of 40 hours.” 


Just because you don’t feel any pain after a long day in front of the computer doesn’t necessarily mean your body hasn’t suffered from undetectable microtraumas which can occur as a result of poor posture. It’s a known fact that a lot of RSI (repetitive strain injuries) are due to the culmination of years of improper movements. Ergonomic experts agree the ideal typing posture is to position the keyboard below your elbow height when seated, with your wrists straight and not planted on the surface of the desk. Try to keep elbows at a 90-100º angle to your body, and your neck and back as straight as possible. Keep your eyes level with the top of the screen and make sure both feet are planted flat on the floor. Finally, be sure to check that your chair is the right shape and size to accommodate correct posture – it might be where you’re going wrong.   


If you’re in a job which involves hours of transcription – a common task in medical and legal fields – employees are often recommended to invest in wrist guards to avoid repetitive strain injury. But some experts believe they’re an unnecessary investment: “You want to build strength in your wrists and keep your elbow and shoulder movements flexible to develop rhythm,” argues Liz Davies from Pitman. Instead, keep wrists relaxed, and at a neutral angle from your elbow to keyboard to ensure they remain pain-free at the end of a long day.  


If you’re going to be in one place – like home – for an extended period of time, it’s easy to assume investing in a proper keyboard and mouse will make typing easier, with many touch-typing sites recommending newbies invest in a proper mechanical keyboard. Ollie Green from Online Tech Tips disagrees: “A mechanical keyboard can help, but this should be something you should consider once you’ve mastered the basics of touch typing. Familiarity with your own keyboard actually outweighs the benefits of a hardware change, so stick to one keyboard first so that you can familiarise yourself with its layout before moving onto something else.” 


The ‘home row’ position refers to the hover position your fingers should ideally adopt when getting ready to type. Curve your fingers and place them gently on the ASDF and JKL keys; keys which are located in the middle row of the letter keys. This row is called known as the home row, because typists always start from here and return when typing with other letters is complete.  


Multi-sensory learning can be hugely beneficial when it comes to improving your typing, experts agree – especially if you happen to have common learning difficulties such as dyslexia. When starting out, read words you see on the screen out loud and type it without looking at your hands. In time, this kind of verbal thinking should help you commit certain words and spelling to memory, in turn speeding up your average WPM.  


One of the biggest obstacles to fast typing is accuracy: when trying to type fast, it’s common to end up missing keys or pressing the wrong ones by accident. “People sometimes end up in this fumble between the backspace keys and the keys they are trying to press,” agrees Ollie. “One tip is to type out everything first and don’t even use your backspace key. Afterwards, go back and read through to correct any mistakes you have made.” Not only will this help maintain your flow when typing, it’ll also encourage you to go back and re-read your work before hitting publish or sending it to a colleague or client. “It’s not always about typing at a lightning fast speed,” says Ollie. “Instead, focus on the flow of your writing. Building a steady, consistent flow is the key to being able to write consistently for a long time.” 


Once you hone you skills, you might find that the ability to think about what you want to write is outpaced by the speed your hands and fingers are moving. To try and speed up your thinking, studies have found unobtrusive background noise to be helpful. “Music that has a lot of words may distract you from being able to process your own thoughts clearly,” warns Ollie. “Many people prefer to listen to music that’s calming and not too complex, such as classical music, lo-fi, jazz, or even film soundtracks.” If you’re sceptical, or find it isn’t working for you, don’t dismiss the suggestion out of hand: “A good white noise app could be an excellent solution,” suggests Ollie. “Or, even just a background track from YouTube for ambient noise like a river or a thunderstorm. Many people have reported that they find white noise and ambient noise to be the best way to help them concentrate.” 


It should go without saying, but practical skills such as these require practice. Thankfully, there is now a range of free, online sites designed to help you improve your skills, and it could be worth discussing attending a professional paid-for course with your employer if you think it would help you perform better at work. 
 Here are some of the best sites to help you type faster… 

Typing Club

With over 23m students and used by more than 50,000 schools and learning institutions, Typing Club comes highly recommended. Treating typing like a game, this site teaches you all about correct hand posture, with a range of different add-on features, such as spelling voiceovers, typing playback and specially designed lessons for kids. All you need is an internet connection and a keyboard.
Visit TypingClub.com 


This no-frills site puts you straight to work, with a handy, visual on-screen guide to where your hands should sit on your keyboard. However, unlike other sites, Keybr employs statistics and smart algorithms to automatically generate typing lessons which directly match your skills – which means it gets harder as you progress so you always feel challenged. 
Visit Ketbr.com 

Typing Study

Typing Study allows users to select their language and keyboard by region before embarking on 15 different lessons, each with step-by-step instructions and helpful hints. Make your way to a final speed and typing test before practising with fun follow-up games.
Visit TypingStudy.com 

Typing Academy 

Typing Academy turns the traditional learning process on its head by asking users to test their existing skill level first. From there, make your way through a plethora of free online lessons, all of which are broken down into categories depending where your strengths and weaknesses lie. 
Visit Typing.Academy 

Speed Typing Online

Jump straight in and start typing to see how efficient your existing skills are. As you go, this site logs your mistakes and timings, offering you a final percentage on completion. Creating a free online account allows you to track your progress and set your own goals to keep you motivated.
Visit SpeedTypingOnline.com 


Breaking it down into beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons means there’s something for everyone. For novices, 15 lessons will familiarise you with all the right keys before a final assessment lets you know how you’re getting on. 
Visit Typing.com 

The Typing Cat

 A great site for different specialisms, kids can learn by school subject, and professionals by their field. There’s even a section on improving typing skills for coding – although we appreciate this might be a step above.
Visit TheTypingCat.com  


For those looking to learn as part of a group, head to RataType. Whether you’re doing it with friends, colleagues or as part of a classroom, simply create your group and get your own URL to send it out via e-mail, Skype or Facebook. You’ll then be notified when people accept your invite. 
Visit RataType.com 

Typing Master 

Typing Master promises to double your typing speed, with its complete Windows programme free to try for seven days. All its games are free to access, as are its typing tests, which give users an accurate WPM in 60 seconds.
Visit TypingMaster.com

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