So, you’re all fingers and thumbs when it comes to typing and want to improve? The average person can type between 38 and 40 words per minute, while professionals with more keyboard contact can type upwards of 65 words per minute.
If you haven’t had as much exposure to computers or even typewriters, it’s only normal that your speed is less than others – but it’s never too late.
Don’t expect to be a touch typing pro overnight, but follow these easy tips and you could definitely ramp up your typing skills:
Tip 1: Get your fingers in the right place
The best way to type is making full use of your ten fingers – you won’t get far relying on your index fingers for life.
It’s not an easy change if you’ve been typing the same way for years, but the correct position requires you to place your left index finger on the F key, while the next three fingers are placed on D,S and A respectively. On your right hand, do the same with J on your right index finger, followed by K, L and the ; key with the next three fingers. Your thumbs should rest on the keyboard.
BBC Bitesize has a useful interactive learning game Dance Mat Typing you can use to help you get started with this technique. It may be aimed at kids, but it’s equally as useful for grown-ups.
Tip 2: Resist looking down
Having to look down at the keyboard is a major slow down. We understand why you’re doing it - to find the keys.
Memory is really important for typing properly, so test your limits a bit. We don’t expect you to give up looking down outright just yet, but cut it out a bit and take the time to figure out where a key is positioned before admitting defeat. This will help you develop your memory and confidence with your typing.
Tip 3: Stretches and posture help
Most people don’t realise that your posture counts towards the quality and speed of your typing. The correct way is to keep feet squarely on the ground, while your wrists stay level with the keyboard. This allows your fingers to rest in the correct position and – believe it or not – prevents any injury.
If you’ve been typing for quite a while, give your fingers and arms a good stretch too to loosen your joints up every so often.
Tip 4: Play typing games online
Learning to type faster can get pretty tough, so trying to keep it fun is a great way to improve.
Typeracer gives you the chance to race other online typists from your keyboard in real time.
Free Typing Games also offers a selection of typing-based games.
Tip 5: Get lessons
You can get further help locally or at home too.
You could check with your local adult education centre to see if they offer any paid typing courses, but you can also see a selection on Hot Courses too.
Some local councils offer free or low-cost computing courses which may include typing for certain ages and circumstances – check your local council’s website to find out. For older users, Age UK has more advice on where to find relevant courses.
Tip 6: Practice really does make perfect – as does patience
It may be the most obvious tip, but like with anything, practice is probably the most crucial way you can improve your typing’s speed.
Don’t fall back into your old habits – take on the correct hand and finger positions straightaway and stick to it. Your speed will most certainly decrease at first, but as you adapt and keep at it, the new positioning will become second nature and you’ll eventually start to notice the difference – so a bit of patience wouldn’t go a miss either.
Keybr is a great website that will help you practice even more.