How to improve your typing speed and accuracy. Demonstrating efficient typing skills can help boost your communication skills and avoid misundertandings. Here are four tips to improve your typing skills:
1. Start slowly
First things to improve your typing speed is familiarize yourself with the proper hand position on the keyboard and start with typing some common words. This will help you focus on reducing errors. Resist looking at your hands and eventually, you’ll train your brain to send your fingers flying over the keys.
2. Learn proper typing position
You probably know roughly where the keys are located on the keyboard, but the goal to improve your typing skills is to do it without looking at the keys. Set yourself up for success by putting your body in the proper position for comfort and avoiding injury. Follow these seven steps to improve your typing posture and positioning:
- Sit up straight in a chair with the keyboard or laptop at a comfortable height on the table or desk.
- Put your feet flat on the floor.
- Place the screen so it’s 15 to 25 inches from your eyes, and in a position where you are looking down slightly.
- Keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and try to expose your shoulders, arms, wrists and elbows to as little strain as possible. You want to avoid developing any habits that would cause repetitive stress injury long-term.
- Before you start, examine the keys. For standard English-language keyboards, the layout is called “QWERTY”—a non-alphabetical arrangement that’s been around since the 1800s. Some keyboards might have some of the function keys in different places or might be slightly curved in the middle or on the edges for ergonomics, but the alphabet and punctuation keys will be in the same place.
- Place your left and right pointer fingers on the F and the J keys. Many keyboards have a little raised tab on those letters so you can orient your fingers without looking. Let the rest of your fingers on each hand fall on the remaining keys in the home row (D, S, and A for the left hand; K, L, and the “;” symbol for the right hand). Both thumbs rest on the space bar.
- With your fingers positioned on the home row, you’ll train your hands to reach all the other keys without having to look. This is called “touch typing.” Essentially, each finger is responsible for the keys just above and below the home row key it sits on. Try to imagine vertical dividers around each finger. The right pinky is responsible for the return, shift, and delete keys, and the left pinky is for the shift, caps lock, and tab keys. It may feel awkward at first since our pinky fingers aren’t always strong, but with practice, it will feel more natural.
3. Start by typing slowly to avoid mistakes
Third tips to improve your typing speed is measure your typing speed in words per minute (WPM). The fastest recorded typist was a woman named Stella Pajunas who typed 216 wpm on an IBM electronic typing machine in 1946. However, 60 to 80 wpm is good for the average person. Some typing jobs might require something faster, but this would be clearly listed in the job description.
When WPM is calculated, uncorrected mistakes count against you. On a computer, it’s easy to go back. Typewriters are more unforgiving. Starting to practice slowly will teach you to type accurately first, then increase your speed as you learn. Typing the document correctly the first time eliminates the need for excessive copyediting and proofreading. It’s easier to avoid the mistake in the first place than to have to find and correct it later.
Many word processing programs offer auto-correct or a bright red underline for mistakes, but they can’t catch everything. Truly wanting to improve your typing skills means seeking improvement without the aid of correcting technology.
4. Practice, practice, practice
Fourth tips to improve your typing speed is unlimited practice. People often quote Malcolm Gladwell’s ideas on how to make something a habit. In his book Outliers, he says “It takes 10,000 hours to master anything.” 10,000 hours translates into 416 days, or over a year of your life—if you practice 24 hours a day!
While that amount of time applied to typing practice might seem much too daunting, neuroscience research suggests that our brains don’t develop based on an inherent set of preprogrammed patterns. In other words, our brains are always ready for new skills. Practice leads to learning in the developing and the mature brain, and the resulting structural changes to the brain encode that learning.
Once you learn the basics of finger placement and where they move on the keyboard, practicing with intention gives you lifetime mastery that will make every instance of typing easier.
For practice sessions, make sure you create a hospitable environment. Don’t lie on a bed with a laptop on your legs, for example, or slump on the couch watching television. Find a chair with proper lumbar support for your back, and maintain good posture while you type. When you’re serious about any kind of practice, a set-up that’s comfortable will encourage consistency.