In the modern Information Age, learning to type quickly is crucial to communication and, therefore, to success in college and in the workplace.
According to Bill Coplin, author of 10 Things Employers Want You To Learn In College, potential employers demand that you learn how to type. In fact, one company executive is quoted saying that interviewees who cannot type 35 words per minute (WPM) should not even apply!
Clearly, typing is an important skill!
If you already know how to type, much of this article will be review. Hopefully, you will still find a jewel or two.
If, however, you are new to typing, this article should get you started on the right path.
#1 Memorize the Keyboard
The first step to learning how to type is memorizing the keyboard layout.
Unless you are a completely visual learner, you will probably have trouble memorizing the layout just by looking at it.
Instead, I would recommend using a hands-on approach by typing the alphabet. This will force you to find every letter, and, after a few times, you should have the layout pretty well memorized at least enough to start.
#2 Use the Correct Hand Position
When you first start typing, you will also need to learn how to place your hands.
Although this in itself is a pretty large topic, here are a few basics:
- Your left and right index fingers should be placed on the f and the j key, respectively.
- When capitalizing, you should press the Shift key with the hand that is not pressing the letter. (For example, to create a capital A, you should press a with your left pinkie and Shift with your right pinkie.)
- Your wrists should not rest on the keyboard or desk they should float in the air. This can be a health problem and is a bad habit that many typists (including me) have not yet conquered. Start right at the beginning!
#3 Practice Without Looking At Your Hands
Once you have learned the keyboard arrangement and the proper hand positioning it is time to start practicing.
When you are typing and especially when you are learning it is tempting to look down at your hands to find a particular letter.
Unless you really cannot find it (after repeatedly trying), avoid looking for it.
When you force you hands to find the missing letter, you help ingrain the correct position in your memory.
Ultimately, you want typing to be a motor skill that you can do without even thinking where the letters are located.
#4 Stop Looking At the Screen
When you have practiced typing enough that you nearly always find the right letter on you first try, it is time to move on to step four.
Now it is time to learn to type without looking at the computer screen. This is helpful because it forces you to stop correcting your typos as you go a habit that slows your speed and, ironically, accuracy.
To learn to not look at you computer screen, practice typing a selection from a book or pamphlet.
Although you will not always want to type this way in real life (as I write this, I am looking at the screen), the ability to type without looking helps you progress to higher levels as a typist, and it does have some real-life uses.
#5 Practice Whenever Possible
This final step in my short guide to typing is a never ending one practice. Once you complete the first four steps, you should have the ability to type with some amount of proficiency and speed, but you will have plenty of room for improvement.
Gaining this improvement can only be accomplished by frequent practice. Thankfully, this practice can be worked into your everyday activities.
For instance, you can
- Combine study with practice by typing out your notes.
- Combine homework with practice by typing your assignments rather than handwriting them.
- Combine memorization with practice by typing any terms or facts that you need to memorize.
As you continue practicing, you will probably wonder how you were able to function without the ability to type quickly.
If you already do know how to type, then what are your tips for beginning typists?