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Typing is one of the easiest skills to improve, and it’s something most of us use multiple times, if not hours, every day. For that reason, an hour spent improving typing speed is probably a smarter investment than on any other study skill. This is a comprehensive tutorial that will cover the most effective speed typing techniques and tricks for beginner and intermediate typers.

Table Of Contents

  1. The Quick Brown Fox Technique | Learn to touch type by memorizing this special sentence.
  2. Ergonomic Keyboards  | Use an ergonomic keyboard for instant speed and comfort gains.
  3. Extra Tips  | Use autocorrect shortcuts, improve your posture and type efficiently.
  4. Smartphone Keyboards  | Use swipe-based keyboards, save shortcuts and use voice dictation.
  5. Download This Article
  6. Comments

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1. The Quick Brown Fox Technique

Note: If you can already touch type, skip to Step 5. This technique is meant for those that cannot touch type.

The fastest way to type is to touch type (type without looking at the keyboard) with all 10 fingers. Period. If you are a 2, 4 or 6 finger hunt-and-pecker, this is where it ends. By following these 5 simple steps, you will be on your way to touch typing at 50 to 100+ words per minute!

Step 1: Home Row

Note: For Steps 1 to 3, you can look at the keyboard. Touch typing comes later.

The starting position for your fingers is called the home row. This is where you fingers live. They start here and end here.

The fingers on your left hand go on the A, S, D & F keys, while the fingers on your right hand go on the J, K, L & ; keys. Both of your thumbs should rest on the big space bar at the bottom.

home row keyboard touch typing

Click to enlarge

Step 2: Key Assignments

Next, you have to memorize which fingers are responsible for the other keys. But, don’t worry, it’s really easy to remember. Each finger is responsible for the keys directly above and below it. In addition, the index fingers are also responsible for the keys directly beside it. See the color-coded keyboard diagram below. 

home row and keyboard finger assignment touch typing

Click to enlarge

Once you’ve mastered the alphabet, there are a few other rules to remember:

  • Your thumbs and pinkies are responsible for the remaining keys on the left, right and bottom as well.
  • The number keys at the top follow the same rules as the row below. So, 1, like Q, is typed with your left pinky finger.
  • For the directional keys, you move your whole right hand down and control them with your right index (left arrow), middle (up & down arrow) and ring finger (right arrow). 

Step 3: The Quick Brown Fox

the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

There’s something very special about this particular sentence. Can you guess what it is?

It contains every letter in the alphabet exactly once! 

This makes it the perfect sentence for learning how to touch type. By focusing on mastering just one sentence, you are taking the fastest route towards establishing touch typing muscle memory for your fingers.

Step 4: Practice & Review

With this method, practicing and reviewing is incredibly simple. Just open up a document and start typing the sentence over and over. Remember to press “Enter/Return” after each sentence, so that it’s on a new line. 

The beauty of this technique is that it clearly identifies which keys you’re having trouble with. Take, for example, this sample set of data:

the auick brosn fox jumps over the lazy dog
the wuick brosn fox jumps over the laay dog
the qquick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
the quick broen fox jumps over the laxy dog

Clearly, I have trouble with Q, W and Z.

the auick brosn fox jumps over the lazy dog
the wuick brosn fox jumps over the laay dog
the qquick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
the quick broen fox jumps over the laxy dog

It’s okay to look at the keyboard for the first while, but you should quickly develop muscle memory making and be able to type the sentence while looking at the screen. After that, all you have to do is practice, practice, practice!

Step 5: Speed Typing Programs

In order to take your typing speed to the next level, you’ll need to continue challenging yourself and practicing. Luckily, there are a number of great and free online typing programs.

  • Keybr – A great tool for practicing touch-typing, from beginner to advanced.
  • 10FastFingers – Various options for testing one’s typing speed.
  • BBC Dance Mat Typing – A full touch-typing course aimed at children.

2. Ergonomic Keyboards

There is no doubt that the keyboard you use has a significant impact on your typing speed, comfort and stamina. For this reason, there is an entire category of keyboards designed specifically to be more comfortable and ergonomic. Ergonomic keyboards are different from standard, flat keyboards in the following ways:

  • Curved Layout – The key layout is curved to fit the natural angle of your wrist (bent slightly up towards the middle)
  • Curved Keys – The keys are positioned closer to each finger, especially towards the center of the keyboard.
  • Left/Right Split – The left and right sides are separated, so that you can type with your forearms in a neutral position (the standard layout forces you bend your arms in, then bend your wrists straight)
  • Palm Rest – By raising your palms, it reduces wrist strain.

In addition, the left/right split keyboard also has the additional advantage of forcing you to touch type correctly, because it clearly separates the keys between your two hands.

If you’re on a budget, I recommend the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, which is probably the most popular ergonomic keyboard in the world. However, if you’re willing to spend a little bit more the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard is widely considered the best overall ergonomic keyboard.

3. Extra Tips

Shortcuts

For those that type often and are willing to invest the time, a huge typing speed improvement can be gained from using autocorrect to assign abbreviations to common words and phrases. For example, in Microsoft Word, you could assign the following autocorrections:

  • thru = through
  • bc = because
  • tf = therefore
  • addi = additionally
  • & = and

If you build a personal autocorrection list of abbreviations like this and integrate them into your typing style, you could easily increase your typing speed by 20%. However, as I mentioned earlier, I only recommend this for those that write often.

Autocorrect

This feature is probably already activated on your smartphone and document editing software, but it can also be activated in your browser and computer, too. As long as you generally type with standard spelling and grammar rules, this feature should boost your typing speed and (obviously) reduce errors. However, if you frequently use shorthand and mix languages, this feature might actually reduce your typing speed. 

Posture

Don’t underestimate the importance of good posture. It may not affect your speed, but posture definitely affects muscle exhaustion and wrist problems. 

  • Bend your elbows at 90 degree angles – If yours arms are bent upwards, you’re putting undue weight on your forearms. If they’re bent downwards, it will put stress on your wrists.
  • Sit with a straight back or leaning back slightly – If you bend forward, you’re putting undue stress on your lower back and neck. Have you seen seniors that can’t stand straight, but are permanently leaning forward and looking up? That’s the position you’re training your body to be comfortable with by leaning forward and looking up while typing. Try to keep your neck and back straight whenever possible.

Typing Efficiently

If you’re a heavy typer (i.e. you mash loudly on the keys), stop. Heavy typing is equivalent to stomping the ground when you run. It slows you down, is bad for your joints and requires more energy. The fastest typers press only as hard as they need to for each keystroke. In other words, they type as energy efficiently as possible. That should also be your goal.

Dictionary & Thesaurus

It may be that your typing speed is hindered more by your thought process or limited vocabulary. If this is the case, you will probably benefit from bookmarking a dictionary and thesaurus website, so that you can quickly look up words and synonyms.

4. Smartphone Keyboards

Smartphone typing is a very different skill. However, because they are software based, not hardware based, there are a lot of creative solutions to increase typing speed that do not exist for regular keyboards.

Alternative Keyboards

Instead of tapping each key, some keyboards allow you to drag your finger across the screen to type. Other keyboards have advanced predictive text algorithms that can auto-complete your words more frequently than your standard keyboard. For this reason, it’s worth checking out alternative keyboards to the stock keyboard that came with your phone.

The Best Alternative Keyboards

If you primarily type with one hand only, then I recommend Swype. In my opinion, Swype has the best swipe recognition and algorithm. If you regularly type in two different Roman-alphabet languages, Swype also has the awesome option to combine them into one keyboard. No more switching back and forth!

Swype for iOS | Swype for Android

If you use an even mix of one-hand and-two hand typing, then I recommend Swiftkey. Swiftkey’s swipe feature isn’t as good as Swype’s, but its predictive text and standard tap-to-type features are better.

Swiftkey for iOS | Swiftkey for Android

If you’re up for a challenge, Nintype allows you to do two-fingered swiping. There is a steeper learning curve for this keyboard, but the maximum potential typing speed is the highest on this keyboard.

Nintype for iOS

Shortcuts

One of the biggest hidden features that most people do not take advantage of is the ability to create shortcuts. For example, I have added the following shortcuts to my keyboard:

  • @@ = my email address
  • ccc = my credit card number
  • ## = my telephone number
  • ltf = my full name
  • aaa = my address
  • ppp = my postal code

So, when I type these shortcuts, the keyboard auto-completes the full text for me. This is especially useful for filling out registration forms. Of course, you could also add common phrases, like brb = “be right back” or syl = “see you later!”.

Here’s how to add keyboard shortcuts to your phone:

  • iPhone – Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts 
  • Android – Settings > Language & Input > Personal Dictionary

Auto Correct & Predictive

This option is most likely activated on your keyboard, but check your keyboard settings just in case. Unless you type in multiple languages or you don’t follow correct spelling and grammar rules, this will definitely help speed up your typing.

Voice Dictation

Another option rarely used, but incredibly useful, is the voice dictation option built into nearly every keyboard. In some cases, it’s faster to use voice instead of the keyboard. However, the usability of this feature depends on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the content and your pronunciation, so it’s not necessary a useful feature for everyone. To use dictation, simply click the microphone icon on the keyboard.

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