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How to Improve Your Typing Skills

Typing has become so essential that we hardly notice its prevalence in day-to-day operations. Still, everyone accepts that it improves efficiency and produces a higher output than writing by hand—even those outside of business settings. US schools, for instance, now incorporate typing in their curriculum, suggesting that students should learn keyboarding skills early to enable their professional success. Those with already superior typing abilities, then, carry distinct advantages.

But consider how you type for a moment: do you twist your fingers in all kinds of directions to reach the keys? Do you have to look at the keyboard and peck at each letter to write? Inefficient typing leads to slower work and hand or wrist strain—not to mention that it looks less professional. Improve your typing skills with these tips:

Learn the Basics

If you never formally learned how to type, learn the basics behind finger placement and the “home” position to set yourself up. Your J and F keys have notches for your index fingers to track your hands without looking at the keyboard, and your thumbs should rest lightly on the space bar. Keep your wrists straight and stationary. Typing programs will likely teach you these skills first, so they may be worth practicing.

Find a Program

Typing programs provide the simplest method for learning (or re-learning) how to use a keyboard. You can find paid or free ones in a variety of places: online, in classrooms, or on your desktop. Most of these courses will use similar approaches to train you.

Online programs offer training through a series of lessons and exercises, and often offer tools to track your progress. Courses such as Keyboarding Online charge a fee for their services, but others offer free training (try TypingWebGoodtyping, or ALISON). Some of these sites serve different age or ability levels, so choose the one that fits your needs—and register an account so you can watch your speed and accuracy improve.

Check your local community centers or schools to see if they offer free or low-cost keyboarding classes. These can give you more personalized attention and teach you how to properly type in a few weeks. If CD software appeals to you, you can find typing programs such as Mavis Beacon online or at many technology retailers.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Your typing skills will only improve if you apply what you’ve learned every day. Play typing games online, listen to YouTube videos and transcribe what you hear, or free-type onto a blank document. It will take time to improve, and it may be frustrating at first to make errors or keep your eyes off the keyboard, but your practice will pay off.

Learning how to type correctly will allow you to finish more work in a shorter amount of time—even outside of professional settings. Look at the learning options for each program to find the best one for you.

Image credit: Flickr