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Aumkar 13-04-10 04:24 PM

A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Introduction

Have you ever seen those movies where all those geeks and computer hackers typing at a blazing speed on their keyboards? Do you often wonder how these people can type so fast even without looking at the keyboard? Does it seem that they’re practicing some kind of dark magic to get those words onto the screens at ridiculous speeds? Well, those are movies. However, people in real life are absolutely capable of achieving amazing typing speeds. While this may not interest you, it’s especially beneficial for programmers, people who work with computers most of the day, or just those browsing the internet or just plain chatting.

Many a time, I have seen many people peeking at their keyboards, using the old “Hunt and Peck” method of typing, which as the name suggests, involves hunting for a key and then pressing it. This is very common in India even amongst people who use computers frequently for typing and even trolling online sites like Facebook and what not. The hunt and peck style of typing is, to be honest, just about the worst way anyone can defile the speed of the human fingers. God gave us ten, those who hunt and peck use two. It often ruins grammar, spelling and any other form of English that can be ruined because those who use this style of typing often shorten words to gain speed and resort to SMS language, using full size keyboards. SMS language is fine when one is trying to squeeze a meaningful sentence into 160 characters, but it shouldn’t be the same case when it comes to typing.

That’s where touch typing comes into play. Essentially, one uses all ten fingers to type out a word without having to look at the keyboard or even think about it. It’s essential and very useful for those who have a regular work life with a computer as it enhances productivity, and even allows for multitasking and can boost the thought process once the mind can translate all the input from the brain into fingers on the keyboard automatically.

Read this very short tutorial on how to get started.




The Basics

Now, onto the basics of touch typing. Keyboard makers all over the world have made keyboards with standards like QWERTY, QWERTZ, AZERTY, etc., such that it is absolutely easy for a touch typist to get used to any keyboard and introduce universality amongst keyboards, regardless of size or build.

Touch typing starts with getting a proper feel of the keyboard. You don’t have to memorize the exact locations of all the keys, because your fingers are going to learn them for you, much like muscle memory.

If you notice, most ( if not all ) keyboards have small ridges on two keys on the keyboard, namely the “F” and “J” keys. This is meant to provide for a placement for the index fingers of the left and right hand respectively. What this means essentially is that your fingers will be on the A,S,D,F keys for the left hand, and J,K,L and semicolon keys for the right hand. These are called home keys and whenever your hand touches a keyboard, these are the keys their positioning should default to.


From these home keys, the rest of the keyboard is completely accessible. Of course, there’s a logic to typing when your hands are in the home key position. Trying to hit the number 3 with your right hand when you’re keeping your hands on the home keys defeats the purpose of the home keys or touch typing in fact.

Once you get a feel of where the home keys are on the keyboard, when you begin typing, you should look at the positioning of the other keys on the keyboard and see which finger is best suited to pressing the key you’re aiming the press. The trick here is to train your fingers to default to the home key positioning and then train them to translate what you want to type via using the dedicated finger for the certain set of keys.

A simple example is keeping your finger on the home keys, typing Erodov would be using the left middle (in tandem with the right pinky on the Shift key ), index, right ring, left middle, right ring, and left index fingers respectively. Might seem a little complicated reading it, but when its actually put into practice, it gets MUCH easier and simpler and soon, with enough practice, you should be able to have a decent typing speed that will not hinder your productivity ( or waste of time for some ) at the computer.

Here is a picture correctly depicting the location of the home keys, and the respective colors emulate the keys that are assigned to each finger.
http://static.erodov.net/portal/forums/revi...ng-guide/3.png




A Little Typing History

You must be thinking, why is this incompetent fool putting a little history in his typing tutorial? Well, its because my experience with computers changed dramatically after I learned to touch type and I just wanted to express how easy of a task it was to learn.

Everyone had to start touch typing somewhere, and I used to hunt and peck at a measly 20 words per minute until I started doing some serious programming where my speed was hindered by my typing style. Once I decided to touch type, typing became easier and less of a chore. I used to force myself to keep my hands on the home keys in my Computer Science class and then do whatever programming I had to. Originally, when I first started this strict regime, my hunt and peck typing speed was faster, but once I got the hang of touch typing, my speed started increasing exponentially. Granted, it did take a week or two to get a hang of the position of each key in the keyboard but I eventually did manage to type without looking at the keyboard, allowing me to code faster and think while typing.

I would first attempt putting in my various emails and passwords in touch typing and those are the first areas I gained speed because I wasn’t the only user of the PC at home and logging in and out was necessary. Gradually, over time, I started chatting with great speeds, and felt absolutely no need to use shorthand or SMS language to communicate while using a computer. Right now, my typing speed hovers at a decent 87-88 word per minute count and it doesn’t necessarily take years of practice to achieve these speeds.




Practice Makes Perfect

Practice, practice, practice. That's all there is to touch typing. Your aim will have to be getting comfortable enough with the keyboard to be able to touch type anywhere. Practice can be anytime, any place, any website, any chat window. Obviously, if you want to go hardcore on touch typing, getting the Das Professional keyboard is the best bet. There are no lettering or numbering on the keys and the keyboard is completely blank, leaving you no choice but to not look at the keyboard.

However, there are extraneous websites that have typing speed tests and practicing using these tests is the key to have a better and faster typing experience. Some of the sites that have typing speed tests are listed below.

Typing Speed Test - By far, the best typing speed test I have used. It takes a random set of the most commonly used words in the English language and puts them in an incoherent form to ensure the person taking the test can type as many random words as fast as he can to train properly.

TypingTest.com - Another great site to increase typing skill. They make the user type out an article of sorts and this includes plenty of extraneous keys like hyphens, periods, capital letters, quotes, so on and so forth.

Learn2Type Typing Test - Once again, another great site with short paragraphs that can boost typing speed beyond the bare minimum with a timer and spelling correction.

Thus concludes my beginner’s guide to touch typing. Hope you all gave it a glance and give touch typing a good try to better your experience at a computer.





vijayninel 30-04-10 03:43 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Thanks for the great writeup Aumkar, I will surely give this a try. :)

ManISinJpr 30-04-10 03:57 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Whatever you said is the truth, I was a total visual typer as I called myself, still am but now just as I am addicted to seeing the keyboard.
Now I dont have to see the keys but surprisingly i dont keep the fingers at the home keys, but in air hovering just over them and keep touching them frequently. :)
What improved my typing was a assignment of copy writing which I had to do for a company, coz I was getting paid for it.

stonedsurd 30-04-10 05:16 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Great article Monkee-boy.

I suck at touch typing. :(

BLuEBLOODED 30-04-10 06:49 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
I liked this more than the other one.:D

It is the simplicity of topics which appeals more to me than the subject matter.:thumbup:

Aumkar 30-04-10 07:53 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Lol thanks guys.

@blueblooded which other one? If youre talking about my review, then it should be said that you can't really skimp out on a review. Its meant to be full blown but I tried to keep it understandable.

BLuEBLOODED 30-04-10 08:19 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Well, I only meant that I really do enjoy articles with an elementary topic written with elan every once in a while over those hugely detailed articles, not that I do not like those.

JD666 30-04-10 09:33 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
a very well written article man!

ManISinJpr 30-04-10 10:02 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
I thought that you were a very good typist..and typed very fast !!!
If you are not a touch typist then you are just like me, ;) I ain't no touch typist either.
Quote:

Originally Posted by stonedsurd (Post 452296)
Great article Monkee-boy.

I suck at touch typing. :(


stonedsurd 30-04-10 10:16 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
I don't touch type but I'm fast enough.

d@rK nEmEsIs 30-04-10 10:31 PM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
quite informative article.

sahilm 01-05-10 12:19 AM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Nice article. I forced myself into learning touch typing a couple of months back. The first fortnight is the hardest. I can comfortably type at about 60 WPM with about 98% accuracy now. My aim is to be 100% accurate at 60-70 WPM.

Since the bulk of my typing comprises of programming I have all numbers, symbols and control keys memorized as well. It feels awesome to be able to type in complete darkness. I don't need no stinking back lit keyboard. Heck I don't even need anything printed on the keys :) Now I just need someone to gift a Das keyboard :)

Luke Warm 02-05-10 07:07 AM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Practice does not Make Perfect. You can practice doing something wrong, and you will get very good at doing it wrong, but you will be far from perfect.
Correct Practice Makes Perfect. If you want to get good really quick, practice doing it the correct way.
It’s nice to have an article like this to tell people the correct way to practice.

winds_of_change 02-05-10 08:09 AM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
great guide... will be exploring this.

I need to learn this....

blufox 02-05-10 08:41 AM

Re: A Beginner's Guide to Touch Typing
 
Interesting article.
I know how important it is, since I program and troll at forums at same time.
So ... thanks.

Yeah I do not need to peek for letters anytime
Can even write with my eyes closed. :P

Great article Monkee. Reps for you.


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