Learning how to type in English is really important. Chances are that if you are learning English, you’ll want to use it to improve your work situation. Well, as it is no surprise for you, you won’t be speaking all day. In an everyday situation, you will be required to use all four language skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing), and the writing part will be most likely typing on a keyword.
But, how can I do this, Howard? I can barely write on my own native language. Much less in English! I just can’t find the “ñ” in my computer at work! (If you speak Spanish, you will understand). That’s the reason why I wrote this article. For you to learn how to type better AND faster. Yes, in that order. It is useless to write 200 words per minute and do so with massive errors.
Like with all things in life, the more you practice, the better you will get. There are no shortcuts for this. This guide is here to streamline the process, so you spend as little time as possible learning to type, and as much time as possible learning English.
So, here are some skills you need to acquire in order to become a typing master.
Focus on accuracy
I mentioned at the beginning of the article, and I will say it again. It is better to be accurate than to be fast, so focus on that first. I remember once I was trying to improve my typing speed. I would sit a typing speed test over and over without getting any results. Then, I got smart about it. I decided to slow down and started to focus on accuracy rather than speed. Shortly after I started this, I noticed an increment in my typing speed. I felt more in control. I was more relaxed and improving so much more!
Learn to be accurate first, and THEN you can improve your speed. Remember that if you make mistakes all the time, it will take you longer to type because of all the corrections you will have to make. Up to this day, I still make mistakes, but I realised when I slow down and focus on accuracy, I get better results and type a little bit faster.
Practice, practice, practice
This goes for you as a new typist: practice! Get used to it to a point you do not need to look at your fingers on the keyboard. By doing this, your fingers will develop a muscle memory for certain types of commonly used letter pairings. See what combination of letters give you trouble and practice them individually until you don’t have to think by doing so.
Remember not only to practice often, but to do it correctly. Try to get rid of bad typing habits and replace them with good ones! Personally, I struggle with this point, but I have seen the benefits of it. For example, you should use every single finger when typing instead of using the fingers you feel the most comfortable with. Full use of both hands is required to achieve your highest typing potential
Stretch those hands out!
When my wrists get stiff from typing, I grab my fingers with one hand and stretch out my arm to full length and pull on my fingers back slowly. I then, stretch my fingers by opening and closing them, bend my hands back and forth, and rotate my wrists.
if you feel a little sore on the fingers or knuckles, just put your arms up high, and wriggle your fingers (only do this if your fingers feel sore. ) and if your knuckles hurt just put your left hand into a fist and do the same with the right. With the bottom of your left fist, tap the knuckles on your right hand and vice versa. This will allow you to maintain flexibility and will decrease the pain.
Knowing your keyboard
The best tip I can give you to improve your typing speed is to feel for the “F” and the “J”. As most know, those are the letters you feel for first on the keyboard. As time goes by, and you learn how to type without looking, you will not even really have to “feel” for the “F” and the “J” you will just learn the keyboard.
It is also important to familiarize yourself with the keyboard you are using. – This is essential as, if you can map the keyboard out in your mind, you won’t need to look away from the screen to locate the key you need. This would also minimize the time spent between getting your many thoughts onto the screen before losing them again.
Keep a rhythm
The most important thing to keep in mind is developing a rhythm. Not to hurry, but to prioritise being accurate. Speed comes naturally with practice and time. Further, one must push one’s self to perform better but acknowledging that efficiency only is established, along with effectiveness.
Do you know what Touch Typing is?
Touch typing, in a nutshell, is typing without looking at the keyboard. The idea is to teach your fingers the location of each key. The F and J keys have a raised bar or a dot allowing your finger to identify them. Once you have placed your two indexes on those keys, the other fingers are placed on the keys next to them.
In order to type fast, you have to be careful about which finger to use to press a key. Take a look at the drawing below. Each color match a finger. For example, the left index is light green and has to type only the light green keys.
A good thing to do when learning touch typing is to memorize the keyboard and create a mental map of the fingers associated with each key. You have to be able to press them without even thinking. For example, if I say X you have to think to move the ring finger down and press X instantly. You can only achieve this through practice. You have to build up the muscle memory of each finger.
Most people (me included) were demanded when studying to type at very fast speeds without taking care of the proper form. Because of this, it is likely you didn’t learn to type this way. Although you can continue with this practice and still be able to deliver results, it would be advisable if you implement these foundations.