Learn to Type Efficiently
A good typing method uses all your fingers for fast, error-free typing, without looking at the keyboard. The best way to acquire this fundamental skill is by practicing regularly and following the tips below.
Posture and Work Environment
Your typing performance doesn’t only rely on your fingers; your posture and work environment also play an important role.
Three ergonomic factors require special attention:
- Posture — The ideal posture puts every part of the body in its optimal position. Rest your feet on the floor or on a footrest with your knees bent at a 90° angle. Position your forearms so that the angle of your elbows is between 80° and 160°. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed. Straighten your back and adjust the back of your seat for good lumbar support. Your head should be in line with your torso. Make sure your wrists stay in line with your forearms, either by holding your wrists loosely in the air, or by resting them on a wrist support. Check your posture every 15 minutes and adjust your position when necessary to make sure you are always sitting correctly. If you cannot adjust the furniture in any way, take more frequent breaks.
- Screen Distance and Position — Maintain a distance of 45–70 cm between the screen and your eyes. Ideally, the top of the screen should be at your eye level. When using a laptop, lower your eyes (not your whole head) to look at the screen. Tilt your screen back to an angle of around 15°.
- Lighting — Adjust the lighting of your work environment so that you can easily read documents, and so that you are not blinded by the light from your screen or from the window. If you need to squint your eyes, the lighting is not optimal.
Pay special attention to your posture and the ergonomics of your work environment and make adjustments as soon as you feel uncomfortable.
Make a habit of standing up and stretching every hour. This way, you can avoid any tension in your muscles turning into chronic pain. Finally, take your eyes off the screen every now and then and look at something far away. This will help to avoid eye strain.
The Basic Position
One of the most common positions involves placing the index fingers on the two raised keys J and F, with the second, third, and fourth fingers on the adjacent keys of the same row, and the thumbs resting on the space bar. This is called the basic position. After each keystroke, return your fingers to their starting point, so that the basic position is maintained for the entire typing session.
To find the basic position without looking at the keyboard, use your index fingers to locate the tactile reference points on keys J and F. The rest of your fingers will naturally fall into position.
The keyboard is sometimes represented by a map of different-colored keys. Each color represents the keys associated with a particular finger.
Keyboard maps vary slightly, but the principle is the same for all of them: each key is associated with one finger only, and all fingers are used for typing, with the hands moving as little as possible.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to comfortably reach certain keys as shown by the map, you can assign other fingers to those keys. The important thing is to use all your fingers and to make sure that each key only has one finger associated with it.
If your eyes are on the keyboard while you type, you waste time looking for the correct keys. Your brain also does unnecessary work coordinating your movements instead of thinking about what you are writing.
The Typing Pal training program helps you to develop sensory and muscle memory, allowing your fingers to find the keys by reflex.
To quickly develop typing reflexes, start by focusing on your typing accuracy (not speed) and on maintaining the basic position between each keystroke. By doing so, your fingers will always make the same, correct movement for each of the keys, and the motion will become muscle memory.
Keep your eyes on the screen or the document you are retyping. Resist the temptation to glance at the keyboard. Trust your muscle memory; it will guide you!
Finally, to help your muscle memory register character sequences or whole words, keep a constant typing rhythm.
The ⇧, Shift, ⌥, Alt and SPACE Keys
The ⇧, Shift, ⌥ or Alt keys are often typed in combination with another key to write a special character or accent.
In this case, it is best to use the fingers of the opposite hand to type the ⇧, Shift, ⌥ or Alt key so that you can type the desired key with the usual finger.
For example, to type an exclamation mark (!), you normally need to type ⇧ and 1 at the same time. As most keyboard maps ask you to use the little finger of the left hand for the 1 key, you should use the little finger of the right hand to type the ⇧ key.
The SPACE bar can be typed using either thumb.
Typing Speed and Accuracy
Concentrate and take your time to avoid making mistakes. Focus on accuracy before speed. Once you can type with almost no errors, you can be confident that your muscle memory is good enough to help you speed up and reach your targets.
Practice regularly with Typing Pal and make it a personal challenge to complete all the activities with no errors. You will receive a gold star, proof of your keyboard mastery.
Below is a summary of the recommendations that will help you develop a good typing method:
- Pay attention to your posture and the ergonomics of your work environment.
- Return your fingers to the basic position after each keystroke.
- Always type the same key with the same finger, as shown by the keyboard map you have chosen.
- Do not look at the keyboard; instead, trust your muscle memory to guide your fingers.
- Keep a constant typing rhythm to help your muscle memory register character sequences and words.
- Use the fingers of the opposite hand to type the ⇧, Shift, ⌥ or Alt keys.
- Practice typing accurately before you try to type quickly. Your speed will gradually improve on its own.