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I am going off topic a bit here but I thought Id do a quick post on the benefits of touch typing!

I spend a lot of time typing, at work and home, typing E-Mails, Blog Posts, letters and documents, programming, using chat clients… a lot of button pushing!

I learned to touch type around five years ago before starting a University Degree course. Typing was not taught when I went to school, but I realised what a benefit it would be to learn, as degree’s involve a lot of writing!

Five years later it is still a major benefit to me… anyone who has ever used a chat client to talk to me will testify to the fact that I push out 10 words to their one (not always a good thing!!), and I am still working on other stuff in between!

I decided to write this post after someone at work commented on how fast I was typing and I realised that I have only met one person who can out type me, that person was a PA to a company director with professional typing / shorthand qualifications.

So, what does touch typing mean?

  • Make use of all digits on both hands, not just your index fingers!
  • Looking at the screen, or document you are copying from, not the keyboard.

The benefits of touch typing are two fold:

  1. You will be able to type at least twice as fast!
  2. As you are looking at the screen (not the keyboard) you are able to concentrate fully on your work, it is far easier to get into a creative flow if you can touch type.

I taught myself to type using an old copy of Mavis Beacon, by Old I mean pre 2000. The graphics were really poor, and the commentary was really annoying. I muted the sound on my computer and spent two hours a night using the CD ROM for five consecutive evenings.

After those ten hours I had learned the keyboard well enough to type without looking at the keyboard, however I was still typing a lot slower than I had been using my previous finger and thumb method. I think this is where a lot of people fail when leaning to type in this way, they learn the keyboard, but …. old habits die hard.

You have to force yourself to use the new methods you have just learned, if you do this, within a couple of weeks you will be working faster than you ever have before, and will continue to do so for the rest of your life!!

It really is one of the most useful self taught skills I possess, there is no way I could get as much done without being able to touch type.

You can get an old (used) copy of Mavis Beacon for less than five dollars (£2.50) on Amazon! If you use the CD properly, and force yourself to use your new found skill, it may well prove the best $5 you ever spend… really!

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    Comment by Steve

    The mentioning of Mavis Beacon seriously made me laugh out loud. What a classic old-school computer program. It is where I began to learn how to type. I can hear the annoying voice say “Mavis Beacon teaches typing” and cringing.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Yeah its bad, like I said I turned the sound off…. but it works surprisingly well, it is the ONLY thing I used to learn, and I learned qickly too… so despite the cheesy voice over I think its realy good….


    [...] posted a great article titled Learn To Touch Type – you should read this if you’re going to be a Mega [...]

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    Comment by Bob

    I have been planning on learning to touchtype for so long now! Just don’t have the patience for it…

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    But you have the patience to spend twice as long as you need to on your written work???

    Seriously, it is not that difficult to learn the keyboard, like I said it took me around 10 hours… try it you may surprise yourself…

    Comment by Angie

    I took a typing class in high school. I sat in the back row and looked at my fingers while the ancient teacher had us type to the beat of Camptown Races –which she played on a stratchy record. Can you guess how long ago I’ve been out of school?

    Anyway, I never did learn how to really type without looking at least a little bit at my fingers. Plus I onlyuse 4 finger and my thumb. Otherwise I make way too many typos.

    Maybe I should get some of that old software.

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    Comment by Natron

    I bought my wife a copy of the Mavis Beacon CD, and it has helped her a lot.

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    Comment by Joe Splogs

    I learnt on Mavis Beacon too, although I never became a pro. I particularly remember dancing ants and flys splatting on a screen. However, I learnt how to type without looking at the keyboard most naturally. A few years of instant messaging and hardened programming and I have become a bit of a beast to.

    I do however find that I can’t type very fast if I am thinking about typing and am more prone to mistakes. Its like tying your shoelaces.

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