If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you’re not happy with how fast you type, and are hoping to find some insightful information on how to improve. If so, then you’re in the right place, and I’m excited to help you double your typing speed!
I’ll be covering the strategy and top tips that I have personally used to reach typing speeds of well over 100 words per minute, and how you can do the same!
Like you, I was once not a fast typist, or even a typist at all for that matter. I struggled with typing all the way through Middle School until I discovered a unique approach to learning that was a total game-changer.
Since then I’ve been constantly trying to find new ways to get as fast as possible, and sharing what I learn with others. Below I’ll go over 5 steps to get you typing faster in no time!
Why is Typing Speed Important?
Typing has quickly become one of the most important skills in our toolbelts as we all continue to work remotely. If your work is like mine, you might even find yourself typing more often than talking for the first time in your career.
Average conversational speech typically happens at rates of around 100-150 Words per minute (wpm), which means that by typing, we may be operating less efficiently. It’s not realistic for most people to attain a typing speed that can match our speaking speed, but that doesn’t mean that getting faster isn’t worth it.
When you get down to it, typing faster just means we spend less time on things like emails, slack messages, and notes. It gives us the freedom of time to focus on other things.
If it would take you 10 minutes to type an email and you double your typing speed, you just earned yourself 5 minutes. How many emails do you send in a month? That’s a lot of potential savings!
Knocking out emails and messages faster is great, but there’s one incredible benefit of typing faster that is often overlooked. Typing speed is the limiting factor of how quickly you can transfer an idea from your mind into words on a screen.
Basically, the faster you can type, the the easier your ideas will flow. Our minds struggle to keep thoughts in our heads for long, and the quicker we can transfer them to paper (or the screen), the easier it is to navigate our thoughts unhindered.
How Much Can You Realistically Improve?
Adults have an average typing speed for around 40 words per minute, so it’s a safe assumption that you can attain this speed. The higher your typing speed is above 40, the harder it will be to improve further, but speeds into the 60s and beyond are quite attainable with some work.
For example, I started out as a hunt n’ peck typist in middle school at about 15 words per minute. By the end of a single semester, I was up to 70 words per minute. I’ll be covering the techniques that got me there, below.
It took me a while later on to learn how to go above 70, and most of it had little to do with technique, but actually external factors like body position, and type of keyboard. But practice can help too!
Step #1 – Posture and Positioning
Before we jump into the real meat and potatoes of what will truly let us type faster, it’s important to build a strong foundation.
Having proper posture now will allow you to be more comfortable and capable of faster speeds in the future, so this first step is a must if you are serious about getting a lot faster. Plus, it prevents potential for injury and pain!
- Adjust your back to be straight and firmly against your chair in a comfortable upright position.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground for stability.
- Adjust your desk and chair height to allow your elbows to angle around 90 – 100 degrees.
- Allow your wrists to rest in a neutral position on your keyboard.
- Adjust the height of your monitor so that the top of the screen is at your eye level.
- Move your monitor closer or further away so that you can see your whole screen by only moving your eyes.
Depending on your equipment, it may be difficult to make some of these adjustments. Below are a few items that may add some versatility to your setup:
- Adjustable height desk
- Footrest if you’re struggling to keep your feet planted
- Monitor stands or adjustable monitor mount (check your monitors compatibility first!)
- Posture corrector to keep your back straight
Step 2 – Never Look at Your Keyboard
This is simultaneously the easiest, and hardest step. It’s also the most important step. Your eyes should always be on the screen, and never on the keyboard.
Making just this one change will open the path to faster typing. The reason this is so important is because typing speed mainly boils down to one thing – muscle memory. You can’t create muscle memory easily when your eyes are involved.
Think about it – do you look at your feet when you walk? Does a pianist watch their hands when they play? Of course not – it’s muscle memory. Typing is exactly the same.
But how do you make that change – right? I was told repeatedly to not look when I was learning, but I couldn’t stop myself. It’s natural to want to look to see our mistakes. There are a few things you can do to make it easier.
First is to focus on learning just one key’s position – the backspace. This is the key you will be hitting the most often early on as you learn. Having this one key mastered will allow you the ability to retry whenever you make a mistake, without needing to look.
No matter how slow you’re typing, or how many mistakes you’re making, rely on hitting the backspace and trying again. You will gain muscle memory for the keys over time. With each mistake, systematically hit the backspace, and try an adjacent key until the correct one appears on the screen.
If you’re struggling to not sneak a peek, you could try to put something over your hands and keyboard. However, my recommendation would be to purchase a keyboard without any letters on it. It may sound like a bad time (and it is at first), but this is what ultimately forced me to keep my eyes on the screen. If you’re serious about typing faster and struggling with this step, then the investment is totally worth it!
Make sure to continue to keep your eyes off your keyboard as you work through the next steps!
Step 3 – Establish and Execute a Training Regimen
Before trying to even figure out what you’ll do to train your typing, you must first make a commitment. Without consistent training, you will be ineffective at learning and be likely to give up when you don’t feel progress. So before you read further, make sure you commit to yourself that you will stick with this.
The easiest way to do this is to make a ‘workout schedule,’ but for your typing. Block off time on your calendar 3-4 times per week, for at least 30 minutes. For myself, a single semester of school brought me up to 70wpm from nothing with just 45 minutes of class, 5 days per week. And let’s be real, I spent at least half my class time goofing off of playing Computer Games.
Once you have established your commitment, and allocated time on your calendar, the next step is to choose a typing platform to use. Here are a few free and paid options that are popular:
Once you’ve chosen one, then just do it! That’s really all there is to it. Be sure to monitor and evaluate your posture as you go, never look at the keys, and never skip your typing lessons. So long as you follow your plan, I promise your speed will increase in short order.
Be sure to read on to learn how to take your typing speed to the next level!
Step 4 – Get a Better Keyboard
By this point, you’re probably starting to get the hang of things and getting comfortable with typing. If you’re consistently typing around 40-50 words per minute, and have a desire to continue improving, then you need to make sure your aren’t limited by your keyboard.
For a typist, it’s just like a musician that wants to play better, or a racecar driver that wants to go faster – better equipment is needed. If you’re using a laptop keyboard or the one that your company provided your standard with your computer, you’re being held back.
There are two possible things you can try and improve with your next keyboard – speed and/or comfort (ergonomics). Some keyboards can accomplish both, while some will only focus on one or the other.
Mechanical Keyboards for Speed
Although many mechanical keyboards are often designed and marketed to cater to gamers, they’ve become an absolute must for anyone serious about typing fast.
Don’t let their appearance with all the fancy RGB lights fool you – these keyboards can easily bump up your performance 10+ wpm right out of the box.
This happens because your hands get to take advantage of the spring loaded mechanical keys that reduce your effort needed to activate keys. Additionally, your fingers are being give extra momentum to help them move to the next key. Your hands will even get less tired from lengthy typing sessions.
Shopping for a mechanical keyboard can be tricky however, as there are a wide variety of types of keys used in Mechanical keyboards. These are also referred to as “switches” and will dictate the feel of your keyboard. There are dozens of types of switches out there, and you’ll want to look up the features of the type that’s in a keyboard you may want to buy. Cherry MX Brown switches are very common, and considered a well-rounded option for those new to mechanical keyboards.
Lastly, there are potential drawbacks to mechanical keyboards – They can be expensive, noisy, and not fit your style. I recommend buying one from a retailer such as Amazon or Best Buy where you are able to return it easily in the event that you don’t like it.
Mechanical Keyboard Pros:
- Tons of options to fit any typing style
- Easily improve typing speed
- Allows for longer typing sessions by reducing hand strain
- Improves overall comfort
Mechanical Keyboard Cons:
- Tons of options makes it difficult to choose
- Can be noisy depending on “switch” type
- Can be expensive depending on features
- Makes it harder to type on non-mechanical keyboards over time
Ergonomic Keyboards for Comfort
If you’re finding yourself in any sort of discomfort from typing, there’s a good chance you would benefit from an ergonomic keyboard.
Unfortunately, regular keyboards put our hands into generally unnatural positions which can cause strain, discomfort, and even carpal tunnel over time. Ergonomic Keyboards try to fix that.
While these keyboards may improve comfort, it’s very likely that you will have to somewhat re-learn how to type when using one. I used one for a while and it cut my speed nearly in half initially. Over time it got a lot better though.
Ergo keyboards are usually a bit easier to shop for too, as there aren’t as many options out there when compared to mechanical keyboards.
Ergonomic Keyboard Pros:
- Reduces likelihood of injury or carpal tunnel
- Improves comfort
- May improve typing performance with sufficient practice
Ergonomic Keyboard Cons:
- Will have a learning curve and reduced typing speed initially
- May not improve typing speed
- Fewer options available compared to mechanical keyboards
- Makes it harder to type on non-ergonomic keyboards over time
Step 5 – Practice Consistently
By this step, you’re hopefully entering into the 50-60 wpm range by following the steps above and acquiring a proper keyboard that suites your typing needs.
From this point on, your speed is really only limited by how much effort you want to put into getting faster. Practice is absolutely key to increasing speed and building additional muscle memory.
Here are a few free sites that you can use for speed-oriented practice:
- 10 Fast Fingers for most common words
- Typing.com Speed Drills for basic sentences.
- TypingTestNow for common key drills.
There are many others out there – both free and paid – that can help you run through various drills to improve your performance.
The key in this step is building a practice regimen, and sticking with it consistently.
Bonus Step – Get 200+ wpm
The future of keyboarding is here, and it’s being lead by a new keyboard called the CharaChorder. This keyboard is a complete re-imagining and functions in totally new ways using 3d keys.
Many users have found they’re capable of typing speeds well into the 100s of wpm, finally allowing for thought to transfer via the keyboard without delay!
Learning to use a CharaChorder will have a bit of a learning curve, but if your goal is to type as fast as possible, it’s definitely worth checking out.
The steps outlined above combine what I learned from my own journey as a typist, along with all of the things I wish I had known in advance. I picked up some pretty bad posture habits that took a while to break, so I’m hoping to save you from the same fate!
If everything above seems way too overwhelming, then I would encourage you to at least just try a keyboard without letters. Doing so is the equivalent of the old approach of throwing a kid into the middle of a pool and letting them figure out how to not drown. It’s effective, but it doesn’t teach the right way of typing.
Overall though, I suspect if you follow at least a few of the tips from above and do some practice consistently, you’ll be a speedy typist in no time. Comment below to discuss any other typing tips or questions you may have!