How can I learn to type quickly

Learn to type: Practice typing with the 10-finger system for free

Still the first choice on the keyboard for many PC workers: the two-finger search system. You will benefit enormously if you learn to type correctly: If you do not master the fine art of ten-finger technique, you will need longer for everything. In the past, you would have had to take a typing course to learn to type. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, you can simply sit in front of the monitor. We explain here how the 10-finger system works. We'll also introduce you to 10 free tools that will help you learn to type and make you faster ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Learn to type: It's faster that way

Whether at home or at work - the computer is indispensable. And yet, many people cannot write with all ten fingers. IT competence is a key competence: scrolling, reading, clicking, typing. Do you want to learn to type? That is how it goes:

Writing 10 fingers: the basics

You can roughly learn the ten-finger system as follows:

  1. Attitude: Sit upright, bend your elbows and rest your wrists lightly on the desk. Your fingers should be slightly curved on the keys.
  2. Finger positions: The fingers of the left hand are - starting with the little finger - on the letters A, S, D, F. The fingers of the right are - starting with the index finger - on the letters J, K, L, Ö. This is the so-called basic position from which the fingers wander diagonally across the keyboard.
  3. Thumb: Always stay on the space bar with one thumb and press the shift key with your little finger.
  4. Orientation aid: The keys F and J have an elevation and are used for orientation. Ideally, your index fingers will “blindly” find their way back there. For capital letters, press the shift key with the other hand than the one you are writing.
  5. Training: Practice makes perfect - and the quick picker. Start with individual words and phrases, such as names or lyrics. Or practice the ten-finger technique as part of everyday tasks: e-mails, Facebook posts or messenger chats.
  6. Progress: Over time, you can try to increase the speed. Important: Do not look at the keyboard while typing and only tap the keys very lightly. That saves time and energy.

Practice typing: 3 tips

If you want to learn to type, you simply have to practice it. Our tips for this:

1. Read texts

Prepare a piece of text that you want to copy. Ideally, you have a bracket that you can place next to the monitor. So you don't always have to contort your head. This is how you practice blind typing.

2. Set yourself a timer

You can go back to certain text over and over again just to learn to type. Check how long you need for the same text after a certain number of repetitions. Another possibility: You type a text for ten minutes and stop exactly with the ringtone. Then count out the characters you typed. Each character with a shift key counts twice. Spaces, paragraphs, commas - anything you hit the keys for - also count. Rate a typing error with a ten-character deduction. Errors in the last five words before the doorbell do not count. Then divide the number of strokes by ten and determine your writing performance in minutes. This is asked for during an interview for some jobs.

3. Stay away from the touchscreen!

If you want to type faster, you shouldn't practice it on the touchscreen of your smartphone or tablet. Touchscreens lead to mistakes and slow down the writing process. "In many cases it is more difficult to type on a smooth, immobile surface than on mechanical keys," says Ludger Schmidt, who investigated the phenomenon in 2014 as head of the human-machine system technology department at the University of Kassel. People are used to haptic feedback and have to feel their keystrokes on their fingertips. Therefore: Don't practice on the touchscreen, but rather on the desktop PC, laptop or Mac.

10-finger system: advantages

Learning to type means using all ten fingers to write instead of laboriously searching with two or four fingers. That may not immediately make sense: Before they learn to type correctly, many have apparently found their way around their own system. The disadvantage of your own practice: You have to keep looking at the keyboard, you can't find your way around blindly. The advantages of typing with ten fingers are literally obvious:

  • speed
    You write almost blindly and slide your fingers across the keyboard. If you type quickly, you have a head start, make faster progress, do more. Fast typists manage 50 to 70 words per minute. With the 2 ‑ finger search system, it is often only half the time. Learning to type pays off when writing business correspondence as well as doing chores.
  • ergonomics
    As you learn to type, you change your posture for the better. Instead of hanging your head over the keyboard, look straight ahead at the screen. This prevents back pain (PDF).
  • No searching
    Anyone who writes with all ten fingers is really working systematically. You intuitively know which finger to move without looking. This means that you have a text lying next to you and can copy it from there. Even when there are interruptions, you can easily pick up the thread because you know where your fingers and the keys are.
  • accuracy
    The 10-finger system improves your error rate. On the one hand, you can see directly what is being created on the monitor. On the other hand, with the system, you will miss typing less often. And if it does, you can quickly correct it with the correct handles.
  • professionalism
    Typing with all ten fingers is considered the ultimate in the office. That was also the case in the age of the typewriter. For jobs in which you are expected to write a lot and correctly, for example as a secretary, mastering the ten-finger technique is a recruitment criterion.
  • concentration
    Anyone who has mastered ten-finger writing has their mind free for the really important things. Instead of looking for the next letter, you can let your mind run free and work on the next phrase. So you release additional intellectual capacities.

10-finger system: disadvantages

Fast typing is not always the solution. For example, if you write an essay and type with only one hand, you can look forward to a more sophisticated vocabulary afterwards. Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Belgium found this out in an experiment a few years ago. Explanation: The time lag allowed the subjects to think longer. High speed typists, on the other hand, typed the first word that came to their mind. For demanding tasks that require leisure, creativity and reflection, it can make sense to shift down a gear from time to time. Other disadvantages:

  • exercise
    You have to learn to type first. Especially if you have memorized something “wrong” beforehand, it will require you to get used to it. To do this, you have to practice typing many times.
  • Alternatives
    There are now various alternatives such as voice assistants and transcription software. The obvious thought: why learn to type? Again, this is too brief. In open-plan offices, the workflow would be severely hindered if everyone spoke their texts into one device.

Typing fast: without the ten-finger system!

According to researchers at the University of Aalto in Helsinki, you don't have to take a ten-finger writing course to type faster. You can also acquire this ability yourself - and completely do without the ten-finger system. Accordingly, it is not the number of fingers used that is decisive, but other factors. In order to type quickly, one must above all heed the following:

  • hands: Just move your fingers to the buttons and try to keep the palms relatively static in one place.
  • Look: Do not look at your fingers, but only look at the monitor if possible.
  • preparation: Prepare yourself for upcoming keystrokes by, for example, using your unused fingers early on using Shift, Space or Enter.

8 free tools to make you faster

Here are some online tools to help you type faster:

  1. Dance mat typing
    The BBC wants to teach children to type in a playful way - and has hatched Dance Mat Typing for this. In four levels, the young typists learn which letters to type with which finger, so that you should always put your wrists on the table while typing and never look at your fingers. The BBC production looks good, is accompanied by animation and music - and can also be fun for adults who like to learn.
  2. Tip 10
    In 20 lessons, users at tipp10.com learn the ten-finger system. It starts with the basic position, after which the lessons become more and more demanding. Statistics provide information on progress and the frequency of errors. Chip speaks of "probably the best free program to refine your ten-finger writing system." Stiftung Warentest named the freeware the test winner among ten writing programs ten years ago. But: Even in the online version, at least one registration is required.
  3. Typing academy
    At tippenakademie.de, users can learn to type with ten fingers in several learning exercises. Which finger is the right one for which letters, numbers and characters - you internalize this in various learning, finger and word exercises. If you want to save your progress, you have to register. The fee-based TippLift Pro version provides even more aids and longer training times.
  4. Type writer
    The augundohr.at - Typewriter comes from Austria and comes with a pitiful look. But it offers no less than 100 (!) Lessons in which you should improve your speed and reduce the risk of errors. It is actually aimed at teachers and students, entire classes should register online and thus be able to practice their dexterity on the keyboard from any PC.
  5. Scythe Lang
    sense-lang.org is aimed exclusively at English speakers, looks really creepy, but offers real added value. In addition to the animated tutorials and games, the “Typing Test” section is particularly attractive. Current BBC news from the fields of technology, sport, health, entertainment, business and science can be typed in true to the original. A double learning effect, if you will - consume news by typing.
  6. Typing.com
    typing.com is probably the most comprehensive and professional site of all - but it is also not available in German, only in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Lessons for beginners and advanced learners as well as speed tests are part of the basic equipment. The highlight, however, is the games section. In a total of nine games you can playfully improve your skills as a keyboard ninja, zombie fighter or ninja cat, fly in a balloon or drive in a racing car. The same applies here: If you want to save and view your track record, you have to register.
  7. Typing karaoke
    It gets even wackier on typingkaraoke.com. Don't worry, you don't have to sing. Instead, tap. Jason Mraz, Radiohead or Kanye West sing in the background and you type the lyrics as quickly and accurately as possible. The perfect pastime for the office break - but only with headphones!
  8. Learn to type with Calli Clever
    Finally, a tool for children: tipptrainer-calli-clever.de is (in appearance) a green cow and is supposed to teach six to twelve year olds to type in a playful way. At first glance everything looks very correct from a pedagogical point of view, after all, the offer was funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs. A total of 25 lessons and five levels of difficulty are available. At the end of each lesson, a small test should test what you have learned. Before you start: Install the Flash player and activate JavaScript.

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December 19, 2020Author: Anja Rassek

Anja Rassek studied, among other things, German language and literature at the WWU in Münster. She worked for community radio and a publisher. Here she devotes herself to topics related to the office, everyday work and studies.

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