How fast you can you type?
When I was around 8 years old, my family bought a computer and some typing software that not only taught you how to type like a professional, including the correct placement of your hands and tips for increased productivity, it also included a little speed typing test that would calculate exactly how many words per minute (WPM) you type.
It was pretty advanced technology back in the 1990’s.
In fact, the technology for teaching typing skills hasn’t improved much since back then, although you can now take a simple typing speed test online.
Go ahead, try it below with this nifty typing speed test below and find out how fast you can type.
This quick test will provide your baseline typing speed, so we can track your improvement as you implement the tips in this article for typing faster.
Keep reading after your test because I’m going to show you how to double or even triple your writing speed.
You can retake the test again once you’ve completed this article to see how you do!
Take Your Free Speed Typing Test Here
So, what was your score?
90 or more?
If you’re around average, you should be able to hit around 41 words per minute.
I ‘ve been able to consistently type at more than 100 wpm.
You can see the results of one of my recent writing speed tests here:
120 words per minute!
How is that possible?
The average typing speed is 41.4 words per minute, and the world record is 212 words per minute in English, by typist Barbara Blackburn.
So how do I consistently type two to three times faster than the average, and almost half as fast as the world’s fastest typist?
It’s all about technique.
Today, I’m going to share my secrets for typing faster, so you can write more, write faster, and become a more productive writer, author, blogger and typist.
Watch the Speed Typing Video Here If You’re Don’t Believe Me
Step 1. Proper Typing Technique is Key
Proper typing technique is crucial, and yet most of us are never taught what proper typing technique is, let alone that such a thing exists!
Hunt and peck certainly works when it comes to getting the job done, but if you want to double or triple your typing speed and achieve above-average typing speeds consistently, you’re going to have to use a much better technique.
Note: Accuracy is crucial! Just because you can hit the keyboard quickly does not mean you’re typing effectively. Typos, missed letters, and mistakes can be costly. Sure, we all make mistakes. But, by using proper typing techniques, you can dramatically improve or at least maintain your high typing accuracy while improving your speed, thus improving your overall typing efficiency and effectiveness.
In other words, learning to type faster while becoming less accurate is counterproductive.
You need both to become a better overall typist and writer with a lovely blend of speed and accuracy.
Finger Placement for Proper Typing Technique
With proper typing technique, you should be typing with all 10 fingers.
That’s right! Even your little pinky fingers should be working hard for you to improve your overall typing speed and accuracy.
Take a moment to review the image below.
Image Source: Keybr)
Notice how the keyboard is color-coded. We’ll talk about that in a second.
The first thing you should understand about your keyboard is that there is a little bump on the “f” and “j” keys.
Have you ever wondered what those little bumps on the f and j keys are for?
They’re there to serve as a mental map, kind of like braille, to let you know where your fingers are at all times on the keyboard without having to look down and find the right key.
If that sounds difficult, don’t worry! It’s actually a lot easier than you think.
The f and j keys are where your left and right index fingers should be hovering respectively when you’re typing.
Starting from the left side of the keyboard in the blue zone, you should be using your left pinky finger to hit the `, 1, q, a and z keys.
Your left hand ring finger should be used for 2, w, s and x in the green zone.
Your left hand middle finger should be used for 3, e, d and c in the purple zone.
Your left hand index finger should be used for 4, 5, r, t, f, g, v and b in the yellow zone.
Your right hand index finger should be used for 6, 7, y, u, h, j, n and m in the 2nd green zone.
Your right hand middle finger should be used for 8, i, k, and , in the 2nd purple zone.
Your right hand ring finger should be used for 9, o, l, and . in the yellow zone.
Your right hand pinky finger should be used for 0, -, =, p, [, ], \, ;, ‘, and / in the final blue zone on the right.
What’s the point?
The goal of this proper hand placement is that you don’t have to move your hands nearly as much when you type, improving your efficiency and therefore speed.
The less distance your fingers have to travel, the faster you will be able to type.
For those of you used to hunt and peck typing, also called two-fingered typing, another huge benefit is that you’ll be using all your fingers like a typing pro.
By using all 10 fingers when you type, your speed will be dramatically improved for several reasons.
First, less travel distance between fingers and keys means faster typing.
Second, with proper technique, your hands will always be near the center of the keyboard. This regularity of location will allow your mind to quickly form an “internal keyboard map.”
In other words, you’ll be able to quickly unconsciously memorize the positions of all the keys on the keyboard, so that you can type while looking at the screen instead of constantly staring at the keyboard wondering “Where the heck is that pesky semicolon key at?”
Hint: It’s directly under your right pinky finger when in proper position.
Step 2. Learning to Touch Type
Now that you’ve learned proper typing positions for your hands and fingers, it’s time to learn how to touch type.
I wish I could give you some sage words of advice here, or send you a magic pill that allows you to instantly know where all the keys on the keyboard are without conscious thought or effort, but I can’t. (If you do invent such a magic pill, I’d love to help you market it!)
It comes down to practice. The old saying, “practice makes perfect” is only partially true. The truth is perfect practice makes progress.
It’s impossible to achieve true perfection. But, by using proper technique and practicing regularly, you can see huge improvements in a relatively short period of time.
When you first start out, if you’re not a proficient typist, you will have to figure out where the keys are. You’ll have to use your eyes, look around, and take a few moments to find the right key.
The important thing is that you always practice using proper technique with your hands in the proper typing position.
If you consistently practice proper typing technique, I promise you will see great results over time.
At first, it may be difficult and feel strange, but over time your new typing habits will start to show very promising results.
For Those Who Learned Bad Habits
How many times did Tiger Woods reinvent his golf swing? And why did he spend so much effort, time, money and energy on changing his swing? For one simple reason: the cost of bad habits are simply too great to endure for those who think ahead and plan for the future.
Typing at a mere 20 or 30 wpm may not seem like a big deal for you right now. Sure, you’re below average, but who cares? It’s not a contest, right? Of course, it’s not a contest. But what’s it going to cost you in terms of your time, energy and effort?
If you’re an author and you plan to write a 100,000 word novel and you currently type at 30 wpm, learning how to type at 60 wpm (which is totally doable for anyone who invests the time in learning how to use the right technique) will allow you to write the novel in 55.55 less hours.
Of course, that’s assuming you know the exact words you’re going to write, and never rewrite anything (which is, of course, not how writing a book actually works). In other words, 55 hours is only a small fraction of the real time you would save writing your book. The real number is probably 5 to 10 times more (because of all the writing, rewriting and editing it takes to finish a book).
We’re talking about potentially taking months off the time it takes you to write a book. Just by learning how to type better.
And that’s just how much time you’ll save writing the book. What about all those emails, tweets, Facebook posts, and more? Typing faster isn’t just a cool trick. It’s a great way to get more done in less time, so you can spend more time doing what you love (AKA writing! ha.)
More Reasons to Learn How to Type Faster
Typing faster doesn’t just allow you to write faster and save time. I believe it can also help you become a much better writer for several reasons.
First, in my experience writing and publishing more than 25 books, I’ve noticed that most of my writing output happens in a few short bursts during what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow (his book called Flow is a great read and highly recommended.)
If you’ve ever found yourself writing effortlessly, words just flowing on paper or at your computer, you know what I mean.
One of the amazing things about writing in a state of flow is that time loses all meaning. Sometimes hours will pass before you realize how long you’ve been writing.
Other times, you may look back at the end of your writing session and notice you’ve written thousands of words and don’t remember how it all happened.
“The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Although I’m a big fan of 5 to 15 minute daily writing sessions, when I get in a state of flow, I could write for much longer, even a few hours in one sitting. It’s important to write consistently and get in the habit of a regular routine, if not a daily writing routine like I recommend. But here’s the thing…
When you are able to type and write faster, it’s much easier to stay in a state of flow, and to get more out of your flow states when writing. It’s easier to get into a state of flow because you’re now a skilled typist. You don’t have to hunt and peck or look around for the keys on the keyboard. You can look at the screen and the words you’re writing rather than looking around the keyboard (this is called touch typing, or typing by feel).
This level of mastery as a typist allows you to focus all your energy on the words and the message you’re sharing, not on the method (typing). The other reason typing faster can help you get much more out of your writing sessions when in flow is because our minds move very fast, much faster than we can speak, read or even type.
The average person may only type 41.4 words per minute, but I guarantee you can think a whole lot faster than that.
In other words, the constraint on our writing output is NOT how fast we can think (at least during a state of flow), but simply how fast we can type what we’re thinking.
Anyone who’s a serious student of productivity and/or economics can tell you that you always want to work on improving the limiting constraint because it’s where you’ll get the best results with the least amount of input.
If you can think 200 words per minute (probably a very low estimate) and only write 40 words per minute, doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling your thinking speed will not help you write more or write faster (although it could theoretically help you plan, plot and create outlines faster).
If you want to write more and write faster, simply learn how to type faster. Your typing speed is the main limiting constraint on writing output.
Actually, that last sentence is not quite true. Your typing speed is the main limiting constraint on writing output when you’re in a state of flow.
So, if you want to write faster and produce more, here’s what you have to do:
- Get in the state of flow more often and/or for longer periods of time, and
- Increase your typing speed so you can take better advantage of your creative output during flow and be more productive overall.
Because your writing speed is your main constraint when writing in flow, every tiny little improvement in your speed leads directly to more output.
Of course, this assumes that you actually know what you’re going to write before you sit down at the computer.
That’s why I always recommend planning your writing sessions before you write.
Typing Fast is a System
Despite popular opinion, the ability to type fast is not some unique gift or talent bestowed only upon a few of us.
Anyone can learn to improve their speed and accuracy by practicing proper writing technique. It’s not complicated. It’s certainly not rocket science. But it does take a little bit of effort and a conscious decision to change.
It’s going to be uncomfortable at first. It will probably feel unnatural. That’s because you’ve been typing for so long that you’ve developed deeply ingrained habits with an inferior strategy.
If you want better results, it’s as easy as upgrading your strategy.
This little principle holds true whether we’re talking about typing or any other skill in life.
How to Improve Your Typing Accuracy
Keep in mind when practicing to improve your writing speed that speed comes before accuracy. In other words, when you switch to using the proper typing technique, it will take time for your muscles and brain to adjust to this new way of typing.
Just like when Tiger Woods switched his golf swing, you too will need to be patient as your mind and muscles adjust to your new typing technique. You will not see instant improvement in 5 minutes, but you will see incredible improvements in your typing speed and accuracy if you stick with it and keep using the proper technique.
Here are some additional tips to help improve your typing accuracy:
- Don’t get upset or overreact when you make a mistake. Mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. When you get angry or upset, this changes your brain chemistry and makes it harder for you to learn better writing techniques. It’s also bad for your health! Stay calm and relaxed as much as possible. If you get upset, take a break and cool down before resuming your typing practice.
- Practice where you are weak. If you notice you keep hitting the ‘w’ button instead of ‘q’, try deliberately practicing hitting the right keys. You can switch back in forth between hitting the two keys as fast as you can and train the muscle memory in your fingers to hit in the right spot each time.
- Set your balance point. When you place your hands at the keyboard, stay conscious of their placement and make sure they are always resting in the same spot. This will give you a “balance point” from which to move your fingers and type most efficiently. Just like each basketball player has a technique for preparing to shoot accurate free throws, you should have a technique and practice in place to type accurately.
Time for Your Next Test
Okay, it’s time for your next test! Using the proper typing technique you learned in this post, take the writing speed test again at the top of this post and see what your results are.
So what did you score on the test this time around? Do you notice a difference using all 10 fingers when you type?
Share your score in the comments below and see who can score the highest!