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Ask HN: What's the best way to improve typing speed?
14 points by tejasm 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments
I'm not a developer and notebook and pen extensively for notes apart from my macbook pro. My typing speed isn't great and I would really love to improve it. What's the best method/tool/product/site to do it? Thanks!

If you can't already touch type: cover the letters on the keys or get a board with no letters, switch to colemak/dvorak if you can be bothered, and practise on something like https://www.keybr.com/ which gives you nice stats over time.

I was at about 50-60 with a horrible 2 finger style on qwerty, now im at about 80-100 on colemak, and i can switch back to qwerty no problem.

While I wouldn't recommend it, I switched to the Dvorak keyboard layout. It forced me type with good habits, such as not looking at the keyboard and keeping my fingers on home row. I went from 48 wpm to 90-100 wpm.

That being said, I wouldn't recommend actually switching. It makes me incompatible with the rest of the world.

Covering the keys, like others suggest.

Work on transcribing your notes from your notebook into a digital notebook. Doesn't matter if you keep them, it's the act of typing that you want to practice. One of the biggest improvements I saw was when doing something like this (though transcribing for professors, not for myself). I was already a decent typist at that point, but having to keep my eyes on the text while typing (and not on the screen or keyboard) improved my skills significantly.

Don't put the text behind or beside the keyboard. Put it to the side and up. Get a small stand (like the stands for cookbooks) and set that beside your computer, next to the monitor. Your keyboard will still be in sight, but keep your eyes focused on the text instead.

First, learn the fundamentals. Use a typing course (keys covered) until you can touch type about 10wpm. The point of this is not to become a fast touch typer but to develop a muscle memory for where each key is so that you're never hunting for a key.

Then practice. Practice doesn't have to be a typing course; it can be something you want to do anyway - programming, transcription, writing. For me it was chat rooms as a kid. The more you practice, the more fluent you'll get.

Again, to be a fluent typist, you don't have to be a perfect touch typist. The important thing is not to be hunting and pecking. It's ok to develop your own style that uses different fingers than the recommended ones to hit specific keys (everyone's hands are different after all) or to look down at the keyboard now and again to reorient yourself.

But it sounds like what you need to do more of is practice.

I can't speak to the best but typeracer [0] and Nitro Type [1] are certainly not the worst (read: "least fun") methods/tools/products/sites out there.

[0]: http://play.typeracer.com

[1]: https://www.nitrotype.com

I stopped looking at my keyboard. I was slow initially but ever so slowly became faster. I too would recommend typeracer[1] as a fun way to speed things up.

[1]: http://play.typeracer.com

Once I switched to using keyboard bindings more, my touch typing improved measurably. I’m a VIM person, but emacs or any other key binging based environment should be similar.

I now try to use key bindings everywhere and minimize mouse usage. I’m way less mouse oriented than before and I’m more productive. I know I have a ways to go still. And I like that challenge.

I know you mentioned you are not a developer. For those that are/would like to be, this may be helpful.

Typing of the dead: http://store.steampowered.com/app/246580/The_Typing_of_The_D...

Cover your hands with a piece of cloth while playing for maximum improvement.

Try slowing down and typing in a very steady rhythm. Then try increasing the rhythm gradually over the next few weeks.

And how to handle ctrl,shift,alt,enter,backspace with home row typing?

Any recommendations for a good Linux compatible typing tutor ?


I'm unsure how good it is now, but I used this years ago. Free, ran through a lot of standard typing exercises. It was very helpful in moving me from "proficient with Dvorak" to "filling the keyboard buffer with Dvorak". It should be similarly effective for QWERTY and other layouts. Actually, I think I used the QWERTY exercises with the Dvorak layout.

Keybr.com is really good


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