Do you hunt and peck, and you want to type faster? Do you feel you "don't type very fast," compared to some kind of standard? Are you competing in typing competitions?
If you hunt and peck, your best course of action is to break your habit and learn to type on homerow keys.
If you feel you don't type fast enough using homerow keys, your best bet is just to type more. Perhaps think out a sentence, then test yourself for how fast you can type it versus just typing things off the cuff. I find that when I know what I want to type (e.g. I know a sentence I want to say), I can type blazingly fast, versus typing words as they come out of my brain, which is much slower.
As for speed of typing vs mind, I use simple words that requires less characters to express my initial idea. I will gradually revise my sentences to elaborate or simplify it. Perhaps it is my workaround to overcome my shortcoming. Coming up with something to write or code is my bottleneck.
I learned about traditional typing skill using mechanical typewriter. However, I am more at ease with my 1-1 finger movement (1 index finger plus thumb on each hand) on my laptop.
Keep in mind that those lessons are for typing normal texts, not code (not enough lessons incorporating special symbols). It worked well for me since I don't care about speed that much when typing code. Being able to type prose much faster is more important to me.
I have typing.io bookmarked for practicing typing code. I never really got into it since I feel like I get enough practice when writing my own code.
Don't aim for speed! Aim for typing without errors and - more importantly -
a constant rhythm. Music helps. Start extremely slow and spell out each word letter by letter in your mind.
You should find many exercises out there for how to get started with all fingers. But the key is really to slow things down. It's very much like learning an instrument.
If you keep practicing this say 10-20 minutes per day you'll soon see progress. Speed then comes very naturally and without much effort.
In fact it's exactly because of these "hard combinations" why your overall speed is slow, because you can't keep the high pace of the rest. So you have to master them first.
It's pretty much the same if you e.g. learn guitar: If you play a scale of notes you want to play it nice and smooth and not suddenly slow down at the hard part. If you can't play it smooth you're practicing to fast, so slow down until you mastered it.
The comparison with musical instruments doesn't make that much sense because in music, the constant rhythm is required to stay in time. This requirement doesn't exist in typing.
10/10 would recommend.. also it stops noobs from using your box.
Here's a up to date buying guide, find one that lets you get blank or has a standard layout you can swap with a set of caps you like
That way, when you're using the mouse and just need to press "#" you can glance at the keyboard to do so.
There is also https://www.typingclub.com/ which is also a good site but it is riddled by ads (removable by paying of course) and requires you to create an account.
I wish if there was an open-source alternative which is either a terminal or web-based version that also shows how to place hands on the keyboard.
I learned touch typing on an electric typewriter at school decades ago so I don't really remember how it is to not know how to do it.
This is what I did to learn typing Dvorak well AFTER I left school:
- I used laminated piece of paper with the layout of the keyboard wedged between monitor and desk. This allowed me to see the keyboard layout without looking at the keyboard.
- I used programs to learn Dvorak
- I used metronome to learn to type constant stream of characters. Pressing shift registers as a single beat. This is not strictly necessary for typing speed but I really like the feel of producing characters this way. My colleagues say the sound is fantastic as if a machine was typing.
- I use only high quality mechanical keyboards with US international layout. I don't waste time on keyboards that have uneven action and don't register presses same way every time.
In the past three months, I've used these typing game websites and increased my average typing speed from around 80 WPM to 100 WPM.
Some other typing games are 10fastfingers  and typerush
If you don't already know how to touch type (i.e. you currently use two fingers to chicken peck), it's best to break that habit by learning to touch type.
Second, you need to learn touch typing. There are some tips:
a) buy keyboard with blank keycaps;
b) if you can't buy such keyboard (you really should), try to pull out keycaps and randomly change their order;
c) put blanked or some non-transparent sheet over your hands.
Third, change keypress repeat interval rate and delay in your system. It will force you to hit keys quicker. If you're using linux, good starter is to run 'xset r rate 200 60'. It means 'start repeating key if it's pressed for more that 200ms and repeat it 60 times per second'. Then gradually decrease first number and increase second.
Some people will tell, that typing speed doesn't matter much, but that's not true. When you get into the flow, you're stopping thinking verbally and starting to think in entire code blocks. It's crucial to not be hindered by keyboard in that case.
And remember, it should be uncomfortable at first. Otherwise, there will be no progress.
No, you don't.
"a) buy keyboard with blank keycaps;"
No need. Just don't look at the keys while typing.
"b) if you can't buy such keyboard (you really should), try to pull out keycaps and randomly change their order;"
"c) put blanked or some non-transparent sheet over your hands."
For real, there is no need to complicate things. Just start out slow and you'll gradually increase your typing speed as you go as long as you're touch typing.
My beloved thinkpad keyboard died one day, and I decided to finally try a fancy-schmancy mechanical keyboard. I spent a long time working on a laptop as my primary box, and didn't want to carry another keyboard, so I just stuck with ThinkPad.
I spent a couple weeks feeling like I couldn't type, to varying, diminishing degrees. But I really focused on doing the right thing rather than the fast thing.
Now I'm super happy I did spend that time on it. I love my mechanical keyboard, but it wasn't necessary to improve my typing. Though there are a number of benefits I do see because of it's ability to be programmed. I have a bunch of custom settings on it just for my workflows.
It's a cli but once you get into it it's really a great experience. It will take you all the way from where to put your fingers onto typing so fast your like someone out of Hackers
I switched to Dvorak about 15 years ago, and while I’m not going to advocate switching, I would like to provide one point of view.
I switched in high school for all the reasons people switch the Dvorak. Before switching, my QWERTY avg was around 60. Switching allowed me to relearn touch typing with a clean slate.
Now, 15 years later, I still regularly use QWERTY and Dvorak. But the contexts are different. I use QWERTY on my phone when typing with my thumbs, and Dvorak on my keyboard.
Recently I did an experiment with myself where I replaced all the keys on my keyboard with blank keycaps. Then I tried playing typeracer with a QWERTY layout. As expected, I consistently scored around ~40wpm.
However, if I allowed myself to look at the BLANK keycaps, it’s like a switch triggered in my brain and I was able to consistently type around ~60wpm. It’s like the visual input unlocked something in my brain.
When I type Dvorak, I use proper form, and don’t rely on the visual signals. I believe that because of this, my fingers have had to learn more deeply the shapes of the words as I type them.
One thing which I do is to type words up to about 7 characters as a single fluid motion. For longer words, I subconsciously chunk them into smaller parts, and type each of those parts in a single motion.
So my suggestions is to block all visual signals in whatever layout you use, and allow your fingers to develop a deep intuition about the shapes of words. Typing with proper form will definitely help, but the fastest typists in the world typically don’t use proper form. They just have really good accuracy.
Finally, I don’t think the physical keyboard matters that much. I would not recommend dropping >$150 on a fancy keyboard in order to practice typing faster. I use a fancy keyboard because I like fancy keyboards and how they feel, but that has very little impact on my typing speeds. I can be equally competitive with most off the shelf membrane and scissor switch keyboards.
I saw one video of a guy with a bone problem who was actually able use his thumbs to hit speeds in excess of 190.
Sometimes people will type properly but shift the home position depending on the word. I’ve even seen some people use 5 fingers on their left hand and one finger on their right hand.... quite astounding really.
One thing all of them have in common, which is excellent accuracy.
Also, fun fact, Dvorak has one major flaw if you are a CLI addict like I am. The command "ls -l" is typed entirely with the right pinky finger. If you want to know what it feels like on a qwerty keyboard, then simulate it by typing "p; 'p"
I struggled with this combination a lot, but eventually I drilled it into my fingers, and now I can type it totally naturally.
I did this in year 9 at school and my typing speed went down for about a month whilst re-learning.
The idea is you rest your fingers on asdf jkl; and to type a letter, raise the appropriate finger up or down.
Typing programs will teach you quickly by practicing the home keys then adding letters one by one like ‘e’ and ‘i’.
The biggest improvement comes because you don’t need to look at the keyboard. Your efficiency in overall computing tasks increases, then your typing speed rapidly overtakes your old style.
After a while you learn patterns of words so you aren’t always moving a finger off the home key and back like a robot. This is when you get really fast.
Always return to the home keys by feeling for the little bumps on the ‘f’ and ‘j’ keys.
I used to lay in bed at night practicing typing simple words with my brain. I’m sure this helped considerably.
It’s the best thing I ever self learned. Well worth the month of slower typing as my entire adult life typing has been a breeze.
With standard Qwerty touch-typing fingers position, you can build up to 85-95wpm easily. You need a lot of practice to build the muscle memory. You can learn basics in Typingclub.com and then you need a lot more practice in communities like typeracer.com.
If you want to get faster than that, you have to use advanced methods that competitive typist use which is fundamentally very similar to standard touch typing positions but slight difference to make it more efficient.
Different keyboard layouts have the same story. But you could also switch to Dvorak. It does theoretically give you speed boost while it puts less stress on your fingers.
If you don't want to become a competitive typist, better to not go above ~65wpm. You can really hurt your fingers without having proper exercises. You probably don't need more than that in regular jobs either.
These designs reduce motion (speed) and are uniformly laid out (accuracy) which is crucial because typing faster alone is not enough
I have two Ergodashes , one for home and one for the office.
It's also not going to increase typing speed. Learning to touch-type can do that, but 99% of the gain from changing the physical keyboard layout (ortholinear / split etc) or logical keyboard layout (Dvorak, Coleman etc) are for typing comfort.
More obviously, you can't type faster than you can think. Take the effort to prepare your thoughts. Develop a flow for your stream of consciousness. Typing on the fly requires a kind of cadence and rhythm that only comes with developing a proper form.
Honestly best advice is just get a keyboard you're comfortable with. I'm quite fond of my WASD keyboard. The sticky keys on my MacBook Pro just don't cut it.
I learned through doing runs of Mario Teaches Typing so fast that the computer struggled to render frames.
My typing speed's gone down, substantially over the years. I think that's a good thing. I think slower. I pause before I speak. I try to say more with less words. I've also picked up a weird habit of using only my index finger for my right hand but my WPM is still around 100.
> Honestly best advice is just get a keyboard you're comfortable with.
Exactly that. My typing improved extremely by typing a lot, although I'm not sure if it's necessary to know every single keyboard character by heart. And of course the keyboard must be comfortable. I think everybody has different preferences though. Personally I used to like ergonomic keyboards but at the moment I'm really comfortable with the Apple butterfly keyboard ;-)
I'd also add: only make this a priority if you don't already touch type. If you do, your speed will be adequate, and you'll gain more by adding higher-level tools to your arsenal (refactoring, structural editing, etc). It's sad that in 2020 we're still largely 'editing text' when programming, but careful use of IntelliJ or emacs (amongst others) can often lift the mechanics up a conceptual notch or three.
As for public/other computers that I don't get to configure: I found that I never really lost any speed on Qwerty. Whether that's the norm or I got lucky, I am not sure. Also, I find Dvorak to be available on most systems where the user can configure their input settings. Windows, Mac, and most Linux has Dvorak support built-in that are as easy to add as if you were adding another locale's keyboard layout.
However, now several years after switching, I'm still not faster than I was before I switched from Qwerty. (On typeracer.com going between 100 and 120wpm.) I'm also distinctly crippled now when trying to type on someone else's Qwerty keyboard.
Still probably a good move from an RSI standpoint; just be aware before you go into it.
IMO, voice chat ubiquity and smartphones has made zoomers crappy typists, compared to millennials.
I was tracking my progress on typera.net, which is quite dated, but seems to have a nice balance of challenging words and phrases.
In short, you nailed it. But forgot to mention abusing the power that QMK gives you for reducing reach/key stretch.
As mentioned typeracer.com is great, there's also 10fastfingers.com as well.
Are you a touch typist?
Try transcribing articles as you read them.
I do a lot of sysadmin work so I stick with QWERTY layout because it is everywhere.
I did try Dvorak and split keyboards, didn't find any speed gain. Probably due to the fact that I learnt to touch type QWERTY on typewriters without white-out.
Everyone I know learned to type very fast by pc gaming MMOs. WoW or other games force you to ‘practice’ a few hours a day, get extremely in tune with your keyboard, type the same few sentences thousands of times, and type short sentences extremely quickly. Short term a wow addiction is bad for your life, but you do gain exceptional keyboard skills.
Incidentally, scripting for Dragonrealms was one of my first memories of really hacking together somewhat complex logic for travel and skill training.
Just need to ditch character based input, it's not easy though.
Also, you can selectively scramble the keycaps of your keyboard : way cheaper than getting a Das, but as efficient!
Key takeaway is to focus on accuracy, then speed. When you hit 95% accuracy, push on speed. Remap Caps Lock to Backspace.
As a consequence, I had to learn to touch-type.
As of now, I am slower than before, but there is hope ;)
How exactly you do that... I'm not sure. But I think it's true.
Probably some misses are because poor registering and not because you.
Not because you what? If you use a mech keyboard, then this isn't a strong endorsement.
Play a MUD?
Most people don't think about the cost the extra 300 ms it takes to hit the regular backspace key, but given the frequency that you use it, it really adds up. Ditto for RET. Try it. And read this XKCD comic: https://xkcd.com/1205/
But more seriously, if you're using an external keyboard you could look into buying one with thumb keys.
I have alt, backspace, control, enter and space at my thumbtips:
2) Use an ergonomic split keyboard of some sort so your posture is much more relaxed and you're not hunched up trying to type on a straight keyboard.
Those two things will get you a long way. You can worry about other productivity improvements after that, but honestly I think they will be incremental once you've done the above.
Other fast gimme. Remap the capslock key to something useful but usually more awkward to reach. I've remapped it to ctrl, but considering switching to esc as I'm a vim user. Mind you, I've also got a FS3-P USB Triple Foot Switch Pedal under the desk with one of them mapped to esc, so not so urgent there. I wouldn't go remapping too much else otherwise it'll trip you up too much whenever you're at someone else's keyboard.
I learnt to touch-type in 1986 on a mechanical typewriter in school. I knew I was going to work with computers and so knew touch typing would be a valuable skill. I was the only male in the class as everyone else perceived it as a class for women looking to go into secretarial work.
I am absolutely amazed that touch typing is no longer taught in school in this age of ubiquitous computing.
As far as split keyboards, I love my MS Natural Ergonomics 4000. If I could get one with the number pad cut off (less reach for the mouse) it would be perfect. They do tend to last and last which is good as they're getting harder to find when one finally breaks. I've tried the MS Sculpt but I find the mushy esc key a real drawback (again, vim user). Overall just not especially nice to type on. I also do use the function keys and the extra media keys on the 4000 a fair bit, so missed them on the sculpt.
One of the advantages of vim is you can do almost all the editing without having to move your hands from the keyboard. You don't event have to move to the arrow keys as you can use hjkl for movement. Once learnt, it can be very efficient.
If I hand the time and energy, I would consider learning the Colemak layout. Given vi is hardwired into my brain by now I suspect it would make Dvorak too awkward.
Funny story. Once you can touch-type, you learn to unconsciously position your hands properly by feeling for the little marks on the J and F keys. When I worked in Japan, they didn't have these marks and I was forever drifting my hands over they keyboard until getting annoyed and having to look down to put my hands on the right row. You don't realise how many times a day you rely on that.
It wasn't until one of the locals pointed out to me that the curve of the J and F keys was deeper than the other keys on their keyboard that that particular stressor was solved. I learned to feel for that instead.