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Ask HN: How to learn to touch type efficiently?
4 points by zensavona 1013 days ago | 8 comments
Over the past few years I've learnt to type pretty fast with my (very bad) adapted 3 or 4 finger method - I really would like to learn to touch type properly though, any recommendations on how to learn (the last time I looked into this was when typing games were distributed on CD ROMs for Windows 98)

I'm also interested in Colemak, I've never used it but heard good things.

Thanks guys!




1: Slow and accurate is better. Build up speed.

2: Do not look at the keys. Learn the finger positions. Try covering your hands with a tea towel. (Or buy a keyboard with no markings. (Which has the added advantage of switching to other layouts easy.))

3: Practice little but often. Do short stints every day rather than long stints all day. (This is training drills, you should be trying to touch type all the time.)

4: IMPORTANT: PAY ATTENTION TO ACHES AND PAINS IN YOUR HANDS AND WRISTS. Some people find that touch typing, especially the positions recommended for the hands, causes discomfort. Sometimes that discomfort can be a severely debilitating RSI. The software I liked was "Typing Master" (http://www.typingmaster.com/) but it looks really dated now. Maybe there are much better softwares around.

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I disagree with #1 in the general case. When you're just starting out it is important to type accurately so that your fingers get the initial feel for reaching from wherever they're supposed to be, but after that you need to be careful not to plateau just because you're getting a few characters wrong here and there. Edit: In case it sounds like I'm just trying to argue, I'm not. Both approaches have their place on the learning curve, and depending on the method may work better than another. A typing tutor that doesn't let you correct mistakes should never be used for slow practice, for example.

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Oh, I agree with you! It's just sloppy wording on my part.

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I don't know how efficient it is, but learning to type with Typing of the Dead is certainly the most fun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Typing_of_the_Dead

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This is how I learnt typing too. I highly recommend it! Mavis Beacon and all those other boring typing tools never worked for me and I eventually did something like the OP where I had an adapted 3-4 finger typing system. I finally spent one fine summer destroying zombies and learning to type at the same time.

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looks good, thanks guys! I think I'm going to give that one a go.

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Oh also, when you are done learning how to type. Check out http://oktypist.com/index.html . This seems like a fairly neat way of checking what your net wpm should be.

(The reason I recommend doing this after you learn how to type is that your net wpm might actually be much lower than your current wpm :) )

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If you can afford it, throw down the scratch for a decent keyboard.

Something with Mechanical Switches.

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