Have you ever had to type up a report for school or work that seemed to drag on forever? Do you ever feel like you type slower than others, or not as efficiently? That could be the case if you don’t practice touch typing. With enough practice, you could type many more words per minute.
While it may sound daunting at first thought, touch typing is a practical, important, and easy-to-learn skill that can be easily learned and practiced within the comfort of your home.
What is Touch Typing
So what exactly is touch typing? Touch typing is the skill or practice of typing using all of one’s fingers without needing to look at the keys of a keyboard. Ironically, touch has very little to do with the practice of touch typing.
Typists that employ the touch typing method don’t look at their keyboards, nor do they use their sense of touch to “feel” where the keys are. Touch typing relies primarily on muscle memory.
The keyboards used in touch typing are primarily QWERTY standard of Dvorak layouts, but others can be used with enough practice. Experienced typists can also use their skills with stenography machines.
Why is Touch Typing Important
With the rise of speech-to-text programs and devices, it may be hard to visualize exactly why touch typing might be useful or even important. Who needs to type when you can simply ask an artificial intelligence or language interface to do things on your behalf?
The truth is, learning to type properly and efficiently is a crucial skill. Many employers in certain industries still ask their employees to prove that they can touch type. It becomes a matter of productivity at that point, but work isn’t the only reason to learn the skill.
Speed and Accuracy
The “hunt and peck” style of typing is frustratingly slow and inaccurate, but it’s a style most people use because they may not have been taught to type any other way. It lends itself to failure.
While you’re typing, you may be making grammatical or spelling errors that most modern word processors will pick up on. If your eyes are glued to the keyboard, figuring out where certain keys are, you miss those mistakes. Touch typing allows you to pay attention to the content you’re typing.
A touch typist can type without needing to search the keyboard, and can therefore type much faster. Without their eyes focused on the keyboard, they can watch their monitor or screen for inaccuracies in what they type, and correct themselves more quickly as a result.
Typing is surprisingly both mentally and physically straining on the typist, especially for long periods as some tasks require. This is even more true when your posture is bad due to having to hunch over a keyboard to find the right keys.
Touch typing alleviates this by, first, not requiring you to lean over your keyboard. If your muscle memory is good, you know instinctively where the keys are and don’t have to hunt down specific keys for long periods.
Second, with a faster output, you won’t need to be sitting at the computer for long periods to accomplish the same goals and output. Typing at 60 words per minute is quicker and more efficient than typing at 15 words per minute.
When you’re typing while having to simultaneously look at the keyboard, your attention is divided between finding the proper keys and the actual thing you’re trying to type. You have to think about where your fingers are going along with where they have been.
Learning to touch type puts a stop to that. Touch typing makes it so that you only have to focus on what you’re currently typing, not the past, present, and future of what you intend to type. You can look directly at the screen and know what you need to type.
How to Start and Practice
Learning touch typing is not only beneficial to your work, health, and mental focus. It’s also easy to learn and practice. Contrary to other skills, it also takes almost no time to improve your typing skills and begin to see results.
There are many touch-typing practice sites and applications to be found online. If you’re a student, particularly a high school or college student, there are usually classes that teach touch typing as part of the curriculum.
Once you learn how to position your fingers and begin learning the keys, practice simply involves making a habit of using the technique you’ve learned. This is particularly easy on standard QWERTY keyboards, which most people have at home.
The learning and improvement process never truly ends, either. Many experienced touch typists will make a habit of covering their hands, keyboards, or both while typing now and then. This keeps their skills sharp and makes sure that their muscle memory is still as good as ever.
In conclusion, touch typing is not only a good skill to have for productive purposes. Touch typing increases productivity, but also has health benefits, both physically and mentally. It prevents fatigue and improves posture while typing, and is seen in several professional fields of work.