Which is More Important: Speed or Accuracy?

When it comes to touch typing, the two most common goals are speed and accuracy. Each of these goals provides you an opportunity to define a specific measurable accomplishment that you would like to achieve. Whether you choose a goal of speed or a goal of accuracy, or both together, is a personal decision that should be based on answering this simple question:

What do I hope to achieve by learning touch typing skills?

In order to answer this question and help you decide on your first typing goal, here are some more questions to think about. The answers to these questions will help you prioritize how you use the Typesy system to improve your touch typing skills.

1. Will touch typing help me qualify for a specific type of employment?

2. Will touch typing help me complete more school assignments in less time?

3. Will touch typing help give my written correspondence a more professional appearance?

4. Will touch typing help me realize my dream of opening my own typing business?

5. Will touch typing help me teach a child, relative or other acquaintance touch typing skills?

6. Will touch typing help me be more responsive to questions and other requests for information I encounter on various social media sites?

7. Will touch typing simply allow me to add another valuable skill to my existing skill set?

8. Will touch typing benefit my life in some other way, and if so, how?

Once you define your touch typing goal, whether that’s improved speed or more accuracy, simply enter it into Typesy and let Typesy help you achieve it!

Help! I Can’t Find My Keys!

If you’ve done any traveling in different countries, you’ve probably had the experience of going to an internet cafe and trying to send an e-mail to your friends back home – and realizing that your e-mail is full of typos you didn’t even know you were making! That’s because the layout of computer keyboards from different regions of the world may vary. A United Kingdom keyboard is a good example. The main difference on a UK keyboard is that the symbols above the numbers are in a different order, and a few of the punctuation keys are in different locations. Another difference is that the Enter key on a UK layout takes up two rows rather than one. Spanish keyboards are set up to accommodate specific non-English letters and symbols, and if you’re a good touch typist and aren’t looking at the keyboard, you’ll probably end up pressing the wrong keys accidentally. Some computers and laptops allow you to change the virtual keyboard layout, however, so no matter what the letter or symbol on the key is, you’ll be able to type as you’re used to without making accidental errors. Note: Typesy will adapt to your keyboard as long as that type is supported.

In addition to regional variations in key layouts, some keyboards have entirely different shapes. One you may be familiar with is the split keyboard. Split keyboards look as if they have pie-shaped cracks running down the middle of the letter rows. The split was designed to conform to a more natural hand position, which is supposed to help reduce shoulder, wrist, and arm tension. Other split keyboard designs actually consist of two separate keyboard pieces with half of the letters appearing on the left-side piece and the other letters appearing on the right-side piece. This ergonomically designed keyboard makes it easier for different users to adjust the position of the two sides in whatever arrangement results in the most comfort.

Other keyboard designs are split and contoured, which supposedly improve comfort and typing speed. Some designs have repositioned the most commonly used keys for easier access. There’s also the Dvorak Simplified keyboard, which has undergone several design changes since its creation back in the 1930’s.
Although futuristic-looking and favored by some, the majority of updated and non-traditional computer keyboard designs have failed to gain widespread acceptance among computer users. It is for this reason that the makers of Typesy decided to base their touch typing lessons on the QWERTY keyboard. This decision was also based on the fact that the QWERTY keyboard is the number one recommended choice for touch typing. Nearly all modern computer keyboards have the QWERTY layout; the name comes from the order of letters on the top row, Q-W-E-R-T-Y from left to right. Because the QWERTY layout is so common, the touch typing lessons in Typesy are based on this layout.

Improving Your Job Prospects is as Easy as QWERTY

Mastering the skill of touch typing can enhance your career prospects in ways you might not have thought. For starters, it is possible to make a good living by typing. There are a variety of jobs for which someone with a decent typing speed can qualify. Practically every type of business that operates within an office environment depends upon a typist who is able to produce professional-looking typed correspondence as often as necessary. There actually is no faster or easier way for a business to create a positive first impression than with its correspondence.

Although a typist is most often considered an entry-level position, the job offers a great way to get your foot in the door. It’s also the type of job that can open doors to other job opportunities. Furthermore, an exceptional typist need not remain in an entry level position forever. Many typists get promoted to positions of increasing responsibility, perhaps as an administrative assistant, or even all the way up to an executive assistant to the president.

However, secretarial and administrative jobs aren’t the only career paths for those who master touch typing. Any type of job that involves typing could be an option for those with an interest in that particular type of job. Some other career options individuals with strong typing skills might consider include:

Transcription work
Jobs that involve technical, sales and marketing-oriented writing
Blog writer
Typing service owner

Keep in mind though, that careers focused strictly on typing are not the only way touch typing can advance your career prospects. Fast, accurate touch typing can improve your ability to perform any type of job, whether the job is directly related to typing or not.

From corresponding with business partners across town or across the globe via email, to putting together agendas for on-site meetings, to typing sales proposals, marketing materials, shipping addresses, and product descriptions, those who can touch type have the potential to perform all of these duties and a whole lot more.

7 Steps to Comfortable, Fast Typing

Taking everything together related to ergonomics, your goal should be to set up your work space, desk, chair, and computer so that you minimize stress (both mental and physical) and maximize productivity. In order to do that, you need to keep seven things in mind. Check the list below to see if you have your typing tools in the position you need, and if you’re putting your body in the right position to use those tools.

Number one: To avoid headaches, your head should be held upright, not tilted forward or backward, because a tilted head can create strain.

Number two: Aim for relaxed shoulders and arms that hang naturally at your sides.

Number three: Never let your elbows flare out. Keep them bent at right angles (or up to 120 degrees) and close to your body.

Number four: Don’t over-exaggerate the curve in your fingers. Keep it natural.

Number five: Always strive to keep your wrists flat.

Number six: Keep thighs and hips parallel to the floor and well-supported.

Number seven: Keep your feet uncrossed and flat against the floor.

If that sounds like a lot to remember, try creating a mental image of yourself seated at your computer work space to help remember. Basically, when all of the body parts just mentioned are in proper alignment, your body should form two letter “L’s”.

Looking at an imaginary cross section of your seated body, draw an imaginary line from your erect head down to your elbows, and then another line from your elbows extending outwards to your wrists. The line from head to elbow, and from elbow to wrist, forms the first letter “L”.

The second letter “L” is actually drawn upside-down. This other “L” is formed by drawing an imaginary line from your buttocks straight out to your knees, and then from your knees down to your heel. See the upside-down letter “L”? Another imaginary straight line drawn from your heel to toe ensures your feet are flat on the floor.

Note: If you experience musculoskeletal pain and discomfort now, or while completing the Typesy Course, you may need to seek professional help. Only someone with the proper training can accurately diagnosis the source of your pain or discomfort and recommend a treatment plan that may or may not include ergonomics.

What Should My Typing Goals Be?

If you’re new to touch typing or if you just have a general sense of “I need to get better” then you might not have any specific goal in mind for your touch typing practice. If you’re still having trouble defining your touch typing goals, this post might help, because it relates typing to professions, and you can use this information to tailor your goals to your career plans. We’ll go over some general information regarding what different roles or professions may require in terms of touch typing speed and accuracy.

If you are interested in becoming an office worker, the ability to touch type is an absolute must. You probably won’t even be considered for this type of job without touch typing skills. In this role, typing speed and typing accuracy are both important since you will be responsible for typing correspondence, proposals, reports, presentations, business letters, marketing materials, and more. You will probably do a good amount of emailing, too.

A minimum typing speed of 45 words per minute, or “wpm,” is what most candidates will need to qualify for a job as a typist, secretary, or administrative assistant. Of course, the faster you can type without losing accuracy, the more valuable you are to an employer.

Another in-demand position that relies heavily on touch typing is a medical transcriptionist. For this job, your typing speed should be a minimum of 65 wpm. In addition, because the vocabulary is highly specialized and not in common use, touch typing prevents you from being slowed down by looking for all the letters in a word such as ophthalmoscopy.

You might think you need a really fast typing speed to become a writer. Well, this isn’t necessarily true. Writers spend a lot of time thinking about what to write. Then they think about the best way to write it. Then they write it, and usually spend a lot of time editing to make their sentences perfect.

Although the final editing process is slow, a writer can definitely benefit from the ability to touch type as fast as their minds can think during the initial creative process. If this sounds vague, well, it is. So here’s some advice for aspiring writers: Aim for a typing speed of 70 wpm. That way, you’ll be able to capture those wonderful thoughts in writing the moment they form in your mind.

Of course, there are countless other roles that require the ability to touch type. If you’d like to learn more about the touch typing speed and accuracy requirements for the type of job you’re interested in, simply research the job. That will provide you with the information you need to clearly define your touch typing goal.

3 Ways Typing Helps in Legal Jobs

If you remember what we discussed in a previous post about jobs that require good typing skills, we mentioned medical transcription as one job where excellent typing will set you apart, but we didn’t talk about the other job that people think about when they hear the word “transcription” – court reporting. That’s a job where someone types every word that’s spoken in a courtroom during a hearing or trial. You’ll often see the court reporter sitting up front just underneath the judge’s bench where they can hear everything clearly. However, you’ll also see that they don’t have a typewriter in front of them or even a laptop, but instead a special small machine with fewer keys than a standard QWERTY keyboard. A court reporter presses these keys in specific combinations to represent the syllables, or sounds, in a word, rather than the letters.

Learning to be a court reporter requires special training and equipment, but good typing skills on the computers found in any law office will give you the edge when looking for jobs in that field. For example, even though many of the transcripts of court proceedings are done by the court reporters, a legal secretary is often asked to listen to recordings of sessions or interviews and make a transcription for the lawyer to refer to later in cross-examination. And of course, as in any office, there are hundreds of letters that go out to clients, courts, and other law offices each week; many of those letters are dictated into voice files or microtapes by lawyers and given to the secretaries to type up and mail out. When you’re doing transcription, your fastest speed will come when you can keep your eyes on the screen and correct any mistakes as you go, rather than looking down to see where your fingers are on the keyboard.

The second way that typing skills help you in a law office is by increasing your efficiency. The legal field is one that generates a lot of documents, and the faster you can put them together the better the office will function and the more you can get done. This is especially important when there are hearings or trials coming up, because most courts only have a limited number of judges and times available. If a lawyer doesn’t have all the documents they need, they might have to postpone the trial, and that may not benefit their client.

Finally, learning to touch type significantly increases your accuracy in typing, and accuracy is of critical importance in any legal document. Something that is filed in the court can have the force of law behind it, and if you’ve missed a word in a document there could be serious consequences. Just think about typing a will, and accidentally changing the directive “I do not want my jewelry to go to my sister” by forgetting the word “not” – that would probably spark family feuds that burn for generations!

Don’t get burned in the legal field or any other, but start improving your typing skills today!

What is a Numeric Keypad?

Most standard desktop computer keyboards include a numeric keypad. The numeric keypad is usually positioned to the right of the rows of letters. The keys on the numeric keypad display the digits zero through nine, along with other keys including the Number Lock (or [Num Lock]) key, mathematical symbols, and the [Enter] key.

If the presence of a numeric keypad seems redundant, it is. All of these digits and symbols are found elsewhere on a computer keyboard. However, the numeric keypad appeals to many people, especially accountants who are used to working on adding machines and individuals who spend a lot of time working on calculators, 10-key machines, or cash registers. The numeric keypad is also often preferred by those who spend their days entering long number sequences into spreadsheets. The keypad frequently corresponds to movement commands used in many computer games.

Laptop computers do not typically have enough space to include a numeric keypad. Instead, the [Num Lock] key toggles specific letter keys to become the equivalent of the number keypad keys. On a typical laptop, the number keys 7 8 9 on the top row keep those values, the letters U, I, and O become the 4 5 6 keys, the J, K, and L letters toggle to become 1 2 3, and the letter M becomes 0. Mathematical functions are assigned to other keys which may appear in different locations depending on your particular keyboard. Because of this difficulty, many people choose to purchase a stand-alone numeric keypad that they plug in to the laptop when it’s needed.

Straighten Up And Type Right!

Just as the position of your chair and the height of your desk determine how you sit at your keyboard, the position of your monitor directly influences your posture when you’re sitting. Ergonomically speaking, what is most important about your monitor and its position is that you are able to look straight at it. You should not have to tilt your head up or down to see it.

The screen image should be at eye level or slightly below your eye level. This helps you keep your head erect while typing, which lessens the risk of neck pain. If you have to tilt your eyes upward, even just a little, your eye muscles will inevitably tire and strain. If you have to look up at the screen, you’ll probably tilt your head and neck backward, and cause these muscles to be strained and fatigued, too.

Likewise, your monitor should not be too close to your eyes, or too far away. In either case, having the monitor at the wrong distance can trigger eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. When the monitor is too far away, you may have to squint or lean forward to see it. When the monitor is too close, your eyes can have difficulty focusing. This may cause you to push back from the screen. But then you’ll likely have to stretch to reach the keyboard.

Ideally, your monitor should be positioned on your work surface at least 20 inches away from your face, but not farther than 40 inches away. You should not position your monitor off to the side, even if it is at eye level. When your monitor is off-center, you use your neck muscles unevenly, which can cause fatigue and pain. As a general rule, always aim to have your head, neck, and torso face forward.

If repositioning your monitor is difficult or not possible, try raising or lowering your chair to change your eye level. Adjust chair height if you think it’s necessary, and then see if the difference in chair height keeps you from tilting your head. If you have a corner desk, placing your monitor in the corner will provide more depth and enable you to properly position your monitor.

Note: If you experience musculoskeletal pain and discomfort now, or while completing the Typesy Course, you may need to seek professional help. Only someone with the proper training can accurately diagnosis the source of your pain or discomfort and recommend a treatment plan that may or may not include ergonomics.

Multi-task and Multiply Your Typing Times

There’s a lot you can do in the course of your daily routine to keep practicing your touch typing skills, and the tips and techniques you learn from courses like Typesy – and of course this typing blog!

You can practice typing without looking at the keyboard by first selecting any document at hand, whether that’s a newspaper, a printout of a report, an e-mail from a friend you have up on the screen in a separate window, or even the inspirational quote on your desk calendar. Next, call up a word processing blank document (remember to turn “auto-correct” off for this exercise!) and just start typing. If you’ve got a clock with a second hand in view, you can try to time yourself, but accuracy is more important as a goal when you’re doing this sort of practice. That’s why you should have the “auto-correct” feature off, so that your word processing program doesn’t correct your mistakes. It might be depressing at first, but you need to see your mistakes so that you know what aspects of typing you need to focus on and improve.

Once your accuracy is good, you’ll be ready to start practicing your typing during day-to-day tasks. When you type emails, social media posts, or documents, do your best to use the correct fingers and NOT look at the keyboard. Before you know it you’ll be an expert typist, and your typing speed will only continue to increase.

Punctuation is Important, Period.

If you thought that learning to touch type only involved learning where the letter keys are and which fingers you used to type those letters, it’s time to turn your attention to the punctuation keys so that you can use those letters to form words, and use punctuation to form those words into proper English phrases. All of the punctuation keys you need to construct grammatically-correct sentences are available on a QWERTY keyboard. If you have questions about the proper usage of the various punctuation marks, you’ll find plenty of explanation in grammar books and on the Internet – it’s much too big a topic for a single typing-related post.

Punctuation marks are an important part of sentence construction. Their use tells the reader when to stop, pause, and feel excitement. They join separate but related thoughts. They help the reader understand when someone else is speaking or is being quoted. They do all of this and so much more. So always be sure to include them!

Before you start typing, take some time to learn where the different punctuation keys are located and which fingers you should use to access them. Here’s a hint: Almost all of them will be accessed with the fingers on your right hand.

The comma is located on the bottom row, to the right of the letter M. The period is to the right of the comma and the question mark is to the right of the period.

The colon is on the same key as the semicolon. And that means you’ll need to press the [Shift] key to type a colon.

Both the single quote and the double quotation marks are on the key to the right of the semicolon/colon key.