What’s the Best Ergonomic Keyboard for Fast Typing?

When you’re typing quickly, you’re probably focused on your hands and fingers, and where they are on the keys. But typing doesn’t just involve the muscles of your fingers, but also of your arms, your shoulders, your neck, and more. That’s why Typesy devotes an entire set of lessons to ergonomics, the science of adjusting workplace and workspace tools to best fit the human body. If you’re sitting correctly, with your keyboard and monitor and document display area all adjusted to your own particular physical needs, then you’ll reduce the stress on your body, which will help you type even faster. What’s more, you’ll also reduce the chances that you’ll develop one of the long-term problems like carpal tunnel syndrome that is often caused by overstressed tendons and muscles when you aren’t taking care of yourself.

Choosing a keyboard that fits you is a great way to help eliminate the problems associated with spending hours at your computer. Whether you use a laptop or a desktop model, you can look for keyboard layouts that are the most comfortable for you. Here are some suggestions for keyboard configurations that still use the standard QWERTY layout but also provide some relief for overstressed fingers, wrists, and shoulders.

The “Truly Ergonomic Keyboard” does a good job of keeping your hands and shoulders in a neutral position, but the [Enter] key has been moved to the center line, which means that you’ll be pressing it with your thumb rather than the little finger of your right hand.

There are many versions of the curved keyboard that allows your hands to both curl naturally inward and angle naturally upward, but this style isn’t to everyone’s liking. If you share your computer with a coworker, you may have to get used to switching out your keyboards when you start your shift.

To move your hands farther apart and into a more natural, forward-facing position, a split keyboard like this one can give you just that little bit of extra space you need to keep your shoulder and neck from getting tense, and because it’s not curved up in the middle, some people find it easier to use.

The ultimate split keyboard is one like the Kinesis Freestyle 2. Since bringing your hands together onto a small keyboard can be difficult for people with wide shoulders or bodies, this style of keyboard provides the most flexibility in creating the space you need to not angle your hands to an unnatural degree. However, because the two halves of the keyboard can be placed at different distances from your body, you’ll need to pay more attention to how you’re sitting so that you don’t twist your spine.

Many employers will pay for ergonomic equipment, so if you’re having problems after long days of typing at your desk, ask if you can explore some of these different tools to help you with your job.

One Reason to Never Use Two Spaces: You’re Wrong Three Ways

Whether you’ve come to Typesy to upgrade typing skills you learned long ago in school (yes, typing was once taught in school) or whether you’re a new typist who wants to start out on the right foot (or should that be “hand”?), you need to know that there’s more to learn than just the layout of the letters on the keyboard. To be an excellent touch typist, you’ll also need to learn the proper layout of sentences and paragraphs, especially if you’re doing transcription or dictation rather than typing out something that has already been formatted. And as you’ll know if you’re an “old school” typist – someone who learned to type on a typewriter – the rules of format and layout have changed with the use of computers. With a computer, you can create tables and complex formatting that would have been impossible (or would have taken a long, long time) on a typewriter. On the other hand, some rules have stayed the same; for example, we still capitalize the first letter of the first word of a sentence.

However, some rules have changed, and not everyone knows that. One of the most disputed rules of formatting is whether to use one or two spaces after a period. You need to have some space between sentences, otherwise the text is hard to read. But like other formatting issues, how you create this space has changed since the first days of typing. Here’s why you need to use one space after a period, and never two:

Now that most computers and typewriters use proportional fonts, the extra space for readability is created automatically. Typewriters used to only use monospaced fonts like Courier, which assign an equal space to each character no matter its actual width, and using two spaces made it much easier to see the end of a sentence. To test this out for yourself, copy this post into a document, select it all, and change the font to Courier. You’ll notice immediately that it becomes more difficult to read fluently.

Touch typing is all about speed, so why would you want to slow yourself down by making extra keystrokes? You decrease the keystrokes required in typing a sentence by only hitting the spacebar once instead of twice. That might not seem like a lot, but just think about how many sentences you type each day! It adds up quickly.

Finally, a single space after a period isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. Well, at least it’s the standard rule according to all major style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style and the requirements of the MLA and APA.

Learning how to touch type can be as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 if you keep in mind the tips and best practices you’ll find in the Typesy system and on this blog.

The QWERTY Effect: Do Typed Words Create Emotions?

We’re happy to welcome you to the Typesy blog, your source for touch typing tips, details of new typing techniques, and everything you need to increase your typing speed, from quick and easy exercises to the latest in keyboard innovations. We’ll also tell you about interesting things we find in the news that relate to typing skills, like the research study completed recently that looked at the emotional impact of words typed with different letter combinations on a standard QWERTY keyboard. This study looked at the way typing has become another method of processing words (word processing – get it?) just like listening and reading and speaking and writing by hand. In essence, the researchers found that people “feel” words through their fingers as they type them.

When we’re listening to someone talk, we unconsciously assign emotion to words depending on their tone of voice. This happens even if there’s no logical match between the actual words and the sound of the voice. For example, if you yell angrily at someone, saying, “Here’s some delicious candy!” the emotion they’ll feel will not be a happy one, even if they love candy. This study found that there’s an emotional effect created by typing words as well, and one that doesn’t necessarily have any connection to the meaning of those words. What the research study found is that when the letters in a word are typed mostly with the right hand, the words create a more positive feeling. This result was found in all groups of people tested, whether they were touch typists or not, left- or right-handed, or even non-English-speaking (Spanish and Danish test subjects were included in the study as well). As a proof that there was no direct connection between a word’s meaning and the emotion created when that word was typed, the study also used nonsense words with specific left/right letter combinations, with the same results.

“Happy” is one of the words typed primarily with the right hand, so typing it out may make you feel happy too. We’re delighted that you’re here, and hope that you enjoy using Typesy to get the typing skills you need and want. Keep the Typesy blog bookmarked and we’ll keep bringing you interesting and useful information on touch typing!

Reference: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, June 2012, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 499-504.
The QWERTY Effect: How typing shapes the meanings of words. Kyle Jasmin, Daniel Casasanto
You can read the full article here.

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