The Tools to Use to Reduce Tension

The keyboard is a touch typist’s most important tool. A carpenter can’t construct a frame without a hammer and nails. A doctor can’t hear your heart beat without a stethoscope. And a touch typist can’t type on a computer or a laptop without a keyboard. If you want the job done right, you need the right tools. That’s why it’s so important to understand the layout of your keyboard and choose the right one for your needs. However, even the best keyboard won’t help if the layout of your office and workspace is causing you problems.

Here’s a question: do you want to know a simple way to reduce tension? One that won’t cost any money, won’t require any travel, and won’t require anyone else’s involvement? Of course you do! When it comes to managing tension, we need all the good advice we can get. And that’s exactly why you need to look at using ergonomics to provide the best possible environment to support your touch typing study.

Like everyone, you probably have a desk, chair, desktop or laptop computer, monitor, and of course, a keyboard. And most of you probably sit at this desk when typing on your computer – and you should. But if your monitor isn’t properly positioned, or your desk is too high or too low, you could be unknowingly subjecting your body to unnecessary tension in your joints and muscles. What’s more, this tension isn’t just in your hands and arms, as you might think – it can affect your entire body.

If allowed to continue, the tension could trigger stress, headaches, body aches and pain, eye strain, fatigue, poor circulation, RSI, and other health issues. Unfortunately, these health issues will continue until you do something to make them stop.

That something is ergonomics. Ergonomics is actually a science that involves creating workplace conditions that reduce a worker’s risk of developing health problems. Anyone who types for long periods of time, whether for work or for pleasure, could be at increased risk for these kinds of problems. The risk level varies depending upon an individual’s intensity of repetitive exertions, their duration, and the amount of exposure to those exertions. Creating an ergonomically correct work space can lower that risk, and it can also increase comfort. Take the steps to make your workspace a healthy one, and you’ll improve both your typing skills and your productivity.

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Multiply Two by Five and Increase Your Speed By Ten

Touch typing is an important skill, but for many people the term “touch typing” causes some confusion. It’s true that in order to type – whether on a typewriter or on a computer keyboard – your fingertips must “touch” certain keys. Doing so is how you produce the desired words, or proper combination of words, numbers, and/or symbols. A lot of people believe that this simple act of “touching” specific keys is what touch typing is all about.

It’s true that touch typing does involve touching. But to a greater degree, touch typing involves memory. You see, touch typing is the ability to type the correct letters in the correct order using the correct symbols, numbers and/or punctuation – without the need to actually look at the keyboard in order to locate the desired keys.

When you know how to touch type, you don’t need to look back and forth between the keyboard and the screen. Your fingers will know where to go to find the correct letters, numbers and symbols because you’ve trained them to recall the location of those keys on the keyboard from memory.

Please note that if you resemble the character Schroeder from the comic strip Peanuts while typing, you are not touch typing. Schroeder is the young boy who’s usually shown sitting hunched over his piano and using only his two index fingers to strike the different musical notes that correspond to whatever song he’s playing, which is typically something by Beethoven.

We know people who type like this, and you probably do, too. Some of these people can two-finger type quickly and with a great degree of accuracy. Regardless of their speed or their accuracy though, these individuals still rely heavily on their sight to locate the desired keys. Although glancing at the keyboard takes little more than a split second, using anything other than the touch typing method while typing can have a tremendous impact on your typing speed. That’s because all those seemingly unimportant split second glances can add up to several minutes or more by the time you finish typing. Even if you have to type for just a little bit every day, those wasted minutes can result in a significant loss of time out of your work week. That’s why learning to touch type using the Typesy system will save you time and effort for years to come.

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5 Jobs That Need Great Typing Skills

While it’s true that nearly every job requires some typing these days – since nearly every job includes the use of a computer in some way – the amount of typing that you need to do varies from job to job. Being able to type quickly and accurately is a skill that will help you in any field, but some jobs absolutely require top typing skills. Here are five jobs that you’ll be able to apply for after using the Typesy system to improve your typing speed.

Captioning. The “closed caption” subtitles you seen on television, as well as subtitles for movies and other video presentations, are generally done by typists. Sometimes they’re done in real time mode, while other captioning jobs are project-based and done in advance.

Medical Transcription. You’ll need a good ear and a good command of medical terminology, but the advantage of this field is that it can often be done at home, whether that’s full time or part time. The health field is a good and stable area to work, and because detailed notes need to be kept in each patient’s chart (and because the doctors and nurses don’t have time to write these notes themselves), there are thousands of pieces of medical dictation that need to be transcribed every day.

Data Entry/Data Processing. Whether you’re entering catalog orders into forms or keeping a database updated, you’re providing the key link between customers and corporations when you’re doing data entry. Speed is important in this job, but what’s most important is accuracy. Mistakes cost money, and a good typist can save the company thousands of dollars every quarter.

Customer Service. A 1-800 number will get you to the customer service department, but a lot of businesses have realized that it’s usually quicker and faster to have online customer service available. Because you’re in real-time mode representing your employer, you need to make sure that you don’t make any typing errors. A professional and polished customer representative is a valuable employee, and accurate typing is definitely part of the required skill set.

Legal Secretary. Another field where accuracy is crucial is legal services. Your typing abilities will help you keep up with the huge amount of paperwork involved in any legal proceeding, and ensure that the lawyers and judges using those documents have the information they need to see that justice is served.

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200 Years of Typing: What’s In Store For Typing Technology?

Back in the 1870s as the Industrial Revolution started to evolve into the Information Revolution and modern technological society needed more and faster ways of getting text and documents from one place to another, the first typewriters came into use in offices in the United States and Europe. The advantages of using a typewriter were significant: people didn’t have to worry about bad handwriting causing mistakes in orders or accounts, secretaries could learn to type much faster than they could write by hand, and business letters could all have the same professional look. The disadvantages of those early machines included typebars that would get stuck together or ink ribbons that would jam or go dry, and – before the correction tape and backspace key came onto the scene – it wasn’t very easy to go back and correct your mistakes. A typo at the bottom of one otherwise perfect page might mean that you’d have to re-type the entire thing from the top.

Electric typewriters started appearing over the next few decades, but it wasn’t until the 1960s and the famous IBM Selectric that the electric typewriter really took off. This machine replaced the typebars (with one or two letters or symbols at the end of each narrow metal striking arm) with something called an element which had all of the letters and symbols on one easy-to-replace ball. Now offices could not only have professional quality letters, they could also easily change from one font to another just by switching between elements. However, most offices just used two or three different fonts, including the standard Courier (monospace) and Ariel (proportional). Built-in correction tape allowed for easy erasing of mistakes, and every office worker had a bottle of white correction fluid in their desk to brush out any errors they found later.

Even after computers became standard in the office, they were often used just like typewriters. In some cases, the computer programs themselves weren’t advanced enough to provide anything but simply another way of typing a document. In other instances, the people using the computers didn’t know all that they could do. However, as more and more people grew up in a world where computers were more common than typewriters, those older machines started only being used for things like pre-printed legal forms. These days, it’s the people who were trained on computers who can’t figure out how a typewriter works!

Many messages go out today over smartphones that don’t have standard keyboards, or the keyboards are much too small for normal typing. Often these text message systems have an “auto-complete” option that means you don’t even have to type all of the letters in the word before it displays. While this saves time, there are drawbacks that go beyond the humorous “autocorrect” errors we’re all familiar with: touch typing techniques aren’t used, spelling rules are forgotten, and speed is more valuable than content.

Will keyboards are eliminated entirely one day? There are already voice-recognition software applications that translate your spoken words directly into text. Perhaps the next step will be to wire our brains straight into a worldwide communication network and eliminate the need for text documents altogether. Until that day arrives, though, keep practicing your touch typing skills!

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How to Stimulate Your Brain and Type Faster

Many studies have shown that when both sides of the brain work together, neural communication is improved and your mind works faster. They’ve shown that this right-brain/left-brain connection helps improve memory, for example, and even math skills. It makes sense that when your mind is functioning at its highest level, both the mental and physical efforts controlled by your brain when you’re typing will be performed at the highest speed as well.

You can stimulate your brain to increase the left-right interaction by simply moving your eyes back and forth from left to right. Other physical tricks work too, like walking or pacing back and forth, swinging your arms alternately left and right, but if you’re sitting at a desk at work or in a study cubicle at the university library, you’ll probably find it easier to use the quieter eye movement technique. This will prompt your brain to start the communication flowing between its two hemispheres, and with that increased communication all of your mental functions will start to pick up speed. Since your brain controls the muscles in your body, you’ll find that your fingers move faster too. What’s more, you can use your fingers to signal this communication process back to your brain, by typing words that use the left and right hand alternately.

Here’s an exercise for you to do, so that you can see the difference in your typing speed. Call up a blank document and adjust the document window so that it fits to the right of the screen and you can still see the list of words below. Without doing any of the brain-stimulating exercises we talked about in the previous paragraphs, check the time (or start a timer) and type the following words:


How long did it take you to type those words? How many spelling errors did you make while typing? Make a note of the results.

Next, take 10 or 15 seconds to do the left-right eye movement exercise. Check the time or start your timer again, and type this next set of words:


Did you notice a difference in your typing speed? Because the increase in speed might be small due to the shortness of the list of words, and because you were trying to time yourself, it could be hard to see the difference right away. Keep using this technique, however, and you’re sure to notice a difference over time.

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To Learn to Touch Type You Need Strength, Speed, and Stamina

There’s no Olympic event for touch typing, but typing is a physical skill, and you’ll need to practice just like any athlete does before a sporting event. You might not think that the small quick movements of your fingers require strength or endurance, but at the end of the workday when you’ve been repeating those movements for eight hours, you’ll definitely find that you’re tired, especially if you aren’t using the proper techniques. There are things you can do to help keep up your strength and improve your typing skills so that you’re fast, accurate, and able to finish your work at record-breaking speeds. The exercises and lessons in the Typesy program are designed to give your fingers a workout, but you can also work on your strength and typing speed even away from the computer. Here are some suggestions:

To increase your strength you can spend time on non-typing finger and hand exercises. This might be useful if you find that you don’t have the same strength in your little fingers as you do in the others. There are grip and finger strengtheners that musicians use that you can carry with you and use while you’re walking the dog or riding the bus to work. You can also practice playing the piano to exercise your fingers – the work you do on one keyboard will help you on the other. But don’t overdo the exercise! 19th century German composer Robert Schumann injured his hand, preventing him from fulfilling a career as a concert pianist, and some scholars say that it was due to overuse of a device to help him strengthen his little fingers.

To increase your speed it’s helpful to keep your hands flexible. Your fingers are a system of muscles, bones, tendons, and joints that all need to work together smoothly, and if your hands are stiff, you won’t be able to type as quickly. Vitamin C and manganese help keep the cartilage in your joints healthy, and glucosamine chondroitin and fish oils are popular supplements that also improve joint health. If your muscles are sore, anti-inflammatory medications can help. If your hands are cold, that will also make them slow and prone to cramps, so try to keep your office space at a comfortable temperature.

To increase your stamina the strength-training and flexibility tips above will help, but one of the best things to do for your stamina might seem to be just the opposite: stop typing. That is, stop typing for a few minutes every so often. Get up, stretch by lacing your fingers together and flexing your hands outward in front of you and over your head, walk around and shake out your arms and hands, and get your body moving. When you go back to sit down and type again, you’ll find that you’re more relaxed and alert, and that will help you keep typing longer.

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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.

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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.

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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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Welcome to Typesy Blog

The Typesy blog is due to become active in approximately 1 week. We’ll be posting free typing tips, news, and updates. Please stay tuned for more information, and in the mean time, why not check out all the benefits of Typesy

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