Touch typing


4 min read

A bit of a tangent this week, but still something I'm learning. It was on a bit of a whim after I saw people talking about games you can use to learn/practise touch typing. I can type without looking at the keyboard, but I don't use all my fingers and I can only really do letter. Having to keep looking down for numbers and symbols was annoying me, so I decided I'd try touch typing.

Typing Club

I started with TypingClub. They teach you to type letters, numbers and symbols (except backticks and Euro symbol) and there's a UK or US edition. Although whichever you pick you still get a picture of a US keyboard. And US words and punctuation.

There's a lot of practise in there and you get stars based on how well you've done. But as you go through there's a minimum speed you have to hit to get all stars and I got really stuck on that. Plus my accuracy was not great and when typing outside of it I got so frustrated I'd go back to my old typing method, which didn't help with getting my muscle memory working for touch typing.

I then went to which teaches you similar things, but although it has a UK option, all that means is that the words are spelt using UK English. It still tries to teach you with a US keyboard layout.

I like that this has a focus on accuracy. I find it easier to be accurate if I'm not worrying about my speed. It also has levels and achievements, which I thought would annoy me or I'd just ignore, but it turns out they motivate me. It also keeps track of how long you've been typing so you can set a goal and it will tell you when you've reached it.

Usefully, for coding, it has a coding section. So you can practise typing HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I found it because I was looking for typing games and discovered it has one that's like Fruit Ninja (which I love) but instead of swiping the screen you press letters on the keyboard. It's fun, but hard. It also has choose your own adventure games, so you get to read a story while typing. Whereas in the lessons some of the things you type are just bizarre.


TypeRacer is all about speed, so I haven't done it as much. Mostly I've just practised, rather than racing other people. Unlike the other two sites, if you make a mistake you have to fix it, you can't just continue. So in that respect it is about accuracy.

You get to type paragraphs from novels and it will tell you what you've typed, so that's quite interesting.

My progress

I did struggle at first. My lack of accuracy frustrated me and slowed me down. I ended up with a combination of touch typing and my previous typing, which made the accuracy worse. I had to go back and re-learn things. Especially capital letters, as I realised I took my whole hand off the keyboard to press the shift key, which was leading to me going back to my original typing method.

I also had to relearn numbers as I was continually pressing the wrong one. I've also discovered that although I think I know which symbols are above which number, it turns out that some of them I am not that sure about. Which makes pressing the right one a bit tricky.

But I have written all of this using touch typing, without frustrating myself at my errors and lack of speed. My speed is still a bit slower than not touch typing, but it's (very) gradually getting faster. I am on about 45-55wpm, depending on how many capital letters, numbers and symbols it involves, and about 98% accuracy, which is not bad. I've been doing some typing practise every day. And trying not to go back to my original method, so I lose that muscle memory for two months, but I tend to forget a lot when writing emails at work. And don't tend to bother with touch typing when writing code, which I definitely need to start doing.

I am determined to finish TypingClub, where at the end you need to be typing 75wpm! I suspect that will take a while. And work at touch typing when coding - at the moment it's frustratingly slow, but the only way to get faster is to practise.

Other games/places to learn

I'm interested in what you use, if you've learnt or are currently learning to touch type.