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At the moment I type roughly with 60 words per minute. What kind of practice would I have to do to get to 90 words per minute? What practice is best and how much time would it take?

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Here's a related superuser post: superuser.com/questions/1227/how-can-i-improve-my-typing-speed –  Dan H Jul 12 '11 at 16:08
    
The best way to improve your typing speed is to practice online passing lessons and the main rule do not look on the keyboard. –  Adam Fort Aug 30 '13 at 9:28
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12 Answers 12

  1. Type with ten fingers if you don't already do so, avoid hunting-and-pecking...

  2. Dvorak will decrease the finger distance, the switch can take from some weeks to some months.

  3. Keyboard training will help you practice to type common English words without making you wonder what to type. This allows you to practice at a higher wpm than when you would type things you have on your mind, it also gives you kind of competitive setting where you'll want to improve your results....

    This is of course Dvorak based, but there are others if you decide to stay with Azerty/Qwerty/...

  4. Getting another keyboard like a DAS Keyboard or perhaps working on a laptop keyboard can help too.

Have learned Dvorak 2 - 3 years ago, I'm able to type ~ 100 WPM, I could reach up even higher results if I would train on a daily basis.

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How much time did you invest into keyboard training with Dvorak? –  Christian Jul 9 '11 at 16:00
    
@Christian: I've started typing Dvorak instead of Azerty everywhere, and did some keyboard training (30 min) on a daily basis in the beginning and at later moments when I had spare time. It took me 1 to 2 weeks to memorize the keys (without having to look), then 1 to 2 months to get near speeds of Qwerty and I guess something about 3 or 4 months before I got significantly faster speeds. On my first laptop I swapped around the keys, on my new one I type completely blindly as swapping is not possible there. Also, please note that you will forget Qwerty if you completely stop using it... –  Tom Wijsman Jul 9 '11 at 19:27
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Finding a keyboard that is the right fit for you makes a huge difference. One that is too cramped forces you to slow down to avoid poor aim, one that is too widely spaced forces you to move your whole hand to type a far away key. Also, I've found that a buckling-spring keyboard allows me to type faster than a silicone bubble one, though I'm not really sure why it's faster. –  HedgeMage Jul 12 '11 at 7:07
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I like the idea of Dvorak, but I think the social costs overweight the individual benefits. For example if I want to type something on another person's computer. Or in public setup. Or if somebody needs to use my computer. And so on. I think Dvorak is effectively socially isolating, and I speak that from the experience of having a boss using Dvorak. Which is a pity, but does have to be considered. –  Alexandre Rafalovitch Jul 12 '11 at 15:13
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@Tom-Wijsman: I did not mean to imply that it is hard to set Dvorak up. Rather I meant that if you are using somebody's computer, they will have Querty. And it is not particularly socially acceptable to just reset their keyboard and/or add keyboard layout. It would be (in those circumstances) the kind of thing that gives geeks a bad name. I have enough problem with colleagues using French Canadian keyboard to just extend the feel into something completely different. And I did not even mentioned that you would have to be perfect touch-typist to use Dvorak on a keyboard with no stickers. –  Alexandre Rafalovitch Jul 12 '11 at 20:48
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At 60 wpm it's easy to assume you have already memorized the keyboard and don't need to look at it. You're looking for a software that can be used to train your fingers to hit only the closest keys.

enter image description here

Each color corresponds to a finger. The circles shows the standard position for left and right hands. It might look a bit complicated to get used to this but there are a lot of free softwares out there featuring lessons and statistics.

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How much time do you have to spent with those software towards which you linked to get a measurable improvement in typing speed? –  Christian Jul 9 '11 at 18:47
    
The software I'm currently using - RapidTyping - has short lessons ranging from 1-2 minutes. It took me around two days to get used to using all my fingers and a week to achieve around ~60 wpm. –  Renan Jul 10 '11 at 11:50
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Whenever I typed with QWERTY, I used to type 40-65 WPM. 70 MAX.

Now, I switched to DVORAK, I type anywhere between 70-120 WPM - depending on the complexity of what I'm typing.

Someone said that the "social repercussions of typing in DVORAK far outweigh blah blah blah"...I just gotta call HogWash on that.

Whenever you switch to DVORAK, your QWERTY skills just don't "disappear". To analogize, you become bilingual with your keyboards.

Typingmaster/TypeMaster is the ONLY good software that I'd recommend - mainly because it has specific exercises for DVORAK. Mavis Beacon has nothing...

I switched in April of 2010. Between April2010-Jan/Feb2011, I hit a steady plateau where I could only get around...70-80 WPM max. Then, I found some wonderful facebook games. It was like Bookworm, but you have to type the letters before they fall down. If I recall correctly, the game's name is TypingManiac. I played it for about 5 days, and my typing speed hit 100+ easily.

I work in a call center environment. I'm the fastest typist out of 200+ people. I can practically dictate whatever I hear on the phone. I don't need to stop and worry about "spelling errors" or typing too slowly because those problems are practically non-existent in my book.

EDIT: Whenever you switch to DVORAK, don't "rearrange" your keys. I tried to, it didn't work out too well on my gloss-finished Toshiba laptop. I now have a permanently missing "Home" Key :P

Use Nail-Polish. I had to paint over with black over my keys to cover the old keys up. Then, I had to use green-nailpolish to actually write "aoeuidhtns" on the keyboard. Make sure that you use ULTRA FINE nailpolish. You don't want something that creates bumps/ridges because you'll need those only on your u and h keys - anything else will throw you off when you try and switch keyboards.

After a month when you have memorized all of the keys and also the function keys (?+||_"<>.,etc), then take off the nail-polish and you're good. I had my nailpolish on for about...9 months on my laptop. There was no difficulty when trying to take it off. I just had to have alot of paper towels next to me :P Oh yeah, do it outside...because it doesn't smell to good lol.

Fin.

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I switched to DVORAK in 2002 and for ~8 years supported users and had to switch back and forth between using their computers (QWERTY) and my computer (DVORAK) for that time my typing on both layouts was about 40-50 WPM. Since then I've been using DVORAK almost completely and my DVORAK typing has gone up to about 65 WPM but my QWERTY has gone down to about 30 WPM. I would never recommend someone switch to DVORAK for speed but rather for comfort. Here's some more info –  rothgar Apr 29 '13 at 19:33
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Without switching to a different keyboard layout, I've found it useful simply just to get in practice with visual feedback. This may or may not seem a bit corny, but the game-styled interface provided by Typeracer has been useful for me to check where my speed is, and to perform typing exercises through typing passages.

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What does "useful" mean. What WPM did you had before you started with Typeracer. How much hours did you spent over what timeframe to get to what WPM? –  Christian Jul 12 '11 at 17:36
    
I personally haven't been pushing to improve my typing speed lately, but it's been around 65WPM (when I'm not writing code). I haven't invested a whole lot of time in the site yet, maybe an hour or so total over the past month, but I've at least been able to bump up my speed by a couple WPM, and I can see the charts and stuff to tell how I'm doing. I know it's not quite the 30WPM jump you're looking for, but it's helpful for short stints of improvement/keeping up the skills. –  ZKSteffel Jul 12 '11 at 19:05
    
Without knowing how fast you were before you started saying that your speed is 65WPM is meaningless. The intention of this thread wasn't to get a list of services that I can easily find via a Google search. It was about knowing which of those services actually help people to improve their speed for a reasonable time investment. –  Christian Jul 12 '11 at 19:36
    
I absolutely love typeracer, its very addictive. I haven't kept precise track but I've improved about 5-7 wpm in the 250 odd races I did. –  DMin Jul 27 '11 at 9:50
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I think partially the answer depends on what you type. If you just type general texts, any keyboard training program will probably do ok.

On the other hand if you do specialized typing, such as software programming, your needs are quite different and rotate a lot more around brackets, braces, numbers and weird punctuation signs. I don't think too many typing programs concentrate on teaching you to type -> and function(){ quickly.

In which case, it might be an issue of finding a program that allows you to paste custom texts (hello world from your favorite language may do) or just picking an interesting piece of code/sample of text and doing it repeatedly paying attention to what keys fail for you.

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  • Have a really long password you have to type in every time you use your computer.
  • Use a text editor like Vim, where your hands never need to leave the keyboard.
  • Start a long-running conversation with someone you like talking to on the Internet.
  • Use the QWERTY keyboard layout, left hand on A,S,D,F,space, right hand on J,K,L,;,space

This may take a few months.

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The thing that has really improved my typing is playing text-based games, specifically ones that rely on typing and are fast-paced, specifically Muds.

You have to type complicate stuff, in real time, to people. Complicated commands, character speech, a real variety. And you can ramp up organically, in a learning way, as you get used to it, -and- it's fun.

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I average about 95 WPM and it goes up steadily year after year (I check my speed on TypeRacer). This is how I got there:

  1. Practice touch typing (use all 10 fingers, never look at the keyboard, keep fingers on the home row, NEVER hunt-and-peck, etc).

  2. Put yourself in environments where you MUST be typing fast (punctuation/grammar doesn't matter): Any instant messaging, in-game (text!) chat during videogames, etc.

  3. Type big blocks/paragraphs (this time, punctuation matters!) at least a few times a day: emails, blog posts, forum posts, etc.

Tip 1 helps your fundamentals, tip 2 helps with speed, and tip 3 helps with learning the quirkier keys and improving accuracy. You'll need all 3 in order to succeed!

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great suggestions. –  Memming Sep 1 '13 at 15:46
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If you are nearly at the limit of your input speed, increase the output speed or use auto-correction,

i.e. there are tools like autohotkey and phraseexpress that auto-complete self-defined acronyms you are typing.

e.g. for autohotkey you can put your often used phrases, idioms... into a file,

::sum::to put the whole matter into a nutshell
return

type the acronym and when typing sum and hitting TAB, SPACE, RETURN above idiom auto completes

with :?:huose::house you can auto correct when too fast typing causes errors.

Here you can downlaod the autocorrect.ahk file with load of english spelling errors

I type blindly 10 finger system over 60 WPM and use this hack mainly for increasing output additionally on boards, latex, blogs... where you often use similar terms.

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While I appreciate your goal (most gain for best efficient use of time), I have found that the best tool is a combination of several tools, directed by a consciousness (metacognition) of how you're learning. You come to realize there are several aspects of typing: consistent speed, bursty typing, initial typing (vs being in the middle of a long paragraph), etc. 10fastfingers improves a different aspect than www.typeracer.com or Typing.io and for active improvement I keep switching between them.

It's not like weightlifting where you get stronger no matter what you're thinking as you're lifting. That's why I think in such a mental art as typing with thought corresponding to flow corresponding to output, it's the "forget everything and just learn" mentality that will get you the most gains: you just have to give up the couple minutes / an hour / months as "lost."

I also emphasize the comment up above "don't switch to Dvorak for speed but for comfort."

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Typing.io is really nice.

  1. It's designed specifically for programmers
  2. The paid version lets you upload and type any code you want.

I haven't tried the paid version yet, but I think I might.

Seems like a great way to get familiar with an open source project.

If you're going to put time into reading and typing some text, wouldn't it be cool if that text was something you'd like to understand and remember?

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Like the process of improving any skill: practice. Join a forum or chat online. Take typing tests online.

If you are serious about increasing typing speed, then set time aside to focus on improving that skill. When I am away from the computer, and bored in a classroom or something, I like to imagine typing out what is going on in lecture infront of me. My fingers know all the positions of keys, so I can act like I am typing and still understand when I make a typo.

Lastly, don't feel the need to subscribe to certain methods to increase typing speed. Learning an entire new keyboard layout seems counter-intuitive to the cause at first, but it may help in the long run. If you have time and patience to devote to it, try it out. You may end up a faster typist than you already are. I use QWERTY and type around 90 to 100 WPM with one or two capitalization errors.

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I don't think that writing my last thousand post of about the length of your posts did change my writing speed by a significant amount. –  Christian Apr 9 '13 at 16:33
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