Did you know that the average typing speed for a person is about 40 words per minute? At that rate, you’re making progress of about 200 characters during that same 60-second timeframe. Having the ability to type faster isn’t as hard as one might think, however. At one point in their lives, all of our expert transcriptionists were mere average typists – some even using pointer fingers only!
Over time and with lots of technique and practice, you too can build up your typing skills and become more efficient every day. With these amazing tips, you’ll be able to boost your muscles memory quickly to improve your typing speed and form.
Top Tips for Becoming a Better Typist
With the power of research, science, and trial-and-error from our own transcriptionists, we’ve rounded up a fairly comprehensive list of the best ways to improve your typing skills.
1. Rework your hand placement
At the very foundation of every great typist is their ability to hold steady, proper hand placement. You should always use all of your fingers (never just your pointer or middle fingers), and approach the keys with the same general starting point shown here:
Your keyboard scheme is your best friend – this graphic shown below from RataType shows the ideal positioning. According to their experts, you should always:
- Hit keys only with the fingers for which they have been reserved.
- Always return to the starting position of the fingers “ASDF – JKL;”.
- When typing, imagine the location of the symbol on the keyboard.
- Establish and maintain a rhythm while typing. Your keystrokes should come at equal intervals.
- The SHIFT key is always pressed by the pinky finger opposite to the one hitting the other key.
- Use the thumb of whichever hand is more convenient for you to press the Spacebar.
2. Adopt a relaxed stance
Your hands and arms are important to place in respect to your keyboard, but the rest of your body is just as important. First thing’s first: take a deep breath and relax. Being able to utilize a generally relaxed, but supportive, position in front of the computer is a critical way to ensure that your full-body is doing well.
Here’s a great diagram to show you how to get set up right at the keyboard:
3. Use typing tests and training tools
Say what you will, but online training tools and easy-to-use tests exist for a reason! They work amazingly well and use repetition to help drill that muscle memory in deep. A word of advice: don’t rush into it. Take your time to avoid mistakes, especially at the beginning, and your speed will pick up as you get better.
Some of the most popular and well-utilized typing tools out there today include:
Our Expert Transcriptionists Weigh In
The incredible transcriptionists we employ are also (believe it or not) expert typists as well! You can’t quite have one without the other, so we tapped into these great minds to see how they type in the most efficient way possible:
“I generally clock between 80-100 wpm, depending on how my fingers are feeling. It comes from more than 30 years of touch-typing generally and also, I almost think you could call it, an OCD where I am constantly typing in my head. Watching TV, my fingers often “air-type” unless I’m keeping them busy with something else. As a strange result, I find that I actually get my biggest speed boost from not looking at the screen as I type. During my first pass, the transcription pass, I’ll close my eyes, or watch the fish in my tank, or people watch out the door to my office.
Accuracy comes from just paying attention to the small details. I also worked in college for a typesetting company, where you really learn to pay attention to minute details like spacing, punctuation, etc. Inconsistent paragraph spacing in a Word document is like nails across a chalkboard to my eyes.”
– Lisa J.
“I find that the more I know with regard to what I’m typing, the quicker I can type it, and the more accurate it will be. I basically listen to the audio as much as possible to figure out the topic, data mine the context as much as I can, then quickly research it. If I understand what I’m typing about, the accuracy and speed seem to just flow naturally, so I take those few extra minutes to figure it out first.”
– Michelle M.
My best advice is that practice makes perfect. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. Type and type a lot. Also, text expanders are your best friend.
– Sarah Y.
“I use a spelling corrector and text expander program to correct my typos and reduce my typing time. I add any typo as a new string to be replaced with the correction in order to reduce common typos going forward. I also have strings set up as shortcuts for the words and phrases I type frequently. By typing only a few letters for a tricky word or long phrase I can save myself a lot of time spent typing and correcting.”
– Gabriella W.
At the end of the day, like any skill, typing takes careful and repeated practice in order to get to the next level of efficiency. With careful hand and body placement, the right techniques in place, good posture, and lots of great practice, you’ll be well on your way to improving your typing speed and efficiency. When you can’t quite type it all out, our transcriptionists are on-call to help. Get in touch with us or get a free quote for your next transcription project.