How To Improve Your Typing Skills (Plus Exercises To Try)

Updated July 6, 2023

A person sitting at a table types on a laptop with a smartphone to the left of the laptop.

The ability to type quickly and accurately is a skill that can help you communicate with clients and fellow team members no matter the career in which you work. Producing quality work with few typos or missing words helps ensure that the focus remains on the message of your content. Learning how to improve your typing skills can help you become a more efficient communicator regardless of whether you're writing articles, emails, presentations or other content.

In this article, we explain how to improve your typing skills, suggest typing exercises for beginner and more experienced typists and learn why typing skills are important.

How to improve your typing skills

Follow these steps to improve your typing skills:

1. Familiarize yourself with the keyboard

Familiarize yourself with the proper hand position on the keyboard. Place your left and right pointer fingers on the “F” and the “J” keys, respectively. Some keyboards have a small raised tab on those letters so you can orient your fingers without looking. Let your other fingers fall on the remaining keys in the home row, which consists of “D,” “S” and “A" for the left hand and “K,” “L” and the “;” symbol for the right hand.

With your fingers on the home row and both thumbs resting on the space bar, you can train your hands to reach all the other keys without looking. People consider this “touch typing.” Essentially, each finger is responsible for the keys just above and below the home row key on which it sits. The right pinky is responsible for the “Return,” “Shift” and “Delete” keys, and the left pinky is for the “Shift,” “Caps Lock” and “Tab” keys.

Related: 12 Online Typing Jobs You Can Do From Home

2. Learn the proper typing position

While placing your fingers in the proper position can help you improve your typing skills, you can also increase your chances of success by putting your body in the proper position. Beginning and remaining in the proper position can provide comfort and help you prevent strain or injury. If possible, sit up straight in a chair with your keyboard at a comfortable height on your desk. You can also place your feet flat on the floor to assist with your sitting posture.

Once you've sat down in this position, ensure that the screen is between 15 and 25 inches away from your eyes, and adjust it so you can look down at it slightly. Keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and try to expose your shoulders, arms, wrists and elbows to as little strain as possible. Establishing these habits sooner rather than later can help you prevent repetitive stress injuries over the long term.

Related: How To Sit Properly at a Desk (With Examples and Exercises)

3. Start by typing slowly to avoid mistakes

Starting to practice slowly teaches you to type accurately. You can increase your speed as you learn. You can measure your typing speed in words per minute (wpm). People who are just beginning to type regularly may have a wpm of 30 or 40, and it may increase to 60 wpm, 80 wpm or even higher as they get more practice. The WPM calculation accounts for uncorrected mistakes to determine your accuracy and speed.

Typing the document correctly the first time reduces the need for excessive copyediting and proofreading. It may be easier to prevent the mistake initially than to find and correct it later. When you focus on accuracy, even if it means typing slowly at first, you can improve your consistency and eventually your speed without the assistance of correcting technology.

Related: How To Include Typing Skills on a Resume (With Template and Example)

4. Practice often

Schedule sessions to practice your typing skills. Instead of typing lying down on the couch, always practice at your desk in the proper seated position. A comfortable setup that mimics an environment in which you'd normally type can encourage consistency with your progress.

Related: 12 Transcription Skills and How You Can Develop Them

Beginner exercises to improve typing skills

Consider trying these beginner exercises to improve your typing skills:

Exercise 1

This exercise has you type simple words in a random arrangement so you can practice capitalization and finger positioning on the keyword. Consider typing the following words, being careful to not make mistakes:

The be to of and a in that have I it for not on with he as you do at this but his by from they we say her she or an my one all would there their what so up out if about who

Exercise 2

This exercise features a well-known fable. Consider typing the following story, including the punctuation and quotation marks, to help improve your typing skills:

The Hare & the Tortoise by Aesop

A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

“Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.

“Yes,” replied the Tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I'll run you a race and prove it.”

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully, and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.

The race does not always go to the swift.

Advanced typing practice activities

If you're ready to advance your typing practice, you can try the following activities:

Cover your hands

Lay a cloth napkin or dish towel over your hands so you can't view your hands or the keyboard. Proceed with your typing practice normally. This strategy can encourage you to look at your computer screen rather than your hands. When you discourage yourself from looking at your hands and the keyboard, you may be able to improve your speed and efficiency. It can also prevent injury, as you can stop yourself from straining your neck to look down at the keyboard.

Related: How To Practice Office Ergonomics in the Workplace

Create timing drills

Use a timer for specific kinds of drills. Using the exercises above or a passage from your favorite writer as a reference, type as many words as you can in 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can give yourself a set amount of time to type slowly and check if you can type a passage without a single mistake.

Related: How To Improve Your Focus at Work in 9 Ways (With Tips)

Seek practice material from others

Ask a friend or family member to choose passages you can practice. If the texts they choose aren't ones you've typed before, you may find them more engaging. Using new passages can also help you practice typing while reading, and you can stop yourself from memorizing your other practice material.

Related: How To Be an Effective Accountability Partner at Work

Type material that's outside of your line of work

Find some text with words outside your field of expertise, like a scientific publication, legal document or a white paper featuring technical or unfamiliar vocabulary. Try to type these documents without making mistakes. As you practice typing more complex and unfamiliar words, you may develop greater levels of precision and focus.

Related: 8 Tips for Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone (With Examples)

Test your typing skills

After learning the basics and practicing, take a typing test to check how you're doing. Conduct an internet search to find a free online typing test that calculates your words per minute and shows you when you're making mistakes. Set intervals at which you take the online tests, like every week or every other week, so you can observe how you're improving. You can also set goals to motivate yourself to practice regularly.

Learn shortcuts

As you become more confident in your typing skills, you may choose to learn typing shortcuts. For example, you can press the "Ctrl" and "C" keys simultaneously to copy text and the "Ctrl" and "V" keys simultaneously to paste text. When you learn keyboard shortcuts, you can improve your efficiency because your fingers don't have to leave their positions on the keyboard as frequently.

Related: 21 Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Mac Devices

Why are typing skills important?

Many employers require or prefer candidates to have basic typing skills, so developing your typing skills may improve your employability. Read about some specific reasons that typing skills are beneficial to your career:

Aids in communication

Having the ability to type well can help you write emails and draft other forms of communication. Some jobs require correspondence through letters, speeches, presentations or blogs, in which case your accuracy when typing can facilitate clear communication.

Related: 10 Benefits of Effective Communication in the Workplace

Increases productivity

Improving your typing skills can help you become more efficient when performing any computer tasks, meaning you can complete your assigned tasks and move on to new ones. Having the ability to type fast with accuracy can aid in a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Research

  • Presentation creation

  • Data input

  • Idea sharing

  • Email sending

Related: How Is Worker Productivity Measured? (With Example)

Enhances your resume

You can add your typing skills to your resume as part of your technical skill set. If you're seeking an administrative or creative role, adding typing skills may be especially helpful since typing may be a more significant part of those roles.

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