A few years back, my wife decided to put her winter layoff time to productive use by learning how to touch type. She used a little free Mac App called TypeTrainer4Mac as her tutor, stuck with it, and within a couple of months was able to say goodbye to looking at the keys while she types. She now puts non touch typists like…ahem… me to shame in both speed and accuracy, and can also type in the dark, which stops me in my tracks.
I keep telling myself that one day I’ll find the time to learn to type properly, but then again, I actually do a large proportion of my typing these days on the iPad’s virtual keyboard, and as my better half discovered after taking over my old ‘Pad, touch typing doesn’t work so well on a touchscreen keyboard.
Anyway, if I were to make the effort to learn touch typing today, I think I would go for Mr. Takeshi Ogihara’s free Typist app.
I’m a big fan and heavy user of Mr. Ogihara’s wonderful graphics tool ToyViewer (oddly named but serious productivity software). I like the way his stuff works, and the professional design, polish, and execution of his apps’ user interfaces puts most commercial software to shame.
Mr. Ogihara notes that touch typing is not difficult, but does take a lot of practice. He strongly emphasizes the importance of avoiding the temptation to look down at your fingers while typing, which he characterizes as a very bad habit that is hard to break later (let alone after fifty-odd years of typing that way).
He acknowledges that those of us who have used the hunt-and-peck method for years—or even decades—will have an even harder time keeping ourselves from looking.
He also warns us not to be surprised if we find touch typing slower than our old ways. It may be slower when you first start, but, as he promises, touch typing is far faster once you get the hang of it—at least on a good keyboard. That’s certainly been empirically proven by my wife.
New in the most recent version 2.4.0 of Typist:
- The size of thewindow can be changed.
- The progress of exercises can be recorded in iCloud.
- As your exercises proceed, a “stamp” can be displayed optionally. There is also a stamp for children.
- You can set up typist so that a favorite picture may be displayed after exercises are completed.
Typist is available for free in the Mac App Store.