What is touch typing?

My definition:

“Using the keyboard without looking at the keys and using all or most of your fingers.”

Another one:

“Typing that is fast enough.”

Official from Wikipedia:

Touch typing (also called touch type or touch method or touch and type method) is typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys. Specifically, a touch typist will know their location on the keyboard through muscle memory. Touch typing typically involves placing the eight fingers in a horizontal row along the middle of the keyboard (the home row) and having them reach for other keys. Both two-handed touch typing and one-handed touch typing are possible.

Why learn touch typing?

  1. Save your eyes
    Looking at the keyboard and back at the screen all the time puts your eyes under enormous stress. They need to focus to different distances and often adjust for dark and bright areas. Touch typing will allow you to keep looking at screen at all times and relieve your eyes. The same goes for your neck.

  2. Save your time
    One might think that slow typing is “actually a good thing” because you have more time to think about whavever you are writing. This is nonsense. If you look at the keyboard, you are wasting time. Your brain has to switch from “creativity mode” into “button search mode”. Even if it’s only for a fraction of a second, multiply that by a thousand and the wasted time quickly adds up.
    With touch typing, you teach your fingers to find the keys automatically, without having to call your brain and eyes for help. Muscle memory.

  3. Type like a boss, impress your friends, boost your ego, etc.
    Whatever gets you going, you are still going to save your eyes and your time, whether you want to or not. Haha!

How can I learn to touch type?

The same way you learned to walk or ride a bike. Practice.

There are dozens of very sophisticated-looking programs that will purportedly teach you the perfect touch typing methods. You can try some of those. I have. And I decided to make my own because they all sucked [1].

I don’t believe in perfect methods. You can develop your own style that suits you. You can use only 6 fingers instead of 10 if you want. You can place your hands on the keyboard any way you want. The ultimate goal is to type without conscious effort and at decent speed. That is all.

But what if it slows me down?

At first, it will. Once you stop looking at the keyboard, you will feel a little lost. Like trying to walk around with your eyes closed. You will make more mistakes. You will need to stop to think about the keyboard layout. This is normal. Don’t worry.

Remember to keep your eyes off the keyboard, be patient and practice. That’s all it takes.

Download Type Raiders and start practicing right now.

[1] For example, most of them assume that the only type of text you ever write is plain English. Most of the text I write is technical stuff, filled with special characters. The finger layouts suddenly don’t work. They don’t adapt to the fact that using a modern editing program involves cursor movement using the arrow keys, deleting and moving stuff around, using function keys, switching between windows or multiple open documents.