In the modern world, it’s hard to escape from a computer. Many aspects of work, school and even aspects of our social lives are managed by the computer, so it’s more important than ever to be able to use that computer well. Typing is one of the most frequent activities done on the computer, whether it’s writing emails, updating your Facebook status, or finishing an essay at 3AM… So in order to truly master your computer, you have to master typing. As a professional writer, I type more than I do anything else on the computer, so by necessity I’ve become a fast typist- my average speed is about 73 words per minute, while the national average is about 39 words per minute.

There are a number of ways for you to learn how to type faster, but we’ll look quickly at the top methods in order to get you typing faster than ever before.

The Home Keys

When your left hand is poised over the A,S,D, and F keys and your right hand is poised over the J, K, L, and ; keys, your hands are in a prime position to hit every key on the keyboard. These are called the “home keys,” and using them is much more intuitive than trying to peck away at the keys using only your index fingers… and even if you do continue to only use your index fingers, it’s better to keep them localized so that once you start using your thumbs or pinkies, you’re already used to the proper positioning.

Typing Software

The best way to learn how to use the home keys correctly is to let typing software teach you. When I was in middle school, we used “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing” which is still one of the top typing software programs on the market fifteen years later. Today, though, the real gold standard is UltraKey 6.0. Whichever program you choose, though, will take you from the very basics of hand positioning up to learning how to increase your speed so that you’re averaging 75 words per minute. It should be noted that working through these programs is a tedious process, but it definitely gives you a good baseline that you’ll be able to build on.

Have a Good Quality Keyboard

There is nothing worse than typing with an old clunky keyboard. You want keys that are soft and feel light, this will help you to type at a much faster rate. Test out a variety of keyboards and find the one that suites you the most.

Organize Your Thoughts Before You Type

It can seem daunting to open up a new document and see a blank white page staring at you. You’ll have a vague idea of what you need to say, but no real direction, so you’ll end up typing slowly because you have to think while you’re typing. Even for this article, I wrote all of my headings first (typing software, organize your thoughts, etc.) so that when it came time to type actual content, I could do it much quicker. This is especially useful when it comes to doing essays for school. I was never one to use an outline, but once I started, it made my work considerably quicker.

Practice Makes Perfect

The number one way to learn how to type faster is to simply keep typing! Muscle memory is very important when it comes to typing, so the more you do it, the more your fingers will get used to it and the more natural it will feel. When I write articles around friends and family members, they jokingly call me Ray Charles because I will occasionally lean my head back, close my eyes, and type away… and I never have any typos. That’s all thanks to muscle memory!