Learning new things, is an essential part of life. While we try to
spend a lot of time learning various tricks about our tools or a
particular programming language, many newcomers miss another important
The art of Touch Typing.
Ever since, I started going to conferences, I met many people who do
touch type, and they generally type really fast. I found that to be
very common, in our circles. But, when we meet beginners and discuss
the things they should learn, we completely miss talking about this
point. Most of the beginners I’ve met can’t type well. And most of
the errors people ask about, are caused by, guess what?
Also, because they type very slow, beginners lag behind in workshops.
My favorite tool is GNU
Typist. It’s a small
command line tool which can help anyone learn touch typing in a few
days. Remember that the package name is gtypist.
In the main menu, you choose one of the many courses shown. The
“Quick QWERTY” course is powerful enough to give you a start. After a
few screens of description, about how to use the tool, you get into a
screen like the one shown below.
As you see, any error will be marked by the tool. In the beginning, it
is okay if you keep checking where your fingers are. If you spend a
week with this tool, you should be able to start typing faster, and
with fewer errors. Your muscle memory will kick in, and you’ll will be
amazed by your new super power 🙂 When I first used the Das Ultimate
(no relation :P) or the Kinesis Advantage keyboard, I spent the first
few minutes in gtypist to become familiar with them.
KDE Touch is a GUI application to learn how to type. It will give you
similar levels of detail, using various pretty looking graphs &
charts. If you do not like the command line tools, you can always
start learning using this tool.
There is also the Tux Typing tool, which is aimed more at kids. The
tool shows various words and if you can type them properly, you will
be able to provide to food to the nice little penguin.
People who are reading this, most probably will spend the rest of our
lives in front of computers (for various reasons). Learn to type
well; having that muscle memory is a powerful tool and will be a be
source of great strength for you.