As someone who writes for a living, typing is an essential tool of my trade. And until Acer Iconica style dual screen tablets become commonplace, most of that typing is done on QWERTY style hardware keyboards. I say most – a few things are bashed out on my iPad but even then I tend to attach a Bluetooth keyboard to speed things up a little. I never officially bothered to learn touch typing – I can bluff my way around the home-keys well enough to get work done – but I’ve always had a nagging feeling that I should knuckle down (no pun intended and as Paul F Thompkins would say “no pun taken”) and learn to touch type. I was going to make it my New Year’s Resolution, but it’s something I actually intend to do so I don’t think it counts.
In a wonderful case of synchronicity, a Danish software typing firm happened to email me and ask if I’d like to review Keyboard Pro – a web-based typing course. How did they know?
The course is called Keyboard Pro, and has been used (successfully) in Denmark for the past ten years apparently. Branching out, the course has been updated, translated and transformed into a web-based course for UK computer users who take their typing seriously.
Using Flash video, you simply need a login – and don’t have to purchase, install or download any software. Aside from Flash I guess. A series of introductory videos walk you through the system and the key points (which can be summed up as “Don’t look at the keyboard!”). After that a series of exercises will beat the home keys into you and gradually improve your speed. There are a range of keyboard layouts such as Standard, Ergonomic, Arc and Comfort Curve to choose from – including my Apple keyboard, which was a pleasant surprise.
The actual drills are quite helpful and make you aware of your bad habits (you probably have some) as well as building speed and accuracy. You can’t skip ahead, which was a little frustrating, but helped enforce some much-needed discipline to my typing.
Multi-user training packages for businesses are from £5 per person; a single-user course costs £29.97 + VAT (£34.95 inc VAT). Check it out at Keyboard Pro.