The Advantages Of A Touch Typist: Part I
What is touch typing? How does a touch typist fare in comparison to a 'hunt and peck' typist? What benefits can be found to one using touch typing as their primary method of typing? By exploring the above questions: part I of this essay intends to brief the reader on some of the known advantages of touch typing, and aims to inspire interest for individuals to acquire this skill.
What is touch typing?
Simply described; touch typing is a typing method which uses all ten fingers to type on a keyboard, without looking at the keys. The process involves continuously building and relying on using one's muscle memory, in connection to where alpha-numeric letters are placed on a keyboard, whilst acquiring this finger-hand coordination skill.
The more widespread global typing method: often called the 'hunt and peck' method, primarily requires using two index fingers, and heavily relies on one's vision to find keys on the keyboard.
Touch typing is a skill that requires learning from a starting point. A beginner would start with familiarizing herself/ himself with the home row keys (A, S, D, F and J, K, L, ;). Once comfortable with the accuracy and speed of the home row keys, the beginner than moves along with the training process for the next row of keys, combined with continued practice of home row keys already learnt. Continuing in this manner, a beginner touch typist slowly expands learning across achieving familiarity of muscle memory for all letter and number keys found on a standard laptop/ computer keyboard.
What are the benefits to acquiring touch typing as a skill?
There are certain obvious benefits that come from using touch typing, such as:
1. Speed. The typical typing speed of a touch typist is 60-80 words per minute [WPM]. General research shows that achieving even 30 WPM would challenging for a hunt and peck typist.
2. Increases Accuracy. Fewer mistakes made, equals fewer corrections to be done. Touch typing requires muscle memory of alphanumeric keys, and therefore naturally stabilises and improves accuracy levels, especially if a beginner focuses on maintaining accuracy from the starting point of learning this skill.
3. Saves Time. The shortcut to typing more words in less time. An average touch typist, typing at 60 WPM, could complete typing 250 words in approximately 4 minutes. However, an average two-finger typist, typing at 15 WPM, could complete the same 250 words in approximately 17 minutes. 'Working smarter, not harder' is a benefit of touch typing, in completing your work in half the time you otherwise would.
4. Reduces Fatigue. Typing over lengthy periods of time can be mentally and physically draining, causing fatigue. The upright posture used for touch-typing is more comfortable and relaxed, as opposed to where your upper body is hunched over your keyboard trying to locate and press keys.
5. Supports Health. It's been said that overall touch typing benefits one's health. Again, the posture, plus using all ten fingers for typing, minimises the risk of repetitive stress injuries [RSI]. Many people sitting with computer work, day after day, are prone to RSI. In utilising the correct technique of a touch typist, the chances of having a sore neck and back are reduced, and it relieves unwanted stress on the wrists, which can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
6. Easier Editing. Touch typing incorporates the practice of correcting mistakes immediately with backspace. Time is saved on proof-reading grammatical errors with easy editing on the go. Hunting around with your head down looking for keys doesn't support one's notice of mistakes made right away, until at times much later. Corrections tend to break focus, where distractions then arise. Touch typing also provides grammatical clarity, as often the thoughts/ words in our head may sound different when seen in print visually.
7. Increased Focus. Two-finger typists face the challenge of having two focus points – the keyboard, and their screen. Since a touch typist bars vision from the keys to fixing their eyes only on the screen, their attention is singular in focus, therefore heightening productivity levels. A touch typist has ideas flowing more naturally, with better clarity in the text they are typing, given their attention is not diverted by the keyboard. Workflow and concentration therefore improve.
8. Job Prospects. Typing isn't considered to be an optional skill anymore. In fact, many employers require a minimum typing speed as a part of expected computer skills in today's day and age. Candidate preferences likely wouldn't be two-finger typists with a speed of 20-30 WPM. Needless to say, touch typing in an accurate way could be one of the most invaluable skills of your career!
You are now aware of several positive, long-lasting benefits one gains in acquiring the skill of touch typing. I recommend any individual wishing to gain an advantaged life-long skill, supporting your career life in this age, to enrol themselves in a typing tutor programme to increase and enhance your typing abilities along with health and productivity levels (many good courses can be found online). These are just some of many more advantages out there, which anyone can research further, as per their interest levels.
Perhaps, you may doubt that touch typing isn't worth your time, especially if you are a grown-up who has already been using the hunt and peck method for years now (and currently feel confident and comfortable with it). While it understandably may take time to 'unlearn to relearn' a new method, I can confidently assure you that the time you spend investing into this skill (regardless of your age now), is a small investment price towards paying off bigtime rewards in the long run. You may find yourself reaping rewards in more ways than you thought could be possible, like myself, and many other touch typists have.
To be continued…
We are all placed in the sea of life
Born with our own lifeboats
Yet how we each choose to man the oars
Remains left up to us
The Advantages Of A Touch Typist: Part I