IT Employment

Five apps to make you a better typist

Improve your keyboarding skills with the help of one of these typing tutors.

If you do a lot of writing, it's nice to be able to type at a speed that lets you complete a writing task as quickly and accurately as possible. Thankfully, a number of software packages are available to help you improve your typing skills. This article outlines five such utilities.

Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.

1: TypingMaster Pro Typing Tutor

TypingMaster Pro Typing Tutor (Figure A) is one of the better typing tutorials on the market. It features a series of comprehensive lessons that collectively take several hours to complete. The software also tracks your progress and provides a number of statistics, even going so far as identifyiing the keys that are the most problematic for you. TypingMaster Pro Typing Tutor sells for $29.95.

Figure A

TypingMaster Pro Typing Tutor

2: Rapid Typing Tutor

Rapid Typing Tutor (Figure B) is a free utility that appears to be geared more toward beginners than experienced typists who want to increase their proficiency. It lacks many of the bells and whistles found in other typing tutorials, but it does offer a lesson editor you can use to create custom lessons.

Figure B

Rapid Typing Tutor

3: Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (Figure C) has been around for what seems like forever. I remember seeing an early version of this program on my uncle's computer in the late 80s or very early 90s.

Figure C

Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing

There isn't a free trial of the current version of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, but Download.com offers a free trial of a slightly older version, which is good for getting a feel for how the software works. It is worth mentioning, however, that the download is about 400 MB in size. Although this might not be large by today's standards, the download was painfully slow when I attempted it. In all, downloading and installing the trial took more than an hour to complete.

The software itself really isn't bad. Like most of the other typing tutorials on the market, it offers classroom-style lessons, typing tests, and typing games. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is available as a Deluxe Edition ($19.99) and a Platinum Edition ($29.99)

4: Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor

Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor (Figure D) is a typing tutorial that is intended for beginners and advanced typists alike. Although the Viking theme might not appeal to everyone, it does help keep the otherwise monotonous typing lessons lighthearted and somewhat fun. In addition to the typing lessons, Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor offers a variety of typing games, and it can automatically create playlists from your iTunes account so that you can rock out while you're working on your typing skills. Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor is free to use for 10 days, but the full version costs $25.95.

Figure D

Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor

5: Bruce's Unusual Typing Wizard

Bruce's Unusual Typing Wizard (Figure E) is a fun and free typing tutorial, even if the interface does seem rather dated. (It works fine on Windows 7.) The program offers instructional text and then guides you through a series of typing lessons, all the while keeping track of your speed and accuracy. There is also a typing game where you have to repeat the letters that are displayed before they plummet to the bottom of the screen.

Figure E

Bruce's Unusual Typing Wizard

Other favorites?

Have you run across another training app that's improved your typing skills? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.

About

Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.

14 comments
iColorType
iColorType

We have an app exclusively designed for the iPad called iColorType. It teaches people correct motor skills by using color. It is especially effective for teaching children to touch type. Check it out at http://iColorType.com

nell_zeledon
nell_zeledon

There are many applications online and also offline which teach you to how to type through easiest way but if you not practiced you can't type well. I become a professional typist in two weeks only by hard practice. So keep practicing for better performance.Thanks for about these apps about typing.  

scabillot
scabillot

I am quite proficient at typing, but have never used the number pad. Any apps teach that?

dpraven
dpraven

This method teaches the keyboard layout in 20 minutes, you then move to typing sentences and building speed. In a few hours you can become a expert typist! It's amazing in 2 hours I could type 25 words per minute with out looking at my fingers :). Whats cool is because you learn which finger types what letters in 1 lesson you can touch type from the get go and every time you use the computer you are practicing typing. Check it out at http://www.almenausa.net!

CMB from Omaha
CMB from Omaha

This site is designed for children, but my adult community college students and my 77-y/o Dad have benefited from it. Dancing, singing cartoon characters lead you through the lessons; so it's way less boring than the way I learned in HS back in 1975. If you can't always understand the characters' accents, just watch the screen for instructions... http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/

Bambam9668
Bambam9668

Type Fu on Google Chrome seems to be a decent proficiency program. However, it does not appear to be designed for the beginner.

jimmyhelu
jimmyhelu

The occasional missed letter means you probably just means you're not as good at typing as you think, we all make mistakes

Greenknight_z
Greenknight_z

Tuxtype is free and cross-platform. Typing games aimed at children, but it works for adults, too.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

A few days ago, TR runs an article on the "inevitable death" of the desktop PC because of the massive wave of mobile devices poised to utterly wipe out every last piece of computer equipment currently in use and to completely transform our digital lives... but here we have desktop applications designed to hone typing skills on a full size keyboard, which we're led to believe will be extinct before too long. *sigh* Whatever.

Santosh17
Santosh17

Thanks for the list... helps a lot

moldau04
moldau04

I was looking for a list of typing software and this is very helpful. The screenshots also help so I can get an idea of the interface.

wwgorman
wwgorman

The authors and editors must be getting the message that the screen shot alone presentations are wasted on most of the readers as these blog presentation are satisfactory, if too brief, and can be easily printed or converted to PDF files for printing or future reference. I may try one of the free programs---or one with an extended trial period just to see how it helps. I've never been a touch typist. Maybe now-----to some degree after some lessons.

spdragoo
spdragoo

I credit my high school Personal Typing class as helping hone my typing skills. Granted, that was back in the days of the original Macs & DOS/Windows 3.1 PCs, so we learned it the "old-school" way: on IBM [b]typewriters[/b] (some of which had auto-correct ribbons installed, the rest requiring use of those "correcting" tabs that pre-dated White-out).