Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Type Like A Crazy Person

I'm a pretty fast typist - at least that's what people tell me when they see me banging away on a keyboard. Maybe I am just a loud and flashy typist.

While I was typing a particularly uninteresting paragraph of text at work, I stared at my hands and realized that the way I was hitting the letters made no sense whatsoever.

Here's how normal people are supposed to touch-type, with each colour representing a finger:

Here's how I type, using the same colour scheme:

  • I don't use my right ring finger at all, except for quote (") marks and question marks. For apostrophes, I still punch the (') key with my middle finger.
  • Apparently I don't use my thumbs. At all. I hit the space key with my right index finger, every time. What's strange is that I didn't realize this until recently.
  • Right-shift FOR LYFE. The left Shift key can suck it.
  • My brain doesn't seem to care what finger presses a key, so long as it gets pressed (and quickly!). For example, in the word thought, I type the first h with my left hand and the second h with my right. Because it makes sense. Right?

Do most people actually learn proper touch typing in elementary and high school? I distinctly recall faking my way through touch typing in Grade 9 because I'd already solidified these typing habits by then.

I'm not a slow typist - I tried a few tests online and consistently scored above 60wpm. Is unconventional (non hunt-and-peck) fast typing common? Or is this a bad habit?

Crazy typists, leave me a comment!


  1. I am the complete opposite when it to the shift key. I am almost dedicated to using only the left Shift key.

  2. How did you track your typing to that level? Some online app that measured keyboard strokes?

  3. @martin I looked at my hands while typing a few paragraphs of text. That graphic took about 20 minutes to figure out, just by observation.

  4. Without doing a rigorous test, I think my typing is closer to the standard way of typing, but still like what you've described here. One things I notice about my typing is that I don't use my pinkies very much, except to use shift, enter, and backspace (and the home-row pinky keys). I even hit / (which is at the very top left on my keyboard) with my ring finger.

    But, basically when typing fast, any finger that is close enough to hit the keys will hit it. I think I probably just have less accuracy with my pinky, and that's why I only use them at home position and for the big keys.

    Thank goodness we don't have to think about this consciously! I say if you still have fast typing speed, and you don't really need to type any faster then that, then don't worry about it!

  5. This is only marginally related, but since I changed the keyboard on my computer, I can't see which keys are where. All of the letters are the same, but all of the symbols are switched around. I have noticed that if I need to think about where a symbol is, I have a lot of trouble, but if I just need to throw that symbol in the middle of typing, I have no problem.

    My point is that it is crazy to me that my subconscious knows the keyboard better than my conscious mind. I am sure it is the same for all fast typers. What matters is less your typing style and more how much you have internalized the layout of the keyboard, and basically automated your typing.