Mental Floss

How Did You Learn to Type?

Chris Higgins
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When I was in elementary school, I attended a twice-weekly "computer class" which primarily consisted of repeated runs through some now-forgotten typing software on Apple ][e computers. While running this program, we had to put cardboard boxes over the keyboard (with cut-outs so our little wrists could get in), and let me tell you, cheating was rampant. When a student got to the end of a level in the typing program and reached the timed test, a teacher would stand there with one hand on the box to prevent the "lift and peek," the most popular form of performance enhancement. (I was guilty of that one, though I never graduated to the heinous "oops, where'd my box go?" which could only be perpetrated with a confederate who maintained a distraction for the duration of the test.)

Typewriter keys
Typewriter keys /

I think everyone's journey to typing is a little different. My typing is pretty standard home-position touch typing. I'm pretty fast, but I make a lot of mistakes. I have several very computer literate friends who have evolved a surprisingly fast variant of hunt-and-peck which relies heavily on index fingers and thumbs. And they seem to get along with it just fine. So here's the question: how did you learn to type? And the bonus question: what typing method do you use? (Do you perform true touch-typing or some personal variant?)

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