How to Type Faster and Increase Your WPM

How to Type Faster and Increase Your WPM

Learning how to type faster offers substantial benefits, from saving time and boosting productivity to improving focus and unlocking career opportunities. The better you understand how different factors influence typing speed, the easier it is to improve your WPM (words per minute) speed. This guide offers tips on how to type faster and increase your WPM.

How to Type Faster: Quick Tips

Typing speed is dictated by a combination of technique, muscle memory, and equipment. Use these quick tips to improve your words per minute now, or scroll down for more detailed recommendations and resources. 

  1. Take a speed test to establish a baseline and set WPM goals
  2. Learn and use proper hand placement
  3. Practice ergonomics
  4. Familiarize yourself with the keyboard
  5. Train to touch type
  6. Focus on accuracy first; speed will follow
  7. Scan ahead to the next word while typing
  8. Learn keyboard shortcuts
  9. Invest in a mechanical keyboard
  10. Practice, measure, and repeat

Benefits of Learning How to Type Faster

Faster typing speeds offer considerable advantages for professionals and casual keyboarders alike. Here are five benefits of learning how to type faster. 

1. Save Time and Boost Productivity

Increasing typing speed from 40 wpm to 80 wpm cuts work time in half. A 40-wpm typist takes around 25 minutes to type ten 100-word emails. An 80-wpm typist spends only 12.5 minutes on the same task. Saving just 12.5 minutes per day equates to more than 54 hours over a 260-day work year

For someone who types 2,500 words per day, the annual time savings increases to 135 hours, or nearly 3.5 weeks. In other words, learning how to type faster can shave almost a month out of your work year (or produce a month’s worth of extra work over that span). 

2. Unlock Career Opportunities

Many jobs require fast typing speeds, so candidates who can type fast are more attractive to employers in those sectors. Secretaries, transcriptionists, programmers, data entry specialists, journalists, writers, and legal assistants can access more career opportunities by learning how to type faster. 

3. Accelerate Learning and Skill Acquisition

Faster typists can learn new aptitudes quicker because they’re able to focus on their studies without the distraction of hunting and pecking keys. For example, it’s easier for coders to learn a new programming language when they’re adept at navigating the keyboard. These benefits aren’t limited to learning career skills: gamers can master new games faster when they can type quickly.

4. Improve Focus

Slow typing is disruptive, forcing typists to abandon their train of thought in favor of finding the next key. Improved keyboarding speed allows users to focus on their ideas, not what to type next. Fast typists are fluid; muscle memory takes over and words flow from their fingertips as easily as they roll off the tongue. When fast typing becomes second nature, users can focus on composing the perfect letter or fragging enemies into the shadow realm. 

5. Reduce Fatigue and Injury Risk

Faster typing reduces fatigue and injury risk in two ways. First, speed typing requires using proper form to lessen the strain on the fingers, hands, wrist joints, muscles, and tendons. Second, fast typists spend less time typing, so they don’t get tired, and they decrease the risk of developing overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. 

A Good Typing Speed Is 60+ Words Per Minute

The average typing speed is 40 wpm. Anything over 60 wpm is considered a good typing speed, though some professions demand 100 wpm or more. Members of the competitive typing community can eclipse 200 wpm, and Ultimate Typing Champion Anthony “Chark” Ermolin has recorded speeds up to 233 wpm. 

That said, a “good” typing speed is relative. If you currently type 25 words per minute, 40 words per minute represents a significant improvement. If you already type 80 words per minute, then 100 wpm might be a logical next step.

How to Type Faster: 10 Proven Tips

Learn how to type faster and increase your WPM with these proven tips. 

1. Establish a Baseline and Set Goals

The first step toward improving typing speed is establishing how fast you currently type. There are many free typing speed tests online, but they don’t all work the same way. Some tests force you to correct mistakes before advancing; others simply count them against your WPM. 

In addition, some tests use logical sentences (“the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy fox”), some use random words (“valley, coffee, mask, stenography”), and others use nonsensical character strings (“les, est, ense, tes”). The style of the test can affect your words per minute. Find a list of typing speed tests in the Resources section below.

Once you’ve established your current typing speed or baseline, set goals for improvement. It’s good to focus on incremental goals versus a final goal. For example, if you currently type 40 words per minute and set a goal of 100 wpm, start by working toward 50 wpm. Many find motivation in planning small rewards for reaching incremental milestones.

  • Take multiple typing speed tests to establish a baseline
  • Set incremental goals (5 to 10 wpm)
  • Reward WPM milestones

2. Use Proper Hand Placement

Proper hand placement increases typing speed by minimizing the distance fingers must travel with each keypress. Position fingers on the home row of a traditional QWERTY keyboard, as such: 

  • F: Left index
  • D: Left middle
  • S: Left ring
  • A: Left pinky
  • J: Right index
  • K: Right middle
  • L: Right ring
  • Semi-colon: Right pinky

Move fingers up and down from the home row to access other keys, use pinky fingers for the shift keys and thumbs for the spacebar. This hand position might seem foreign to those accustomed to two-finger pecking, but it enables significantly faster typing once mastered.

Note that some typists prefer alternative keyboard layouts such as Colemak and Dvorak, which are optimized for speed. However, these layouts might not be practical for those who are already used to QWERTY. Learn more about the differences between QWERTY, Dvorak, and Colemak keyboard layouts.

3. Practice Proper Ergonomics

Proper desk ergonomics can enhance typing speed by increasing accuracy, emphasizing the use of the strongest muscles, and reducing fatigue. Ergonomics also decreases the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive use injuries. 

Tips for good desk ergonomics include: 

  • Sit or stand straight with arms at a 90-degree angle
  • Keep feet flat on the ground or a footstool, thighs parallel to the ground
  • Place the monitor at least 20 inches away, just below eye level
  • Set the keyboard slightly below the elbow to keep wrists straight when typing
  • Avoid using wrist rests while typing

Learn more about desk ergonomics for improved posture and typing speed

4. Get Familiar with the Keyboard

Keyboard familiarity is critical to fast typing, so learn where each key resides in relation to the home row and proper finger placement. Some people find it helpful to enable the on-screen keyboard so they can learn key positions without looking down at their keyboard.

How to enable the on-screen keyboard:

Windows PC

  • Browse to Start > Settings > Accessibility
  • Select “Keyboard”
  • Toggle on “On-Screen Keyboard”

Mac Computer

  • Browse to System Preferences > Accessibility
  • Select “Keyboard”
  • Click “Viewer”
  • Click “Enable Accessibility Keyboard”

5. Train to Touch Type

Touch typing is the practice of knowing how to type without seeing the keyboard, and it’s one of the most effective ways to type faster. Touch typists can let their thoughts flow, unconstrained by the need to pause and hunt for the next key. Learning to touch type can increase your typing speed by as much as 300%

Keyboard familiarity is the first step to touch typing; then, it comes down to muscle memory gained through repetition. Some people find it helpful to say the characters aloud as they type. Others place a towel over their hands so they can’t see the keyboard, and still, others install blank keycaps that force them to learn to touch type. Either way, it’s best to practice quick, light keystrokes that allow your fingertips to deftly flutter from one key to the next. 

  • Touch typing can increase speed by 300%
  • Practice typing without looking at the keyboard
  • Install blank keycaps to improve touch typing accuracy

6. Focus on Accuracy First

Focus on accuracy and speed will follow. Accuracy comes with repetition, which builds the muscle memory required to type at 100+ words per minute. It’s far better to type 50 words per minute with only one or two errors (96 to 98% accuracy) than to type 100 words per minute with 20 errors (80% accuracy). 

Words per minute is calculated by subtracting mistakes from the total number of words typed. For example, if you type 80 words but have 10 errors, your WPM is 70. That underscores the need to focus on accuracy first: it’s impossible to significantly increase typing speed without it. 

  • Improve accuracy through repetition
  • Build muscle memory that improves speed
  • Minimize mistakes to increase WPM

7. Scan Ahead While Typing

Practice scanning ahead to the next word while typing, a technique employed by the world’s fastest typists. Many can scan several words ahead and rely on muscle memory to type words they’ve already read. 

In addition, competitive typists are skilled at rollovers: rapid firing on a sequence of keys in a fraction of a second. Rollovers are ideal for suffixes and other common key combinations, including “ing,” “tion,” “ness,” and “ment.” The technique takes practice but rewards the effort with substantial improvements in typing speed. 

  • Scan a word (or two) ahead while typing
  • Practice rollovers for common key sequences
  • Refine muscle memory for effortless speed

8. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts shave precious seconds and increase typing speed. They can also help bolster WPM speeds during typing tests. 

For example, many people repeatedly hit the backspace key when they make a mistake during a typing test. However, it’s usually quicker to delete an entire word (CTRL + Backspace) instead of identifying where the error occurred and backspacing letter by letter. 

Keyboard shortcuts that improve typing speed include: 

  • Delete last word: CTRL + Backspace
  • Delete next word: CTRL + Delete
  • Move cursor by word: CTRL + Arrow Key

9. Invest in a Mechanical Keyboard

Competitive typists rely on mechanical keyboards to achieve astonishing speeds of over 200 words per minute. That’s because mechanical keyboards are designed for performance, accuracy, and speed. They feature mechanical switches that require less pressure to engage, and they activate keys before bottoming out, allowing them to return quicker for rapid-fire typing. 

Many mechanical keyboard switches offer a tactile bump or an audible click, feedback that lets typists know when keystrokes have registered so they can type with confidence. For example, the world-renowned line of Cherry MX switches includes Cherry MX Blue (a clicky switch), Cherry MX Brown (a tactile switch), and Cherry MX Red (a smooth, linear switch). The Cherry MX Speed Silver switch is designed with minimal travel distance for even greater responsiveness and speed. 

In addition, most mechanical keyboards feature n-key rollover (NKRO), allowing typists to register multiple keystrokes in a fraction of a second without wasting time or energy. Mechanical keyboards also enable typists to choose their preferred keycap profiles, enhancing typing speed and accuracy.

Mechanical keyboards increase typing speed by: 

  • Requiring less force to activate
  • Registering keystrokes before keycaps bottom out
  • Minimizing key travel distance
  • Providing tactile and auditory feedback

Learn more about mechanical keyboards and how they work

10. Practice, Measure, and Repeat

Practice makes perfect, so schedule daily sessions to work on becoming a faster typist. Many websites offer free typing exercises and fun typing games (see Resources below). If typing documents seems boring, consider typing along with a podcast, audible ebook, or YouTube video. Or, make it interesting by typing the next great American novel or your manifesto. 

Consistency is critical, but it’s also vital to avoid burnout. Practicing for 20 minutes once or twice per day is better than practicing for two hours once a week. Commit to a regular schedule and retake your preferred typing speed test weekly to measure progress. If you’re not progressing as quickly as you’d like, consider taking an online typing course. 

  • Practice once or twice daily, up to 20 minutes each time
  • Make practice fun with typing games and other exciting typing exercises
  • Take a typing speed test each week to gauge progress

Resources to Help You Type Faster

Take advantage of the following resources to improve typing speed. 

Typing Speed Tests

Typing Exercises and Practice

Typing Games and Competitions

Typing Lessons, Classes, and Courses

Blank Keycaps

Mechanical Keyboards

Typing speed depends on multiple factors, so it’s essential to understand how each plays a role in becoming a faster typist. Take a speed test to establish a baseline, use proper hand placement and ergonomics, learn how to touch type, focus on accuracy first, invest in a mechanical keyboard and commit to daily practice. You’ll quickly begin to type faster, increase your WPM and enjoy benefits such as time savings, greater productivity, more career opportunities, and improved focus.