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How to Learn to Type

written by: Rob Kentworth•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/24/2010

Advice surrounding how to type in an effort to help you avoid suffering from various complaints like RSI is given. Also, basic tips regarding how you might go about learning how to type are detailed, alongside keyboard shortcuts that'll enable you to type more effectively.

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    How to Type Safely

    Before you begin typing, even if you're just learning, it's important to consider how it might cause you problems. Even if it may not cause serious problems, it can cause problems that you don't want if appropiate measures aren't taken.

    1) The first measure you should take before beginning to type should be to ensure that you're not right on top of the screen. Essentially, find a comfortable position when sitting and make sure you don't lean in close to the screen.

    2) It's also important to consider where you place your hands/arms. You may have heard of RSI (Repetitive strain injury), as that could occur due to adopting an incorrect typing posture. Most importantly, you should try to keep your forearms, wrists and hands level. I certainly don't advise typing with your arms etc. resting on the the table or a laptop.

    3) This may not be as important if you have a good position, but try not to type too fast/hammer the keys either.

    4) Take breaks often, especially if you encounter any form of discomfort. If you do encounter some discomfort but don't wish to take a break, then it's important you adopt a different typing position.

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    Basic Tips for Learning to Type

    Now that you know to consider your safety before beginning to type, it's time to give a few tips for people who are wanting to learn how to type.

    1) The first thing you should do is load up a word processor like Microsoft Word. What this'll do is flag any possible mistakes you might make while typing. It just makes the errors easier to spot really.

    2) Once a word processor is loaded up, it's time for the next step. The next step concerns looking at the keyboard. If you wish to type well, you need to learn the keyboard's layout. So, spend some time doing so.

    3) After becoming familiar with the placement of the keys, start typing and go slowly. Keep your eyes focused on the keyboard while typing. Also, press the caps lock when you wish to use a capital letter and press it again once the capital letter is placed.

    4) Check for any errors afterwards. If you've made any, the backspace key is delete.

    5) Just rince and repeat the above until you become more familiar with the keyboard. As your familiarity with the keyboard improves, you should find that you become faster. As mentioned above though, it's again worth mentioning that you don't want to type too fast or hammer the keys. So, if you ever find yourself in some discomfort, it's best to stop (or slow down at the very least). That way, the risk of a more permanent problem occurring is lessened.

    6) Eventually, when you feel you know the keyboard layout, try and type without looking at the keyboard. Not everyone can do this too well however. So don't be disheartened if you find that you can't type without looking at the keyboard.

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    Detailed are tips regarding how to use the keyboard more effectively and efficiently. Essentially, keyboard shortcuts that allow you copy and paste are given, that save you from going to the web browser or word processor. A method that may make browsing the web easier via saving time entering website URLs is also included. In addition, links to articles on word processors and improving your keyboard skills are provided to further help with learning to type online.
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    Overview of Advanced Typing Tips (Mainly Keyboard Shortcuts)

    Outside of familiarizing yourself with the basic keyboard layout and improving your typing speed, there are other steps you can take to improve your keyboard skills that aren't obvious. These mainly pertain to shortcuts for various things.

    1) When you're typing, it was previously mentioned to press the caps lock if you want to use a capital letter. There is another way to use a capital letter though that you'll probably prefer. If you hold down the shift key while pressing a letter, you'll find it places a capital letter on the screen. Also, look on your keyboard and you'll possibly see a pound sign above the number three. If you hold the shift key, a pound sign will appear instead of three if the button's pressed.

    2) When in a word processor like Microsoft Word, view the different menu options and beside each, there'll often be 'ctrl + A' or 'F7' (amongst other things). If you memorise the different key presses/combinations given, they can save you using the mouse to access a particular part of the word processor. For example, if you press F7, it'll bring up the spelling and grammar tool in Microsoft Word. It's slightly quicker than going to tools and selecting the option from there. Also, if you open up a web browser and go to the menu, you'll also find that shortcuts are offered there.

    3) If at any time, you find that a letter is being deleted because you're typing another letter before it or because you pressed space with your cursor just before it, try pressing the 'ins' or 'insert' key. This normally happens when you move the cursor to the middle of a sentence for instance and wish to change/add something, without wiping the entire sentence. Accidental presses of the 'insert' key can happen quite a bit.

    4) This last tip is a handy one, particularly for the web. When you highlight some text, press ctrl + c. Next, select the area you want that particular text to go and press ctrl + v. It's especially useful for when you wish to copy a website URL into the address bar.

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    Links to Articles on Improving Your Keyboard Skills and Using Word Processors

    In an effort to further help you with learning how to type online, a link to an article on improving your keyboard skills is included below:

    Morning Meeting Activities in the Primary Classroom: How to Integrate Computer

    Also, a useful link to articles covering word processing can be found below:

    Word Processing Articles and Tips

    It's essentially a collection of different articles, which should give you any information you may want.