Typing question

Hi SD,

I’ve been typing up papers for years. For some reason, I randomly recalled my earliest typing lesson, probably 6th or 7th grade, in middle school. In it, my teacher had programs that taught you “correct” typing.

Here’s an example of what I mean, with “home rows” and the like:


Does anybody type like this? I don’t do the hunt and peck method with fingers like my dad does. Instead I just have natural facility with the keyboard. My hands don’t rest anywhere–I can type with my eyes closed. I am reasonably certain that most people who type on computers all day type fast and effortlessly as well.

My question is whether this method of typing, in which your fingers rest on the home row and the closest finger goes to the desired key, is obsolete? It seems very awkward when I try it now. Who invented it and why? Was it useful at some point when keyboards were just being invented? Because it sure looks stupid now. This home row stuff just never made sense–only as an exercise, maybe, to familiarize yourself. But still, the hands don’t tend naturally to this position.

Enlighten me, please!



That is still the common method of typing for anyone who isn’t using some form of hunt and peck.

Everyone I see typing types that way with each key assigned to a specific finger.

It’s basically how I type and I average 95-105 wpm. There are some slight modifications --I may not use exactly all the same fingers for the same keys as we were taught but my hands start by finding the bumps on the “f” and “j,” putting my index fingers there, and dropping the rest of my fingers on the corresponding home row keys.

Goodness, Mrs. Harveston stressed you never REST your fingers on the home row.

She would not allow that. It didn’t seem to matter to me, … until I moved to an electric typewriter.

For me, they are very lightly touching the keys. (ETA: now that I think of it and pay closer attention, it’s mostly just the index fingers lightly touching the bumps–I guess the others do sort of hover.) “Resting” would not be the right word–more like “tickling.” The wrist is relaxed and not bent back, pretty much parallel to the forearm. Here’s a good picture of what I’m trying to describe. Thing is, I believe home row method is a good place to start, but I think everyone is a little different, so some modification for personal style is good.

That’s how I learned to type, and that’s how I still type. That’s how I’m typing right now. I can do it with my eyes shut, while holding a conversation, and can easily crank out 100 WPM.

The single most useful thing I learned in school.

Incidentally, it’s also why an awful lot of keyboards have raised dots or markers on the F and the J, so your index fingers can find the home keys without looking.

I actually would have thought the other way around. On a manual, I definitely need my fingers above the keys to get enough force and enough separation between strokes so the keys don’t jam. On an electric, it seems not as important to me and you can get away with lightly touching the keys, since so little movement and force is required.

I do that, too. It’s called “touch typing.”

I learned to type fairly quickly on my own by working with computers (starting with the TRS-80 Model 1 - I’m an old fart). When I was in high school I took a summer class that was a combination of Fortran and typing for computer users, although the typing class was exactly the same class taught to the girls for secretary training.

After the class, for a very brief amount of time, I typed the “correct” way, but quickly reverted to my old way because it was faster for me.

When I graduated from college and got out into the real world, I had a secretary who typed the “correct” way (and was very fast). She told me that I typed amazingly fast considering how wrong I did it.

Secretaries are getting more and more rare in engineering offices, but I still know a few who do the “correct” typing method.

ETA: I also touch-type, despite not using the “correct” method. I don’t look at the keyboard when I type.

This. In my freshman year of high school I signed up for a year of French. After two weeks I said to hell with this, and abandoned it in favor of a semester of wood shop and a semester of typing - both of which have been far more useful to me than French ever could have.

I learned on electric typewriters, and was taught the home-row method described in the OP’s link.

A few years ago I tried switching to the Dvorak keyboard layout, but at this point in my life the standard QWERTY keyboard layout is so firmly embedded in my mind that I just could not get my fingers to learn the new locations.

I’m very bad about keeping my fingers on the home keys, but that’s got more to do with bad keyboards and tiny hands than with Mother Ruiz’ training. Things that do not help my typing:

  • keys too large. I actually find laptop keyboards comfy.
  • too many keyboard languages. Why the bloody bologna is it unacceptable for me to use the keyboard layout I’ve actually got memorized? I have no idea, but you should see the looks I get when I make such an outrageous request. At least in this case I’ve been able to add “my” layout as an additional keyboard, but I’ve been in projects in which it was actually impossible to change it (even for the official “IT guys”).
  • computer keyboards tend to be way too flat, I prefer a higher angle (which mechanical typewriters did have).

fff fdf fsf faf fff ddd dfd dsd dad ddd sss sds sfs sas sss aaa asa ada afa…

Yep, this is how I learnt to type and that’s where my fingers go. :slight_smile:

I started thinking about this and realized that even while just browsing posts the fingers of my left hand are touching asdf. As soon as I considered posting both hands went straight to the home row.

I’ll have to ask my daughter how she was taught in “keyboarding” class much more recently.

Yes, this is how I type. I was an old hunt-and-pecker until about 3-4 years ago when I finally taught myself to do it the right way. I’m faster and have fewer mistakes now. Like the other guys up there, I don’t always use the text-book sequence for all the keys. One of my “bad” habits is to shift w/ my pinky and hit the ? with my ring finger. Though the Z gets both pinkies workin’.

Having my fingers over the home row (after sensing the F and J bumps) gives me the confidence to know that I’m going to strike the right keys. If I’m not set-up, my accuracy suffers.

Ha, I type while holding a conversation often (won’t those people get out of my office!!??) and folks often think i’m faking it.

I wouldn’t describe my typing as "hunt and peck. I can type blindfolded reasonably well and I type looking at the output rather than the keyboard. I think I was was last clocked around 65 wpm, but that was a long time ago and I think I’m a little faster now. Let’s say 70 wpm.

But I don’t type exactly the way the textbooks tell you. For instance, when I type the word “type,” my left index finger types the “t” and then it moves to the “y.” Meanwhile, my right hand is moving instinctually towards the “p.” It will be my right hand ring finger that hits it, rather than my slow and awkward pinky. In the end though, I type the word “type” pretty quickly. What’s wrong with that?

I thought that was how I type, but while typing this post I realized that I use my index fingers for almost every keystroke. I have really long fingers, so I’m not sure if this method is even physically possible for most people.

I had a few typing lessons at school so I understand the theory but I primarily learned to touch type in Lycos chatrooms and on AOL Instant Messenger when I first got online in the mid-90s. I do keep them on the home row in between, though.

I just tested myself a couple of times and got 67 words per minute with a 98% accuracy rating.

Add me to the list of those who learned to touch type in middle school. Back then, it was manuals only, and mine was a Royal. I forced myself to not look at the keys, and by the end of the semester, I was the second fastest typist in the class, which was unusual for a boy. Other guys in the class were poking along at 30 wpm, while I was blazing at 80 (slow by today’s standards).

As others have said, it was the most functional skill I learned and it has saved me thousands of hours over the years, both academically and professionally.

The single most useful class I took in high school was personal typing. Never regretted a moment of it, although I cannot shake the two spaces after period habit.

80 on a manual is awesome. I hit 70 back then, while doing 100 on electrics. The mechanics of the typewriter slowed me down. Typing too fast would jam it.