Guy Katabi / Published January 14, 2020 / Updated July 27, 2021
The average typing speed is 40 words per minute. However, using the right tools and methods to improve typing speed can, at least, double this figure and leave more time for creativity. That’s why we’ve chosen to feature five ways to significantly improve typing speed and overall productivity, plus some bonus tips on achieving a good WPM speed.
#1 Use Predictive Typing
Predictive typing solutions for PC keyboards are different from what we currently have on our mobile phones. Instead of selecting between different word options after each and every tap on the screen, predictive typing solutions offer just a single confidence-based suggestion. Instead of being bothered by multiple suggestions showing up after every keystroke, you’re able to truly focus on your content.
Using a sophisticated AI-powered inline prediction interface, we can significantly improve typing speed when using computer keyboards. According to a review by TheWindowsClub, typing speed can increase by as many as 30 to 40 words per minute after getting used to the new predictive typing experience.
There are several predictive typing solutions out there, with Google and Lightkey as the most notable. Let’s have a look at each of their features below.
Google’s Smart Compose is a predictive typing feature for Gmail. Once activated, word predictions will show up as you type. Google’s prediction engine combines trending phrases that are in wide public use with your personal typing patterns. To accept a prediction, you need to press the right arrow key. If you’re not seeing any predictions, make sure that the “writing suggestions” option is activated in the Gmail Settings menu. Currently, Smart Compose is supported in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian.
Lightkey is a predictive typing solution for PCs (Windows) that helps you write emails, documents, presentations, and more. It offers relevant predictions when creating any kind of content, ranging from casual to professional. Lightkey’s prediction engine is solely based on your personal typing style. It can predict up to 12 words, including punctuation marks, in over 80 languages.
Lightkey is a great tool for improving typing speed and quality because it supports a large variety of applications, such as MS Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. It also works with Gmail, WhatsApp Web, LinkedIn, and many more. To accept Lightkey's predictions, you can use either the Tab, Enter key, right arrow key (and/ or all three of them simultaneously), depending on your preference.
If you’re wondering about the privacy of a personalized prediction text system, Lightkey does not submit any of your content to the cloud. It does not rely on internet connectivity whatsoever to function well.
#2 Take A Free Online Touch-Typing Course
Touch-typing is being able to type while keeping your visual focus on the screen. Otherwise, shifting your visual focus between the keyboard and screen can slow things down and make the whole typing process fairly inefficient. If this is the case for you, learning touch-typing can significantly increase your typing speed and overall productivity.
Touch-typing courses teach foundational skills like the hand placement over the home row. The home row keys on a QWERTY keyboard are ASDF (for your left hand) and JKL (for your right hand). Using all of your fingers to type is one of the most basic and efficient methods to increase typing speed. If you aren't used to this typing style, it will feel strange at first. But with practice, you'll find that you can comfortably type away with your gaze on the screen.
There are many ways to learn how to improve typing speed and sharpen your typing skills. However, the most accessible way would be taking a free online course.TypingClub offers a great free online typing program in multiple languages. Their progressive course focuses on small achievable tasks. Once accomplished, your eyes can be completely focused on the screen while typing.
For example, I’ve taken the free online English course and, as you can see, the first lessons are focusing on specific key combinations using both hands. As you progress, more keys come into play, thereby improving your ability to work with all 10 fingers on multiple keys simultaneously.
Alternatively, if you find such courses dull and prefer games, our next option is perfect for you.
#3 Play Online Touch-Typing Games
Playing touch-typing games is a great way to have fun while improving your typing skills. There are plenty of online games, and most of them offer increasing levels of difficulty. How to increase your typing speed? Turn the exercise into a healthy competition.
Ratatype offers comfortable groups where you can compete with friends, classmates, colleagues, and anyone else! You can see who has completed more lessons and who has a higher typing speed. Racing on the keyboard will help bring the team together in a fun and interesting way and improve typing speed for each of its members.
If you want to explore more online games, just key in “typing games” into your browser’s search bar, and see where it takes you. Have fun!
#4 Switch To a Split Keyboard
One important aspect that I haven’t touched yet is wrists’ health. Heavy use of computer keyboards may lead to repetitive strain injuries, resulting in reduced productivity. One way to make a positive step forward is replacing your standard keyboard with an ergonomic split keyboard.
There are two significant benefits to using a split keyboard. First, the physical split will align your hands better with your shoulders, reducing wrist strain and risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Second, it will create clarity over which hand should reach each key, especially around the center key column.
My personal journey with split keyboards began with Microsoft's Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I found it to be a great starting point for my needs. It taught me how to improve typing speed and achieve comfort with a relatively modest change to the physical keyboard layout. However, after typing for about 10 to 12 hours per day, I felt a need to move to the next level.
After thorough research, I found the Kinesis Freestyle 2 keyboard to be the best choice for me. Although it took me a couple of days to get used to this keyboard, the reward of more relaxed wrists and seeing a good WPM speed was definitely worth it.
#5 Use Dictation
Generally speaking, we talk at an average rate of 120 words per minute. That is three times faster than the 40 words per minute average typing speed. This basic math tells us that dictation could be a very useful alternative to typing — even for improving typing speed. Nevertheless, keep in mind that dictation does have its inherent limits.
Here are a few guidelines that can help you decide whether or not to choose dictation over typing:
Have a clear understanding of the content you want to create. If you go back and forth editing during the process, using dictation might be challenging. “Delete that, move two words back, add an apostrophe, go one word forward, replace it.’ These don’t sound like fun and are obviously slower than just using your keyboard. However, if you have your thoughts all clear and ready to go, a simple dictation session can improve typing speed and work like magic. The distinction is between dictation and creation.
Stay in a proper environment with low background noise. Otherwise, additional vocal noises might get in your way and interrupt both your ability to focus and the machine’s ability to understand what you’re saying. Keep in mind that speech-to-text engines now do a better job of separating your voice from the background, so just give it a try and see whether the environment you’re in is dictation-friendly or not. Staying in a public environment? You might want to think about privacy issues before you start talking, too.
Feel comfortable enough thinking and speaking your thoughts in the target language, especially if it is not your native language. Streaming your thoughts in real-time requires practice. Keep that in mind, and be patient if you want to get used to dictation.
Windows 10 has a built-in dictation tool that delivers a decent performance. To activate Windows dictation, type the WinKey+H combination and start talking. For example, if I say, “I am trying to write something using my voice,” the dictation engine will initially understand “write” as “right.” A few moments later, however, after analyzing the complete sentence, it will figure out the right option (pun intended!).
Google Docs also has a great dictation feature to help you with your online documents and increase typing speed. Just go to Tools on Google Docs, and click Voice Typing. If you want to use dictation without relying on internet connectivity, consider using Dragon. Dragon’s speech-to-text software can work offline. It also offers some additional features, like voice commands, that give you full control over Windows using your voice.
Bonus – Use A Text Generation Tool
Text generation is a highly experimental technology and is based on the idea that you can provide a small piece of text, like an introduction paragraph or a single sentence, to an AI-based system, and it will compose the rest of the text for you. It won’t make you type faster and the results will not always match your intent for now, but it’s something you can definitely experiment with to see if it can help you come up with content ideas more quickly.
But here’s a good story about text generation: There was a time when text generation was banned when three MIT students decided to create academic papers by entering random words and graphs into a program they developed from a class project. They were so good at it that they actually managed to get three of their randomly generated papers accepted for academic conferences!
The results aren’t always this seamless, of course. As it’s still hit or miss at this point, text generation tools can also sometimes yield very random results that are far from being useful.
Fast forward to 2020 when Open.AI research lab released GPT-3 — an AI-powered text generating system. Initially, Open.AI’s developers decided not to release it due to concerns about its potential malicious use in creating fake news but, eventually, its benefits were considered to outweigh the risks.
If you want to give it a try, go to https://talktotransformer.com/, start typing something, and let its AI-based engine inspire (or surprise) you.
Increase Your WPM with Lightkey
Mastering typing is still an important skill to have going into the future of technological advances. Using the right keyboard with sharp typing skills powered by prediction technology, along with the ability to dictate your ready-made ideas, can be a very powerful combination.
Lightkey is one such powerful tool that can increase not just your typing speed but also your typing accuracy and content quality. This nifty software doesn’t scrimp on its text generation and word prediction capabilities, making it suitable for users of all skill levels. It even has specialized software for professional typists and people with disabilities.
Lightkey is capable of pulling relevant predictions in 68 content domains, including art, business and academy, technology, sports, and entertainment. Let’s say you’re writing a paper on physics. Lightkey can automatically detect the content’s theme, and typing the characters "el" will trigger the software to recommend "electrons" as your tailored prediction.
Give the tool a try. You can sign up for our paid subscription plans to access the advanced features.
Contact Lightkey today for more information on how our technology can increase your typing speed and improve your writing quality.
Do you have other tips on how to improve typing speed? Please use the comments section below to share your favorite way to increase your WPM and be more productive. If you found this blog post helpful, please give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends!