Increase productivity & gaming skills through faster typingMaria Vera
Typing is one of the most powerful yet under-rated skills in the modern era. If you can type both fast and accurately, you gain an enormous advantage over anyone who has to hunt-and-peck their way across the keyboard. It doesn’t matter if it’s at work filling in TPS reports or online communication via text chat: faster is better. If you’re skilled enough, there’s no gap between your brain and the words on screen —you can type as fast as you can think. Getting your point across becomes the work of a moment, and dealing with the endless tide of email or the vast weight of an essay is made that much easier. You’re free to take your time with what you’re writing, because committing words to
the page is effortless.
So where do we start? The most important part of typing fast is breaking your need to look at the keyboard: welcome to the world of touch typing.
Learning touch typing will allow you to sit down with almost any keyboard, and after a few minutes of adjustment you’ll be typing at full pace.
In fact, a lot of custom keyboards do without key legends entirely —that’s partly a vanity thing (blank keys look cool), partly a cost thing (blank keys are cheaper), but largely it’s a need thing. If you’re a touch-typist, you’re not reading the keys anyway. Legends on the keys are relegated to a nice-to-have.
The first step to this is finger placement. One thing even most of these otherwise blank keys will have is home keys. If you take a look at the F and the J on your keyboard, the chances are there will be a little tactile bump. You should be able to feel these with your forefingers.
These bumps are the key to getting everything else right. Put your forefingers on these keys, and the rest of your fingers should naturally fall on the “home row”. The layout of the home row will depend on your keyboard layout. For QWERTY, your left hand will sit on “ASDF” and the right hand will rest on “JKL;”. AZERTY users will have “QSDF” and “JKLM”. People using QWERTZ get “ASDF” and “JKLÖ”. I’ll leave discussion of other, less common keyboard layouts for another time. There’s no need to get into talk of DVORAK or COLEMAK yet!
It’s worth taking a moment here to talk about ergonomics. The placement of your arms and wrists when typing is really important. If you’re in the wrong position, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll end up with RSI (a Repetitive Strain Injury). You need to sit upright with a good posture, and your elbows need to be high enough above the desk that your forearms are horizontal. Your wrists should be straight in line with your forearms, and not bending up or down. An accessory such as the KLIM Wrist Rest can help you ensure proper alignment of the hands, wrists and forearms.
Additionally, a lot of this will be affected by the height of your chair, armrests and desk, as well as the distance between them and and how close or far away you place your keyboard on the table. All in all, it’s worth making sure you’re in a comfortable position that you can work in for a long time.
Learning to Touch Type
Now that we’ve got the positioning down, let’s talk about picking up the skill. Touch typing takes practice, especially if you’re hoping to get to any level of real skill. Thankfully, the internet is full of great free resources for training. There are also many typing games available, both for free and on platforms like Steam or GOG.
One of my favorite online trainers is keybr.com, but there are many, many others, and it’s worth trying a few to find one you like. Regular practice is key to mastering touch typing. Make a it a habit to put in a few minutes on your favorite trainer every day and you’ll improve rapidly.
Shortcut your way to increased productivity
If you use your keyboard intensively for everyday tasks, whether it’s work or leisure, you will need to use shortcuts sooner or later. Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V for copying and pasting text or files is a popular one you likely use already, but there are many more useful ones in all types of software: from writing documents, to browsing the web to graphic, design tools, knowing your shortcuts is a sure way to getting things done faster.
Let’s use a word processor as an example. Not knowing the shortcuts means you need to take your hand off the keyboard and put it onto your mouse, then find the option on screen (sometimes behind several dropdown menus), click it and put your hand back on the keyboard to continue typing. Doing it once is not a big deal, maybe just a few seconds longer. But multiply those precious seconds by all the times you needlessly need to move the mouse off the keyboard during your week and using shortcuts will soon mean hours saved.
Most software lets you customize the shortcut keys, so depending on the task at hand it might be worth spending some time adapting them to your needs. At first you may feel like remembering and using shortcuts makes you actually go slower, but it will surely be worth it in the long run.
Choosing better tools
Once you’ve got the basic skill down, there’s a lot you can do with the right tools. If you think that one keyboard is much like another, then you couldn’t be more wrong. There’s a massive amount of variety on offer, and the array of offerings is dizzying.
There are many different types of key switch and keyboard, all with a different feel that will suit a different taste. This section aims to give you a brief primer and also introduce some of our most popular keyboards.
Let’s talk about switches first. The chances are you’re used to the bog-standard rubber dome or “membrane” keyboard. These have a rubber membrane on top of the circuit board, and under each key is a little bubble in the rubber —the “dome”. Inside the dome is a little graphite contact, and when you push the key down this contact closes a circuit and the board registers the key press.
Rubber domes are incredibly reliable, and really cheap to manufacture. Due to their price, reliability and robustness they’ve become the favorite keyboard of schools and government institutions everywhere —and thus, they’ve been the default for several decades now.
Most of them also don’t feel very comfortable to type on. Here’s the downside to improving your typing skill: it’s easy to start caring about what you type on, and you’re pretty much doomed to become a keyboard snob.
Thankfully, not all membrane keyboards are terrible. The poor reputation of bottom shelf membranes is well deserved, but if you’re willing to spend just a little more, there are much better examples on offer.
The KLIM Chroma keyboards are robust, quiet, and even the wireless model boasts great response times. Add that to the RGB backlighting and you’ve got a solid keyboard that both looks and performs miles above the typical bargain-bin membrane.
So, what else is there?
The next biggest type of switch are the mechanical switches. There’s actually a massive variety of styles on offer, but generally they all contain a little mechanism and a spring that you activate when you press the switch.
Mechanicals give great feedback, and the vast array of switches on offer almost guarantees that you can find something the feels just perfect to you. Whether they click loudly when the key actuates, or there is a tactile bump, or both, mechanical switches let you feel exactly when your keystroke will register. A basic rubber dome keyboard can’t come anywhere near to the experience.
The downside is that mechanicals are often loud, though there are ways around that —many enthusiasts put little rubber O-rings under their keys to muffle the characteristic BANG that accompanies a Cherry MX Blue bottoming out on the keystroke.
Some mechanical keyboards can also get very expensive very quickly, especially if you’re venturing into the realms of custom keyboards. There is no need to go above 100 € to enjoy good quality. If you fancy a clicky feel, our KLIM Domination is probably your best bet: blue switches, customizable lighting and a sturdy structure make it a real tank. If you prefer something more discrete, the KLIM Dash features low-profile keys with red switches for silent typing.
One alternative to mechanical keyboards is a “semi-mechanical” one, also known as a hybrid. These keyboards still use robust, reliable membrane technology, but with a lot more care put towards the tactility of the keys.
A good one can be nice middle ground —decent to type on, but without breaking the bank. On the upside, they’re also going to be quite a bit quieter than most true mechanical boards!
A good example of a hybrid keyboard is KLIM’s Lightning. Though not a true mechanical, it still offers a great tactile feel and a much faster typing experience than most membrane boards. It’s quieter than a mechanical keyboard running Blue switches, but still offers a satisfying click.
Whatever tools you pick, consistency is the true key to typing faster. Learn how to reach all the keys without looking, and then practice every day. Soon the words will seem like they’re flying onto the screen.
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