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Inept typing - Liz Hodgkinson

Blog | By Liz Hodgkinson | Nov 22, 2022

In this fast-paced digital age, Liz Hodgkinson is baffled that people no longer learn to touch-type

Why don’t people learn to touch-type these days?

I see them painfully typing with two fingers, looking up at the screen and then down at the keyboard and, as often as not, hitting the wrong keys.

If only they’d learnt that highly efficient and ergonomically effective means of getting words onto the page: touch-typing.

One of the most useful things I ever did was to learn to touch-type, in the days of manual typewriters. The art had to be taught – you couldn’t just pick it up – and you learned on a typewriter with blank keys, so you had to memorise where they were.

Acquiring the skill took practice and many false steps but, once mastered, it was never forgotten.

Like most touch-typists, I can hit the keys with my eyes shut and know I will get a perfect copy. In the 1960s, when I took my course, being a typist was an actual job.

Fast, accurate typists were highly prized and you could work with speed and precision only if you could touch-type.

Most professional typists in those days were women but now everybody is a typist, hunched over their laptops.

The weird thing, now we are all typists, is that hardly anybody can actually type. So why is touch-typing not being taught in all schools, so that people start off right? It should be made compulsory.

The QWERTY keyboard, developed over 160 years ago to prevent the keys’ jamming into one another when you were typing at speed, remains basically the same and has been adopted by most computer manufacturers.

If you begin by jabbing at the keys with two fingers, it’s hard to unlearn this inefficient and clumsy way of typing.

Using all the fingers gives a light touch, enabling you to move effortlessly over the keyboard without developing back or other posture problems.

There are few tasks as pleasurable and satisfying as touch-typing. So come on: bring back those typing courses for our ham-fisted youngsters.