When it comes to typists there are generally two types, if you’ll forgive the pun (though you really shouldn’t). There are touch-typists and then there are those who prefer to exercise their psychic powers and press the keys by staring at them and thinking really hard. It’s fair to say that the telekinetic school of typists aren’t so prolific on the old words-per-minute scale (generally managing about zero).
If your goal in life is to become a faster typist, then touch-typing is definitely the way to go. For the uninitiated, it involves using all of your fingers to type, with each finger dedicated to a separate column of keys. It’s a bit more complex than this, as some stretching of the outside fingers is employed to reach the keys in the middle and to press shift, but that’s the basic idea.
Touch Typing 2.0 has a set of core exercises that build up your skills slowly. You begin with the foundation exercises and these involve practising on the middle row of the keyboard, then slowly introducing keys above and below one by one. The exercises consist of practice drills followed by reviews of what you’ve learnt, alongside occasional speed and accuracy tests.
The learning curve is well paced and the program monitors your progress closely, maintaining a range of graphs that clearly show any weak spots in your typing. It also tailors the lessons to work on those dodgy areas in your game, and should you start making more mistakes than normal in any lesson, it will stop you and suggest slowing down your typing a bit to eliminate the inaccuracies. Accuracy is always emphasised over speed: though you can set your own target goals for both, when you know where the keys are off by heart, the speed will come.
There are fifty lessons in the foundation section, then you move on to tackle forty more in the intermediate (which adds capital letters), before the final fifty advanced exercises which introduce extra keys like tab and the number-pad. It’s going to take you some time to work your way fully through this lot, but practice makes perfect.
When you need a breather from the serious course-work, the program has a games section that can be dipped into for some typing-based entertainment. There are ten reasonably varied and imaginative games in total. To give an example, one is based around football and requires you to type certain words as quickly as possible to pass the ball up the field and shoot (take too long and you get tackled).
A few of the games are a bit pants, but on the whole they provide a pleasant counterpoint of light relief and a semi-serious challenge at the same time, with a high score table to conquer.
The package is rounded off by a reference section which gives a few tips on health matters such as how best to sit at your computer when typing. There’s not really much to complain about here, apart from the odd duff game and the fact that the menus load a little sluggishly.
Contact: 01889 570156