Hunt and Peck No More: These 6 Free Tools Will Teach You to Type Like a Pro
Like any ’90s kid, I learned to type with AIM.
After school, I’d sign into AOL Instant Messenger, update my buddy profile with the latest inside joke and chat with my crush -- whom I’d likely ignored at school all day.
My fingers became speedy on the keyboard as I kept up with the hottest gossip along the way.
I also used Mavis Beacon, a typing program, in my middle school technology class. She was awesome. (Remember the iguana game?) I even asked Santa to give me the CD program for Christmas. He did. I was thrilled.
But what if you didn’t have trusty AIM or Mavis?
We all love those work-from-home jobs, and there are so many of them I come across that require you to type a certain number of words per minute (WPM).
Here’s where you can start learning (and not pecking) -- for free.
6 Free Programs to Help You Improve Your Typing Skills
I found some free typing lessons on these sites that’ll help *key* in your talents.
And don’t worry: I tried them all because I’m still obsessed with typing.
I weeded out all of the glitchy ones, as well as ones that require a download.
1. 10 Fast Fingers
This site looks slightly spammy, but it’s really not.
Start by taking a typing test, which involves typing random words. You can see how you fare before diving into the advanced typing test or even joining a typing competition and battling others around the world.
If you get tired of not actually typing real sentences, you can input a body of text and work with that. Maybe there aren’t Mavis Beacon iguanas, but it’s to-the-point and will help level up your skills.
2. BBC Dance Mat Typing
This resource is great for kids -- and might even entertain you. (The games include some purr-fect puns.)
The first level starts from key one: You’ll learn the home row and where your fingers ought to be placed. A funky goat guides you.
Get more advanced, and meet a Parisian cat and play “games.” They’re admittedly not a blast, but will help you improve your skill level.
If you miss a key, it’ll show you where your finger should be placed, so you don’t need to glance down at your keyboard.
3. Good Typing
I’m only mentioning this site for non-English speakers or someone who’s learning another language.
If you speak -- or are trying to speak -- French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish, use this to test out your typing skills (accent-marked letters included).
Other than that, move on.
OK, I said no glitches. This site has a few, but it makes it up with its typing games (Typing Adventure recommended) and typing tests.
My favorite part?
You can be tested with actual, applicable content with the BBC News option. You can select your desired section (technology, sports, entertainment, health, business or science news). Then, you’ll see how quickly and accurately you can type it up -- while maybe even learning something.
You can also test yourself against targets. For example, maybe you need to type at least 35 WPM to be eligible for a job you’ve been wanting. This will hold you accountable.
If you want to get back to the basics, there also are plenty of tutorials and lessons.
Creatively titled typing.com, this program packs a lot -- and I’m in love with it.
You can start from square (or key) one and work with specific keys, i.e. “j” and “f.” A small keyboard appears below your typing prompt, and the fingers that should be doing the typing are highlighted in blue.
If you choose “practice,” you can pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. For example, I need to work on numbers, so I can choose to practice on the 10-key numeric pad.
Once you feel comfortable, dive into the timed tests, which grade you on speed and accuracy.
My favorite part? THE GAMES! However, you’ll have to watch a brief ad (the reason you can access all of this for free, after all) before getting into one.
I like the Keyboard Ninja game. It mimics fruit ninja (remember how popular that was a few years ago?!) You type the letters that hover above the fruit while avoiding the bombs. Note: You can mute the odd tribal music, too.
Create an account to log all of your progress.
6. Typing Karaoke
After conquering all of the prior tutorials, you might be up for this challenge. It’s seriously tricky, but it’s fun.
Instead of learning to type some random letters or boring paragraphs, you’ll listen to a song (think: “Call Me Maybe” or “Sexy and I Know It”) and type its lyrics.
And no, the songs don’t slow down. They’re fast, which makes it tricky, but if you’re able to finish a line (don’t feel bad if you don’t), then you’ll get a “Rad!”
Overall, it’s pretty entertaining -- at least a different vibe from those other sites.
Feeling confident yet? Find some open work-from-home jobs on our Facebook jobs page.
Your Turn: Does your job revolve around typing?
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.