I Type 110+ Words Per Minute—The 'Wrong' Way

Touch typing has been taught the same way since the advent of the QWERTY keyboard. You start with your fingers on home row [ASDF JKL;] and, by moving each finger along its vicinity of keys, you can effectively reach them all.  I was instructed to type in this manner throughout all of my academic studies from elementary school onward; I have always hated this technique.

Very early on I had developed my own spontaneous approach to touch typing. I don’t rely on any formal home row and my pinkies mostly just chill out, with my index and middle fingers taking on the bulk of the work. Using my own approach over the formalized standard, I have always been a very fast typist. Below is a video of me taking a two-minute, randomized English sentence timed test (courtesy of Typera.net), with the end result being 113 WPM (Words Per Minute) and 565 CPM (Characters Per Minute).

Note that I took time to make a few corrections along the way and may have lost my place a time or two especially near the end. Even so, my results are stated to be faster than 99% of the 42,000 other users who have used the service. Not bad for doing things “improperly” according to keyboarding teachers everywhere.  In middle school, I felt particularly strained by the enforcement of this home row approach. In the computer lab, I held the top WPM scores on every machine by quite a significant margin. [Comically, the lab’s supervisor remained in denial that I was typing that fast without cheating, even when watching the events in real-time on numerous occasions.]

Typing Awards in 2000In another early technology education course, we had to take timed typing tests at the start and end of the semester. I forced myself to use the dreaded home row stance whenever the teacher was looking, as per classroom criteria. During the first timed test, the teacher monitored each student’s hands to ensure they were ICF-2010 using “proper finger positioning” when typing.  As a consequence, I performed much more poorly the first time around, albeit still faster than most in the class. For the final timed test, we had covers placed over the keyboard, which allowed me to use my own technique. This doubled my overall speed. Thus, I earned not one but two prestigious ribbons at the end of the year: ‘Speed Typing Award‘ and ‘Most Improved Typing Award‘ even if the improvement came by merely switching to my own typing method.

In my relatively sporadic typing technique, my left pinky is only used for Shift and my right pinky is only used for Enter, ? and . The index and middle fingers cover every other key from the ‘W‘ column to the ‘O‘ column, with the ring fingers handling the few remaining keys.  I do not have a specific starting position for my fingers, but in general I will place my index fingers near the ‘F‘ and ‘J‘ keys with my middle and ring fingers offset and one row higher, and my pinkies resting around the Shift and Enter keys. My logic behind using the index and middle fingers for the majority of typing is that they are the strongest and most controllable fingers and therefore do not take as much effort to type with as would my pinkies and ring fingers.

Perhaps there are others who type like me as well. I never studied other typists; I just know that growing up my approach was seen as unorthodox–even if I was able to out-type pretty much everyone I’ve ever known using my own method.

3 thoughts on “I Type 110+ Words Per Minute—The 'Wrong' Way

  1. I am exactly the same way... My average WPM is 113. (On my macbook I can only type at about 98 average) But I don't type in the way that you are supposed to.
    I actually use the caps lock instead of the shift key when wanting to capitalize a letter. Whenever I try using shift its just so awkward. I usually always have my pinky in the middle of capslock and shift so its easy to quickly turn on/off capslock.
    My left hand is usually all over the left side of the keyboard. I use all of my left fingers for typing on the left side. But then, when we get to my right hand... my middle finger and ring finger don't do any work. Rarely I'll use them but it would be by accident. I use my right index finger for all the typing of letters. I use my pinky for deleting things, and both of my thumbs for spacebar. Usually it is my left thumb, though. But it just depends on which is closer to the spacebar. I was always yelled at by my typing teacher because of my unorthodox way of typing. I succeed all of my peermates, though. Their WPM being 20-40, mine being 100+.

  2. I too type incorrectly, I use a method where my LEFT thumb, and RIGHT index finger hit the shift bar and pinkies hit the shifts.
    The index fingers and middle fingers cover everything else.

    I casually type around 80-90 words per minute with the keyboard on my lap and when testing with good keyboard on a solid desk, proably 100-130 words per minute.

    The reason why I was thinking about looking into typing with proper technique is not to get faster, but maybe to making typing more easy... not even sure if it 'gets easier.'
    I'd say my best typing attribute is the ability to instantly backspace an error the millisecond I type it.. other than that, I wish there were some keyboard out there or some layout to make it even easier and faster.. but I think this is about as far as we go with out current technology.

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