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How-To Geek

What You Said: How Fast Do You Type?

2011-07-27_151705

Earlier this week we asked you to weigh in with how fast you type and what tips or tricks you could share to help your fellow readers. Now we’re back to highlight your stats and tips.

The ability to type quickly and accurately is a boon to computer work regardless of what kind of work you’re doing on the computer. Hundreds of you responded to this week’s Ask the Reader post and as a result we’ve got quite a spread of typing speeds and even types of keyboards used.

The average typing speed of a How-To Geek reader is significantly above average. Most casual typists average around 30-35WPM, the average HTG reader types at 71WPM—a very respectable speed for a proficient touch typist.

Tommy2rs poetically laid claim to being the slowest typist in our sample pool:

I type like an eagle, circling above the keyboard then making a quick strike down at the key I want. I wish could teach the other 6 fingers and my thumbs to type instead of having them milling about aimlessly getting in the way.

I’ll get back to you on my speed next week after I finish the test.

Ah the old hunt and peck routine. At one of my old jobs we’d often prank hunt-and-peck coworkers by popping the keys off their keyboards and shifting them around.

Gypsy highlights how social interaction can increase typing speed:

63 with 3 errors over 3 minutes using the Aesop Fable story..

Having to type a lot of papers as a History/Sociology Major.. but really, I lay the cause on SC2 and mainly WoW. Having to communicate sometimes quickly and effectively about a lot of information with lots of people between multiple channels and conversations in addition to also using hotkeys for abilities, really boosted my finger speed and accuracy.

I too radically increased my typing speed thanks to the internet. I learned how to type in a formal setting but I didn’t become a lightening-fast typist until I discovered IRC and online discussions. You need to type quick if you want to participate!

We expected at least a few Dvorak users to make an appearance and weren’t disappointed. Aaron shares:

64wpm w/ 1 error. This is on a Dvorak keyboard.

What we were surprised by was the appearance of another keyboard layout: Colemak. Josh B. writes:

Using Colemak, I get 46 wpm. I just switched a few months ago and already my wrists feel a lot better.
Using standard qwerty, I was 83 wpm before. I’m still learning though.

It turns out that Colemak, like Dvorak, is an alternative keyboard layout that dates from the 19th century intended to increase typing efficiency. If you hit up the Colemak site you can grab a copy for your computer and your smartphone.

Looking for more tips and tricks? Hit up the original comment thread!

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/29/11

Comments (21)

  1. Hatryst

    Oh I thought you would put up a graph or something :)

  2. Xylch

    A graph would be great. I did the test and did 63 WPM with 3 errors, however I type with only my two pointer fingers and my thumb. I do not look at the keyboard, I just have an innate sense of where the keys are. In addition, my WPM is actually quite a bit higher, upwards of 100 when I am typing from thought instead of reading and typing at the same time.

  3. KB Prez

    Even though I’m one of the slowest, that was fun! Best thing about it was reading the replies. Some of them were hilarious – especially Tommy2rs, Mike, Glymmar, and Road Dog777.

  4. DiAnne

    I’m used to being the fastest typist anywhere, so I was shocked (pleasantly) at how many folks on here type as fast as I do (93 wpm with 0 errors). I was also skeptical of one person who claimed twice that speed…but I guess it is certainly a possibility.

    You guys rock!

  5. Justin Garrison

    I know I’m late to the game but I did 54 wpm with 2 errors on Dvorak and 43 wpm with 1 error in QWERTY.

  6. duttaapd2009

    90 wpm with 3 errors is my average in QWERTY keybord

  7. FHS Admin

    When I already know what I’m doing, not reading what I’m typing that is, I type on average 143; however, I suppose this to be a result of the fact that I’ve worked in an IT environment my whole career, excluding before I got my degree, when I was working part-time as a secretary.

  8. joe

    God!! what a bunch of fronting liars here. I’ve been typing for over 20 years and was a word processor / computer operator for temp agencies. To pass their tests, I used to drill for many hours. I’ve been in many word processing pools and classrooms so I’ve seen all kinds of typists. I learned how to touch type and if I ever look at the keyboard I can’t really type at all. To hit 60wpm is quite a feat. That is 5 strokes a second. Over 70 is highly unusual. People who really do 70 or 80 or better are probably having a good laugh over the claims on this exercise. To do 60 with 2 or even 4 fingers is next to impossible. Anyone who has learned on the qwerty keyboard and tries to switch over to another keyboard like dvorak knows what a monumental feat that entails. And claiming to being able to ‘switch’ between the two is probably indicative of some pathology. Give me a break you guys and I’m not addressing anyone who is actually telling the truth. Other than that, this site rocks.

  9. Shaun

    I managed 88wpm with 3 mistakes. I was pleased! I too, highly doubt the claims of over 120wpm. Guess it is possible, but unlikely. I’ve noticed my wireless keyboard missing strokes when I have a good day and type much faster than I did today.

  10. Meir

    As I have only 7 fingers, I have to type in another way. But I still type in a reasonable way(20 to 35 wpm). Depends on the language and what type of info I write. Official, private notes or so.

  11. Ivydapple

    I had so much fun doing that! :D I got 91 wpm with 0 errors. I did “Test Instructions” for a minute.

  12. SAPrinter

    I knew a typesetter many years ago that could do 125 WPM and carry on a conversation. She was paid well for her ability. This was in a newspaper environment in the days when all they type was set in the back shop from typewritten copy.

  13. TsarNikky

    All the more reason why Microsoft abandons the keyboard users with its planned Windows 8 at its peril. I can see an excellent opportunity for someone else (unless MS gets smart) to provide an upgrade path from Windows 7 to some successor Operating System–Apple?, Windows-9?, something else?.

  14. Peter

    I did a typing course in about 85 and passed with a rate of 25wpm, I scored the same on this one – so much for practice makes purpose.

    I’m glad I didn’t take up stenography as a career.

  15. Kevin

    Can touch-type if I really try..but am far too old and lazy to practice
    Have no idea of speed but seems fast enough for me and faster than most people I compare with.

  16. Allen

    For me, it depends. If what I’m typing is riddled with numbers or seldom used punctuation marks, it’ll hinder my speed greatly to about 65ish. But just typing words (and common punctuation like periods or commas) is easy for me, I do around 85 with around 2-3 errors.

  17. bruce

    I’m pathetic. At 18 wpm I’m way slow. I guess that I can’t keyboard worth a darn. I am faster than my friends and slower than the rest. Oh well, that won’t stop me from trying.

  18. Smoking

    My brain wont work any faster than 35 wpm…

  19. Jim

    It would have been useful to break it down into typing on a laptop vs. typing on a better keyboard. I typed 36wpm with no errors on a laptop that was unsteady on my lap. A real keyboard on a desk is much easier and faster for me.

  20. Kim

    I actually passed a test at school (years ago) at 101 wpm with no errors. The best 2 things I’ve done are type on a manual typewriter (because it make you really commit to which keys you choose), and doing those basic drills (especially the ones that AREN’T words) until they drove me crazy. I only typed 60 wpm when I started, but went back and did the drills for a few months, and that’s how I reached the 101 wpm. I can still type fast, but make way more errors because I’ve gotten sloppy with the use of a computer instead of a typewriter.

  21. Nikky

    I am terrible! 28 words per minute and some thing like 19 mistakes! haha I have been in I.T for 6 years and I really want to be able to touch type!

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