PROS / The program is incredibly easy to navigate and fits into any budget.
CONS / There are no games to help make learning more enjoyable.
VERDICT / We highly recommend this product for anyone who wants to get serious about improving his or her typing skills.
For many, improving typing skills is a task that sits on the backburner, forced into an afterthought as a result of a full schedule or thin wallet. Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winning CueType solves both of these problems by offering users a quick and easy to use Mac typing software program with a purse-pleasing price.
CueType is the highest-rated Mac typing software program on our list that offers lessons on the infrequently-used Dvorak keyboard. The Dvorak keyboard was patented in the mid-thirties by two brothers and is designed to use less finger motion and increase typing rate when compared to the standard QWERTY format. Though few people use the Dvorak keyboard, it is nice to know that the developers had the users’ convenience and preferences in mind when designing CueType.
Other customizable user options include the ability to show or hide the program’s cues. Cues display the letters with hints on how to type them. Keys that are in the home row, for example, are displayed in the middle line, while keys above the home row are slightly higher, and keys below the home row are placed slightly lower. Finger cues color-code the letters to indicate which finger should strike each key. Reach cues show which letters are out of the finger’s “natural column” of keys, while shift cues display which keys must be combined with the shift key to strike. If all the colors and key placements are confusing, the cues can be turned off.
Users can also customize thresholds at which a lesson or test (called “drills” in this particular Mac typing software program) automatically restarts. Thresholds can be set for when a user dips below a certain WPM rate or reaches a certain number of errors.
Unfortunately, multiple users cannot save individual data with CueType. More than one person can use the program, of course, but the performance reports will reflect results from all users at once. This is one of only two pieces of Mac typing software that had this disappointing drawback, but with all its other positive attributes, we feel this detail can be overlooked.
Text size is adjustable, which is a surprisingly rare feature among the other Mac typing software programs we reviewed. This handy option reduces eye strain and provides a more comfortable learning environment for users who have poor vision.
One other unique feature, which we did not find in any other Mac typing software program we reviewed, is the “ghost hands” tool. This option lets the computer type the keys at a set 30 WPM so users can watch the keyboard visual to see where each key is located and how it should be typed. This feature certainly makes up for the lack of guided help through audio or video dictation. (Though this is not to say that there is no guided help; to learn more information about the keys in any drill, simply click “Drill Info” to view a textual explanation.)
Games, Lessons and Tests
As we said, CueType offers no typing games with which to practice skills learned in lessons. While this may be a drawback for users who want to share their Mac typing software with their children or teenagers, we think it gives CueType a more professional and serious feel. In fact, the lack of games may even appeal more to teens and young adults than versions accompanied by cartoonish games.
Lessons, or drills, are easy to find and can be navigated freely; that is, they can be completed in a non-sequential order. Users who know they have mastered the home row keys can skip right to the third drill group to learn Index Finger Ups and Downs. If, after completing the first Numerals drill group, a user feels that he or she needs more practice on the Right- and Left-Shift keys, revisiting the appropriate drill groups is a snap.
“Best of” WPM rates and number of errors for drills are recorded right next to the title of the drill in the menu, along with number of attempts, so a user knows at a glance exactly what he or she has to accomplish to beat a personal record.
Tests are found at the end of each drill, under the name “review.” It utilizes letter and word prompts, though none of the phrase or paragraph prompts found in many other Mac typing software tests.
Ease of Use
CueType had by far one of the most intuitive user interfaces among the other Mac typing software we reviewed. Most of the user options can be toggled on or off with the click of a button and results are easy to read and understand. Performance reports are automatically saved, clear and concise, with no difficult-to-read graphs or charts.
The toolbar is also fully customizable; users can decide exactly which buttons and options they want displayed at all times. Users can even add spaces, flexible spaces (which grow or shrink as needed) and dividers to organize the toolbar better. No other program offered such convenience to users.
Help & Support
We found support resources to be somewhat spotty when compared to Mac typing software like Typing Instructor Pro, but it is more than enough to help solve any problems a user may experience.
The user guide is clean and simple, which is vital to a good guide. Its brevity is almost a bonus; some of the lengthier guides found in other programs can be a bit difficult to wade through. The guide answers all questions a user may have in a short, succinct manual. The manual doesn’t cover installation questions, but the program developers are easily reached via email, their website or even postal mail.
Software updates are available for download, and the user can even set the program to automatically check for them at startup.
Overall, we found CueType to be a highly satisfactory and professional program. One of the few programs geared towards adults that seems to actually be designed with them in mind, CueType offers all of the necessities without any of the fluff. If you’re looking for a program that is a little less serious, check out our side-by-side comparison of Mac typing software.