PROS / The user interface is designed well, and the software's many features are easy to use.
CONS / There aren’t any warm-up exercises available.
VERDICT / This is a terrific Mac typing software application thanks to its features and ease of use.
Typing Instructor Platinum is a Mac typing software program that takes teaching seriously, with its thorough lessons and wide variety of games, which make it the best among similar typing programs for Mac we reviewed. It’s ideal for everyone from beginners to those with typing experience just looking to freshen up on their skills. It earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award thanks to its ease of use and feature set.
This is one of the most feature-rich Mac typing software applications, though it doesn’t offer the Dvorak keyboard style in its lessons. However, there is little else that Typing Instructor lacks in terms of features.
One feature that is unique to Typing Instructor Platinum is its customizable user plans. You can choose from a list of pre-formatted learning paths, which includes the suggested plan for the your skill level, or you can even create your own learning plan by selecting from the entire list of available lessons, tests and games.
The customizable plans include lessons on keyboard numbers, 10-key, symbols and business typing (with practice sessions such as “Personal Letter”). The software also features, escalator drills, horizontal drills, kid’s lessons and many others.
Typing instructor Platinum also offers more than 50 different types of music, including jazz, children’s, pop, reggae, blues, classical, funk, Latin, rock and many others. There are far more musical options to listen to while learning than in other typing for Mac software applications we reviewed. If the pre-loaded options are not satisfactory, you can upload your own songs into the software.
An important part of learning to type is finding out your words per minute rate (WPM). This is a statistic used to evaluate your typing skill via speed. Typing Instructor Platinum Mac typing software displays your WPM rate after each game, lesson and test.
But speed means nothing when a typist is not accurate; this is why your adjusted words per minute (AWPM) rate is an equally important statistic. The application takes into account the number of mistakes you've made while typing and subtracts them from the WPM to give a more accurate assessment of your skill.
Games, Lessons and Tests
Typing Instructor Platinum has a high number of typing games. With a dozen to choose from, users of all ages are sure to find a game with a theme they enjoy while learning valuable typing skills.
Selections include everything from Flotsam Fighter to Erik the Viking and Cliffhanger. Each game is easy to understand and play, and each presents a fast-paced and fun typing challenge. The game’s pace is determined by your set WPM goal, but this can be easily changed if a game is moving too quickly or slowly.
The typing lessons are simple, low-pressure challenges presented with a calming photo background, such as a beach scene. Beginner challenges are accompanied by a visual of a keyboard and hands to show you how to properly strike the keys.
Lessons also utilize an interesting technique for learning: double letter typing. According to the software's guided tour, letters are repeated in pairs (such as “ssll;;aa,” which are part of the home keys) to help users gain muscle memory. Few other Mac typing software applications use this method to teach muscle memory.
On the right side of the screen, two gauges display your stats. The top one shows the remaining time you have to complete the lesson, while the lower one displays the number of mistakes allowed until the lesson is over.
The most important test we found in our reviews of Mac typing software was the initial skills level test. Not all applications offer this test, but Typing Instructor Platinum does. When you create a new user account, you are given the option of taking this skill assessment test to determine your skill level and to determine which program plan you should follow to improve your skills.
The typing tests utilize common and uncommon words to test your ability to type words that you may or may not be familiar with. The two visual “gauges” seen in the lessons are also displayed in the tests; however, the mistakes gauge in the lessons becomes a timer in tests.
Ease of Use
While Typing Instructor Platinum is fairly easy to use, we note that some of its Mac typing software competitors edge it out slightly in ease of use. Typing Instructor Platinum does offer an autosave feature, and it has very detailed instructions for lessons. You'll also find a full tour of the application to help you get started.
The tour is informative, but does little to explain the point behind the travel location theme of the applications. Other typing programs use a linear plotline that is similar in theory to Typing Instructor Platinum’s travel gimmick, but most other applications do it in a more straightforward and simple manner. Additionally, users cannot navigate between previously learned lessons, tests or game levels as they can in many other Mac typing software applications.
As far as navigating within a set plan, however, Typing Instructor Platinum Mac typing software could not be simpler. By simply clicking “GO!” from any screen, you're taken directly to the next lesson or test in line. There is no need to try and remember how far into a plan you were before you stopped; your progress is automatically “bookmarked” by the software.
Help & Support
Once again, Typing Instructor Platinum beats out all other Mac typing software programs we reviewed, this time sweeping the help and support category. The only feature Typing Instructor Platinum is missing in this category is a user forum, also known as message boards. Despite all the help and support available, we’d still like to see a forum for users to interact with each other.
If you need technical support, you can contact customer service and technical support directly via email and phone. You can even reach them by fax, but that’s for tech support only. Keep in mind, though, that if you bought the software for a business, educational facility or government institution, there are separate tech support numbers and emails you should use.
The user guide is included with the software and is available in a PDF file. While it cannot be accessed through the software itself, it is easy to find in the program file. At 47 pages long, there isn’t a question we could think of that was left unanswered in this manual. Since the manual is a PDF file, it is keyword-searchable, which makes finding the answer to your question a simple task.
Typing Instructor Platinum is compatible with and optimized to run on Apple computers running Mac OS X. It is also run on computers with Windows 7 and older versions of Windows, such as Windows Vista and XP.
Though Typing Instructor Platinum has some minor shortcomings, it’s the best Mac typing software program available. From kids and teens to adults, from home users to aspiring professionals, anyone can find a plan in Typing Instructor Platinum that works for their individual needs.