Long gone are the days of landline phone calls and handwritten notes. In our modern, technological world, we live for emails, instant messaging and social media. It seems like you need to know how to type to do much of anything these days, and it's easy to feel like you've been left in the dust if you don't know how. Luckily, typing software is an easy, affordable way to learn how to touch-type from the comfort of your home.
Learning how to touch-type quickly and accurately can reap a wide variety of benefits. Mastering typing can help you communicate faster online and be more technologically adept. It's also a critical skill to have when you apply for a job, as it can potentially help you earn more money and work more efficiently. Learning to type with proper technique and posture can also reduce the chance of incurring a repetitive strain injury.
If you want your children to learn to type early or if they need additional practice, typing software for kids is geared toward teaching students between the ages of six and 12. These programs are packed with colorful typing games and cartoon pals to make learning fun. Adults can also use these programs to have a little fun while they learn.
Best Free Typing Software
We tested three free typing programs to find out if any no-cost options have enough features to compete with the for-pay software in our buying guide. We found that free typing software did not offer as many lessons and tests as some of the best for-pay applications. However, if you just need a short refresher course or to take a timed typing test to apply for a job, you may not need to invest money in an application.
Typing.com may not have as many lessons as the for-pay typing software in our review, but you don’t need to download anything on your computer to use it. There are 45 courses that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced as well as eight fun games to play. This is enough content for typists of all ages to polish their current skills, and if you run out of lessons and feel like you need more instruction, you can invest in another software title without feeling like you wasted your hard-earned money on Typing.com’s instruction.
Best for Adults
The best typing programs for adults include lessons that are designed to improve your speed and accuracy so you can be a more efficient communicator in the workplace and on social media. Although games are a fun way to improve your typing skills, the best typing software for adults has more involved and challenging lesson plans that require a grownup attention span.
Typesy has more than 400 lessons, games and exercises to help you type faster and more efficiently. This is the best software for adults because of its emphasis on lessons rather than games and achievement-based learning. However, the extensive library of lessons and exercises has value for people of all ages and abilities. This application can be used by up to five users, and since it is cloud-based, you can use it on any computer.
Best for Young Adults
Much to their advantage, today’s young adults and teenagers started using software as a learning tool at a very young age. The best typing tutor applications for these young people have a variety learning materials that peak the curiosity and reward users for completing lessons in an efficient and timely manner.
Best for Students
Teachers need to provide their students with a clear and attainable path to success as they learn new concepts. The best typing software options for educators have customizable curriculums and allow users to set personalized performance goals. They also generate thorough reports so teachers can easily track their students’ progress and weaknesses.
UltraKey typing software uses a success-based teaching methodology with an accumulative curriculum and personalized performance goals to improve your touch-typing skills. Because of these features and the program’s comprehensive reporting tools, UltraKey is the best typing software for educators. This software was engineered for schools, community programs and businesses but is also a good typing tutor for home use.
Typing Software: How We Tested, What We Found
As we tested typing applications, we took note of the number and types of lessons each has. We found that the most effective typing software uses a variety of teaching methods, including timed exercises that promote quick typing and dictation practices that teach the skills you need to transcribe. The more exercises there are, the more useful the software, and having lots lessons to choose from keeps you from getting bored. Some programs allow you to create custom lessons so the software can grow with you as your typing improves.
We also evaluated how intuitive each program’s interface is. The best typing software makes content easy to find so you can customize your learning path to suit your needs. A well-organized user interface also allows you to spend more time polishing your typing skills and less time learning how to use the software.
Reporting capabilities are important for both teachers and students. All the applications we tested keep track of typing speed and accuracy. However, the best programs let you know which specific keys and fingers you struggle with. Detailed reporting provides insight into which lessons you need to revisit and can help you identify lessons you may not need to complete to advance your skills.
What Else Is Important?
All the programs we tested use lessons and tests to teach you how to type on a standard QWERTY keyboard. However, a few programs have additional features you should consider before making a purchase.
Being able to type quickly and accurately adds value to your professional portfolio. However, most beginner and intermediate courses don’t let you practice with the types of content you most often encounter in professional settings.
Software like Typesy and KeyBlaze have exercises that can teach you to type materials like legal documents and marketing content, and they have 10-key exercises to improve your data entry skills. Knowing how to use all parts of the keyboard, including the number and symbol keys, can help you type more efficiently at your job.
Most people learn to type on a QWERTY keyboard. This layout became popular in the late 1800s with the advent of the typewriter because it kept keys from sticking. However, there are a few alternatives that claim to be more ergonomic and comfortable. Type Fu and Master Key support and offer lessons for the Dvorak keyboard layout, which is the second most popular type of English keyboard.
Help & Support
In general, typing software is fairly straightforward and intuitive. Still, if you have a question or concern, it is nice to know there are helpful resources available. All the software we tested come with email and phone support. However, some companies, such as Ultrakey and Typing Instructor Platinum, offer additional support resources, including video tutorials and FAQs on their websites.
Typing software has a simple purpose: to improve your typing speed and accuracy. However, everyone learns differently, and the software you choose should provide the learning tools, lessons and help you need to reach your individual typing goals. Games and success-based training are fun and effective ways to keep young people engaged, but as an adult looking for ways to improve efficiency at work, you need lessons developed with real-world applications in mind.