Why Use Typing Software?
The top performers in our review are UltraKey, the Gold Award winner; Typesy, the Silver Award winner; and Typing Instructor Platinum, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing typing software to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
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 in order 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.
What Are the Benefits of Learning to Type?
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 an injury, which you might sustain if you type with bad posture, such as repetitive strain injury.
In case you want your kids to be able to type before they start high school, typing for kids software is aimed at kids aged 6-12. These programs are packed with colors, games and cartoon pals to make learning to type more fun. Adults can also use them to have a little fun while they learn. For more on learning how to touch-type, check out our articles on typing software.
Typing Software: What We Evaluated, What We Found
As we tested each typing software application, we counted how many lessons and tests were available and whether they make it easy to learn typing. We looked at how intuitive the interface was and whether or not the lessons were generally well-paced and thorough. We also judged the software on its reporting capabilities and customer support.
Type Training: Learn All the Things!
All touch-typing software teaches you letters on your keyboard in the standard QWERTY layout, and a few programs even teach you alternative layouts, like Dvorak, QWERTZ or AZERTY. Exceptional software also teaches you symbols and numbers, both those above the letters and on the 10-key number pad.
We found that the most effective typing software uses a variety of teaching methods. This can include timed exercises that promote quick typing or dictation practice that helps you learn the skills needed to transcribe. A high number of typing exercises greatly improves the usefulness of the software, ensuring you never get bored. Some programs allow you to create custom lessons so that the software grows with you as your typing improves.
Programs with an initial assessment start you off on exercises that match your skill level and, with adaptive learning, monitor your progress and prompt you to repeat lessons if you do not pass certain benchmarks. This practice helps you improve in areas where you are weak and motivates you to do better.
Both accuracy and speed are key elements to master when you are learning to type, and the best typing software programs offer timed exercises that promote quick typing, as well as accuracy training that focuses on correct typing over speed. Speed and accuracy are skills you gain through practice. Programs with a high number of timed lessons and activities that focus on accuracy help you gain those skills over time.
Learning Tools: What Can the Software Do for You?
While good keyboarding software teaches and tests you on your knowledge of letters, numbers and symbols, it should also provide you with other features and functionality. It should be easy for teenagers and adults alike to use, with an intuitive interface that has clearly labeled pages and instructions.
A clean interface directly affects the usability of the software. Programs that organize exercises into specific sections, such as practice exercises, lessons, games and tests, are the easiest to navigate and received high usability scores. They present exercises in the order you should complete them, which is helpful for novice users. This organization also lets you jump around from one activity to the next with ease.
The programs that received lower usability scores are more difficult to navigate. Typically, these programs do not offer a variety of lesson types, so you only get one method of learning, or they make it more difficult to navigate the software and find specific features.
Most of the typing programs allow you to customize your learning experience by creating or importing text of your choice. This feature not only extends the programs' usability, but it also allows you to tailor the lessons to fit your needs and keep you engaged.
Using a visual keyboard guide, the programs teach you correct finger placement, as well as ergonomics so that you can type for extended periods without injuring yourself. We found many of the programs show the proper way to sit and place your hands when typing, and they send you helpful reminders for this as you type.
Progress Reporting: Stay Informed of Your Development
It's probably a good sign of your progress if you are moving from one lesson to another without much struggle, but just in case, it's best for the software to track your activity and compile it into a report. The best typing software programs have a dedicated reporting page with easy-to-read charts and text.
These reports allow you to evaluate figures associated with your accuracy and speed, you’re your words per minute, error rates and accuracy percentages. Many of the programs show you reports, graphs and charts. Some provide even more detail, including the letters you mistype.
We created a reporting functionality score to give you an idea of the quality of each program's reporting tools, as well as how effective they are in teaching you to type. The majority of the programs offer an assortment of reports, charts and graphs that detail standard information like how many words you can type per minute, your number of errors and an accuracy percentage. Programs that also detail which letters you mistype and offer more in-depth reports received higher reporting scores than the ones that only offer standard information.
Help & Support: Get Information & Answers
This software is fairly straightforward and intuitive for the most part, but in case you do have a question or concern, many resources are available to you. Most companies offer email and phone support, and a few even offer direct support via live chat. Additionally, you can typically find informational resources such as a FAQs page or knowledgebase on developer websites. In most cases, you can also find basic help within the application's interface.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the software in our comparison through retail purchase. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. The results of our evaluations were not provided to software manufacturers in advance of publication.
Typing Software: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Three typing software applications – Typesy, UltraKey and Typing Instructor Platinum – soared above the rest in our comparison, mostly because they feature wide selections of typing lessons and activities that are all effective in improving your typing skills. Not only do they feature a variety of exercises, but these programs offer more functionality than the other software we tested and still maintain their ease of use. These are the factors we weighed as the most important in our rankings.
Typesy has a large selection of typing exercises that promote speed, accuracy or both. With so many lesson types and the ability to import or create more, this software keeps you motivated and grows with you as your typing advances. While the program has a large feature set of typing exercises and tools, it remains easy to use. The program not only has a clean interface, but you can access it from anywhere with internet access. It operates on a cloud storage system, making it even more convenient to use.
UltraKey boasts a larger number of typing exercises than all the other programs on our lineup. Between the quantity of exercises and the variety of lessons, the program grows with you as you learn to type. This typing software also offers detailed reports for each of your exercises and tracks your progress. Its tools effectively teach you good typing practices, and it helps you improve your speed and accuracy as you go.
Typing Instructor Platinum offers similar features as our top-rated typing software, with effective teaching tools and extensive progress reports after each exercise. The software has a large selection of exercises and lessons displayed on a clean interface that is easy to navigate. In case you do run into problems, the company offers several support options to address any questions.
With typing programs, you can learn how to touch-type at any age. This important skill can save you time, help you communicate more effectively and increase your chances of getting hired at a wide variety of jobs. By ensuring the software you choose has the right combination of features, lesson pacing and reporting, you can make your life easier and more successful.