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What is a good typing speed?

What is a good typing speed?
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Finding a speed at which you can type comfortably and accurately is the most important aspect of figuring out what is a good typing speed for you. You may feel more comfortable typing at a slower speed so that you can maintain error-free copy, and almost edit your writing as you go. Or you might be a fast touch-typist who leans heavily on a spell-checker to sort out your errors. 

Knowing what is a good typing speed is important for you when it comes to studying, and if you're looking for a job that involves a lot of typing. Luckily, the best typing software programs for adults can help improve your typing speed and accuracy. 

When it comes to helping children type more confidently, choose programs that encourage them through the use of typing games and fun exercises. You can find these in our guide to the best typing software for kids.

How is typing speed measured?

Most of us are familiar with the words per minute (WPM) way to measure typing speed. This measurement averages words at five characters and ranks your speed on that scale. 

The issue with measuring typing speed this way is because some words are longer or more difficult to type. WPM isn't always the most accurate way to measure typing, so the rate of characters per minute (CPM) is also used to measure typing speed.

What is a good typing speed: A close up shot of a keyboard on a blue laptop

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To work on boosting your typing speed and accuracy, read our Typesy review, which looks at the enormous amount of typing exercises on offer to help you become more confident when typing.

What is the national average typing speed?

The fastest typing speed, when typing in the English language, was recorded in 1946 on an IBM electric typewriter by Stella Pajunas, who peaked at 216 WPM. Michael Shestov, however, holds the Guinness World Record for typing 800 numbers in a five-minute period, error free.

Not all of us will reach that kind of typing speed and dexterity, and when you're first learning to type it can feel as though being able to type quickly and accurately will never come easy to you. But with practice, you will get better, and the best way to do that is to fire up your laptop or home computer and keep working on your typing.

We'd recommend Typing.com for helping you develop quickly through a series of quick typing tests. If you're looking to help your child type better, read our Mavis Beacon Keyboarding Kidz review

The national average for typing on a typical keyboard is 37 to 44 WPM, or 150 to 200 CPM. Most of us also make about eight typos for every 100 words we type, but even that still would put you in the 90th percentile.

What is a good typing speed: a woman types on a Surface hybrid laptop

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How fast are professional typists?

Those who type for a living develop impressive typing speeds that increase with practice and time. Secretaries, for example, need to test at about 50-80 WPM, or 250-400 CPM, with a good degree of accuracy. While it's a little dry, the 

For jobs where accuracy and speed counts more, such as a dispatcher or a person who types captions for news, the typing speed will need to be around 80-95 WPM or 400-475 CPM.

How the right keyboard can help you type faster

QWERTY keyboards are the most commonly used, so when you hear about typing speed, it's normally on a QWERTY. However, other keyboards encourage faster typing, such as the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, on which some typists can achieve 150 to 170 wpm.

Research suggests that the earlier you start typing on keyboards of any kind, the more dexterity you develop in your fingers. Playing piano is a particularly good way to develop dexterity, as well as an appreciation for keyboards. Take a look at our guide to the best online piano lessons if this interests you.

Children these days are exposed to keyboards at a much earlier age, so it's important to help them establish typing skills earlier on.

How does a good typing speed compare to the national average?

In the end, a good typing speed is one that enables you to type comfortably while making the fewest errors. Why? Because fewer errors means you spend less time overall editing your results if you do forget to run a spell check.