How to Type Fast Without Looking at the Keyboard

By James Wright

Typing without looking at the keyboard is called "touch typing," and it isn't as intimidating to learn as it may seem. Learning to touch type to increase your typing speed starts with learning where to place your fingers and avoiding bad habits like pecking and using only two fingers. The process might feel like you're learning to use a keyboard all over again, but by familiarizing yourself with your keyboard and making use of all your fingers, you'll be able to type much faster.

Find the Home Keys

Your keyboard's home keys are where your fingers rest when they aren't actively typing. From the home keys, your fingers can reach all the keys you need without having to stretch or cross your hands. Your left four fingers rest on the "A," "S," "D" and "F" keys, while your four right fingers rest on the "J," "K," "L" and ";" keys. To help you find these keys without looking, most keyboards have small bumps on the "F" and "J" keys. Both thumbs rest on the space bar. Every finger is assigned specific keys to touch when you are typing; you can use a simple color-coded guide to show which fingers should be touching which keys (link in Resources).

Practice Accuracy First

Before you start trying to increase your words-per-minute speed, practice until your fingers find the right keys consistently. This is where typing tests come in handy; instead of typing normal words and sentences, look for tests that challenge you to find specific keys and focus on using the right fingers. It might seem like a hassle at first as you try to remember what fingers go where, but after you're comfortable with the location of the keys, normal typing comes much easier. When you make mistakes, don't worry. Go back to your home keys and try again; you can focus on speed later.

Train Yourself to Look Away

Resist the temptation to look at the keyboard if you are frustrated; it may help in the short term, but it's cheating. If you cannot resist the temptation to look at your keyboard while you practice, consider sliding your keyboard under your desk using a keyboard tray while you type. You can also purchase keyboards with keys that aren't labeled, or if that sounds too pricey, you can buy blank keyboard stickers to cover the keys while you learn. Alternatively, practice with an unlabeled keyboard skin but look for one that matches your specific keyboard.

Practice for Speed

After you're comfortable with your knowledge of the keys and your ability to find them without looking, start practicing on building up your speed. This won't be a quick process either, but it is less frustrating because you focus on typing words and sentences rather than hunting for specific keys. Online typing tests, like, and are good for practice. Don't be reluctant to take the tests more than once; repetition is a helpful learning tool. Focus on minimizing your mistakes before you focus on trying to be fast, but your speed will increase naturally. Keep practicing, either by taking typing tests or by typing a long ramble in a text document.

Use Proper Equipment and Posture

Not all keyboards and setups are conducive to learning typing. Some keyboards are awkwardly designed and lack proper tactile feedback, which can make typing harder. In addition, improper posture can make reaching the keys uncomfortable. Use a simple, sturdy keyboard where you can definitively feel each key press. Since you're not looking at the keyboard, you need to feel that you're typing correctly. Sit up straight with your feet placed flat on the ground and your lower arms at a 90-degree angle from your body. For increased comfort, purchase an ergonomic keyboard; some of them look strange, but they are designed to feel comfortable when you type.