If you do a lot of typing on your Mac, then learning to type fast without looking at your keyboard (touch type, that is) can save you some serious amounts of time. However, usually acquiring this skill requires training courses or specialized programs and applications that don’t come cheap.
Another reason as to why you should seriously consider improving learning touch typing is the productivity boost you will gain (as implied above) by being able to cram a lot more actual work in a set amount of time. Additionally, typing without looking at the keyboard also improves accuracy, since you will instead focus on the screen and the words you are writing instead of on your Mac’s keyboard.
Thankfully, with the release of the Mac App Store, a lot of little, unknown Mac apps have been able to achieve some recognition due to their convenience and cheap prices.
One of these is Typist, by Japanese developer Takeshi Ogihara. Typist is a typing tutor app for Macs that is not only completely free, but also very useful.
The design and interface of Typist are extremely simple, making the app very easy to use and understand. When you start it, it displays a main menu with nine different courses that you can choose from.
To give you an idea of how comprehensive these courses can be, each of these can be composed of several individual lessons, with some of them easily surpassing ten in number. Regardless of the course you choose, all of them guide you through the process of touch typing in a fairly comprehensive way. In fact, most of the courses offer very detailed instructions, including where each of your fingers should be placed on the keyboard, which of them is better for hitting particular keys and such.
Once the lessons start, they appear at the middle of the app’s window with detailed instructions at the top of it. At the bottom of the screen, Typist offers statistics detailing important information for you to track your progress, such as your strokes per minute, the words per minute you can type and your error ratio.
Likewise, the length of the lesson is also shown, along with a progress bar that details how well (green) or bad (red) you are doing so far.
Additionally, the application offers feedback in the way of short beeping sounds for whenever you make mistakes and even lets you set different typing styles and characters in its Preferences panel.
It is also worth mentioning the variety of courses and drills that Typist offers, including even drills for calculator and Dvorak (simplified) keypads as well as a quick course for those who (like me) just don’t have the time to sit through all the 15 lessons of the standard course.
There you go. Typist might not be the prettiest or the most didactic typing application for the Mac, but without spending a single cent, you get a very simple and convenient typing tutor that is thorough enough to actually improve your typing skills in a short time.