About two years ago, I was typing around 65 words per minute. Today, I routinely average 100+ WPM on TypeRacer and recorded a 111 WPM mark on 10 Fast Fingers.
Every email I write is now easier. Every blog post I write is more effortless. As a developer, I don't program much faster, but the cost of implementation feels cheaper. As a result, I write better emails, publish more blog posts, and finish more software projects. Everything just feels slightly easier than before.
Typing faster has tremendous benefits.
In this article, I'll show you the steps I took to go from 65 WPM to 100+.
Before we talk about how to reach 100+ WPM, I need to discuss what we mean by "100 WPM".
Some YouTubers claim that you can reach 100+ WPM in a single week. That's extremely misleading.
The problem with these claims is that they're measuring a personal best, not an average.
If you look at someone's TypeRacer results, you'll notice a ton of variance. Here's a chart of all of my races - the goal is to get consistently above the 100 WPM line:
The first time I recorded a 100+ WPM race was #604. It wasn't until around race #4,800 that I started seeing highly consistent 100+ WPM races.
A good way to measure your typing speed is to look at the average of your last X tests. Thankfully, the TypeRacer widget in the top right of your screen tracks the average of your last 10 races.
When I say "type 100 WPM", I mean that we're consistently recording 100+ WPM on the TypeRacer widget.
Ok, now that we've clarified what 100 WPM means, let's see how it can be done.
I've seen so many guides out there that tell you that if you want to type faster you need to buy a mechanical keyboard or change to Dvorak, Colemak, or Workman.
Sadly, I'm here to tell you there is no quick fix - you can't blame your typing speed on QWERTY or your crap keyboard.
I bought a mechanical keyboard, and it didn't make me type faster (they do feel great though). I've seen other people switch to Dvorak/Workman, only to realize that it doesn't really help you type faster (should pretty much only be used for new typists who haven't built up muscle memory in QWERTY).
There is pretty much only one path to faster typing: master the fundamentals, then practice a lot, and practice intelligently.
In this section, we'll talk about fundamentals.
Before you can type faster, you need to master touch typing - or typing accurately without looking down on your fingers.
If you're typing under 50WPM, it likely means you're still looking at the keyboard and don't have good finger placement. Don't stress too much on getting textbook finger placement (everyone customizes their typing style anyways), but start by following the textbook approach.
To practice proper placement and eliminate looking at your keyboard, go to a website like typing.com and then keybr.com. Typing.com will teach you textbook finger placement. Keybr will help you practice to eliminate errors.
Depending on where you're starting, you might need to spend a month or so here. Typing.com might be boring, but don't skip this step. Keybr is optional, but I recommend spending some time to clean up mistakes.
There's a good chance that your speed will naturally rise to around 60 WPM when you get the fundamentals of touch typing down. Cutting your need to look at your keyboard will result in big improvements.
This is the least fun step, but nothing else matters if you skip it. (That said, you can ignore numbers for now)
Now that you've mastered the basics of typing without looking at the keyboard, it's time to focus on speed.
While our goal is to record a sustained 10 race average of 100+ on TypeRacer, I think it's important to dedicate some of your practice to 10 Fast Fingers.
Features that make 10 Fast Fingers great for raising your raw speed
I know a lot of advice out there talks about minimizing mistakes, which is absolutely crucial for typing faster. However, so is raw speed.
10 Fast Fingers is the best drill I have found for speed.
Whenever I practice typing, I start on 10 Fast Fingers for about 5-10 minutes, and then transition to TypeRacer. This vastly improves my practice sessions.
10 Fast Fingers is great, but it's not a true measurement of your speed like TypeRacer. TypeRacer is the standardized test that we're aiming to ace.
I spend the majority of my typing practice on TypeRacer. On TypeRacer, you just need to practice a lot.
That might sound dreadful, but it can actually be really fun. Here's some motivational tips:
TypeRacer's UI basically lets you get into a flow state of races. Do a race, and then another, and another. It's extremely conducive to practice, and I find it quite fun.
It's taken me about 5000 races on TypeRacer to reach a fairly consistent 100+ WPM. That was spread out over 2 years, and some months I practiced way more than other months.
In a previous article, I mentioned that it took me on average 3 hours of practice to improve my WPM by 1. Mantas Donelavicius recorded his progress as well and found that it took him on average 2 hours and 40 minutes to increase his typing speed by 1 WPM.
If you are starting at a typing speed of under 70 WPM, I think you will see rapid progress by just fixing your finger placement, and getting familiar with touch typing.
From there, to get to 100 WPM, using a combination of 10 Fast Fingers and TypeRacer, you should expect to raise your speed by 10 WPM for every 20-40 hours of practice.
But beware! There may be large stretches of time where you feel like you're not improving. For me, the experience of improvement was extremely "spikey". Large stretches of no improvement, punctuated by surprisingly sudden increases in WPM.
While I haven't reached the next level (which is to get to the 120 WPM mark), I have done some research and I believe the next step is to:
People who type really fast process information slightly differently. They need to keep a "buffer" in their minds of what they're about to type. I find that I am beginning to need this too.
I don't have any advice on this, but I really enjoyed this YouTube video of someone who types over 160 WPM:
Typing faster has been a solid boost to my productivity. It shaves a few minutes off tasks here and there, which might not change how much I can get done in a day, but it reduces the cognitive burden of every task I have.
There's no shorcut to typing faster (at least to my knowledge). But I hope this guide helps you get a sense of the path that lays before you.
As a recap:
Best of luck out there!