These free apps will help you type faster | Popular Science
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These free apps will help you type faster

Type faster from home row all the way up that tricky "Q."

Typing

Limber up your fingers.

With so much of our time spent tapping away at a keyboard, a boost in typing speed can make you more productive in almost any line of work—whether it's powering through our inboxes, writing up reports, or staying in touch with team members on instant messengers, many us could fit more into the day by typing a little faster.

What's more, you don't have to enroll in a course to get your typing speed up a notch or two, because plenty of online apps are available for you to use right at your desk—you could even set aside 10 minutes every lunchtime and see how far you've progressed at the end of the month. Here are seven excellent typing trainers to get you on your way.

1. Keybr

Keybr starts with a quick and friendly introduction to itself before launching you into some touch typing tasks. On-screen diagrams show you where your fingers should rest on the keyboard, and the online app starts with a small subset of letters before expanding as your confidence grows. It's also really easy to keep track of your progress.

What we like about Keybr, in particular, is the variety in the exercises, and the way it adapts to meet your skills—the developers say underlying algorithms match the tests to your typing speed and it works well as far as we can tell. It also benefits from a slick and simple online interface, which always lets you know where you are and what to do next.

Keybr, free with ads (registration optional)

2. Ratatype

If you still have to look at the keys while you type, Ratatype is for you: It eases you in with an introduction to touch typing, showing you where to put your fingers on the keyboard, and even giving you some advice on sitting posture. With all that digested, you can get started on the first of 15 lessons, each made up of multiple typing exercises.

Ratatype is meant for students, and it shows—the interface is colorful and friendly, and the typing exercises are basic, focusing on getting you to hit the right keys rather than typing anything that makes any sense, at least to begin with. Your profile page makes it easy to see how far you've progressed and jump in and out of the exercises as you need to.

Ratatype, free (registration required)

3. The Typing Cat

Few web apps can match the visual charm and exercise variety of The Typing Cat, which throws in a few games alongside the standard exercises to keep you interested. A keyboard stays on screen at all times, so you know where your fingers should be, and the tests are fun and intuitive. Try the Typing Test first, to see how fast you already are.

From there you can jump into a tiered series of courses and lessons that manage to be comprehensive without being daunting—you can see where you are at every stage. You can just launch in and start typing, but if you register a free account you can save your progress, and if you pay to be a Pro user that gives you access to the advanced lessons too.

The Typing Cat, free or $10 a year (registration optional)

4. TypingClub

If you just want to jump in and get going then we'd recommend TypingClub, which is just about as simple an app as you can get. It's still polished and professional though, and leads you smartly through a host of exercises—they can get a bit repetitive, but they're certainly effective. The site lets you go at your own pace and take a break at any time.

You get several exercises to try out for free, but there is a premium subscription option available which opens up access to plenty more. Subscribing also removes the ads on the site, lets you save your progress, and gives you more detailed reports. Overall it's a nice balance between free lessons for casual users and a paid option for the more dedicated.

TypingClub, free with ads or $78 a year (registration optional)

5. Typing.com

The web app with the most apt URL in this list sticks to the basics but does them well, as well as being well designed and speedy to navigate. Just click once to get started—you don't have to register a (free) account on the site, but if you do, it lets you save your progress and carry on later. An optional one-off payment of $35 removes all the adverts.

We like the pictures that illustrate where to put your fingers, and the progress reports that pop up at the end of each exercise. The finger workouts are varied too, with letters sometimes scrolling down from the top of the screen as well as staying static. If you want to get up and running quickly, and start from the very start with touch typing, this is a great option.

Typing.com, free with ads or a one-off $35 payment (registration optional)

6. TypingAcademy

What's most impressive about TypingAcademy is its lightweight and uncluttered interface: It's all beautifully laid out and a breeze to use. You can dive into a variety of lessons or speed tests, as well as read up on the basics of touch typing or review your statistics. The app doesn't pressure you to sign up or bombarded with ads—it's just a fun, fast experience.

There are a wealth of exercises and lessons to work through, and if you register an account (which doesn't cost anything) you can even create your own exercises. Even if you're not registered, your performance and stats are saved to the local web browser, so you can chart your progress. It's not the flashiest of apps, but it's definitely one of the best here.

TypingAcademy, free (registration optional)

7. Typing Master

Typing Master covers a host of different web apps, exercises, and games, and programs for Windows and macOS are also available if you want something on your desktop. You can launch into speed tests, fun and flashy typing games, or a more serious typing trainer course right from the opening screen—whatever you're after, you're likely to find it here.

All the tests and games we've tried are intuitive and responsive, with more visual flourishes than any of the other apps here. All of the these apps (including the downloads) give you varying levels of practice for free, with full packages costing anywhere from a $6 one-off fee to a $100-per-month subscription for the top-tier professional typing course.

Typing Master, free or up to $100-per-month (registration optional)

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