Learn to Type w/ 10 Fingers

September 20, 2018

If there is one piece of advise which I would give to every knowledge worker, that would be — learn to type w/ 10 fingers.

On all keyboard layouts/in all languages you know.

The number of people who cannot type w/ 10 fingers is staggering. This affects their ability to produce quality papers in a reasonable amount of time and to reply quickly to chats. The latter drives me crazy.

When I was 18 I had the chance to practice on an real teletype. Several months later, when the tele-typist retired, I got his job for a year.

The teletype was a fascinating device. The incoming messages arrived both readable on paper and as a collection of holes on a punched tape.

The punched tape gave a number of options. One could forward the whole message just by replaying the tape. Or copy the tape on another tape and pass the copy on. It also allowed corrections while one typed. It was enough to “cancel” the wrong passage, where all the characters were fully punched w/ 5 holes and then type the correct version on top of it.

But the most valuable thing of all was that I learned to type w/ 10 fingers. And not only this, but the keyboard layout was for another language, so I learned to type without looking at the keys, where the characters were useless anyway.

Now I can type w/ 10 fingers in four languages without the need to have the characters printed on the keys. I even do not know where each individual character is. Some kind of motor memory activates, when I have to type a word in a specific language and the fingers figure out the placement of the keys on their own.

So yes, the core disadvantage of typing w/ 10 fingers is that I begin to wonder when I have to type only one letter.

But apart from that, it’s a lot of fun and brings some benefits along.

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