Keyboarding practice has little to do with music and more to do with learning how to type – fast. Even as I am writing this article, my eyes are flitting between the computer keys and the screen. It’s not a practice that’s recommended for hitting the accelerator if you want to speed up your typing.
Learning to type fast is almost a survival skill in the Darwinian digital jungle. It’s directly related to saving time you put into a work and improving your productivity. If you are a freelance digital worker, then I don’t have to tell you that it is also about money earned in the limited hours you have.
The good thing is that learning to touch type is a no-brainer. You just need to be methodical with your practice. Handholding you through your typing lessons is this free cross-platform software.
TIPP10 Is Thoughtfully Designed
That’s the first thing that struck me when I downloaded and installed TIPP10. The good thing is that TIPP10 as a free touch typing tutor works for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. On first launch, the typing tutor starts with an introductory tutorial which is just thing if you are beginner at typing.
The key feature of TIPP10 is its intelligent tracking. Characters that are mistyped are repeated more frequently. So, you get to practice more and polish your mistakes. Here’s the main interface:
TIPP10 distinguishes between three tabs for three types of lessons that can be distinguished with the clock, light bulb and pencil icons – Training Lessons, Open Lessons and Own Lessons. As a beginner you will start with the Training Lessons which will work you through the basic characters as they occur in common practice. The main interface displays 20 sequential training lessons. The lessons are arranged according to ease and commonly used characters are practiced earlier and more frequently than those that appear less frequently.
Open Lessons are dictations covering various topics. They are arranged according to subjects and are meant for intermediate typists who need to practice with normal text. TIPP10 being a German product has open lessons in that language only, but as the developers say, other languages will be included soon.
For English speakers, the above gap does not matter because the third tab on Own Lessons lets you create your own by adding, editing, and importing from a text file. Text can be dictated as a Sentence Lesson or a Word Lesson. The explanations given on the side show how you should set the dictation with word lessons preferably. Consult the Help file if you are confused.
Before You Start the Typing Lessons
The main interface gives you a few settings to choose from:
You can set the dictation to go according to time or total number of characters. If you want to tackle a lesson from start to finish, deactivate the Intelligence feature and select Entire Lesson.
Also set the option on how you want the typing tutor to handle errors as you type. For example, you can select the Audible Signal option if you want to hear an audible signal each time you make a typing error.
Starting a Touch Typing Lesson
The practice window has a virtual keyboard and a display ticker above it. A status bar in the lower part of the screen provides you with additional information. Pressing the space key starts the lesson and the timer. The key that needs to be entered appears in color and all you need to do is follow the ticker and enter the text that appears using the PC keyboard. The character that needs to be typed appears with a gray background in the ticker.
Results are displayed after your lesson ends or you have exited prematurely. You can also view the results directly from the menu. It is displayed in six tabs each with a different set of information. For instance, and interestingly – The Fingers chart will show you your error rate per finger. You can see which finger is causing you trouble.
A Few Other Goodies
TIPP10 has quite a few more goodies tucked away. The ABC Game helps you practice your touch typing by ‘hitting’ falling letters with the right keystroke before they fall to the ground. The game might not be as entertaining as the few we have profiled here, but it’s welcome practice.
TIPP10 settings allow you to change the defaults for the User Interface, the Training Lessons and the Keyboard Layout. The software supports English and German. A wide variety of keyboard layouts are also available under the dropdown.
TIPP10 is a well-rounded typing tutor. If you get stuck somewhere, the context sensitive help manual gives you clear and concise instructions. I hope this overview has done justice to the scope of this cross platform freeware. Try out your keyboard play on TIPP10 and tells us your take. Have you used an online tool or software to increase your WPMs? Which one would you recommend? Here are a few of our previous posts on touch typing: