Want to increase your typing speed? I’m sure we all do. Not only can we save ourselves a lot of time over years of typing, having a high typing speed can be impressive to see. And while most typing improvement regimens are sluggishly boring, I’ve found a Chrome typing extension that makes the progression feel easier and more natural. It’s called Type Fu.
Recently I started learning a new keyboard layout called Colemak. My first encounter with it was actually a year ago when I read Erez’s argument for switching to the Colemak layout, but I’d quickly forgotten about it. Lo and behold, I’m finally giving it a go and Type Fu has been instrumental in my progress. Without it, I probably would’ve given up by now out of sheer boredom.
I love the interface and layout for Type Fu. I don’t consider myself a fan of Apple by any stretch, but I can recognize strong interface design when I see it and Type Fu borrows a lot from Apple (probably because the original version of Type Fu was a Mac application). It’s clean, spacious, and conducive to learning how to type without any distractions.
Along the top, you have controls for picking a lesson, retrying or skipping the lesson, buttons for seeing your progress statistics, and a settings dropdown menu. On the right is a sidebar that provides broad info regarding your current lesson.
The main area is split into two sections: one for the words you need to type as part of the lesson and one that shows the current keyboard layout and which finger you should be using to hit the next key. If you find these to be unnecessary, you can always disable them in the options.
Type Fu comes equipped with hundreds of different lessons that are designed to guide you from zero to hero without losing you along the way. The easiest lessons start off with a focus on only a few of the keys and subsequent lessons gradually add more keys to the mix. Lessons are broken down as follows:
- Letters. These lessons focus on English letters and will get you familiar with all three rows over the course of nine difficulty levels.
- Numbers. These lessons are meant to get you acquainted with the numeric keys. There are nine difficulty levels that gradually add more numbers to the mix.
- Words. These lessons pull words from the 3500 most popular words in the English language, starting with “home row only” words at level one and gradually adding more.
- Quotes. Lessons that pull from a database of 300 quotes made by famous people. These are great for when you’ve become sufficiently familiar with a keyboard layout and you just want to go all out with speed improvements.
- Proverbs. Similar to the quotes database, except these pull from a separate database of 300 proverbs.
Type Fu supports most of the well-known keyboard layouts:
Type Fu has a feature called auto-adjust difficulty level, which analyzes your performance over the course of multiple type lessons and automatically graduates you to the next level when you meet the criteria. This criteria is based on words-per-minute and typing accuracy.
You can always view your progress with speed charts, accuracy charts, as well as most typed keys and most mistyped keys charts. All of these charts are divided between all-time progress and this session’s progress, which is convenient for comparison purposes.
Like mentioned before, Type Fu started off as a Mac application, which you can still purchase off the Mac App Store for $14.99 USD if you prefer to go that route. The Mac version starts with every difficulty level unlocked and has three times as many quotes and proverbs.
I’m having a blast with Type Fu and it’s the best free typing tutor that I’ve encountered. The fact that it’s a Chrome typing extension is a boon for those of us who use Chrome, but it could be a deal-breaker for those of you who prefer Firefox or whatever other browser. Still, if you need a free typing tutor, I think Type Fu is worth having a spare installation of Chrome just for it.
Once you’ve gotten better at typing, you could put your typing skills to the test with some fun typing games. Good luck and have fun!