Touch Typing

by Will on June 27, 2011

Today, I’m going to talk to you about touch-typing. A lot of people claim to be able to touch-type simply because they can bash out a few words really fast using a couple if different fingers without looking, before making a mistake and needing to look at the keyboard… This is not touch-typing. Before you get disinterested, thinking “how on earth is this relevant to AutoCAD”, I’ll get there… please do read on.

Touch-typing is the ability to type, using only an instinctive knowledge of where the keys are under your fingers. Even when you make mistakes, you know exactly what mistake you made, and exactly how to fix it, using only the touch from your fingertips. The benefits of touch-typing┬á extend across your whole computing experience – including in the context of using AutoCAD® too.

I’m sure this has happened to you before – a drawing goes off for checking/approval (you do have a robust checking/approval process for your drawings don’t you?), and comes back plastered with additional notes and annotation. Ideally this will be in the form of a dwf so that we can copy and paste them across, but life is rarely that kind to us now is it. I remember countless times getting a drawing literally plastered with red pen for me to add to a drawing. Although I could type fairly well anyway, this was the catalyst for me making a conscious effort to learn to touch type properly —— and it is without a doubt one of the most useful things I ever learned to do on a PC.

Consider:

  1. Not having to look at the keyboard……ever. If you have some text on paper to copy to AutoCAD®, just read it, and type it as you go. This is much faster than the “look at the paper, then look at the keyboard, then type, then look at the screen and repeat” technique. This freedom to read while typing easily makes copying text from paper at least three times faster, and that’s not even factoring in the increased typing-speed perk of learning to touch-type.
  2. Being free to daydream. What I mean by this is, a natural instinctive typing ability requires no thought whatsoever. Previously your mind is trying to do two things – think about the content you’re writing about (the important bit), and typing. This encumbers the mind. When you speak, you’re not thinking about the shapes you’re making with your tongue are you? You’re not consciously engaging your diaphragm to expel air from your lungs, engaging your vocal chords, and shaping your mouth to create words… Of course you aren’t. Your brain is thinking about what you want to say – the rest comes naturally. Touch typing enables this with a computer. Think of something you want to write, and it just appears in front of you on the screen. It can actually be quite pleasant to gaze out of the window whilst typing, in search for inspiration…
  3. Linking instinctive typing with carefully mapped left-handed (or right-handed) keybinds. Anyone that has read my post on how I’ve mapped my commands to my left hand only, you’ll already know roughly what I’m talking about. Think a command, and it’s activated.

These are but a few perks of touch-typing – there are so many.

Sadly, there is a cost. It will take you time to learn. The way I learnt was to set aside say 15 minutes every day (during my lunch break of course…), and browse the various touch-typing websites that exist. There are loads, and most usually have a free online touch-typing applet for you to practice with.

So, I advise that you seriously consider learning. It requires some effort, but it is justifiable on the merit of the AutoCAD® benefits alone, and greatly enhances pretty much every other aspect of using a PC.

Will

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