Boost your Typing Skills with Free OS X Typing Lessons

Ever wish you could type faster? Ever wish you could type more accurately, with more than two fingers? If you’re like me and you’ve never been properly trained, a typing tutor may help. Can a minimally priced or even free typing tutor turn a hunt and peck, two finger typist like myself into a keyboarding master? Let’s find out..

The Software:

For this challenge, the software must run on OS X, be suitable for adults and either free or reasonably priced. I’ve found three applications that meet these criteria.

Key Advantage Typing Tutor:

Brothersoft’s Key Advantage Typing Tutor is Shareware, and will let you try the first five levels without having to pay. What’s nice about this typing tutor is the drills and lessons. It will show you your accuracy and break it down by hand and finger. I can see this program actually working to teach correct finger positioning. Unfortunately, because I couldn’t go further than the first five levels, I didn’t get a feel for the advanced workouts. That said, Key Advantage Typing Tutor is decent and worth trying out.

Note: This application comes as a Stuffit file. (.SIT) With OS X 10.5, Apple decided not to include the necessary libraries for OS X to uncompress this. Not that I mind, as .ZIP is much more standard and cross-platform. Anyways, if you are running Leopard, you will need to download The Unarchiver if you haven’t already to open up this file.

aTypeTrainer4Mac 2.0:

Valentin Vassilevski’s aTypeTrainer4Mac is a freeware typing tutor with many features. Like the preceding software, it has drills and levels. You can set it to grade you for quantity, quality or accuracy, where you must backspace when you make a mistake. Being freeware, I was able to try both advanced and basic levels. The drills are very good and along with an on-screen keyboard, it shows you which fingers you are supposed to use. I felt that this tutor would teach me equally as good as its commercial and shareware counterparts.

While it’s all great and lovely to practice drills and your words per minute when it’s just gibberish that you are typing, what makes aTypeTrainer4Mac so incredible is that you can import actual text from either TextEdit, Firefox or Safari. Then aTypeTrainer4Mac will drill you as you type actual sentences and paragraphs! Bottom line is – aTypeTrainer4Mac is worth the download and hard to believe it’s free.

TickerType:

Custom Solutions of Maryland’s TickerType is a typing game. The words come off a ticker and as you type them they are eliminated. If the word reaches the end of the ticker, it’s gone. You have a time and a point level. What’s great about TickerType is you are drilled on actual words instead of random letters and it tracks your speed in words per minute. What’s not so great is there is no accuracy count. It doesn’t eliminate a word from the ticker if you mistype it, but it doesn’t count your mistakes and there’s no real feedback when a mistake is made. Also, if you start eliminating words quickly for those typing ninjas out there, it slows the game down. Finally, TickerType isn’t really a tutor and doesn’t teach you the fundamentals of typing – it’s merely a speed drill game.

My Recommendation:

Out of the three typing tutors tested, I’d have to go with aTypeTrainer4Mac. It teaches the fundamentals and will give you real-world training once you begin importing text files into it. If you’re a coder, import some HTML or code into it to drill your coding accuracy. Import in new articles to test your skills with actual paragraphs. You can even import foreign languages in to drill your typing speed in another language. On top of it’s practicality, aTypeTrainer4Mac’s also free.

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