AskDefine | Define typing

Dictionary Definition

typing n : writing done with a typewriter [syn: typewriting]

User Contributed Dictionary



Verb form

  1. present participle of type


  1. Assigning or classification by type.
  2. the act of typing on a keyboard.


Extensive Definition

Typing is the process of inputting text into a device, such as a typewriter, computer, or a calculator, by pressing keys on a keyboard. It can be distinguished from other means of input, such as the use of pointing devices like the computer mouse, and text input via speech recognition.
User interface features such as spell checker, autocomplete and autoreplace serve to facilitate and speed up typing and to prevent or correct errors the typist may make.


Touch typing

The basic technique stands in contrast to hunt and peck typing as the typist keeps their eyes on the source copy at all times. Touch typing also involves the use of the home row method, where typists keep their wrists up, rather than resting them on a desk or keyboard as this can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. To avoid this, typists using this method should place their feet flat on the floor in front of them, keeping their elbows close to their sides with their forearms slanted slightly upward to the keyboard.
A highly trained touch-typist on a Dvorak keyboard is the second-fastest method of text entry available as of 2007 . (The fastest text entry method involves a highly trained typist on a stenotype keyboard).

Hunt and peck

Hunt and peck (aka two-fingered typing or peck and run) is a common form of typing, in which the typist must find and press each key individually. This is almost always considerably slower than touch typing. Instead of relying on the memorized position of keys, the typist must find each key by sight. Use of this method may also prevent the typist from being able to see what has been typed without glancing away from the keys. Although good accuracy may be achieved, any typing errors that are made may not be noticed immediately, if at all. There is also the disadvantage that because fewer fingers are used, they are forced to move a much greater distance.
There are many idiosyncratic typing styles in between "hunt and peck" and touch typing; for example, many people will type blindly, but use only two to five fingers, and not always in a systematic fashion. Some people have developed advanced forms of hunt and peck that don't require looking at keys, or losing too much speed.


Some people use a combination of touch typing and Hunt and peck by utilizing a buffering method. In the buffer method, the typist looks at the source copy, stores one or many sentences in his or her head, then looks at the keyboard and types out the buffer of sentences. Doing this allows the typist to eliminate frequent up and down motions with the head. It is particularly used in typing competitions, where the typist is not well versed in touch typing. It is not normally used in day-to-day contact with keyboards, only when time is of the essence.


A rather new trend in typing, primarily used with devices such as PDAs with built-in keyboards, is thumbing or thumb typing. This can be accomplished using one (e.g. phone keypads, Palm Treo 650) or both thumbs (e.g. HTC TyTN, UMPC DialKeys, Nokia 68xx series). Similar to desktop keyboards and input devices, if a user overuses keys which need hard presses or/and have small and unergonomic layouts, it could cause thumb tendinitis or other repetitive strain injury.

Words per minute

Words per minute (WPM) is a measure of typing speed, commonly used in recruitment.
Words per minute is also a measure of a telegraph or amateur radio operator's Morse code speed. Since the codes for different letters differ in length, one needs to specify a reference word. A commonly-used reference word is "PARIS".
For the purposes of WPM measurement a word is standardized to five characters or keystrokes. So, "fifth" counts as one word, but "fifteenth" counts as two.
The benefits of a standardized measurement of input speed are that it enables comparison across language and hardware boundaries. The speed of an Afrikaans-speaking operator in Cape Town can be compared with a French-speaking operator in Brussels.

Alphanumeric entry

In one study of average computer users, the average rate for transcription was 33 words per minute, and only 19 words per minute for composition. In the same study, when the group was divided into "fast", "moderate" and "slow" groups, the average speeds were 40wpm, 35wpm, and 23wpm respectively. Two-finger typists, sometimes also referred to as "Hunt-and-Peck" typists can reach speeds of about 37wpm for memorized text, and 27wpm when copying text.
An average typist reaches 50 to 70wpm, while some positions can require 80 to 95 (usually the minimum required for dispatch positions and other typing jobs), and some advanced typists work at speeds above 120. As of 2005, Barbara Blackburn is the fastest typist in the world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Using the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, she has maintained 150 wpm for 50 minutes, 170 wpm for shorter periods of time, and has been clocked at a peak speed of 212 wpm. Blackburn failed her typing class in high school, first encountered the Dvorak keyboard in 1938, quickly learned to achieve very high speeds, and occasionally toured giving speed-typing demonstrations during her secretarial career.
Using a personalized interface, physicist Stephen Hawking, who suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease, managed to type 15 wpm with a switch and adapted software created by Walt Woltosz. Due to a slowdown of his motor skills, his interface was upgraded with an infrared camera that detects eye blinks. Actual wpm are unknown.
A less common form of finding the speed of a typist, the acronym CPM is used to identify the number of characters typed per minute. This is a common measurement for typing programs, or typing tutors, as it can give a more accurate measure of a person's typing speed without having to type for a prolonged period of time. Also used occasionally for associating the speed of a reader with the amount they have read.
The CPM (characters per minute) measurement can be associated with older models of printers, but this is often not the case. The most common term associated with the speed of printers today is PPM (pages per minute).

Numeric entry

The Numeric Entry or 10 key speed is a measure of one's ability to manipulate the numeric keypad found on most keyboards. It is used to measure speed for jobs such as data entry of number information on items such as bills and checks. It is measured in 'Keystrokes per hour', or KPH.
Much like alphanumeric keyboards, people start using a numeric keyboard with 1-finger hunt-and-peck, but the fastest data entry professionals use a kind of touch-typing using 3 or 4 or 5 fingers.


typing in Arabic: نسخ (جهاز النسخ)
typing in German: Tastschreiben
typing in Spanish: Mecanografía
typing in French: Dactylographie
typing in Indonesian: Mengetik
typing in Japanese: タイピング
typing in Portuguese: Datilografia
typing in Finnish: Konekirjoitus
typing in Yiddish: טייפן
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