Type Away…It’s a Skill After All

28 Dec

I’ve often wondered how important the average office professional’s typing speed is, especially since there’s so much emphasis put on it. The thing that gets me with all the typing speed hoopla is I’ve worked at all kinds of office gigs and I’ve rarely needed to type, well, fast.  I mean, most documents weren’t rushed and even when they were they were short so even if I typed 25 wpm I could’ve gotten the job done.

Some tidbits on typing from Wiki:

For the purposes of wpm (words per minute, obviously) measurement, a word is standardized to five characters or keystrokes.  Example:  “I run” counts as one word, but “rhinoceros” counts as two. “Let’s talk” would also be considered two words because the space key counts as a keystroke.

In one study of average computer users, the average rate for transcription was 33 words per minute, and 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 40 wpm, 35 wpm, and 23 wpm respectively.

See? I told you.

When I worked at a television captioning job there were court reporters or what they called “real timers” who used stenographers to capture live television events. (The very fact that it’s live is one reason there are so many televised caption errors; there’s no way to correct or backtrack beyond a word or two when it’s live.)

The fastest typing speed ever, 216 words per minute, was achieved by Stella Pajunas-Garnand from Chicago in 1946 on an IBM electric. As of 2005, writer Barbara Blackburn was the fastest English language 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, and 170 wpm for shorter periods. She has been clocked at a peak speed of 212 wpm.


Do you know what your typing speed is? Test your speed here.


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