I prefer typing over using a pen or pencil. My handwriting is horrible, but my typing skills are above average with up to 90 words per minute. I can type nearly as fast as I can talk, which is also pretty fast at times. Using a computer is my main tool and frankly its what I enjoy using.
Not all keyboards are built the same. You have the typical keyboard with the usual alpha and alpha-numeric keys, but other keyboards offer buttons to control sound such as a mute button for sound and even a ‘hibernation’ button to power down the computer. I’ve seen models that offer programmable buttons that enable users to select whatever program they want when they tap it. For instance, email, the browser, or even a word processor is just a single click away (***See below for a program that can open whatever you want with a single click of an icon)
The keyboard can also vary in feel i the way the buttons feel when you tap them. Some feel ‘squishy’, while others like those on a laptop are a bit cramped, in my opinion, and there’s a trick to finding the right key combinations to do the job you want.
Button size can also vary. For instance, I’ve used keyboards that have tiny backspace buttons, and they frustrate me to no end. I prefer the larger size, easy to use, and easy to find with my pinky.
I often use hotkeys, also known as keyboard shortcuts. When you use commands through the command line toolbar, you’ll find some of the shortcuts listed next to the command. A good example would be go to File then Print, and you’ll see Ctrl + P. By clicking those two keys on the keyboard, you’re doing the same thing as selected the command.
Main hotkeys I use:
Save- Ctrl + S
Copy- Ctrl + C
Paste- Ctrl + V
Shut down the open window – Alt + F4
Opens the ‘Start’ menu- Ctrl + Esc
To switch between open windows – Alt + Tab
And there are tons more you can use depending on the program you use, such as F11 will open the browser window full screen for you. Clicking it again will put it back the way it was.
Care and cleaning. You don’t have to repair keyboards, being they cost so little and are so readily replaceable, but cleaning is important. I use a baby wet wipe to wipe down the keys now and then. I also turn the keyboard over and give a good shake (I do crafts and snack at the computer, my bad, so you’d be amazed at how much glitter, crumbs, and even the occasional paper clip comes out)
Improving your keyboarding skills consists of practice and repetition. Taking a typing class to learn proper finger placement is the most basic, but after that its all practice and practice and practice some more.
Here are some sites to learn typing:
Free Typing Tutor- I like this site because it offers easy to follow tutorials, practice, and even keeps track of your progress. They also offer games and a free typing test with varying skill levels.
Free Typing Games for practice.
With a little practice you can get your skills up and increase writing production.
***I don’t have programmable buttons, and content myself with a program called YLaunch by Spacejock (who has tons of cool programs, all free, and some specific to writers such as YWriter). With one click of the icon, all the programs I use to help me write pop up automatically.