How to Improve Your Words Per Minute for Work

March 7, 2023


An instructor teaching their student how to type faster.
How many words per minute can you type?

Typing is a fundamental skill in both business and everyday life. Whether you’re drafting a report, writing an email, or sending a text, typing is a skill we all use regularly. Improving this skill can have a measurable impact on both your personal and professional life. If you would like to improve your words per minute, there are a few strategies you can use. 

Improving your typing skills often starts with finding a good words per minute test, and then progressing from there. Here are some valuable tips for anyone looking to improve their typing words per minute.

Find a Good Words Per Minute Test

The best way to get a baseline reading for your typing proficiency is to take a words per minute test. There are many effective words per minute tests available for free online. However, many of these tests are slightly different in the way they test your typing speed and proficiency. Some tests prompt test-takers to type full sentences. Others test using individual, discrete words, while other tests use nonsense character sequences.

You might prefer to take only one type of test, or choose to take a combination of all words per minute test types. These tests are usually quick (lasting only one minute) and easy to complete.

Once you have a baseline words per minute score, you can focus on making incremental improvements.

Tips for Improving Your Average Words Per Minute

Hand Placement

The first lesson in improving your average words per minute is to learn proper hand placement. You want to position your hands as close to the center of the keyboard as possible. This allows you to reach each individual key with the least amount of movement.

Standard hand placement on a keyboard is to rest your left pinky on the A key, and your right pinky on the semi-colon (;) key. Your other fingers should rest on the next key in the middle row moving toward its center. The complete guide to proper hand placement is as follows:

  • Left pinky on A

  • Left ring finger on S

  • Left middle finger on D

  • Left index finger on F

  • Right index finger on J

  • Right middle finger on K

  • Right ring finger on L

  • Right pinky on ;

Most modern keyboards include a small groove on the bottom of the F and J keys. These can be used to find your way back to the home row without looking down at your keyboard.

Precision Before Speed

If the goal is to improve average words per minute, the instinct will be to focus on improving speed. But it’s actually more effective to focus on improving precision first. Typing speed relies heavily on muscle memory. Once you’re familiar with the keyboard layout, your typing words per minute will improve naturally over time.

Proper Typing Posture

How you sit while typing can have a moderate impact on your typing performance. You want to sit with your back straight and feet flat on the ground while typing. Your keyboard should be elevated slightly above the elbows so your wrists can stay straight while you type.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Last, learning a few basic keyboard shortcuts can improve typing speeds. For instance, Ctrl + Backspace can be used to delete an entire word, rather than deleting one letter at a time. Ctrl + B, I, or U can be used to bold, italicize, or underline text quickly. There are dozens of other helpful keyboard shortcuts like these that can help improve your words per minute.

Want to learn more about improving your writing proficiency for professional purposes? ASAP has plenty of resources to help improve your professional skills. Check out our guide to how to write effectively for business to learn more.

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