A touch typing tutor that works for all users.
When I started working with computers, I wasn’t that strong of a typer. But that was many years ago. Over these years, my skills have improved but that’s only because of repetition. I’ve never really looked into taking typing tutorials but recently I have been working with my daughter to get her typing skills to improve and I have found that Keykey, a minimalistic touch typing tutor for Mac, is the tool to help with that.
KeyKey is a Mac app designed for all levels of users who want to learn basic touch typing skills as well as advanced users who want to master alternative layouts like COLEMAK or DVORAK. The app uses an approach that focuses on muscle memory training instead of key placement. KeyKey developers pre-programmed in the most popular letter combinations of the selected native language and used them in lesson creation. The theory behind this type of typing lessons is that it gives the user more practice for letter combinations that are likely to trip them up. A big part of the trainer function of KeyKey is teaching proper finger placement. The app has a built-in virtual keyboard that appears on screen as you type. It models proper hand placement in real time and shows you which fingers to use for optimally typing each letter.
Supported languages and layouts:
- English: QWERTY, COLEMAK, DVORAK, AZERTY, QWERTZ (Swiss), QGMLWY, Neo
- Spanish: QWERTZ, QWERTZ ISO
- French: AZERTY, AZERTY PC, BÉPO, QWERTY Canada, QWERTZ Swiss
- Italian: Italian, Italian Typewriting
- German: QWERTZ, QWERTZ Swiss, Neo
- Turkish: Turkish Q, Turkish F
- Greek: Greek
- Russian: Russian, Russian PC, Typewriting
- Ukrainian: Ukrainian, Ukrainian PC
When I first opened the app, I was greeted with an app window that showed a keyboard with stats at the top of the screen and a line of words/phrases for you to type. There are two training modes to follow — automatic and manual. With Automatic, the tutorial line automatically adjusts to suit your touch typing level. As soon as you type the letters from Lesson 1 correctly, the next lesson will begin without any manual adjustments needed from the user. You do have the option of selecting each lesson individually with manual mode. No matter which mode you select, the app will keep track of your progress and show you your records in a graphical form. Once you pass all the lessons, you can move on to Expert mode. You also have the option of turning on features like Capitals, Numbers, and Punctuation.
While I haven’t used many typing tutorials, I have utilized some especially when testing out new keyboards for reviews. I also remember computer lab lessons in grade school that taught us all about the ‘home row’ of keys and which fingers should travel to which keys. Some of these lessons become ingrained in your head and yes, your muscles remember where to travel. That said, I feel that learning is always best when you continue to practice. It can only enhance your skills. So, with that in mind, I started using KeyKey for a period of about a week and trained a few times each day during that time period. I found that my typing speed definitely improved and my accuracy rating climbed higher as well.
I have to admit that it took me a while to become acclimated to the way the app functioned. The fact that it is working with letter combinations rather than full words and sentences gets a little jarring at times. Since I already have some keyboard skills, seeing phrases and words on the screen that didn’t always make sense was a little confusing. But, like I said above, my skills did seem to improve during the time I was using the trainer.
KeyKey is a really nice option for training someone about keyboard skills. It highlights the basics and gets you used to the best way to travel around a keyboard. The app is not free, but it’s a one-time fee of $9.99 (at the time of publishing this review) which, in my opinion, is worth it for improved keyboard skills.