Knowing how to type fast is one of the most critical skills necessary for data entry and typing projects. For many jobs, knowing how to type quickly and efficiently is a prerequisite, and more often than not, potential employers will test your typing speed, which translates into words per minute (WPM). Most people are not born to be fast with their fingers on a keyboard; however, speedy data entry is a skill that can be acquired with time and practice.

Find out how fast you type by calculating the number of words you type per minute by dividing the number of characters you type by five (which is the average letter length of most words), which equals the number of words. Let’s say you type 50 characters (including spaces), then divide 50 by five, which is 10 to get the number of words. Divide 10 by the time it took you to type the 50 characters, which gives you words per second. To find out how many words per minute you type, multiply words per second times 60, CustomTyping.com, a free online tutorial, suggests.

Try an online test that times the speed and accuracy at which you type. TypingTest.com (see “Resources”) has a couple of paragraphs with different characters involved, mixing letters, numbers and punctuation. Once you start the test, you will be timed, find out how many words you type per minute and see how many typing errors you made.

Learn how fast you type numbers and numerical symbols by trying out 10KeyTutor (see “Resources”), an online resource that gauges the time you spent typing numbers and the accuracy at which you typed them.