How to Calculate Words Per Minute Typed

Written by paul dohrman
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How to Calculate Words Per Minute Typed
You can find your typing speed yourself or with help from a friend. (keyboard image by Fyerne from

The procedure for calculating typing speed isn't obvious at first. Typing 100 words of a technical paper will take longer than typing 100 words from a children's book. Therefore, the standard for what a "word" is needs to be established for the word-per-minute rate to be comparable among typists and among tests.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Stopwatch or countdown timer

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  1. 1

    Have a friend operate a stopwatch, to stop your typing after five minutes. Otherwise, use a countdown timer or alarm of your own. An egg timer will be too inaccurate.

  2. 2

    Select text with which you are unfamiliar. A text-filled page from a magazine or textbook will suffice. As for the complexity issue mentioned in the introduction, don't worry about that now. There's a way around it in the calculations that follow.

  3. 3

    Type for five minutes, preferably in a word processor.

  4. 4

    Use the word processor's character-counting feature to total the number of characters you counted. In Microsoft Word, go into the File drop-down menu, select "Properties," click the "Statistics" tab and look up the character count, including spaces.

  5. 5

    Divide the character count by five. This assumes five keystrokes per word. (Another standard is to count five non-space characters per word, which gives a lower word count.)

  6. 6

    Count the number of typing errors. One standard subtracts a word from your word count in Step 5 for every error. Do so if that's the standard you choose. Another standard doesn't subtract errors at all.

  7. 7

    Divide the result of Step 6 by five minutes. The result gives you your typing speed in words per minute.

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