054 - Proper handling of Keyboard

The keyboard allows you to enter symbols, letters and numbers into a computer. Properly using a keyboard plays a very large role. This is the main way you will be interacting with your computer, and you can actually perform a variety of functions using just the keyboard.

At the Keyboard

• Center the keyboard – When typing, your keyboard’s spacebar should be centered to your body. This will help keep you from having to rotate to reach the keys.

• Avoid resting your palms or wrist – Your hands should float above the keys while you type. This will help you reach keys by moving your hands instead of stretching your fingers. Resting your palms or your wrist on the front of the keyboard and stretching your fingers promotes carpal tunnel syndrome.

• Use a soft touch – Most keyboards are fairly sensitive and don’t need much pressure for the key to register. Lightly tapping keys will help keep your fingers active and will improve your speed.

Keep your wrists straight as you type. Twisting your wrists can cause discomfort and unnecessary stress.

• Relax your hands when you’re not typing – When you’re not actively typing, rest your hands. Keeping your hands tense when not typing can increase stiffness and soreness later.

Learning to Type

• Open a word processor – Nearly every computer has a word processor installed. Even a basic text editor like Notepad will work. This will let you see what you type while you practice.

• Find the Home position with both hands – The Home position is where your hands will start when your typing, and where your fingers return to after striking a key. Most keyboards have raised bumps on the F and J keys. These indicate where your index fingers are placed.

Slightly arch your fingers, and place your fingers on the keys next to [F] and [J].
Your left pinky rests on [A], your left ring finger on [S], and your left middle finger on [D].
Your right pinky rests on [;], your right ring finger on [L], and your right middle finger on [K].
Your thumbs rest on the [spacebar].

• Practice typing the home keys – Get used to pressing each key with it’s corresponding finger. Memorize the key that each finger rests on through repetition. You want the home keys permanently imprinted in your memory so repetition is essential.

• Use the Shift key to capitalize the home letters – You can capitalize letters by holding the [Shift] key when you press the letter. Use your pinky to press and hold the [Shift] key using the hand that isn’t pressing the letter, and then press the letter you want to capitalize.

• Expand to the keys surrounding the home keys – Once you have a good handle on the Home keys, you can start expanding to the other keys on the keyboard. Use the same repetition exercises to memorize the locations of the other keys. Use the nearest finger to reach the key.

If you are keeping your wrists elevated, you will be able to easily strike the keys that are slightly outside of your reach.

• Practice typing basic sentences – Now that you are able to reach most keys without looking, it’s time to start typing sentences. Try transcribing something else on your screen without looking at your keyboard. Sentences like “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” contain every letter in the alphabet, allowing you to practice with all the keys.

• Learn the positions of punctuation and symbols – Punctuation marks such as [.], [;], and [“] are located on the right side of the keyboard. You can reach these keys using your right pinky. Many symbols need to have the [Shift] key pressed in order to type them.

Symbols are located above each of the number keys that run along the top of the keyboard. You will need to have the [Shift] key pressed in order to type them.

• Focus on accuracy over speed – While typing fast may seem useful, it won’t matter if you’re making a lot of errors. Speed will come with practice, so focus all of your efforts on avoiding mistakes. You’ll be typing faster before you know it.

• Find a game or program to teach typing skills – There are lots of programs and games for all ages that teach typing skills through exercises and gameplay. These can making typing practice a bit more fun, and can do a lot for your accuracy and speed.

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