Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Typing With One Hand, Part 2

To see Typing With One Hand, Part 1, click here...

Part 2:
I performed at the same level or better as my coworkers.  I could easily type 2000+ lines each day (national average for a good MT was 1000).  As it turned out, medical transcription became my life-long career.  I could not have known that learning to type would be the cornerstone of my career.  Therefore, it is very important that one-handed people know that there IS a way to type that is fast and accurate.

Below is a colored picture of a standard keyboard showing the home row (bold) and which fingers are used for each key (different fingers for the right or the left hand).


1.   Use a standard keyboard.  While there are lots of keyboards out there (and even some especially made for one-handed people), you will be much less limited if you learn to use a standard keyboard.  I have found that it is easier to “adapt to the world rather than expect the world to adapt to you.  
2.   Tilt the back of the keyboard up.  Keyboards often have little feet which make this possible.  If not, you can use a small riser (book or magazine) to raise up the back slightly.  I find it particularly difficult (and painful) to type for long periods on a laptop with its flat keyboard surface.
3.   Center the keyboard in front of your hand.  This will make all keys easier to reach.
4.   I find it easier to type (and faster) if I can hear a click sound with each keystroke.  Silent keystrokes create a tendency to visually check to make sure a key was hit.
5.   Use keyboard shortcuts because they save hand strain.  There are shortcuts for virtually every program for Windows and for Mac.  (  You can also find shortcut keys by looking for underlined letters in the program’s menu bars.  Admittedly some of these shortcuts will strain the one-handed user’s reach.
6.   You must find the correct (ergonomic) position.  If your body, hand or eyes ache after a few minutes, then your position is incorrect.  You may need to raise or lower your chair or keyboard slightly.  My chair is my wheelchair which is a fixed height so I have different-heighted boards which I place underneath the keyboard depending on the desk height.
7.   It is also helpful, even necessary, to get up every so often to stretch and walk around.  I exercise my arm, hand and fingers.  I also move to a different sitting surface for short times (like a bed). 
8.   Stretch your fingers – this is critical because your one hand is doing the work of two.
9.   Wash your hands with soap and/or place your hand under cold or warm water every so often.  Your hand will get sweaty when you type for long periods.  I also dip my fingertips barely into baby powder to make them “slippery.”  This helps my fingers glide easier from key to key.
10.  Be sure to learn how to “touch-type” (e.g. type without looking at the keyboard).  This is irrefutably the fastest way to type.
11.  Staring at a computer screen will strain your eyes.  Every hour or so, focus on something across the room. 
12.  Computer glasses also help with eye strain.  Sitting in your most comfortable typing position, measure the distance between your eyes and the screen.  Take this measurement to an optometrist.  They are very familiar with computer glasses.  Remember to remove your computer glasses when focusing across the room.  J
13.  Keep fingernails at a reasonable length.  You will be faster if your fingers, not fingernails, hit the keys.
14.    For the mouse, I find track balls the easiest and most pain-free.

Below are some helpful websites that will help one learn to type with one hand.  I have often thought that typing with one hand was simpler than with two, though I could never test this theory. J

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