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How is Typing Speed Measured?

Learning how typing speed is measured is important to improving how fast you can type and to increasing your productivity and efficiency when using a computer.

In order to improve our typing speed, however, we need some way to compare our current speed with our speed in the future.

So the question becomes:

How is typing speed measured?

Typing speed is measured in words per minute (WPM) and characters per minute (CPM).

In some situations, typing speed can be measured in characters per minute but english, and most latin-based languages, generally use words per minute as the standard.

Characters per minute is considered to be more accurate but most professional typing lessons given in western schools and businesses focus on improving WPM scores.

Typing speed (in WPM) is calculated by measuring how many words are accurately typed in a 60 second time frame.

There are plenty of websites that offer free typing tests so you can get a baseline on what your typing speed is.

Obviously, different words have different amounts of letters and some may be more difficult to type than others.

In order to handle this challenge in measuring typing speed, users are often asked to type a few paragraphs of text that contain a variety of words with different lengths and difficulties.

Once the user feels as though their typing speed has improved, they attempt to type the same set of paragraphs and can compare their previous speed to their new speed.

Measuring Typing Speed
Measuring typing speed with an online test

Taking Accuracy into Account

It would be amiss to rely on speed alone when calculating how skilled someone is at typing. Therefore, accuracy must be taken into account as well.

Different tools have different ways of taking accuracy into account. Many, however, give a final score that includes both speed and accuracy. I prefer to combine these numbers to end up with one True Typing Speed (TTS).

Calculate Typing Speed with Accuracy

True Typing Speed (TTS) = Words per minute (WPM) x Accuracy percentage

For example, if you typed 80 words per minute with an accuracy score of 85%, your True Typing Speed would be:

80 WPM x .85 = 68 WPM

As you can see, calculating typing proficiency in this manner encourages typists to aim for a balance between both speed and accuracy.

If you’re looking to improve your typing skills, there is a typing finger chart here on the site and feel free to watch my typing tips video:

Anson Alexander

I am an author, digital educator and content marketer. I record, edit, and publish content for AnsonAlex.com, provide technical and business services to clients and am an avid self-learner. I have also authored several digital marketing and business courses for LinkedIn Learning (previously Lynda.com).

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