How To Type With One Hand on a Normal Keyboard
The one hand typing system which gives the typist the greatest speed, is easiest and gives the user a greater feeling of self-esteem is called One Hand QWERTY. In this, the typist centers his or her fingers on FGHJ, on a normal standard keyboard. This is a much better system than any one handed keyboard, or alternative layouts like one hand Dvorak.
I know, I am a one handed typist. I type from 40 - 85 wpm
Most one handed typists who cannot type well are trying to look at the keys as they type. This hunt and peck method will never allow anyone to be fast! Just look at your friends who are two-handed 'hunt and peckers,' they too are slow!
You are going to need to spend hours in front of a keyboard, practicing the one-hand typing drills to teach you to type without looking at the keys. There is no getting around it - it's called touch-typing. Every GOOD typist, is a touch-typist, regardless of how many hands they are using to type. Good, and great one handed typists get that way by forcing themselves to practice the One Hand Typing drills, without looking at the keys, and using the correct finger for each letter and number.
One Hand QWERTY Touch Typing
In touch typing you have a HOMEBASE. In one hand typing your homebase is FGHJ. Use the four fingers on your able hand to set on FGHJ. See the numbers in black at the top of the image below? Each finger is given a number.
The F finger is Finger 1. If you are a Right One Handed Typist, your pointer finger is Finger One, and it's homebase key is F. If you are a Left One Handed Typist, your pinkie is Finger One. Finger One also handles all the keys above, below and to the left of F, so the number 4 over to the number 1. Finger One also does
See the numbers in the black bar at the top of our graphic for the other keys to which each finger is assigned.
Every finger has a set keys - letters and numbers - as it's specfic responsibility. Each finger needs to learn which keys are it's job, and where they are on the keyboard without looking.
Some of that information is below, without the practice areas.
Overview of were to put the equipment
Keyboard: Offset It To The Side Of Your Body!
If you were using two-hands, the keyboard would center straight out from your belly button - the middle of your body. The keyboard for a one-handed typist is offset to the side, depending on which hand the typist uses. If you use the right hand, it offsets to the right. If you use the left hand, it will offset to the left.
You center 'HOME BASE,' on the keyboard (HOME BASE is the four keys in the very center of all the letters - F G H J), just about straight out from your hip.
To find just the right place for your keyboard, sit at your work area, and allow your arms to hang down. Keeping your elbow pressed lightly at your side, take your typing arm and lift just the lower arm up naturally. Keep the elbow at your waist. Your arm should not be reaching forward, left, or right. Ideally, it is also not reaching upwards, but coming straight out.
Position the keyboard so the F G H J keys on the keyboard are directly under your hand. If your desk area will not allow the keyboard to sit where it needs to, get a compact keyboard.
NOTE! You cannot use those keyboards that split the keyboard in two halves.
Drop-down racks for the keyboard are terrific! I could not get through a full day at work without one. Do get one if you can. However, many of these desks with keyboard racks assume you only want space for a normal keyboard centered in front of your body. They have room for your legs only just below the drop-down rack. A one-hand typist's body must be off set to the keyboard. The rack must allow us to offset our bodies to the side of the keyboard, or the keyboard needs to be off set to the side of us. Note how mine is actually off of the rack!
Right-Handed Typists and Drop-Down Keyboard Racks
A right-handed typist slides the keyboard to off set to right side our bodies. Because of the calculator on the side of the keyboard, you need a rack long enough to allow it slide over quite a bit.
Three Solutions for the right-handed keyboarder:
1) See if the desk allows you to move the screen and your chair over to the left of the rack,
2) My keyboard hangs over the right side of my rack by about 8 inches! On my keyboard, I have added two additional holders, which sits on top of my drop-down keyboard rack. These additional holders were meant to lift the front of the keyboard, and support the typist's wrists. They are padded, and made of plastic. In addition to lifting the front of my keyboard, they support the keyboard, and allow me to slide over the edge of the rack. Before you buy a desk, experiment with sliding the keyboard.
3) Buy a small compact keyboard, a child keyboard, or a left handed keyboard with the "adding machine" keys on the left, rather than the right. These are more expensive. See the resources page at aboutonehandtyping.com
Tilt The Keyboard
You will most likely need to angle your keyboard up, so the back of it is lower than the front. Typists put a great deal of strain on their hands. I think one-hand keyboarders put even more on their hand, as it is doing the job of two. Titling the keyboard allows the hand and wrist to be in a more natural position.
There are all kinds of devices on the market now that lift the front of the keyboard. I actually use two to suit my body's comfort. Some are made of material, some of plastic. Most have a soft padding on which you rest the lower part of your palm. These go a long way to help you type all day with enjoyment.
Suggestion: Try using a child's keyboard, the keys are set closer together. A lap top is also smaller, but one handed typists should not be using most kinds of lap tops.
Mouse: Adapt To Your Circumstance
After you learn the One-Hand Typing System, you will then have a great need for the mouse. At that point, you will need to adapt. See this link will all kinds of tips.
Screen: Directly In Front Of You
Put the screen 2 to 3 feet in front of you. Place it where you will not need to turn your body or head to see the screen. It should be at eye level, so you don't need to look down, nor up - just naturally straight ahead. You can raise the screen by placing it on one of the many little shelves, or racks, built for this purpose. Those great big old dictionaries and encyclopedia you used to use, before you became a keyboard wizard, will lift the screen nicely too. But do consider getting a shelf to lift the screen up. This will give you more desk space in your work area.
If, after you practice a few minutes, you find yourself leaning forward to see the screen, you need to adjust something. Either move your chair forward, or pull the screen towards you. You should not be straining your body or eyes when you type. I have seen some computer desks that only allow the screen to be set off to the side of the body. Avoid these! The screen must be exactly in front of your head.
One-Hand Typing Manual: Try For Directly In Front Of You
With A Computer:
Place the manual in front of you. Ideally, you will have the CD version, and your drills will appear on the screen. But, if you are using a printed manual, it would be directly in front of you, so you do not need to turn your head. If your screen is up high enough, you can place the manual just below it.
With A Typewriter:
If you are using a typewriter, the manual and stand sit just to the side of the typewriter. If the typewriter is centered off the right side of your body, the manual and stand will go to the left, so it is almost straight in front of you.
Paper Holder Or Stand
You need something to hold the manual up almost straight. Do not let it lie flat your desk! You cannot sit up properly if you are craning over your desk. If you cannot afford one of those dandy stands, made for holding papers, then find something you can prop up the manual up against. Always prop up whatever you are reading from, so it is almost perpendicular to your desk.
Chairs and Rules On How To Sit
I hope you will fall in love with typing, and the wonderful world it will open to you! If you do, you are going to get pooped! Everybody gets pained and fatigued doing the same motions over and over.
- Find a chair that is comfortable. You will only be a good student for as long as your derriere is comfy!
- You need to sit up straight. Your spine should be going straight up towards the sky.
- Your body must not be twisted to the left or right.
- Your head should be looking straight forward, not downwards, nor upwards.
- Your arms should come naturally from your body. If you hold them up, fighting gravity, you will become tired much too soon.
Adapting The Rules To Your Body's Challenges
I find my less-able hand does not bend the way other hands bend. I had a huge bean bag made by a friend; it holds my mouse at the angle and lets my wrists be in a more natural position.
Once you get started, pay attention to how your hands and body feel. If they are fatigued, try moving the mouse to a higher point, or lower. My mother has a short stand, at the level of her lap for her mouse. I like my mouse higher, about the level of my waist. I also like my screen much higher than most people do, it is easier on my eyes. You will find what is best for your body.
Energy and Aches
Keyboarding, and the great world that will be open to you, is addicting! You will want to spend hours glued to your keyboard. At first, you won't notice any aches at all. I see typists sit on the floor, with the keyboard in their lap for hours, and they just get a tiny bit stiff. You can too, for several weeks, then you will start to do permanent damage!
To Avoid Damage To Your Body
If you do the same motion over, and over, like typing, you being to get permanent aches. To avoid these:
- Get up and move every 15 minutes. Wiggle and shake your body, exercise as you can for 15 - 30 seconds, give your body, your eyes, your hands and wrists, a good stretch.
- Make sure to stretch out your hands and wrists. Gently pull your hand back, then press it forward. If you are using two-hands, do this with both hands. Don't make them hurt, do make the pull a nice pleasant stretch.
- Take care of your eyes! They will become glued to the screen for so long, they will start to go bad! Every few minutes focus on something across the room, then close you eyes for a count of 10. Your eyes will appreciate this habit 10 years from now and treat you well.
To Help Ease Aches, Strains and Pains
Experiment, with what causes the least stress to your wrists and arms.
- Move the height of your keyboard (hopefully you have one of those adjustable drop-down keyboard racks). You might need to adjust it every few hours
- Alternate the tilt of keyboard and/or your mouse. You may want the keyboard very low, with the end closest to you lifted very high, perhaps at a 45 degree angle.
- Move the placement of your mouse to a higher, or lower level.
- Get a beanbag made that lifts your wrists to a position that is natural and comfortable. I have two and I switch them every hour. Shake and form your bean bag to fit your body for the greatest comfort. Bean bags can also be used to lift the keyboard at angles so it is more comfortable. Beans bags can be easily made from beans or rice, or purchased from most toy stores, and thrift shops. Some very small pillows will work well too.
- Have a small pillow or two that you can place under your elbow/s.
- Consider wrist braces. Many types are sold at the pharmacy. If you use them, take your arm/s out of the braces every 15 minutes, stretch and shake your arms and wrists.
You can introduce your student to use the one hand typing system FREE by via this web site, or through free downloads several lessons in the manual.
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