FingerWorks - Inventor and Developer of MultiTouch Technology

Tips for typing

HEALTH WARNING: If you experience symptoms such as persistent or recurring discomfort, pain, throbbing, aching, tingling, numbness, burning sensations or stiffness in your hands, arms, shoulders, neck, or other parts of your body when using a computer, DO NOT IGNORE THESE WARNING SIGNS! PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR OR PHYSICAL THERAPIST. Ask them for guidance BEFORE trying any new input devices! Remember that pain is likely to increase during the first few days of trying a new device because your body tends to tense up as it is learning new motions and postures. You may also be more susceptible to further injury during this learning period. For this reason, your doctor may tell you to restrict use of new devices to short periods of a few minutes a day for the first few days or weeks while your body adjusts.

  • General Typing:
    Tap each key's symbol lightly but crisply with one finger at a time. Do NOT bang on the keys. Try using the minimum force possible. Relax between words by resting all ten fingers on surface and resting palms on gel pads.

  • Hand Resting:
    To rest a hand without activating keys, drop ALL FIVE fingers SIMULTANEOUSLY anywhere on the surface. Palms are ignored by MultiTouch so if there is space they can rest on the touch surface.

  • Hunt & Peck Typing:
    Tap each key's symbol lightly but crisply with one finger at a time, taking care not to accidentally tap unintended keys. (It may be easiest to float your hands above the surface while typing, but rest them during pauses).

  • Typematic:
    To activate 'typematic' or auto-repeat, lift all fingers of a hand off the surface, then touch and hold one finger on the desired symbol. Once that key starts repeating, you can drop the other fingers back onto the surface. To stop typematic, lift any finger off the surface.

  • Modifier Chords (Shifting):
    Reaching for the Shift keys can be even more awkward on a touch surface than on a normal keyboard. Therefore we invented a much more comfortable, zero-reach alternative called Modifier Chords that you'll probably want to learn:
    1. When ready to capitalize a letter, just drop and hold 4 fingertips from one hand (excluding the thumb) on home row. This is the Shift chord.
    2. Type the letter to be capitalized with the opposite hand.
      • OR: Lift one of the 4 fingertips from the Shift chord and use it to tap the letter (while the others stay on surface).
    3. Lift all 4 of the fingertips off home row. This turns off Shift.
    The timing is really the same as a regular Shift keys. You're just holding 4 fingertips down instead of reaching with your pinky. Modifier chords are also just as flexible as modifier keys:
    • The 4 fingertips don't actually have to drop on home row. Just drop them in a row fairly close together anywhere on the surface.
    • Spreading the 4 fingertips wide as you drop them on the surface activates the Ctrl chord, which works similarly. On Macs this will be the Open Apple/Cmd modifier. Alt, AltGr and Win/Meta chords are also available if you enable Enhanced Modifier Chords.
    • To type whole words uppercase with a single Shift chord, just make sure at least 1 of the 4 fingertips remains on the surface as you type desired letters. (Lift one or two of the 4 fingertips at a time to reach for keys, and leave them down as they drop on target keys).
    • Shift-click can be done with modifier chords by holding the Shift chord with one hand and tapping 2 fingertips with the other hand.
      • OR: Shift-click within one hand by dropping 4 fingertips, then lifting and tapping 2 of the 4 simultaneously.
    • Be careful not to roll the 4 fingertips as the Shift chord begins or you will get scrolling instead.
    • When you want to rest a hand, make sure to drop all 5 fingers (including thumb) simultaneously. Resting just 4 fingers may be interpreted as a Shift chord.
    • Regular modifier keys are still needed for multi-modifier hotkeys like Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Make sure the fingers come down on the Ctrl and Alt keys one at a time--if they strike simultaneously they could be misinterpreted as a two-finger click.

  • Touch typing- For most of us:
    We highly recommend that you follow these steps when you are just starting out. We've found through experience that most people reach a satisfactory level of accuracy and speed in the shortest training time by following these five steps.
    • 1. Curl your fingers so there is roughly a 90 degree bend at the knuckles. Now rest the fingertips of each hand on their corresponding home row keys using the raised dot at the center of each home row key as a guide. Don't look at the keyboard. Just slide your fingers around until they find the home row dimples. Next drop your palms on the gel pads. Your fingers below the knuckles should now be roughly perpendicular to the surface with the left hand fingertips resting on ASDF & Backspace while the right hand fingertips rest on Space & JKL;
    • 2. Now, slightly lift your fingers off the surface but leave your palms resting where it was. Reach for and lightly touch the desired symbols one at a time. You don't have to hit the exact center of each key--just try to use the proper reach between keys.
    • 3. For keys distant from home row, reach with a whole arm motion, keeping your wrist straight while your palms slide across the pads. Then try to exactly reverse this arm motion so your hands "spring" back to home row, and your palms slide back to center on their pads. This is healthier than leaving palms firmly planted and reaching solely via large finger/wrist stretches! Frequent finger stretching and wrist bending during typing may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.
    • 4. Be careful not to let stray fingers accidentally tap keys.
    • 5. When pausing or resting between words or sentences, drop your fingers back to the surface and use the raised dots to realign them with home row. Again, don't look at the keyboard when you do this.

  • Touch Typing- For the swiftest:
    Resting your palms reduces hand drift and arm fatigue, but fully floating them above the pads allows faster typing by increasing freedom of movement. After some practice you may be able to type long sequences of words at high speed without significant hand drift. From time to time you may find it necessary to realign your fingers with the home row keys to compensate for excessive hand drift.

  • Touch typing- For those in serious pain:
    For people with serious, long-standing repetitive strain injuries, every little typing motion, or just briefly suspending the hands above the surface can be painful. The TouchStream supports a minimal effort, but slow, typing method for such people:
    • From the ten-fingers resting position, lift one finger at a time, drop and leave the finger on desired key, and repeat for each letter. This way the hands are always fully supported by the surface, and motion is minimized.

Since only one finger moves at a time, speeds are limited to 10-20wpm. This method works best on the DVORAK key layout, where the most frequently typed keys are on home row, so you're just lifting and dropping in place most of the time. On QWERTY layouts, it can feel a bit like 'twister' for the fingers, as half the fingers tend to end up resting on upper row keys and must slide back towards home row to proceed.

  • Touch typing- Minimizing stress:
    Take advantage of our Zero-Force keys to reduce harmful stress. Always use the lightest touch when typing. Banging on the keys is unnecessary and is not good for your joints and tendons.
    For faraway keys, lifting your palms and reaching with your arm while keeping the wrist as straight as possible helps avoid carpal tunnel syndrome.

Relax and rest frequently.