It's been a personal experience that if you stick to the typing lessons schedule, nothing can stop you from becoming a fast proficient typist. And unlike regular classroom typing lessons, a typing tutor software lets you learn touch typing at your own pace anywhere without hiring a typing teacher.
While the top selling typing tutor programs like Mario Typing, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing or Typing Master Pro are commercial, there are a lot of excellent online typing tutors and typing tests that need just a web browser and an average speed internet connection with no download. If you still like to learn typing offline but free, there are freeware open source typing tutors for you.
Here's a comprensive list of online typing courses and typing tutor software [both free and commercial]. You will also find links to free downloadable typing tutorials and practise sheets.
» Free Touch Typing Program - This is a popular touch type learning program that offer the entire typings lessons online.
» Letters 2 [mirror] - Letters 2 is a popular Macromedia Flash based online typing game with a very pleasing interface. The game can get really addictive. You have to destroy every letter by typing them before they reach the left edge of the screen. There are also power-ups scrolling from left to right. You can collect them by destroying letter near the item.
» BBC Dance Mat Typing - Typing Tutor for Kids - A fun colourful website with animation and games introducing touch typing to children aged 7 to 11.
» TyperA - Test your typing skill online. TyperA is Java program that runs inside your web browser and requires no installation. You get randomly chosen words or sentences and try to type them as fast as possible. A game lasts for one or two minutes. The program counts letters of the correctly typed words and divides it by the test time. This will be your score, expressed in KPM, keystrokes per minute. The typing game is available in English, Turkish, Dutch, Portuguese, Finnish, German and Swedish languages.
» Typing Test - This is a free only typing test to find your typing speed in words per minute. After the short text typing sample, you will see your typing speed, accuray and net speed. You can also send these results to your email address. Java Required. They also provide a typing certification.
» Online Typing Tutor - This program helps you improving your typing skills by playing a simple game: characters are falling down the screen; you have to stop them before they reach the ground by pressing the corresponding key on the keyboard. This typing tutor was earlier known as Typing Arcade. Source code is available.
» PowerTyping - This is another typing website offering free online typing courses for Qwerty or Dvorak keyboard layouts. You can take an online typing test, play typing games or just practice typing to improve your speed and accuracy. Requires Macromedia Flash plug-in.
» Michael Shestov TypeRIGHTing - The Guinness Book of World Records winner has a unique approach to typing. Instead of counting errors, you learn to eliminate errors. When you pronounce it right and then type it right letter-by-letter you become extremely proficient at any language (including its spoken and written forms) virtually in no time.
» Typer Shark - This is a Java based typing game that can be played in the web browser or played offline using the game installer. In Typing Shark, you have to type the words on the sides of sharks to zap them and if reach the bottom of the sea, you move to a bonus treasure round.
» Spongebob Square Pants Typing - Another nice typing tutor for kids available on Windows and the Mac platform. It's based on Mavis Beacon typing method but less expensive than Mavis Bacon Teaches Typing software. [download mavis beacon typing here]
» Mario Teaches Typing - Kids love this typing tutor as the famous Mario characters of Nintendo fame are shown as the typing instructor. Mario is developed on the lines of an educational video game with different typing levels of progressing difficulty (as either Mario, Luigi or the Princess Peach).
» Typing of the Dead - If you enjoy video games, this is a good option. This typing video game is actually based on House of the Dead 2 but the gun (or mouse) has been replaced with the keyboard. The game has Zombies that disappear by quickly typing out words that appear onscreen. Not recommened for kids.
» TypeFaster Typing Tutor - It's a freely downloadable typing tutor with a 3D game that is even accessible for blind typists. The software supports French, German, Portuguese, US-Dvorak, US-English, Hebrew, Numeric-keypad and Spanish. Typing Instructors can use TypeFaster for their class typing course.
» Speed Typing Test - There's a text area where you have to type the supplied code as fast as you can. This typing test website provides a short typing code snippet which you can embed in your website. Your site visitors may stay on your site longer while they are playing the typing test.
» HyperType is a free text typing tutor for the Linux platform. Source code is also available for download.
» HanWJ is the only Chinese typing tutor software that I know of. Pen-based is a more direct method to input Chinese. HanWJ Chinese Typing Tutor usis PinYin input method, plus other Mandarin input techniques. For Arabic users, PCfone sell an Arabic Typing Tutor software. There's another Arabic English Typing Tutor available on Amazon. The author says it's for Muslims who are familiar with the Arabic script , through the Koran, and are interested in learning the Arabic language
The same is issue is in India. Most of the Indian can read their native language but cannot imagine typing it. Therefore, the Indian Government is promoting local language computing in a big way. Typing Tutors for Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and other Indian Languages are provided by the ILDC Website. More information here. The are developed by CDAC.
Interesting Typing Fact 1: Das Blank Keybaord is a unique kind of a keyboard which has regular keys but nothing is written on the keys. In order to use the keyboard, you will have to memorize the various keystroke locations. "Like on a piano, since there are no keys to look at when typing, your brain will quickly adapt and memorize the key positions. Within a few short weeks users increase their typing accuracy and find themselves typing up to 100% faster."
Interesting Typing Fact 2: Barbara Blackburn is the World's Fastest Typist with the maximum typing speed of 212 WPM. She hates the QWERTY keyboard layout and prefers the Dvorak keyboard, which has vowels on one side and consonants on the other, with the most frequently used letters on the center row.
Word of Caution: You will notice lot of home typing recruiting services ads on the that promise you make money typing at home by doing data entry work. Do a thorough check before signing up for any of the "quick money" schemes.