Keyboard typing in computer class

Typing Ergonomics for Self Taught Typists

What is touch-typing?

Touch-typing began in the late 19th Century and is the technique taught in typing classes and with touch-typing software. Each finger has a home position in the middle row and each key is assigned to a finger. With practice, keying can be done without having to look at the keyboard.

Touch-typing clearly has benefits for posture – the head, neck and spine can stay upright, relaxed and looking straight ahead.

Unfortunately, touch-typing needs hundreds of hours of practice to achieve high speed and accuracy rates. It is therefore no surprise that millions of computer users today are not skilled in touch typing!

What typing issues will a self-taught typist have?

People who are self-taught can often type quickly and accurately. The difference is that self-taught typists need to frequently or almost constantly look at the keyboard. For the body, this means that self-taught typists will have the following issues.

  • Constant move the head up and down to look down to type, look up to check what they wrote and then look down to type again. Meaning highly repetitive neck flexion and extension.
  • They will position the keyboard further away from the arms. Resulting in the arms reaching forward and the shoulders rounding resulting in bad support for the back.
  • They will often lean forward and away from their chair backrest. Meaning the spine is no longer in a natural posture.

Postures used by self-taught typists are nothing like the recommended workstation postures and can contribute to discomfort, pain and even injury.


Needing more support at your workstation? Struggling with the correct sitting posture?
Book in an Ergonomic Assessment today to improve your posture.


How should a self-taught typist type for maximum support for the back?

  1. Even though your typing posture may not be great, make sure that all the other aspects of your workstation are correct. Get an ergonomic workstation assessment to be sure that any other workstation factors contributing to pain and discomfort are eliminated.
  2. Learn to touch type! Clearly not an overnight solution but the best solution. Fun, interactive software are easy to download and are cheap. A longstanding favorite is ‘Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing’. This can be purchased from reputable education online sellers such as Broderbund and Mindscape. Simply by committing to just 30 minutes a few times a week, you’ll be on the road to looking less at the keyboard. And probably be more productive.
  3. Use a keyboard angling/raising product such as KeySlope . This will immediately improve your sitting posture, reducing the degree of neck and back flexion. The built-in wrist rest keeps wrists supported and in a neutral position.
  4.  If your work environment is suitable for voice recognition software and the software works with the programmes you use, this can help you to sit back and relax and talk rather than typing.
  5. Be extra diligent with getting up, moving and stretching every 30 minutes. Muscles and joints working in poor postures need regular breaks and changes of the posture.
  6. If you keep your muscles in great condition you are more able to withstand poor working postures by strengthening the upper body and back muscles. See this article on how to adjust your office chair to get the correct sitting posture.

What is the correct sitting position for touch typing?

The diagrams below show you that you should be sitting upright to get the correct sitting posture for your back.

Keyboard Typing Posture Incorrect
Keyboard Typing Posture Correct

If you are needing more support at your workstation for touch typing or struggling with poor posture? Contact us today to book in an Ergonomic Assessment to improve your posture.

We recommend these products to improve your typing posture

  • Microdesk Compact Document Holders


    Comfortable keyboarding and document reference in line with your keyboard and monitor.