The eReflect company has gone above and beyond with Ultimate Typing. This program has all the features you could want, great graphics, videos that explain everything you need to know to become a superb typist and tips on how to improve as you go along. Whether you’re a rank beginner or an expert, you will learn new techniques as you work through the exercises. Everything from proper hand placement to dictation tips is covered. Top to bottom, Ultimate Typing has it all.
Even experienced typists will benefit from performing the exercises in this program. Everything from home row finger placement (both on the keyboard and on a keypad, should your computer have one) to correct monitor and keyboard height, and activities to keep your eyes and body stress free are included.
Exercises begin with placing index fingers on F and J keys and progress with practice, practice, practice until perfect. Unlike other programs where you mechanically type one letter at a time, Ultimate Typing really forces you to think about what you are typing. The information becomes naturally and seamlessly ingrained as you progress. A little clock keeps track of your speed, but it is unobtrusive. A full set of exercises is performed for each row, and there is a whole section on proper use of the numeric keypad.
Step-by-step instructions are included with emphasis on proper finger placement, arm and elbow location and posture being taught right at the beginning. While you are performing exercises, there is a photo of a keyboard with proper hand position. As you type, the fingers on the animated hand move so you can see, if you need to, where your fingers ought to be. This is especially helpful when it comes to punctuation. It also keeps your eyes on the screen, critical to maximum performance.
Accuracy is taught and measured and is the focus of the beginning exercises, as it should be. This is done in a very clever way. Each row is taught, in order: home row (left hand first, then right); top row; bottom row; shift and cap locks key – everything in its proper time. Punctuation, numbers and symbols are mastered until the user is comfortable with hand placement for an entire keyboard. Once these basics are mastered, words are typed out of context to force the user to think.
A unique feature of Ultimate Typing is that it drills in diphthongs, consonant blends, short words, double letters and common phrases, as well as prefixes and suffixes. There is nothing like this in any other program. Also unlike other typing programs, speed increase is taught and tested after the fundamentals have been mastered.
The “Tonic” section is especially helpful. It begins with a review proper finger placement on the top, bottom and upper levels, reminding you of which fingers go where. This enables you to rely more on your memory than on looking down at the keyboard – the mark of an experienced typist. You then move on to speed drills and accuracy and can check your progress along the way. By seeing which keys you hit at the wrong time, you are naturally encouraged to improve areas of weakness. The program is nicely customizable in this area, which is a surprising point of difference from other programs.
Throughout Ultimate Typing, you can track your progress. You can look at the sidebar main menu to see which lessons you have completed and which you have not, so you can skip around if you find you are progressing more quickly in some areas than in others, and you can choose to work wherever you want. It does seem difficult to skip lessons, however, which ends up working to the advantage of the user. You can retake lessons, and your progress is tracked. More than one user can take advantage of all the features. There are also graphs that display your progress – when you want to look at them.
The exercises culminate in dictation, a great way to learn. Of course, there are lots of games to hone your skills. As an experienced typist, I found the easiest of these to be fun and the most difficult to be challenging. So, there is something for everyone.
Ease of Use
This is the perfect program for a family to use. You can even import documents that are of interest to you and practice typing them. You can add and delete users and change users on the fly in case someone just has to jump in and “play.” The “Typing Fun” games will lead to a bit of healthy competition.
You can change the sounds and look of the program to suit your tastes, and even the background color. You can also change the font size, so this program is perfect for typists of all ages.
Help & Support
Everything you click in this program works intuitively. Just click and you can watch videos before you begin any section.
If you need more than that, the friendly staff at eReflect are available by phone in North America, and via email. Their website is a font of information with a resources page, articles and everything you need to know to conquer any difficulties you may (but are not likely to) encounter along the way.
Ultimate Typing 2013 is outstanding. This reviewer types almost 100 WPM, and still found ways to improve typing speed and accuracy. The only difficulty encountered was the ability to pick specific exercises within each category and just do any specific one at any time. However, the ability to customize lessons and test yourself are unique features that this reviewer has not found elsewhere, and are in actuality an improvement.