TIPP10 is an open-source, multiplatform tool designed for those determined to finally learn how to type with more than just two fingers. It has all the elements anyone needs to learn, practice, and evaluate your typing skills. The program wisely combines fixed lessons and exercises with your own materials, and has thrown in a simple but inviting game in the package, so that you can also “enjoy” learning how to type correctly.
Available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, it is no wonder that TIPP10 has been downloaded more than two million times and that it has received some interesting awards in direct competition with commercially available products. I have to admit I like everything about it – its interface, its methodology, and its flexibility. Still, there is certainly room for improvement, and for translating some of the interesting functions that are only available in German.
The interface is clear, clean, and uses soft and relaxing colors, which is important when you have to chase different colored keys around your screen for more than just a few minutes. It shows the text to type in wonderful high-contrast, big fonts. However, if you do not like them as much as I do, you can always change and customize the default colors and fonts easily.
As for the methodology, it is a nice mixture of what you need to learn and what you would like to practice. First, you will need to go through the 20 lessons or so that will teach you how to use your ten fingers correctly. Each character in the text is highlighted together with the key or keys that you need to press to type it. Using some subtle lines (and a less subtle text just below the space bar), it also tells you which finger you should be using to reach and press that key. Once you have mastered these preliminary lessons, then you are free to practice with whatever texts you feel more comfortable with. There are some “open lessons” available (though only in German) and you can create as many “open lessons” as you wish, using words, sentences, or full paragraphs.
To top it all off, TIPP10 includes a very simple and relaxing game that will help you to practice your typing without the pressures of “being in a class”. Letters trapped in bubbles will be falling from the top side of the screen and you will have to burst them by typing the right characters with the right fingers.
Everything you do, every text you practice or every lesson you learn is carefully recorded by the program. You will be given accurate statistics about your work at all times, even while typing. You can even ask for “finger statistics”, which will tell you which of your fingers is not doing its homework.