Old School Typing

computer typing made simple

Computer Typing Made Simple
Hutchinson and Hutchinson

I will say, in my professional opinion, computer typing is not that different from regular typing. I can say that the exercises and drills, look very similar to my high school typing book. Other than function keys and some other small differences, I am not sure what makes this book specifically computer typing.

When I started teaching computer classes for my library, it was obvious who learned from a typing class. The enter key or what used to be called the return, was used at the end of a row, unlike the computer enter key that was used after a paragraph. I also had to break myself of the habit of 2 spaces after the sentence, since this was a hard rule in typing class.

This book isn’t much help for modern students. Typewriters were still the king in the mid 1980s, in most offices. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that computers were the default office equipment. As late as 2005, my library was still using a typewriter for spine labels.


back cover

home position

spacing and other techniques

ibm keyboard


  1. I didn’t unlearn the two-space rule until the last couple years or so, after reading a friend’s Facebook rant about how it was unnecessary with word processing applications.

  2. I was a fast and fairly accurate “typewriter typist” in the 80’s but I hadn’t used a typewriter in at least 20 years when I encountered one on display in a hands-on history of tech museum a couple of years ago. I was shocked to find I couldn’t type on it. One of the main problems was that my pinky fingers are totally out of shape. I couldn’t maintain any sort of rhythm because I had to concentrate so hard on pushing down on the “a” key.

    1. Apparently there was real energy expenditure with the big old manual typewriters (I loved my 1922 Underwood, with its black cast iron frame — alas, someone tipped over its table and it broke on the floor when I was away at college). When offices went to electrics, supposedly all the typists gained five pounds from the lower amount of exercise.

      1. When I was fifteen, my dad gave me his old manual typewriter. He got mad when I never use it. I explained my hands weren’t strong enough to press the keys down. He demonstrated how HE could push the keys down and never understood why I couldn’t do the same.

        Fifteen-year-old girls who are used to typing on keyboards won’t have the same hand strength as a man who spends his days doing woodwork and types on manual typewriters.

  3. I think what set Computer Typing apart from just Typing (which is a separate title listed on the back cover) was stuff like Ctrl-B for boldface, setting tab stops, the F keys, and the extraordinarily important _SAVE YOUR WORK_ requirement of computers.

  4. Being from 1985, this book predates the IBM Model M layout that’s standard on US PCs today (or its variants used on laptops). The two pictures you featured show the original IBM PC keyboard (Model F) and a DEC keyboard (which I’m not familiar with at all), so now I’m curious what others it shows elsewhere. (Apple II? Early Macintosh? Commodore 64? TRS-80? MIT space-cadet keyboard?)

  5. I will go to my grave putting 2 spaces after the end of each sentence!! I just think it’s easier to read.

  6. I wonder if this book also covered typing on a “membrane” keyboard, like the one on the Sinclair 1000, my family’s first home computer. I think the Atari 400 and possibly some variety of TI computer had a membrane keyboard. It was basically a flat surface with some kind of pressure detector underneath each letter. You could never type fast on it, because you really had to push hard on the “key” to get it to register.
    Today, I could use a book about how to type accurately on a smartphone.

    1. I have a strong opinion that those things were NOT made to be actually typed on. A laundromat near here has machines with those for buttons and I ended up helping some blind dude out because he could not tell where the buttons were on the machine!

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