I’ve always loved technology, and I’ve always hated typing. I think this goes back to my first typing program, where - once I figured I had a good rhythm going - a snarky voice would remark: “Try typing for accuracy, instead of speed.” To this day, I avoid typing programs.
As a writer, though, I am a decent if inaccurate typist. I was curious to know what Mavis Beacon would say about my skills. It’s been awhile. So I downloaded Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 17 to find out. You can try it for free for two weeks; to buy it, be prepared to shell out $20 - $40. There are also several newer versions available.
Download and Installation
I downloaded this file using the a download site hosted by a popular tech review company as an extra level of security. At 380 megabytes, this download was no joke. I wasn’t pleased that it tied up my PC for over an hour, but installation was smooth and relatively quick. Despite the fact that I was running this program on my aging netbook, performance was decent overall, with only minimal lags.
User Interface, Performance, and Support
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 17 Deluxe starts out with a registration process, after which you enter information about yourself and your typing skills into a new profile slot. Then the classroom is open - literally; the interface for this program is an interactive graphic classroom, with separate areas for practice, lessons, and a media room. The practice area offers a wide variety of different project types, from HTML code to a summary of a Shakespearean play. The lesson area took me straight back to typing classes of yesteryear: mindless combinations of letters and words. Not fun. At the end, I was told: Try typing for accuracy, not speed.
Support on this program is limited to a PDF user guide; the link to the webpage is broken, probably because there are newer additions available.
Should you spend money on this program? It does work, and to my experience it’s no better or worse than others of its kind. If you want to learn to type, you need to start somewhere, but I would recommend using a freeware program first.