How to master the bottom row keys – Tips, games, finger positions
The typing keyboard is one of the most used technical equipments we use to carry out our daily work and leisure activities. It also seems there is hardly a career that doesn’t require you to type on a computer keyboard at least occasionally.
Even with all those modern data entry technologies available, i.e. speech to text, it is still important to learn how to type faster and accurately in order to work and communicate effectively. The first step is usually learning the Home Row Keys and then move on to the Top Row Keys.
Once we have mastered these two rows, we continue to master the primary row of the keyboard known as the Bottom Row. This tutorial will help you learn the bottom row keys in order to complete your basic typing skills.
What are the Bottom Row Keys?
Location – The bottom row keys are located in the lower section of the keyboard just above the space bar. The letter keys include Z, X, C, V, B, as well as N, M, Comma and Period. On the left and right hand side, you will have access to the Shift keys. Depending on language and layout, there are also symbol keys including <, >, / and ?.
Specifics – The bottom row keys are often the hardest to master due to layout reasons and particularly relates to the keys that are under the command of the left hand. The layout of the keyboard is namely based on a type writer, but unlike the type writer, the keys do not have levers separating them. Hence, they are exactly below each other which make it hard for the left hand to work with them.
Dvorak layout – On a US Dvorak layout the keys look very different and include QJKX and BMWVZ. It does not change the fact that each finger serves only specific letters.
Left hand: : Q J K X Right hand: B M W V Z.
Why are the Bottom Row Keys Important?
The bottom row keys go hand in hand with the home and top row keys. Your hands are positioned on the middle row so that your fingers can reach the keys on all three rows of the keyboard easily.
The lower letter keys are important because there are several words in the English language that will demand the letters from the bottom keys. Without mastering the bottom row keys, you cannot hope to become a very fast touch typist.
Learning the lower row keys almost guarantees speed and accuracy with all types of typing keyboards and type writers.
How to Learn and Practice the Bottom Row Keys?
Similar to the other rows, the bottom row keys can be mastered once you will be able to effectively combine the keys using both of your hands. It will take practice to do so.
- Index finger –V
- Index finger –B
- Middle finger –C
- Ring finger –X
- Pinky finger –Z
- Index finger –M
- Index finger –N
- Middle finger –,
- Ring finger –.
- Pinky finger –/
Tricky things – When you practice combining these keys together, you will probably have less trouble with the bottom keys that are under the command of the right hand fingers. As far as the left hand is concerned, regular practice is essential to perfect this part of the row due to the way the keys are laid out.
Letter key B – This letter is somehow the trouble maker if you want a specific example. The left index finger, when positioned on the home row (F), has to stretch a bit further to hit that key. On the other side, your right index finger is way closer from J to the letter N. Take it easy!
Basic exercises – Again, you will start very simply with typing blocks of the same symbol or letter. For example, mmm vvv mmm vvv or dmd dmd fmf fmf will train the index finger while cdc cdc aca aca or kck kck lcl lcl exercise the middle finger. Keep in mind that the middle row is your base and you should return to it after hitting a key.
Muscle memory – The key to smooth bottom row typing is to practice continuously and position your hands correctly. You may also try memorizing which finger looks after which key by covering the row and name them while moving fingers accordingly.
As already said above, before getting started on the bottom row, it is recommended to learn the home row keys. Once you have built good finger muscle memory for all those keys, you should be able to expand your fingers to the top and bottom row quite easily.
Tutors – Fast typing looks like a finger orchestra. However, it is hard to become a good typist if you only practice the rows separately without developing that knowledge to an actual applicable skill. A well-designed typing software tutor will guide you through this process and offers proven exercises as well as advice regarding posture and injury prevention. We recommend to research here before starting.
Easy Bottom Row Words
There is interestingly no English word you can type with bottom row keys alone. However, if you slightly include the other rows you can type some easy words or combinations that will still predominantly exercise your lower row skills. Some examples include: z u c c h i n i, z e b r a, z i g z a g or z e r o. A simple sentence you can try mastering: Zebras are not exactly known for being quiet animals.
Games to Practice Bottom Row Keys
On Education(com) you can play Gem Miner, a simple game suitable for 1st to 5th graders to practice the bottom row keys, mainly the letter, comma and period keys.
KidzType is a bit more comprehensive regarding the games and exercises. You can select from different lessons that develop the skills for each finger separately. Of course, there are drills to practice letter combinations using the whole bottom row.
Typing(me) has separate exercises for both hands and offer a simple and an easy way to get started.
Bottom Row Typing – Conclusion
The bottom row keys are more difficult to work out but with practice you can easily learn how to command the keys without looking at the keyboard. The key is to familiarize yourself with the position of the keys and your hands. There are several exercises available on the internet that can help you master this typing technique.
Being patient – Remember that it requires some patience to work with the keyboard rows; the best way to learn is to practice positioning of the hands even when you are typing outside of your keyboard lessons.
How many letter keys are on the bottom row?
There is a total of 12 bottom row keys on a standard QWERTY keyboard of which seven are letter keys. This row has the fewest letter keys of all keyboard lines. Additionally there are three symbol keys essential for punctuation purposes.
Image credits: Photo by Christin Hume, Unsplash