Master the numeric keypad for a fast 10-key experience
Numeric keypads, also number pad or numpad, come in various forms and types and once you start looking for them they seem to be everywhere, not just on your laptop keyboard. Whether it is a keypad on an ATM machine or a calculator, today’s life is full of short and complex data entry actions that are based on numbers.
There are jobs that require a high 10-key speed, particularly in the field of data-entry. Even though many tasks can be performed without the help of humans, mastering the ten-key pad is still a crucial step to boost your typing speed and accuracy.
This tutorial will help you learn how to operate the numerical keys of a desktop keyboard which can be applied to external numpads as well. We list techniques, explain the number pad keys and functions, suggest suitable training games as well as some popular hardware if you are in the market for a keypad.
What is a Numeric Keypad?
The classic number pad is located at the right edge of a desktop keyboard and consists of a 17-key keypad including the numbers 0-9, keys for basic arithmetic operations as well as secondary key functions.
Modes – There are two operational modes available. Pressing Num Lock or Clear Key (Apple) will enable or disable the keypad. If disabled the keys also perform various navigation tasks such as page up/down, arrow keys to go left/right/up/down as well as keys to add dash, slash and star symbols.
Usage – However, these days, laptop keyboards hardly have a number pad and we rather type numbers using the function keys sitting above the top row. Therefore, a wide range of external numeric keypads exists connecting through USB or Bluetooth technology, and often come with more keys, features and even displays.
How to Use the Number Pad?
The number pad helps you quickly write numbers on a document without putting in too much effort to move your hands around the keyboard. The numpad works together with the three primary rows of the keyboard, enabling you to quickly type in numbers.
Here are how the number keys come in response to the three primary rows:
- Top row – Keys789+
- Home row – Keys456+
- Bottom row – Keys123.
The number pad is controlled exclusively by the right hand.
Here is how the fingers operate the number keys on a key pad:
- Index finger on417
- Middle Finger on528
- Ring finger on63.9
- Pinky finger on+
- Thumb on0
Why is the Numeric Keypad Important?
Numbers – The number pad is important because no matter what kind of document you are writing, you will always find the need to add in numbers. Learning how the number keys are positioned can help increase your speed and accuracy when working with complex number arrangements on a document.
Jobs – Normally typing with number keys is extremely important for programmers, web developers and accountants because these professionals find the need to use the number keys more often.
Laptop – It is also important to note that in many of the laptop keyboards, there is no numeric keypad included. In a situation like this, you can use the top row in conjunction with the number keys that are laid on top of the top row. When working on a laptop without a numeric keypad, here is how your fingers are placed.
Left hand operates the following keys:
- Index Finger on54
- Middle Finger on3
- Ring Finger on2
- Pinky finger on1
Right hand operates the following:
- Index finger on67
- Middle finger on8
- Ring finger on9
- Pinky finger on0–+
How to Learn & Practice Number Pad Keys?
Learning the number pad keys isn’t really hard if you have already mastered the home, top and bottom row keys. The key to get good at writing numbers fast is to learn which finger presses which number.
Make it habit – Whenever you require writing numbers, avoid using the numerical keys on the top of the top row of the keyboard. This is because operating the number pad is faster than moving your hands all the way to the numerical keys.
Positioning – What is even better is that you only require moving your right hand without bothering the left hand. You are also provided with the positioning aid on the key ‘5’ which can help you correctly position your hand. So whenever you move your right hand on the numeric keypad, look for this aid before you start typing.
10-Key Test & Practicing Games
Many typing tutors such as Typesy or Ultrakey include lessons and games to playfully increase 10-key speed. There are also many websites out there that offer a 10-key test, game or drill for free in order to practice zip-codes, random numbers, and even social security numbers.
Sudoku – You actually don’t need any program and rather play number games like Sudoku. The benefit is to enjoy a mind-challenging activity while speeding up your numbers automatically.
Games – TypingGamesZone has a numpad game to master the numeric keypad playfully and is suitable for children and younger students or adults who like clowns. RapidTyping also offers a range of numeric keys games such as Brain Racer Integers, Battle Math or Number Cruncher.
10-key test – At Learn10Key you can increase your ten key speed and accuracy. To know where you stand you can do a data entry test and try improving your keystrokes per hour. 10,000 KPH is a reasonable number to have in mind as a common goal while good accuracy reaches 98% averagely.
Tip – We recommend to start any 10-key test or game by placing your middle finger on the number 5 key (feel the little bump). Then position each other finger (see above) around the home key, i.e. your thumb controls the 0, the baby finger hits the Enter key.
Number Pad Keyboards
There are various types of numeric keypads available to connect to a laptop, tablet and desktop computer.
Those external devices connect through USB or Bluetooth to a computer and facilitate numeral-intensive tasks, i.e. data-entry or bookkeeping.
Cateck Aluminum – A cleverly styled numeric keypad with a built-in USB 3.0 hub suitable for iMac, Macbook and PCs. It allows all standard calculations and data processing of up to 5 gigabits/s. With plug-in-technology and LED power indicator. No driver required. Price is around $20.
Satechi ST-WKP31 – A stylish aluminum-brushed bluetooth keypad for Mac and Windows computers, iPads, iPhone and Android devices to perform calculation tasks. It sports 12-digit LCD display. Pricing is from $35.
Targus AKP10US – A classic no-frills keypad with 18 full-sized keys and USB plug-and-play technology. Suitable for those to perform classic spreadsheet tasks. An optimized design aims to reduce the risk of wrist pain. Price varies between $14-16.
JBonest Wireless – A wireless number pad for laptops and tablets including Android, Windows, Macbook and Surface Pro. There are 28-keys and multiple shortcuts to perform complex accounting and spreadsheet tasks. Sim and well-designed; easy to transport. Prices fluctuate around $20.
Kensington – Kensington offers a 19-key laptop keypad and calculator that includes a USB Hub and a display. No software needed due to plug-and-play. Price ranges between $20-25.
Number Pad Typing – Summary
The way humans enter, process and store data has changed rapidly over the last decades. There are certainly still devices around that require us to dial a number (telephone) or manually place a number or symbol (traditional letterpress). Most likely, we simply press buttons on a touch a screen interface or physical numpad to enter an array of figures or perform complex calculations.
Lessons – The number pad is easy to operate and is essential for any touch typist to learn. There are several lessons on the internet that can quickly help you master the numeric keypad on your keyboard.
Tip – As far as a laptop is concerned, you can still use the numerical keys of the keyboard. The number pad is located above the top row on laptops having no dedicated numpad, but apart from Mac layouts you will most likely require holding the ‘Fn’ key when operating numbers.
Bottom line – Learning to become a touch typist not only increases your speed and accuracy, but it also enables you to have an edge in your professional or student career. Typing fast enables us to quickly compile documents without ever looking at the keyboard. Therefore, don’t forget the numeric keypad even though you might not use it in your job but mastering the pad will improve your overall accuracy.
What is the average 10-key speed?
Those feeling confident with keypads achieve a minimum of 8,000 keystrokes per hour, whereas 10,000 kph is considered to be good and 12,000 to be very good (no errors). Looking at one of the many 10-key test sites, you can easily spot users achieving speeds of 20,000 kph or more.
How to handle data entry errors?
A typo may easily produce a misunderstanding, we all know that. A comma or number in the wrong place can mix things up in a bad way. While practicing 10-key tests we recommend to immediately delete the error by hitting Backspace and start again. It outweighs any advantage you would get from a faster key performance but with wrong outcome. Accuracy over speed is key here.
How to display a number pad in Windows?
If you computer does not offer a physical numeric keypad you can display a virtual one on your screen. There are free resources available for download with Numpad Emulator being one of them. It is available on SourceForge.
What other functions does a numeric keypad offer?
Apart from typing numbers you can navigate pages up and down (9, 3) or go left and right (4, 6) or up and down (8, 2). Other functions include inserting dashes and stars. Furthermore, some keypads offer a screen to process calculations separately.
How many keys are on the keyboard?
The standard Windows keyboard has 104 keys while a US traditional one has 101 keys. On a Macbook you will find only 78 keys unless it comes with a pad which would increase the number to 109 keys.
What is a 10-key experience?
Similar to using the 10-finger system for typing, a 10-key experience means being fluent and proficient with processing numbers in a quick way usually without looking at the keyboard. There are quite a few entertaining videos on YouTube to see how it looks like.
If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact us or submit a comment.