# Fastest way to type in LaTeX?

1. Jul 14, 2007

### lLovePhysics

I bet some of you can type super fast in LaTeX, but unfortunately, I cannot. I can type fast words but not numbers and all of the other symbols. I just do not know what fingers I should use to push the buttons like: [ ] / \ ( ) ^ { } etc... What's the fastest way to type in LaTeX? Please share, thanks!

2. Jul 14, 2007

Huh?

3. Jul 14, 2007

### CompuChip

With 10 fingers.

By the way, even though I can usually type really fast, I cannot type $\LaTeX$ as quickly as normal text. Even after about 2 years I often forget a backslash ($\phi = 2psi$, and the like) or mistake combinations like \_ for _\.

4. Jul 14, 2007

### G01

There is also a new latex button in the page that comes up when you want to post. Click on the little Sigma above the text box and you'll get a list of latex shortcuts. This may speed you up.

5. Jul 15, 2007

### lLovePhysics

Well, what I mean is, I don't know what fingers I should use on certain symbolic keys to speed up my Latex typing. There is always a "best" way to type things. For example, There are certain fingers we should use for certain alphabet keys on our keyboard to allow us to type faster than if we didn't use them.

6. Jul 15, 2007

### Hurkyl

Staff Emeritus
That I don't believe. But if you insist on typing in such a rigid way, then you could try using an editor that lets you customize shortcut keys, allowing you to use ALT-<KEY> sequences for special keys.

7. Jul 15, 2007

### Schrodinger's Dog

I think he's talking about touch typing Hurkyl, that thing where you don't look at the keyboard, that I can't quite manage

Most of the brackets and maths symbols are your little right pinky. But the numbers along the top of the keyboard are all of them according to which is closest when you place your hands over the home keys.

asdf

jkl;

Most keyboards have an raised mark on f and J to denote them as the home keys.

Last edited: Jul 15, 2007
8. Jul 15, 2007

### Hurkyl

Staff Emeritus
I don't look at the keyboard either; my hands just drift back and forth over the keyboard based on what I'm typing.

9. Jul 15, 2007

### Simfish

you could use macros

10. Jul 15, 2007

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
If you want to learn to type symbols and numbers faster with touch-typing, then you just need to learn to touch type. Mostly, it's practice. You could take a typing class, but could also probably find all the information you need, including a diagram mapping which fingers to use for which keys online somewhere. For example, the brackets are all typed using your pinky, which just has to keep reaching further to the right of the P on the keyboard. If you're typing a lot of numbers, I find it much easier to use a keyboard with a number pad on it than to type using the numbers above the letters. Then you use your index, middle and ring finger for the three columns of numbers, respectively, just as you would on a calculator/adding machine (yep, I'm old enough to have used those).

Everything else is just practice. The keys you use often, you'll have an easier time learning to find.

11. Jul 16, 2007

### neutrino

We had typing class in school. While it did help with my typing faster, I don't think I am strictly following whatever I learnt. For example, to type the square brackets [], I use my index and middle fingers. I think you should just type in the way you are comfortable with.

12. Jul 16, 2007

### caslav.ilic

For Unix/Linux users, there is a wonderfull little program for learning touch-typing, called GTypist. Major distributions have it packaged. It's wasn't in-my-face as other typing tutors were, actually it's the only one that didn't manage to piss me off in half an hour, thus making me eventually learn touch-typing. Divided into lessons of differing intentions and difficulty, the drill is simple: type the text presented on the screen, make less than 3% errors and proceed to next text segment, or else type again. Kept me hooked like Tetris.

Important thing to note here is that, at least in my line of interest, it is not the speed of typing that actually matters (although I doubled it); instead it is that you can look at the screen at all times, which makes it much easier to spot errors. Latex in mind, this also produces a secondary-effect time saving by not having document compilation barf out on mere typos.

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Chusslove Illich (Часлав Илић)