Ktouch Typing Tutor

December 27, 2013
ktouch00Are you a budding typist who wishes to develop typing proficiency? Do you seek a simple typing practice program? If so, then there is an excellent typing tutor software program available for Linux called KTouch.

KTouch supports a wide variety of keyboard layouts, graded typing lessons, typing statistics monitoring, customization, and the ability to create your own typing lessons from within a thoughtful user interface that is easy to navigate and friendly for those who find typing intimidating.

KTouch is available free of charge from the Ubuntu software repository. Use the Ubuntu Software Center, Synaptic, or the terminal to install it.


KTouch in the Ubuntu Software Center. Shown in Xubuntu 13.10.

(Note: The screenshot shown in the Ubuntu Software Center appears to be outdated and related to an older version of KTouch. The new version is a vast visual improvement.)


Upon the initial startup, you will be greeted with a prompt to create a user profile. Multiple profiles are allowed to keep track of the typing statistics of different users. This way, users can view their progress over time as typing skills grow.


Accuracy vs. Characters per Minute are shown for a user’s current progress. This is a new profile, so nothing is shown.


Lessons are presented in order, and you must successfully pass a lesson before unlocking the next lesson. The first lesson is always available in order to get started.


KTouch automatically detects the keyboard layout used by your Linux system and adapts the program for your keyboard. Here, a keyboard with a Bulgarian layout is detected, so KTouch automatically selects the Bulgarian typing lessons. KTouch supports a wide range of keyboard layouts, so no matter what keyboard you have, you can practice typing in that language.


Don’t have a native keyboard? You can spoof different keyboards by adding them to the IBus Preferences. The current layout in use by the system is the one used by KTouch. (If you want to practice typing with a different keyboard layout than the one you are currently using, then you must close KTouch, switch keyboard layouts in IBus, and then start KTouch again.) Here, three layouts are recognized by the current Linux system: Bulgarian, UK English, and Russian.


QWERTY lesson 1

The typing tutor. This is the main screen where the typing practice occurs. Your goal is to type the letters and words as accurately and quickly as possible. A colored keyboard reference (can be disabled) at the bottom helps show which keys are to be pressed by which fingers. The current characters to press are highlighted, and typos are underlined in red (shown above). Meters gauge your performance in real time to reflect the elapsed time, typing speed, and accuracy.


Dvorak ABCD lesson 1

The Dvorak layout is also supported along with two series of dedicated Dvorak typing lessons: Auto-generated and the ABCD (A Basic Course in Dvorak) typing course. The reference keyboard changes to reflect the chosen layout.

More information about the ABCD course is available from http://www.gigliwood.com/abcd/abcd.html.


Results are displayed after a lesson. If you pass, then you may continue to the next lesson, If not, you must keep practicing until you meet the proficiency requirements.


KTouch preferences allow you to set the minimum requirements needed to pass a lesson. The defaults are shown as 180/98%, but these can be adjusted to your liking.


KTouch allows you to view the available courses and keyboard layouts. Not all system layouts have corresponding KTouch built-in courses, but many are available. Here, we see the English auto-generated lesson for the United Kingdom English layout. The courses shown here are supplied with KTouch. No additional download is necessary. If the built-in lessons are not enough, you can create your own using your own list of words and practice character combinations.


You can view the available keyboard layouts from within KTouch. Shown here is the United Kingdom English QWERTY layout.

Issues With Anthy

“Can I use KTouch to practice typing in other languages?”

Yes, you can. One example involves practicing Japanese words using an English QWERTY keyboard and Anthy.


Simply create a lesson like any other, but switch to the Japanese layout. Keep in mind that Japanese language support must be installed for this to work.

In theory, any language should work. It is only a matter of creating typing lessons with the keyboard active in other languages.


Select the lesson and type! The lesson, with the new characters, appears normally. Here, Hiragana and Kanji are mixed together.

However, KTouch always crashed when typing using Anthy. KTouch response was delayed and slow when entering わたし, and after about three or four entries, KTouch crashed reliably.


The KDE Crash Handler. Typing practice in other languages is feasible but impractical due to slow responsiveness and constant crashing. KTouch never crashed with normal English on a QWERTY keyboard.


Overall, KTouch is an excellent typing tutor that helps you learn more about your keyboard and the keyboards of others. Highly recommended for those who wish to improve their typing prowess.

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