Newbie's Toolbox

Keystrokes per minute for data entry jobs explained

Keystrokes per minute? Do you mean words per minute?

Most of us are familiar with the term “words per minute” (wpm) which is the most common measure of a person’s typing speed.

Did you know that while wpm measures how fast your type with both hands which keystrokes per minute (kpm) measure how fast you type one-handed?

A ‘Keystroke” is every time you hit (or stroke?) a key on your keyboard. Kpm is also sometimes referred to as characters per minute (cpm).

Given the nature of data entry jobs, you would most commonly be entering numeric data with one hand. This is why pay rates are often quoted in kpm as opposed to the more common measure of wpm.

To challenge the brain a little, you might also see keywords per hour (kph) instead of kpm. So just get the calculator out and divide kph by 60 to get kpm. For example, 9,000 kph will be 150 kpm (9,000 divided by 60).

Here’s a bit more of a tricky one. How do you convert kph into wph?

Keystrokes per hour (Kph) divided by 60 will give you keystrokes per minute (wpm).
Kpm divided by 5 will give you words per minute.

Let’s use the example above again.

So 9,000 kph will be 150 kpm (9,000 divided by 60).

150kpm divided by 5 is 30 words per minute.

So 9,000kph = 30wpm.

Kpm is often a lot faster than wpm because it is a measure of how many type you hit (or stroke) a key on the keyboard as opposed to how fast you can type full words in a minute.

Phew. That was a lot of new terms and a bit of math to get your brain juices flowing.

Let me summarise the terms for you here:

  • Words per minute (wpm): How many words you can type with both hands in a minute.
  • Keystrokes per minute (kpm): How many times you can hit a key on a keyboard with only one hand in a minute.
  • Characters per minute (cpm): How many characters you can type per minute. Essentially the same as (kpm).
  • Keystroke per hour (kph): Kpm times 60.

Cool, got those?

Now data entry job pages will make more sense. I know they used to look like a foreign language before I understood these terms.

So what kpm/cpm rate should a beginner aim for?

If you are looking to work from home doing data entry, you should aim for about 200 kpm. If you aren’t sure how fast you can type, you can find out here.

Tip: Make sure you are using a proper keyboard with the numerical keypad on the right hand side. The first time I tried the test, I was on a laptop and my score for numerical entry was just dismal.




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