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I'm looking for an application that can run on the background and would monitor my average words per minute as I go about my day. At the end of the day (or week) I want to see a recap of my performance and the features that I am expecting it to have are:

  • My WPM
  • Total number of words I typed.

Is there an app that does something like this? The idea came to me awhile ago when I saw a vanity USB gadget that you can plug in to your laptop and will monitor your average WPM count.

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Anyone? Pretty please? – Propeller Mar 21 '12 at 14:30
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is a tricky one to solve and get meaningful data.

Firstly, what defines a "word"? Usually in a text editing program this would be defined as a series of alphanumeric characters separated by a space or a new line character. That gets pretty tricky in an OS that uses those 2 keys for other options like QuickView, and enter in save dialogues and the like.

Many apps simply do not input text in a way that would make a words per minute count useful, for example safari. Would typing URLs of filling in forms provide any meaningful data, or would it just trash the more useful bits of your statistics etc.

You may be better served looking for a writing app that does this (such as this one for example - others exist) and is able to understand when it is actively being used, and when it is minimised etc, so that you are only capturing the info when you are actually doing something worth of monitoring.

To help in this there is a great tool called QuickCursor that will allow you to switch any text input field to the text editor of your choice. That way once you have found a program that you like for typing in that offers a WPM count feature, you can then use that program for all your typing by switching to it with a keyboard shortcut from any place where you need to type, including email/web forms etc, and then switching back and taking the contents with you.

Having said all the above, there is an app called TypingStats that will just sit on your menu bar and take systemwide statistics, on the proviso that it only actually guesses at your WPM by counting every 5th keystroke as a "word" and then doing the maths to give you an approximation.

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