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Rapid-Fire Typing

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"I hope you don't screw like you type."
Kate Libby, Hackers

When the operator controls the computer by a continuous stream of clackity-clackity typing.

Anything can be done by a computer master through this technique. By typing so fast we can't see what they are doing. This trope is an effort to suspend disbelief where otherwise you would be left wondering why we can't see the screen at the time.

This rapid typing would make sense if one were merely typing a letter, but this is usually used to indicate programming or operating a system. There are no pauses to wait for a result, to think through the options, open a file or start a program. Even if they have a GUI, they don't use the mouse.

We rarely if ever have a clear view of the screen during instances of this; otherwise the gap between the typing and what's actually happening would be more obvious. Also, the astute listener will notice that the 'chunk' of the spacebar and the Enter key, which are distinct from the 'clickity-click' of the rest of the keys, is rarely if ever heard.

While some people actually are this fast at typing, they usually have to either rely on autocomplete, which requires advanced editors that support this feature, or go back and delete spelling errors later, which is not an ideal state when programming. Not that anyone writes program code this fast anyway, because you always spend more time thinking about program logic and correcting minor errors. In fact, functionsnote  exist precisely to avoid the need to write walls of text or repetitive code, and doing so instead of taking advantage of functions is a clear sign of bad programming — to the extent that some programmers will look askance at code that doesn't take advantage of every possible way of reducing the number of characters used. Why write an If-Then-Else over several lines when you could use a Conditional Operator instead, and get it into one line?note 

Occasionally this can be justified through Truth in Television as many computer users can indeed do things quicker by using the keyboard exclusively through shortcuts instead of a mouse, especially if using command line interfaces or macro keys. Even more occasionally, more fantastic settings may present this as something deliberately weird, to hint (or illustrate) that a character is an android, a wizard, or otherwise abnormal. This trope is about egregious uses of speed typing to control what a computer does.

Related to this is the Button Mashing in Hollywood depictions of people playing video games. May be featured in scenes involving Hollywood Hacking.

Subtrope of Kinetic Clicking.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Asteroid in Love anime, Mari practices this when producing the club newsletter in the second episode. Justified somehow as she is borrowing Endou's laptop for this purpose, so the time limit is presumably tight.
  • Nanoha has to do this to just scroll down a text file in the third season of Lyrical Nanoha. Bridge Bunnies do this all the time, of course, especially when agitated...
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Coordinators can do this with enough training. Kira Yamato actually reprograms the Strike Gundam's OS through a ONE-HANDED variant of this trope. Some fans refer to this as "Coordinator Typing", even.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Dr. Ritsuko defeats an Angel turned Computer Virus through this method. That same episode, we see a techie Rapid-Fire Typing away, writing huge amounts of code — and then Ritsuko comes over and does the same thing ten times as fast, with one hand.
  • Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! often utilizes Rapid Fire Typing whenever he's operating or hacking into a computer. Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    Computer: It looks like you're just pressing the same buttons over and over.
    Kaiba: That's because I learned how to hack by watching old episodes of Star Trek!
  • Yuki the data entity humanoid interface from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is shown graduating from waving the mouse around in the air to this trope within the week she learns how to use a laptop computer. At top speed, it's surprising she doesn't fill the keyboard buffer. Unlike other examples, what she does actually justifies her use. Windows are shown rapidly appearing and disappearing as she plays the game from a source code level (when you're just that good, who needs the GUI?). She also manages a method she uses when hacking reality, namely to speak really, really fast. What's spoken is, for bonus marks, SQL queries, fast-forwarded and played backwards.
  • In the first episode of Nana, Nana Komatsu performs this when sending a text message on a cellphone.
  • Battle Programmer Shirase, where Shirase uses this technique for great feats of hackery.
    • He remotely controls his supercomputer to reverse a denial-of-service attack with the one and zero keys on his phone. Causing the victim computer to explode rather violently.
    • He's also able to use six keyboards at the same time, supposedly to elevate his mental state to a thousand times that of a normal person.
    • He's compiling his code so quickly..! Then I shall just have to resort to... DOUBLE COMPILE!
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, with the advent of direct neural interfaces, no one should even need a keyboard. Indeed, the main characters rarely use them. However, the android operators still dutifully punch keys on their consoles very fast. In the 1995 movie, some people have cybernetic hands designed to allow faster typing, a visually cool but creepy and inefficient device that splits one's fingers in two. The manga explains that some people are too paranoid about brainhacking to use a direct brain interface and get the creepy hand operation to enable them to keep up with those who can just plug in directly.
    • The Operator androids are occasionally seen using the "fingers split into rods" method of typing as well when they have a lot on their plate. Incidentally, the reason Section 9 uses androids typing on keyboards for command and control is to prevent hacking attempts from succeeding, since the Operators are completely stand-alone systems. Even then, it's not enough to keep them safe in some higher level situations, so maybe the paranoids have it right...
  • In Knight Hunters, Nagi is seen typing this way... with no hands, using telekinesis.
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch can be seen operating the systems of the Shinkirou utilizing Rapid Fire Typing across multiple keyboards, sometimes with his arms crossed over each other in what would normally be an extremely uncomfortable typing position. When Rolo attempts to do the same later on, he is surprised at the difficulty and marvels at Lelouch's skill.
    • That's not all, in Shinkirou's first debut, the keyboard doesn't sound clickety, it sounds as if Lelouch is playing a church's organ. And the keyboard looks like a pallet with the keys lighting up when pressed.
  • Chisame is one of the Negima! Magister Negi Magi world's greatest hackers, to the point that she can keep up with a highly advanced robot at a human level. Her finger taps are sometimes played up for drama.
  • A skill of Sigma and Neo Saiba in Digimon V-Tamer 01. Izzy does this every time the gang encounters a new monster in Digimon Adventure.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Goku does this using two hands that cross over each other when trying to power an escape pod. Justified, since Goku doesn't know jack about technology and is just randomly mashing buttons as fast as he can in a panicked hope he'll activate the escape pod. He fails.
  • In one episode of Sailor Moon, Ami does this with one hand while eating a dumpling with the other.
  • Celty the Dullahan in Durarara!! can do this with her PDA. We actually see her typing the same sequence spots over and over; but the keys that she really wants to be pushed light up. Because in actuality, she mainly uses her shadow-like substance to do most of the typing.
  • In Geneshaft, Dolce and her hapless subordinates do this to fix the extremely buggy code of their starship's control system, and virtually go into overdrive mode when battling a computer virus.
  • In The World God Only Knows, Keima Katsuragi has Capturing God Mode, a technique for playing multiple Dating Sims at the same time. The anime depicts this as sitting in front of his multiple-screen setup and rapidly typing... on a spread of console controllers. For a genre of game whose input is mostly "press X to continue".
  • Kill la Kill has Inumuta often doing this. Since his Goku Uniform is covered in keyboards, this makes some sense. Even if the poses he makes while doing so don't.

    Comic Books 
  • Early in the run of Invincible the title character's father, an expy of Superman whose civilian identity is a novelist, notes that he has a deadline for a book coming up so he'll have to buy several keyboards to burn through over the weekend.
  • Naturally Superman being a journalist in his civilian identity sometimes does this when nobody is looking. Apparently even as Clark Kent, he's known to be a very fast typist.
    • Like with The Flash example below, the concept of a memory buffer is lost on writers. In the past, the physical limitations of a typewriter were ignored as well.
  • The Flash has been shown doing this to actually hack a system. He can apparently try millions of password attempts by hand. This would be justified if there was a computer capable of keeping up with his natural typing speed. And if the computer hadn't been programmed to send an alarm and/or lock itself down in the event of receiving several successive failures.
  • In the computer virus arc of Adventure Time, Marceline (who is now a computer expert) has to explain to Finn and Jake that "hacking" does not mean "typing random letters as fast as possible".

  • Lampshaded in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    Socrates: (to the audience) "I have 1,200 words per minute."
  • The end of Chapter 7 in All Mixed Up! has Mariana typing random letters on her keyboard and pressing the "Enter" key, which destroys a cardboard cutout of Oprah that she received from Precinct 13579 as thanks for the whale crackers she had sent the Director earlier. The Author's Note at the bottom states that typing random letters into the keyboard is essentially the command for "destroy".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Reed types ridiculously fast on a tablet, and with him being super hyper flexible, his fingers can stretch and go over the other hand's. Johnny Storm finds it gross and amazing at the same time.
  • Parodied, albeit on a typewriter, in Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. In one scene, the eponymous character dictates a letter to his secretary. He first lets off a long stream of mock-German, which the secretary records in a few keystrokes; he then follows it with a short syllable, which takes an absurdly long time to type.
  • Star Trek:
    • Scotty in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, who probably has never seen, to say nothing of used, a keyboard before in his life, quickly adapts to one and cranks out the formula to Transparent Aluminum in less than a minute using a computer whose OS has horrendous support for keyboard shortcuts.
    • In Star Trek: First Contact, in an attempt to stop the Borg from hacking into the Enterprise's computer, Data uses Rapid Fire Typing to improvise a highly complex encryption code on the spot and encrypt all the ship's major systems in a matter of seconds. Data's an android, though, which means his typing speed is limited mostly by how fast his fingers can physically move. Also a subtle Special Effect Failure: you'll see the reflections of the "red alert" flashing lights speed up since they just sped up the film to get the effect.
  • Semi-lampshaded in Up in the Air when Natalie was typing on her laptop on the plane. "Are you angry at your keyboard?" "I type with a purpose."
  • James Bond:
    • Boris Grishenko, the hacker in GoldenEye, performs a range of computer work with rapid typing, sometimes with one hand and other times having to type even faster due to threats from his boss.
    • Elliot Carver, the evil media baron from Tomorrow Never Dies, writes news stories, controls video conferences and basically runs his entire empire by flailing madly at a small, hand-held computer console. This is one of the few instances where you can actually see words coming up on the screen as Elliot types, though he is still typing far too fast. Could be explained logically, in that Carver's company is also partly an evil parody of Microsoft, meaning he may have his own special "evil villain" control software that interfaces entirely through rapid-fire typing.
  • Stanley Jobson in Swordfish. Mostly amazing in his first demonstration: he is ordered to hack into the Department of Defense in 60 seconds while at gunpoint, and receiving oral sex. Amazingly, his typing in between buttons and in between rows means something to the computer he uses.
  • In the Steven Seagal film Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, in which the basic plot is Die Hard on a Train, the Big Bad is able to enter the password for two separate systems at the same time with one hand on each keyboard.
  • Spoofed in Bruce Almighty. Bruce, while typing at inhuman speeds, drinks coffee and looks the other way. But in this case, Bruce has God's powers...
  • Done for laughs by an airline clerk in Meet the Parents, with the humor coming from the fact that she employs Rapid-Fire Typing for a straight thirty seconds just to confirm Greg's flight.
  • Something similar is done in Soul Plane, except that the (elderly) airline clerk isn't actually doing anything—she's playing video games!
  • A particularly hilarious example shows up in Jumpin' Jack Flash. Terry, who has just been contacted by a spy while putting in some overtime at her work terminal, engages in a friendly chat with the stranger. She rattles off a few seconds of Rapid-Fire Typing and then helpfully narrates her response: "Yo."
  • Played straight in the Disney Science Fiction movie Earth Star Voyager. A group of Space Cadets control their space cruiser (steering, evading enemy fire, firing, etc.) only through frantic keyboard typing — no mouse, joystick, steering wheel, or anything intuitive in the future, apparently...
  • In Iron Man 2, Ivan Vanko does this to hack administrative rights to Justin Hammer's network while the computer is booting up. When Hammer expresses incredulity at this, Vanko responds with...
    Ivan Vanko: Твой софт — говно.
    Justin Hammer: Excuse me?
    Ivan Vanko: Software's shit.
  • Done in The Beverly Hillbillies by a con couple ready to scatter the Clampett's money to so many bank accounts when their attempt to get into the family through marriage fails. The guy sits down what looks like a heavy-duty suitcase with a laptop inside and just goes to town on it. A well-placed shotgun blast prevents it from happening.
  • This is the way Johnny types in Airplane!.
  • Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) types this way in a scene from Surrogates, seemingly calling up dozens of files with each stroke.
  • Miles Dyson in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is shown tappity-tappity-tappity-tappity-tappity-tappity-tappity-tappity-tapping on his home workstation's keyboard. On the monitor: a sloooowly rotating wireframe of the robotic arm.
  • Lucy plays with this: The eponymous character is seen opening thousands of windows in seconds on one laptop, but thanks to her heightened brain accessibility, she can not only pull this off but also tap into a phone and broadcast to a TV miles away simultaneously. This particular scene is somewhat justified, as off to the right on the laptop screen is a green Command Prompt window being filled up alongside the stack of windows. Not so much later when Lucy is on a plane with two laptops and her vision shows something resembling the Matrix on their screens.
  • Ben, the hero of Who Am I (2014), types extremely fast.
  • Dennis Nedry, in Jurassic Park (1993), is shown typing at a feverish place while he's setting up "White Rabbit Object" to launch. By the time the camera moves so we can see what's on the screen, it only focuses on one button that pops up on the screen: "Execute."
  • Whenever Vivian displays her Hollywood Hacking skills in Asian School Girls, it is accompanied by the sound of rapid-fire typing with no indication of what is occurring on the computer screen.
  • In TRON: Legacy, though the film does use real and accurate Unix commands in a few scenes, it has also been pointed out (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that even for Dillinger or Flynn, being able to type that quickly, that accurately on a virtual keyboard is practically a Charles Atlas Superpower.

  • Noted in Halo: Ghosts of Onyx with Dr. Catherine Halsey, whose typing speed is specifically called out as 140 words per minute. Apparently 500 years in the future, laptops will not have silent keyboards. Also they will sound like machine gun fire.
  • In William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy, even though cyberdecks use a neural interface as a display device, commands are still supposed to be input using a keyboard. Gibson also seemed to be under the impression that the timing of keystrokes would be an important means of identity verification: for example, the Dixie Flatline never replaced his heart because he didn't want to throw his timing off.note 
  • The Young Wizards series: It's mentioned that Tom's typing is like this.
  • Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon: "Randy could hear a rattling sound in the background, computer keys impacting so rapidly it sounded like Avi was simply holding the keyboard between his pale, spindly hands and shaking it violently up and down." Given Avi's obsession with efficiency, however, it's entirely possible that he does in fact have a ridiculously fast typing speed. Later in the book, Randy is described as going on "a forty-eight-hour hacking binge", which may or may not involve rapid typing but certainly involves enough typing to require that his next email be written by poking the keyboard with the eraser on the end of a pencil because his carpal tunnel syndrome is so bad that he can't type in the usual fashion.
  • Otto Malpense in the H.I.V.E. Series does this—starting off at a fairly normal speed, then getting faster and faster until the onlookers are surprised his fingers aren't smoking—when he's restoring HIVEMind, the school's kindly AI. Played considerably more seriously than usual: Otto doesn't know he's doing it. His conscious mind checked out about ten minutes into the process and nobody knows how it's even possible to do it that fast because all the data that he's entering has to have a unique address individually and accurately worked out—any mistakes mean that HIVEMind isn't coming back right, or at all—which involves some extremely complex algorithms, and Otto's getting them all perfect despite not taking any time to work them out. Turns out that Otto's got a Brain/Computer Interface implanted into his actual brain. How? He's a clone grown for the express purpose of housing an insane AI. As you might suspect, none of this bodes well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 is a particularly egregious example. No one ever seems to use a mouse. Considering that the people actually using the computers—Chloe, for instance—are extraordinarily skilled, this actually isn't too far off. Many experienced techies will prefer a keyboard for some applications because it can be quicker if you're a good typist, and many of the advanced commands are only available via command line.
  • Played for Laughs in one episode of The Big Bang Theory: Howard uses a robotic arm and his laptop to unpack the Chinese takeout for the rest of the gang, and when Penny comes along, she asks him to pass the soy sauce. Cue Howard typing absurdly fast on his laptop, so fast that it's obvious to the audience that the actor's typing nothing of real use. The flurry of clicks goes on for quite some time, and Penny holds a conversation with Leonard while she waits for the sauce.
  • Parodied on The Colbert Report. Similarly, pawing at the keys of a calculator with his whole hand, a gag carried over from Strangers with Candy.
  • Criminal Minds: Garcia operates on half a dozen monitors at once, pulling up all manner of information, all by typing.
  • CSI: The lab folks routinely use the keyboard even when operating graphics and sound editing programs. Maybe the "enhance" command requires typing e-n-h-a-n-c-e?
  • Doctor Who:
    • A Dalek in the eponymous episode hammers through a billion password combinations on a keypad in one second, apparently using directed suction with its sucker hand. Either that or it was putting electrons directly into the chip (making the entry of that many passwords more plausible than with button-clicking). Of course, the real question is why the high-budget, high-security facility doesn't require smartcards in addition to PINs on the doors... with that setup, there would be quadrillions (or more) of potential card/PIN combinations, and even at the CPU's clock speed it would take a significant amount of time (hours or days) to go through them all.
    • "School Reunion" has kids hypnotized into doing this in order to unlock some MacGuffin.
    • Donna accomplishes this in "Journey's End", hand waved by her claiming to be the best temp in London.
    • The Torchwood team is also prone to this. For example, in "The Stolen Earth" when they need to boost a signal to call the Doctor, everyone instantly goes into rapid-fire typing mode while running around and taking turns on various keyboards.
    • The Doctor does this a lot, especially in "The Eleventh Hour", where he establishes his identity by typing the real Fermat's Last Theorem and a proof for faster-than-light travel (with diagrams), and codes a computer virus on a cell phone, in about two minutes. How does he make diagrams by typing really fast? He's coding the diagrams in LaTeX. Or SVG.
    • Absolutely everywhere in "The Bells of Saint John". The Doctor, Clara, and the villainous organization of the week engage in tons and tons of rapid-fire typing in order to Hollywood Hack, Counter-Hack, and Anti-Counter-Reverse-Super-Hack each other.
  • Inverted and Discussed For Laughs in Forever (2014) episode "Social Engineering." When a hacker contacts Henry on the morgue's computer to blackmail him, she starts out typing, but Henry's reply is so slow she opens a video window instead just to complain about it.
  • iCarly. Freddie, the resident "computer genius", does this all the time. Someone hacked the iCarly website? Rapid typing. Need to edit a discriminating photo? Rapid typing.
  • Strangely, on Lie to Me, whenever someone asks Loker to call up a picture, not only does he never need them to be more specific than "that one thing you showed me the other day", but he never uses a mouse.
  • In Lois & Clark, Superman once speed-tried a bunch of different passwords, whether they're dictionary words or random alphanumerics, until finding the right one. The keyboard was smoking by the end of it.
  • A TV show based on Maniac Mansion aired in the early '90s. One of the second season episodes, "Turnernator Too", featured Tina Edison embodying this trope; it was obvious that random keys were being pressed as fast as her fingers could move.
  • Frequently employed by Bryce and Theora on Max Headroom, where all the keyboards are antique typewriters and the monitors never actually display what they type. Amanda Pays took a typing course in order to play Theora Jones (she wasn't that fast...and she wasn't just mashing keys).
  • Murder, She Wrote: The opening credits sequence includes a shot of Jessica Fletcher typing on her typewriter at breakneck speed, as you'd expect a professional author. We don't see whether Angela Lansbury was actually typing coherent sentences, but it looks realistic.
  • Abby from NCIS is apparently a big fan of keyboard shortcuts.
    • Several PC operating systems support Alt-Tab to switch among open windows, and several applications recognize Ctrl-+ to zoom.
    • In one episode, Abby is opening an email (we see the inbox on screen) and does so by typing a ton of keys. Search boxes are convenient. Seriously.
    • How about the time Abby and McGee type really really fast at the same time on the same keyboard?
    • Or the time Abby needed to employ rapid-fire typing to control a third-person MMORPG?
  • A time-pressed Our Miss Brooks is at it in "Public Property on Parade".
  • Played for Laughs on Power Rangers Zeo. Bulk and Skull go to a computer to look up information on somebody, and Skull's fingers are ready to fly. Once he sits down, he starts flailing nonsensically at the keyboard, and Bulk asks if he actually knows what he's doing. Skull admits he doesn't know anything about computers but looks like someone who does, at which point Bulk kicks him off and starts browsing more realistically.
  • Done regularly in Quantum Leap. When Al would press one or two buttons on his hand-held device, the device would spit out all kinds of information. To be fair, there's an AI on the other end of the line watching what's happening and deliberately trying to provide helpful data.
  • Rimmer does this on two computers at once in the Red Dwarf episode "Holoship", after undergoing a "mindpatch" to give himself the knowledge of two of the smartest crew members.
  • The first episode of The Robert Guillaume Show has Edward trying to find a new receptionist and tries out a number of applicants. One such man employs this technique.
    Edward: Okay, you can stop now. [takes the page out of the typewriter] You know, I didn't believe you when you said you could type so fast, but... [looks at the page] Wait a minute, this is gibberish.
  • In one of the Nick Burns: Your Company's Computer Guy sketches on Saturday Night Live, all the computer usage is done through typing. It gets particularly silly when Nick explains how to do something and the actions are all in terms of what to click on, then he does it by typing. Apparently Nick Burns is quite the command-line purist.
  • Parodied in Seinfeld. Kramer appears on an episode of Murphy Brown, hammering keys haphazardly at a ridiculous rate that could never be real typing.
  • In Smallville, Chloe is quite an efficient hacker...she is able to pound her fingers on random keys with such skill! (At some points it's blatantly obvious that she's not typing anything meaningful at all.)
  • Stargate:
    • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, Carter, granted Super-Speed, works on a book about wormhole physics she'd wanted to write for a while, but "didn't have time to." Now, she operates so fast that her hands blur over the keyboard and she occasionally has to stop and wait for the keyboard buffer to clear out. Of course, for all we know, she is making typos and fixing them; it's just that she's operating very, very, very fast.
    • Subverted on Stargate Universe, when Rush is forced to work on the Lucian Alliance's Icarus gate program, he taps on the keyboard wildly for a few seconds and says "Alright then, I'm done." He then has to explain that he's kidding and the work will take a long time.
  • The computers in Star Trek seem to operate via a Windows-type OS of on-screen button pushing when not simply responding to verbal commands. In a subversion, there don't seem to be any keyboards or mouse function at all. Nevertheless, despite thinking that keyboards are "quaint" and not knowing what a mouse is in the Time Travel-themed fourth Star Trek movie, Mr. Scott uses Rapid Fire Typing to the shock of 20th-century native observers.
    • There are Voyager episodes where the "Relativity", a Federation star time ship from the 29th century, is shown, which has a kind of "beefed up" console interface which also featured some kind of fusion out of a (real-life) Trackball and a Holographic Interface.
  • Seen in at least one episode of Walker, Texas Ranger, where a hacker is fighting for control of an airplane's functions. Most notable for the episode's climax, where at a command from his boss (with You Have Failed Me undertones) to kill the thrusters, he panics and practically starts hammering the thing.
  • Subverted on Whiz Kids, a 1980s-vintage show about teenage hackers; the camera angle did in fact show the monitor with words appearing as fast as the Whiz Kids could type (this was done with a program that stored the desired text in memory and then displayed it one letter at a time for each keystroke; therefore, the correct text appeared regardless of whatever gibberish the actors were typing).

  • "The Typewriter" by Leroy Anderson, possibly better known as the theme of The News Quiz. According to Anderson, the (heavily modified) typewriter is played by a drummer, because actual typists can't go fast enough.

    Music Videos 
  • In the video to "Weird Al" Yankovic's "White and Nerdy", when the song says, "I'm a whiz at Minesweeper, I can play for days, once you see my sweet moves you're gonna stay amazed," his character is seen typing on a keyboard in this manner. Minesweeper is ordinarily played with a mouse. Lampshaded in the next line: "My fingers move so fast I set the place ablaze." Perhaps he's using a macro program.

  • All computers on Adventures in Odyssey require Rapid-Fire Typing (the ones that aren't run by voice command anyway)—not justified but understandable, given that it's a radio show and a keyboard generates more sound than a mouse. Later episodes use realistic mouse clicks, although they're still a little loud.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: This is what happens if you use Whirling Brush Method in conjunction with a Magitek typewriter/keyboard.

    Video Games 
  • Averted in the first Resident Evil, where the game switches to first-person for a part where you have to enter the password for an Umbrella computer. Jill types at a relatively normal rate, but Chris hunts-and-pecks.
  • Parodied in Kingdom Hearts II: when encountering Hollow Bastion's supercomputer, Sora tries to search for information on Kairi. Noticing how Leon seemed to be waggling his fingers above an unresponsive, flat representation of a keyboard, Sora proceeded to bang the keyboard as hard as he can (and then Stitch jumped on Donald's head, and Donald fell on the computer). The MCP from TRON got severely pissed off and converted the gang into data entities inside the computer, kicking off the cast's new adventure.
  • Hollywood typing isn't for Hollywood anymore: in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots cutscenes, despite them being movie quality CGI, and despite having been made by computer people, all typing is of the clackity-clack-clack type. One particular computer has three different keyboards for added virtuoso. Still no spacebar in sight.
  • Princess Peach in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door whenever she types a message to e-mail Mario. Although it is a message (presumably she thinks about what to write while completing the Fetch Quest for permission to send it), and can simply type it straight out, she is most definitely capable of more than 300 WPM...more than any actual human typist, even with copied or memorized text.
  • The Flash game Stealth Hunter 2 incorporates this as a gameplay mechanic. There are minigames to pick locks and hack computers, and the latter requires you to randomly type as fast as you can within the time limit.
  • Flash game HAX0R utilizes this trope as its core gameplay mechanic.
  • Taken literally with Z-Type, a Shoot 'Em Up where the player fires by typing.
  • In Tales of Xillia 2, Rowen is able to dial numbers on the setting's equivalent of a cellphone with comical speed and without even looking.
  • The Typing of the Dead, a version of The House of the Dead 2 with the controls changed from light-gun to auto-aim with words and phrases that players need to type before the zombies and monsters attack, and the in-game characters reflect on this by them toting Dreamcast-powered keyboards. The slogan indeed says "Type or Die". It receives its own sequels too, a Japan-exclusive sequel based on The House of the Dead III and the last version available globally is based on The House of the Dead: OVERKILL (as well as featuring the original Overkill as a mouse-controlled rail shooter)
  • The sequel to The 7th Guest has Samantha Ford, explained in the manual to be a techno-psychic. She plays this trope really straight: Using rapid-fire commands to transmit camera views of the Stauf mansion and hints to Carl's Gamebook, and uses a mouse only in one shot — and rather awkwardly, at that. There's even a point where she seems to be playing the 7th Guest game on one of her three computers, while hammering away at the keyboard and never using the mouse.
  • During Kazuma Kiryu's revelation sequences in Yakuza 3, he types whole blog posts in seconds using T9 on his cellphone.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Teen Genius Wade on Kim Possible can do it with three keyboards. On one occasion, he entered a meditative pose just before Rapid Fire Typing. In "Motor Ed," Wade reveals he has a typing speed of 300 words per minute, last he checked.
  • In Iron Man: The Animated Series, Tony Stark occasionally typed like this... using only his index fingers.
  • Jeremie Belpois in Code Lyoko types like this when anything involves the Supercomputer. It's explained/theorized that the keyboard on the main Supercomputer terminal has two Enter keys.
  • Dexter of Dexter's Laboratory can apparently only type with his index fingers (really fast, mind), but that's probably because the keyboards are far too large for his hands...
  • When Ingrid remotely boots up her robot in the Fillmore! episode "A Cold Day at X", she controls it by rapidly pressing keys.
  • Stewie edits a music video by typing in Family Guy.
  • Parodied in the Beavis and Butt-Head episode "Temporary Insanity." The boys are confused for office temps by apathetic management and put behind a desk. Beavis is put in charge of typing up documents, and Beavis spends his shift constantly clicking away at the keyboard. Except Ax-Crazy, Book Dumb Beavis doesn't actually type words, exactly, so much as he just really loves pressing the buttons, so all he ever types is gibberish. By the end of his shift, he's just mashing the keyboard with his fists like a lunatic, and he winds up shorting out the computer.

    Real Life 
  • If you ever see someone typing that fast in real life, they're clearly trying to ignore you. Call out their bluff by pointing out they're not using the space bar.
    • Other possibility is that they're playing Typingmania. Bonus points: Japanese songs on Typingmania don't use the space bar.
    • Or they're just bored and randomly fooling around in a word processor or text editor or something. It happens.
    • Or they're playing Typing of the Dead, which doesn't use the space bar.
    • They could be using Linux and installing software or something—though that does use the space bar a lot. Most shells use Tab for autocomplete, which would circumvent a lot of the space bar use.
    • Or they simply know the keyboard shortcuts for mouse commands. Alt+Tab, anyone? There are a lot of them. A LOT. Even today, it's possible to operate Windows without even having a mouse attached to the computer (although when you have many, many programs and documents all open at once, Alt+Tab gets noticeably overcrowded). It's usually faster than using a mouse, especially if you're switching mostly between only two or three different windows, and leaves people either impressed or wanting to burn you as some sort of technological witch.
  • There are some operating system interfaces (like Openbox) that are meant to be controlled with little mouse operation. Additionally, the tab key can move you across fields, which most people don't know/use. Put the two together and you have a system that can be run for rather more than average without lifting your hands from the keyboard, all the while typing in shortcuts and URLs and whatnot. To some people, this is a boon; to others, it's merely unusual.
  • Clerks at airport check-in terminals still tend to use mostly keyboard-based software and often have a lot of data to enter for each passenger's profile in a relatively short period of time. What exactly they are typing so much of and so fast has nevertheless long remained a common "did you ever wonder..." type mystery of daily life, and a common source of jokes.
  • Clicky-spring keyboards such as the IBM Model M make two clicks for every keypress due to their internal workings. This can cause unaware listeners to assume you're typing twice as fast as you really are, which can really cause some stares if you're a naturally-fast typist even with normal boards.
  • Combine buckling-spring keyboards with people who type over 100 WPM (think 150-180 on QWERTY) with hard strikes. Not only do people hear a very amplified strike and—with a rapid finger lift—return click, they'll hear the springs resonating inside the keyboard as well. Now apply that to someone writing a paper. Like this boy.
  • The fastest typing speed ever, 216 words per minute, was achieved by Stella Pajunas-Garnand from Chicago in 1946 in one minute on an IBM electric. See here for details.
  • The longest time typing nonstop ever is 162 hours and one minute, done by California high school teacher Robin Heil in 1976. See here.
  • Over a six-year span starting in 1968, Mrs. Marva Drew of Waterloo, Iowa typed the numbers one to one million on a manual typewriter, a feat requiring 2,473 pages, because her young son came home from school and said that his teacher told the class that it was impossible to count to a million. Now that's dedication.
  • Professional StarCraft players work at incredible levels of "action per minute", each action being an order to a unit, a macro put into action, additional pylons constructed, or similar. The average home player will do about 30 APM. By hammering away at keyboard shortcuts, championship players will do at least 200-300 APM. The all-time record hovers around 800 (held by world-class player Park Sung-Joon).
  • Often digital artists used to using Wacom tablets will develop their own variant of this same rapid-fire task completion; one hand is occupied with drawing and manipulating the interface with a stylus pen, while the other rapidly bounces between various keyboard shortcuts to swap tools, open and close various interface panels, and alter parameters of the brush without having to move the stylus from the canvas or fiddle with a GUI. With a little practice, it becomes the next best thing to a Brain/Computer Interface, allowing tasks normally requiring clicking an icon or digging through a menu to be executed instantaneously simply by twitching one's off hand properly. Since it's also fairly easy to type with both hands while holding a stylus, and a stylus can do anything a mouse can, many users fall out of the habit of the right hand drifting away from the keyboard to the mouse. Some artists get so used to working this way that they habitually use keyboard shortcuts to perform even tasks that would be completed faster by reaching over and using the mouse!
  • One shortcut to being a fast typist: being left-handed. QWERTY Keyboards have most of the most common letters on the left side of the keyboard (A, E, D, R, S, T), so lefties have their more coordinated and limber hand covering them.
  • It is very common among translators working on very simple, standardized, or well-known texts (especially when translating into their native language) and writers or journalists who simply type the text they have composed earlier. In both cases, such people can use a maximum writing speed for a prolonged amount of time.
  • Now you, too, can be a Hollywood hacker. Need the hero of your movie to infiltrate the Pentagon or disarm a nuclear bomb? Use professional tools, like The Hacker Typer. Don't let the audience catch you inputting random gibberish into Microsoft Excel. Hold F5 and press Alt. ACCESS GRANTED!
  • Even in modern Windows, the old-school command prompt is still the quickest way around several tasks, including decent directory navigation (symbolic links get in the way most of the time). Do you want a list of all the files in a directory? You could manually copy each filename, one at a time, or you can use a command prompt or PowerShell window and just type dir /b /on > files.txt.note 
  • The power of the command line is a major reason why certain people love the various descendants of UNIX: all of them include very powerful command line tools and shells that let the user combine them in all kinds of ways note  to automate basically any task. Using these, a skilled operator can do most of the things a normal person could do through a GUI, but significantly faster, not to mention some things that are not doable via GUI at all. Rapid-Fire Typing in this environment can be highly detrimental. While the shell is indeed an extremely powerful tool, With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: the way Unix commands are structured, it's perfectly possible to do serious damage to your data, or even often to the entire system, by making silly typing mistakes that wouldn't even register if you were typing an essay. The old favourite of wiping out the whole drive by mistyping a spacenote  was eventually made impossible to perform by mistake, but it's still perfectly possible to destroy your entire document archive, or instead of copying some files jumbling them up into one huge indecipherable file, or rename things such that their content can no longer be distinguished without going through them one by one. Don't test your typing speed in the shell. And even if you were inclined to, the 'nixes almost all have Tab-autocomplete to save you typing it all out, so you should be thumping that rather than trying to type out a long file path both manually and at speed.


Video Example(s):


The Mermalair Computer

Upon reaching the Mermalair computers, you must hack them by repeatedly mashing "E".

How well does it match the trope?

4 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / HackingMinigame

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