Learn All You Need to Know About Using a Typewriter Efficiently

In today’s digital world it’s surprisingly to learn that many people do not know how to effectively use a typewriter. Manual typewriters can be fun to use, and there is something satisfying about the clicking sound the keys make that is missing from a keyboard. In this guide you will find the information you need to master the use of a manual typewriter.




How to use a typewriter effectively

Many people don’t realize there are still reasons to keep an old typewriter around, other than as an interesting conversation piece. Manual typewriters are actually convenient to use, even with the heavy weight. Since you don’t need an electric cord or batteries there is never a problem with running out of power, and these machines are simply fun to type on. Notes and letters can seem a little more personal on a typewriter when there are not any mistakes, and the machines also make great educational tools for young students who are easily bored or distracted. The sheer pleasure of hitting the keys can keep anyone entertained, which is one of the reasons why these machines are seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Here are a few tips that will soon have you typing letters and notes like a pro.



While most typewriters are manual that are some that are electric, and there are disadvantages and advantages with each one. Electric models do seem to be lighter and easier to carry, but you are limited by the length of the electric cord and available outlets. Manual models are typically heavy and awkward to carry, but have the unique design that makes it a great piece to display. Manual typewriters also do not require electricity so you can use it almost anywhere. The cost of the typewriter will also vary, though this will depend on the manufacturer.

Regardless of the type of typewriter, the basic steps for using it effectively are the same.


  1. Place the typewriter on a flat surface like a desk or table, and pull up a comfortable chair.


  1. Take two pieces of clean paper, one to type on and the other to protect the platen (black roller) from damage due to hard key strikes.


  1. The two pieces of paper should be inserted behind the platen, and the large knob on the side of the typewriter can be rotated to pull the papers through. If it is an electric model the paper can be advanced using the “return” or “up” arrow key. The paper bail can be lifted to allow the papers to roll through, and dropped back down to secure it in pace. The bail will prevent the paper from shifting or sliding when you are typing, while still letting it advance so you can type down to the bottom of the page.


  1. On manual and electric typewriters the is a convenient “paper release” lever that lets you straighten out the page before you start typing.


  1. It is important to set the margins on the typewriter to ensure that the paragraphs and sentences are uniform and even. An electric model comes with specifically labeled keys, while manual models have small markers that slide.


Electric Typewriter


  1. If you have a manual model it is important to push the carriage back before you begin typing.


  1. Once you have familiarized yourself with the “feel” of the keys and the paper is loaded, it is time to begin typing. When you are at the end of the margins you set the typewriter will make a bell or beeping noise so you know when to stop. On an electric model you will want to press the “return” key, while the lever on manual typewriters will return the carriage to the far right margin setting.


  1. After you have typed the last line it is time to remove the paper. The knob can be turned counter clockwise to advance the paper or simply use the “release” lever and pull the paper out.



  • Since manual and many electric typewriters do not have an “autocorrect” function it is important to take your time to avoid any spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • The “backspace” key can be used to move the carriage back to a specific space so you can type over a mistake.
  • Sometimes the keys can become stuck on a typewriter, but gently pushing it back into place usually resolves any problems.



With manual typewriters growing in popularity it is a good idea to learn how to use one effectively. Not only will it make a great conversation piece, it can also help you add a personal touch to your correspondence.