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3.9 out of 5 stars64
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a well-structured product. It's clear and simple to set up and use (installed on my Vista-based laptop within 3 minutes) and provides a good range of exercises, assessments, skill levels, games and rewards - in the form of print-off certificates - to help users feel that their efforts are taking themselves somewhere. The instructions are clear and concise and it is easy enough to edit out unwanted features (such as the disappointing BLAH muzak that plays as a default to accompany exercises).

Users should be aware, however, that the program is clearly designed for a US market. This does have some impact on the content of the product: the American English spellings of several words used make it particularly necessary for UK users to ensure that they pay careful attention to typing out what appears on screen in front of them... rather than relying on knowledge of how a word is spelt in British English. This probably should make no odds to an experienced touch-typist, however as someone who was not typing trained, but is trying to improve their keyboard skills, I have been finding this quite hard to master... especially since, in some exercises, the difference between a UK and US spelling can result in a whole section of text being marked as mistyped.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 November 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been typing for many years, and have know the basics of tough typing, although I have not been able to apply them; so I have been unable to type without looking at the keyboard. One obvious problem with this being that I would not notice mistakes until long after they were made. So I finally decided to do something about it; Mavis Beacon to the rescue!

Once loaded the programmes is very easy to use; and it starts with some quite basic lessons using just a few keys. As the lessons progress so more keys are introduced. Every so often the routine of exercises is broken with a typing "game" of one form or another. There are also tests which assess whether or not you are ready to pass on the next level.

The lessons are tailored to the user's ability based on an initial typing test. The programme also allows the user to dictate to a certain extent, with the choice of taking a lesson, going to the practice area, playing a game, or customising the lessons. There are also various charts which show, for example, ones progress, or which keys one knows well and which ones need more practice. While one is typing an on-screen keyboard shows the correct finger to use for the key required.

How does it work in practice? With spending only about 15 minutes a day and without too much effort, after a week I noticed a marked improvement in my typing. After two weeks I had more that doubled my speed and considerably improved my accuracy. Obviously giving more time daily would mean even faster progress, but one of the attractions of such a programme is that one can dictate for oneself how much time is devoted to it.

While the lessons are not exactly all fun, they are not tedious either and offer plenty of variety. My biggest criticism is the graphics; they are very dated and rather basic, and it's not a familiar Windows format. The on screen font used could have been better chosen; I had difficulty distinguishing between a capital and lower-case "L". Another niggle, this being an American product, the keyboard is set to the American keyboard layout, so the position of the " and @ characters is switched. So on these points as far as I am concerned it looses one star; but otherwise it is an excellent way to improve ones typing skills.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 December 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As a lifelong `two-index-finger-tapper' I thought it was about time I learnt how to type properly. I have in fact tried a similar CD touch typing course in the past but found it boring and quickly lost patience with it. Mavis Beacon's `Teaches Typing Platinum' is a considerable improvement on this and I was surprised to find how effective it was.

To begin with the disc loads up no problem. You are then presented with a colourful and graphically pleasing interface that simply guides you through the preliminaries and after a couple of tests the programme then assesses your current ability. You are then given increasingly difficult routines to copy and are tested at various intervals to gauge your progress. Depending on your progress further letter keys will be added (or taken away) and new exercises introduced. If you are not particularly happy with a certain routine you can repeat it as many times as you wish till you feel up to speed (and there is an indicator that shows your current words-per-minute-speed). After every few exercise the tutor invites you to play a simple videogame-style exercise that tests your familiarity with the newly learnt keys. The learning curve can, at times, be steep but the programme never leaves you behind and will suggest going over some of the previous exercises before moving on.

Anyway, what you really want to know is `does it work?' Well, having used it for an hour or so a day for the past few days I am pleased to find that it is indeed very effective. In fact even within the first couple of hours I was finding myself typing simple words and phrases without looking at the keyboard. I was then able to concentrate on increasing the speed. I have still a long way to go before I could claim to be a proficient touch-typer but, I genuinely believe if you are reasonably dedicated to following the programme, you should expect great results before too long. Sure, the syrupy, American over-the-top remarks of encouragement (Good Job! You're doing amazing - keep it up! etc) can get on your wick at times but that's a small quibble in what is otherwise a great little package.

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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm very impressed with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Platinum V20. I learned how to type more years ago than I care to remember on an old manual typewriter, and that was no fun and it was often very painful! Using the Mavis Beacon software to brush up my skills is very enjoyable and certainly not painful though. :D

Since I already know how to type I can't really comment on how good the software is for learning from scratch, but I suspect that it would be very good indeed. It's certainly good for people like me who just fancy a bit of a refresher or to work on overall speed and accuracy.

The software came in a nice cardboard sleeve, which makes a change from the ubiquitous DVD cases, and it installed easily and quickly for me on a system running Windows XP. Once installed it was very easily configured to suit me. From installation to being up and running on one of the typing exercises was a matter of a few minutes. The minimum requirements are very low, so if you have a machine that can run Vista, or even anything that can run XP without wheezing you'll have no problem running this.

The lessons and exercises are quite fun, and the games are enjoyable. I must comment on the background music as well, the default music that came up for me was some nice gentle jazz, which brought a smile to my face. There's other music to choose from if that's not to your tastes, and you can even use your own music if you fancy it.

So overall I'm definitely very happy with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Platinum V20. It's pleasant and fun to use, and it genuinely does improve your typing speed and accuracy.
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on 12 March 2011
This is a good product that worked instantly on my mac. British users will need to change their keyboard layout to US to get through the symbol drills as the hash is in the wrong place.

Don't forget that you can change the music or add your own and of course any Brits startled at being told repeatedly that we are "doing great!" and are a "great typist", while stumbling through exercises at 19 words a minute can always put the sound on mute.

If you go to "menu" and look through the practice programs there is a lot of material that makes a change from the lessons and exercises. I rather enjoyed typing through Benjamin Franklin's autobiography.

I have improved in only one day, although it has to be said I am making dreadful typos all the way through typing this, - perhaps I am growing dependent upon Mavis's encouragement!
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on 20 May 2011
I think this product is brilliant and so do my 14 year old and 10 year old. In some reviews I had read that there is a problem with different keys because it is American. I just pressed the correct English key for it and it works. Easy to follow, understand and to find your way around.
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on 6 January 2011
This was bought to see if we could use it to improve some of the work speed of staff when using their computers. It was felt that it was a useful product and of those that have used it, the general feeling is that they found it simple to use, and it built their typing confidence in a measured way.

There were some comments about the US spellings; however, most of the staff rely quite heavily on the computer spell checker, so they didn't really have an issue with this. We had considered trying some other products to see if they were any better, but haven't done so yet.

I think that this product could be of value, but I would suggest that it does require a level of disciplne to practise, and the staff concerned didn't really give it the necessary committment. As such, I feel that I have to mark it down slightly, as it doesn't really seem to engage the pupil enough to make them want to come back to it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 October 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love this new version. I first bought Mavis Beacon over 7 years ago and what a change for the better.

There a lot more games to play too, 12 in total and as I am learning Spanish this was a tremendous help as I could type Spanish too. It would have been even better if it had French & German in there too. It does a French passage though.

I like the progress tracking report better too, and I could check on mine and my daughters and she is fast becoming more than a one finger typist. She thinks this is a fun program and while they are having fun they are learning.

It has 3 keyboard options, which is good if you have one of those split keyboards or one of those little notebook types with the small keyboards.

The interface and layout is absolutely fantastic and I cant find fault with this program in any way (Well except that it could have had more languages, as this is a brilliant concept, that I haven't seen in any other program of this nature)

And my 12 year old loves the fact that she could listen to her music while typing with this program. I like the fact she is reading some classics along the way, while she is learning her typing.
All my children have learnt to type with Mavis, and so this modern up to date version is a plus for me and my family.

Well worth the money any day.

A Fantastic Upgrade of Mavis... Well Done
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on 17 November 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To begin with I wasn't to sure if I would find this
product enjoyable or not, as I have never used anything
similar before.

I have now used this product for a couple of weeks,
and I must say I have found it fun to use, and I have
definately improved my typing skills.

I Highly recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I haven't realy used many of these typing software packages, to be honest maybe only once before, so the whole program was pretty new to me.

From the start its very simple to setup and run, getting around the menus are a doddle and digging deep into the exercises are easy. It features a ton of exercises and fun games to help you through the learning experience. It features a great tracking feature to watch your progress over the courses and can help give you an idea on what your failing or excelling at.

I have used it a few times now and have found it pretty helpfull, but my biggest annoyance are the freezes, i aint entirely sure why its happening although there are reports online in forums of several freezes, this for me is a bit of a low are hindered the whole experience...
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