The other day I randomly decided to look into ways to type faster. There are things like the Dvorak keyboard layout (and some newer alternatives, most notably Colemak), but the differences in speed between those and a QWERTY keyboard seem to be relatively minor. There were several attempts at creating chorded keyboards–where you use combinations of keys to produce text–but none of them really caught on, so that the hardware is hard to find and overpriced. I eventually arrived at stenography.
Strictly speaking, “stenography” is a term for any method of quickly recording text, and thus it also includes things like shorthand and even speech-to-text technologies. The most recognizable form of stenography today is court reporting, which is usually done with a stenograph machine, also known as a stenotype. Stenograph machines have been around for over a century, dating back to the late 1800s. They now have a standardized 22-key keyboard, and a trained operator can use chords to produce text. To get certified as a court reporter in the U.S., you have to be able to type at 225 words per minute (fast enough to comfortably record conversations in real time), and exceptional stenographers can reach 400 or more WPM, compared to 216 being the world record for QWERTY typing. Even if you don’t get anywhere close to being qualified as a court reporter (which typically takes 2-6 years), with a few months of practice at steno you can get significantly faster than you’d be on a QWERTY.