I had a mac when I first moved to Dubai in 2004 and for the 6(!) years I had it, I had an Arabic keyboard. I kind of learned to type on it. Mostly I just stumbled around a lot.
I never got the hang of typing in Arabic, but I remember pretty accurately where most of the letters are and, every so often, I go scouring the internet for online Arabic typing programs (remember Mavis Beacon?). I haven’t found anything–until tonight! After years of unsuccess, and at least one year of not trying, I think I finally found a solution.*
Free Online Arabic Typing Practice Sites:
1. Sense-lang.org I recommend sense-lang.org to start learning how to type in Arabic. It’s both free and online (yay!), and it starts with the very basics (ie where the letters are located and which finger to use for each one). You’re given various combinations of letters–a long series of meaningless words–and you must type them accurately. If you don’t, the onscreen keyboard lights up with the location of the correct letter and which finger to use to reach it.
The program is composed of 15 drills. The first one is a simple two-letter repetitive drill, and the drills become progressively more difficult with each lesson. Once you’ve completed all 15 drills, you can click above lesson 1 to try the practice text.
There are also three practice games of varying levels of difficulty. I am partial to Type for Your Life as it had the most interesting sound effects (and, come to think of it, most interesting concept, too. Hm.).
2. Typeracer. Once you’ve completed sense-lang’s training, you’re probably ready for Typeracer, which is great for developing speed and accuracy. I tried doing it before starting sense-lang and got smoked! It’s fun, but you have to already know what you’re doing.
I also found Arabic Typing Tutor, which is not online, but appears to be a free (trial?) download. Unfortunately the file is .exe and I’m on a Mac. Anyone have any experience with this?
*Google gave me a bunch of results for students who want to type in Arabic but don’t have an Arabic keyboard. (If that’s what you’re looking for, go type “Arabic online typing” into google–you’ll get tons of help.) It was a little bit harder to find (1) free (2) online typing training programs. (Programmers/entrepreneurs, I see an opportunity!)