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(Pocket-lint) - Mavis Beacon the teaching guru has been around for a long time, so long in fact, that her teaching typing software is in its fifteenth version. Over that time the software has grown to become the world’s best selling typing program and grown from a simple typing program into a multimedia cornucopia of a typing institution. It might sound a bit grand, but then we are talking about the daddy of typing programs.

Now rather than a simply keyboard with fingers running across it, the software boasts customisable classes to suit your strengths and weaknesses as you type. Age apposite lessons suited for children teenagers and adults, on screen 3D guide hands, fun typing games to break the monotony of the lessons and even a chance to have the lessons in Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish - don’t worry the version comes with a free bonus learn to speak Spanish for Beginners. Mavis, it seems, has thought of everything.

Open the software though and the presentation is still the same, after all there is only so much you can do with a typing program and you’ll be treated to the same simple interfaces and simple graphics that have been churning out for years.

Users are greeted by the ever-fresh-looking Mavis Beacon and she guides you through a set up procedure. Multiple users can be entered if the whole household has gone typing crazy and you can also chose a standard keyboard or Microsoft natural looking split jobbie.

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For accountants across the country brushing up your number-pad skills Mavis has taken you to her heart and there are a number of classes based entirely around this area.

Any user of the previous 14 versions will feel right at home. Although users of the previous 14 versions won’t really notice anything different either, will probably already know how to type, thanks to Mavis and will have Word Per Minute ratios above the 40 the average adult is supposed to have.

As with all learning software you have to want to learn and Mavis can help you, but you have to do all the hard work. Lessons have key objectives and structure and her condescending voice is ever present guiding and encouraging you along the way.

One of those ways is that every so often you are given the chance to play a game, like chasing cars or saving penguins from melting icebergs (don't ask). The faster and more accurate you type the further you get. All the games are based around different elements of typing and it’s a good way of getting children involved if not giving you a break.


This is a comprehensive program that will teach you to type if you are willing to sit through Mavis telling you how well you are or aren't doing.

In reality though, it is really just more of the same from the previous 14 versions. Yes there is the odd improvement here and the new feature there, but in the last three years there have been six upgrades to our knowledge. If you want to learn and you want the cutting edge in this field then Mavis is for you. If improving your typing is the last thing on your mind then you probably won't be reading this review anyway.

Writing by Stuart Miles.