A typist


Typists operate computers to type and revise documents and compile material to be typed, such as correspondence, reports, statistical tables, forms, and audios. They read instructions accompanying material or follow verbal instructions to determine requirements such as number of copies needed, priority and desired format.

Typists typically do the following:

  • Transfer data from paper formats into digital files or database systems
  • Transcribe documents from dictated tapes
  • Take notes at meetings with managers and others to create detailed texts
  • Edit completed work for grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Gather and organize typing material
  • Create spreadsheets and presentations, combining various data from existing files
  • Maintain physical and digital filing systems
  • Scan and print files, as needed
  • Keep information confidential in accordance with security policies

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to typist:

audio typist
braille typist
shorthand typist
transcription typist
data entry typist
clerk typist
word processor

Working conditions

The work environment for a typist is usually an office setting, though some typists may work from home. They typically work regular business hours, though they may be required to work overtime to meet deadlines. The job is relatively low-stress, as typists are usually able to work at their own pace. There is little physical labor involved, and typists are not typically required to travel for work.

Minimum qualifications

Typists need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Many employers prefer candidates who have completed some college-level courses. Some employers may require candidates to have a computer or typing certification.

Typists can gain training through formal education or on-the-job training. Some employers may require a typing speed of at least 35 words per minute. Typists can also receive training in computer software and computer use.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Typist is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Typist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to typist.

foreign language correspondence clerk
office clerk
investment clerk

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of typist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of typist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

court reporter
administrative assistant
legal administrative assistant
passport officer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of typist.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of typist.

  • Type error-free documents: Type documents and written content in general avoiding any grammatical or spelling errors. Type documents in a fast pace without compromising the quality of the outcome.
  • Align content with form: Align form and content to make sure they fit together.
  • Use free typing techniques: Know, use and write documents, texts and content in general without looking at the keyboard. Use techniques to write documents in such fashion.
  • Pose questions referring to documents: Revise and formulate questions in regards to documents in general. Investigate about the completeness, confidentiality measures, style of the document, and specific instructions to handle documents.
  • Apply grammar and spelling rules: Apply the rules of spelling and grammar and ensure consistency throughout texts.
  • Provide written content: Communicate information in written form via digital or print media according to the needs of the target group. Structure the content according to specifications and standards. Apply grammar and spelling rules.
  • Use dictionaries: Use glossaries and dictionaries to search for the meaning, the spelling, and synonyms of words.
  • Draft corporate emails: Prepare, compile, and write mails with the adequate information and an appropriate language to make internal or external communications.
  • Decode handwritten texts: Analyse, understand, and read handwritten texts with different writing styles. Analyse the overall message of texts to ensure coherence in the understanding.
  • Use Microsoft Office: Possess the ability to work with the standard programs contained in Microsoft Office at a capable level. Create a document and do basic formatting, insert page breaks, create headers or footers, and insert graphics, create automatically generated tables of contents and merge form letters from a database of addresses (usually in Excel). Create auto-calculating spreadsheets, create images, and sort and filter data tables.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of typist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Audio technology: The various technologies for producing, recording, and reproducing sound.
  • Stenography: Capture of spoken words in its entirety, especially meanings and relevant details into written form.
  • Content development processes: The specialised techniques used to design, write, compile, edit and organise digital content, such as text, graphics and videos for publishing purposes.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of typist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Translate keywords into full texts: Draft e-mails, letters and other written documents on the basis of keywords or key concepts outlining the content. Choose the appropriate format and language style according to the type of document.
  • Use stenotype machines: Recognize the setting of keys in stenotype machines and understand the phonetics of words and syllabes represented in these kinds of machines to allow high typing.
  • Type texts from audio sources: Listen, understand and type content from audio sources into written format. Keep the overall idea and understanding of the message together with relevant details. Type and listen to audios simultaneously.
  • Digitise documents: Load analog documents by converting them into a digital format, using specialised hardware and software.
  • Write meeting reports: Write complete reports based on minutes taken during a meeting in order to communicate the important points which were discussed, and the decisions which were made, to the appropriate people.
  • Perform office routine activities: Program, prepare, and perform activities required to be performed everyday in offices such as mailing, receiving supplies, updating managers and employees, and keeping operations running smoothly.
  • Use shorthand: Apply shorthand as a method to capture spoken words into written form. Use shorthands in written texts to reflect acronyms and relevant information required to be expressed in such fashion.
  • Use shorthand computer program: Employ shorthand computer softwares in order to write and translate shorthands and put them into traditional legible transcripts.
  • Compile content: Retrieve, select and organise content from specific sources, according to the requirements of the output media such as printed materials, online applications, platforms, websites and video.
  • Operate audio equipment: Apply technologies for re-creation or recording of sounds, such as speaking, sound of instruments in electrical or mechanical form.
  • Integrate content into output media: Compile and integrate media and text content into online and offline systems, such as websites, platforms, applications and social media, for publishing and distribution.
  • Ensure proper document management: Guarantee that the tracking and recording standards and rules for document management are followed, such as ensuring that changes are identified, that documents remain readable and that obsoleted documents are not used.
  • Maintain customer records: Keep and store structured data and records about customers in accordance with customer data protection and privacy regulations.

ISCO group and title

4131 – Typists and word processing operators

  1. Typist – ESCO
  2. Typist Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Typist job description – Workable
  4. Featured image: Photo by Yan Krukov:
Last updated on November 29, 2022

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