A words per minute tally is generally used to measure average typing speed. A speed of 38 to 40 words per minute is considered average, but professional typists typically type at speeds of 65 to 75 words per minute. This higher speed translates to 325-375 words typed in five minutes.
The words per minute calculation is based on another typing speed measurement called characters per minute. This measurement gauges the number of keystrokes that a typist makes in one minute. A words per minute figure is derived from a characters per minute measurement by dividing the characters per minute figure by five. This process helps control for the differing lengths of words in a particular sentence.