Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing
1987 box art
|Developer(s)||The Software Toolworks (now part of Brøderbund)|
|Stable release||20 (cross-platform)|
|Operating system||Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows|
The typing program was initially released in late 1987 by The Software Toolworks and has been published regularly ever since. It was originally created by independent computer programmer Charles Haymond. Editions of Mavis Beacon are currently published by Encore Software (hybrid Mac and Windows) and Software MacKiev (Mac OS X only) and are available throughout the retail sales world. An early version supported both QWERTY and the alternative Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout. Later versions supported only QWERTY until the 2011 Ultimate Mac Edition from Software MacKiev which returned full Dvorak keyboard lessons to the product. Earlier versions were made for Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 400/800 (version 1 only), Apple IIGS, Atari ST, Mac OS, Windows, Palm OS (version 16), and Amiga systems. The current Windows and Mac versions are published under the Brøderbund trademark by both Encore and Software MacKiev.
The program includes a number of speed tests and constantly tracks the user's words-per-minute typing speed. It also includes a number of typing games of which some versions have been included since the first release. (The 2011 Ultimate Mac Edition for Mac OS X, published by Software MacKiev, also includes two-player competitive typing network games, integration with iTunes, Dvorak keyboard support, practice typing song lyrics, RSS news feeds and classic novels.) A certificate of achievement can be printed by the user upon the completion of tests.
This program is also used in many schools and homes to improve typing skills.
"Mavis Beacon" is not a real person; the original photo of Mavis Beacon was of Caribbean-born model Renee L'Esperance. L'Esperance was a major proponent for literacy within the CARICOM, and offered her visage to the product to promote reading in English speaking countries. She was introduced to Les Crane, the former talk-show host, while he shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. Crane, who was then a partner in Software Toolworks, invented the sobriquet. Her first name was taken from Mavis Staples, lead vocalist for the Staple Singers. The surname derives from beacon, as in a light to guide the way.
- Macklin, William (November 19, 1995). "Supertypist Mavis Beacon Is A Creation Of Marketing". Seattle Times.
- Randall, Neil (January 1989). "Mavis Makes It Easy". Compute!. p. 70. Retrieved 10 November 2013.