Template:Infobox Software Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is an application software program for teaching touch typing. 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. Mavis Beacon is currently published by Encore Software and is available throughout retail. Version 5 supported both QWERTY and the alternative Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout, though more recent versions support only QWERTY. Earlier versions were made for Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 400/800 (version 1 only), Apple IIGS, Atari ST, Mac OS, Windows, PalmOS (version 16), and Amiga systems. The current Windows and Mac versions are published by Brøderbund.
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; games of some sort have been included since the first release. (The 2009 Edition for Mac OS X, published by Software MacKiev, also includes two-player competitive typing network games, integration with iTunes, and more than a thousand practice texts.) 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 a retired Caribbean-born fashion model named Renee L'Esperance who was introduced to Les Crane in 1985, 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 name. Her first name was taken from Mavis Staples, lead vocalist for the Staple Singers, and from beacon, as in a light to guide the way.