Keyboard layouts

I’m curious as to what keybroad layouts people use and why
I use Dvorak because i find it more comfortable

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Since 2005, I’ve been using Dvorak with an ergonomic keyboard. So far, that combination has let me type for reasonable lengths of time without pain.

I wasn’t aware of Colemak when I switched away from QWERTY — if I had to do it over again I’d probably go with Colemak instead of Dvorak.

Dvorak nerds unite!

I’ve been on it for a couple years now and love it. It just feels more correct in my hands. It also puts me under the stress limit where it hurts my hands as well.


QWERTY (UK flavour)

Type without looking at the keyboard, so won’t be changing…but got curious about Dvorak

It could be the layout and not the keyboard. I was never able to learn QWERTY for some reason, but did learn Dvorak several years ago.

QWERTY is designed to slow you down, making you stretch to reach common keys. This was done to slow down typists who were fast and jammed early mechanical typewriters. (Like anything worth talking about, there is some debate about this.)

Dvorak is designed to minimize finger motion and repetitive use of the same fingers. More common letters are on the home row, and the most common are under stronger fingers. Vowels are on the left hand home row (A O E U I), common consonants on the right (D H T N S). This results in typed letters frequently alternating between hands. As an example, on a QWERTY keyboard, I can type my whole name (john johnson) and only use a left finger once.

Below are a couple of illustrations gleaned from the net. The first is a heat map of letter frequency and where the letters are on the keyboard. The second shows letter frequency by row. Naturally, one would want frequently used keys on the home row, and under the stronger fingers.

As for “hammering away,” this could be an indication that you are creating your own auditory and tactile feedback for the keyboard. This could be resolved with a more “clicky” keyboard, or turning on key click in the OS, if available.

I’ve never really learned QWERTY either, I’m a fairly fast typist but I only use a few fingers. I am trying to teach myself DVORAK now. I have a keyboard skin that I place over the keyboard that is in the DVORAK layout and switch to it. So far I’m mostly using it on my laptop but I am slowly moving so that I can type ok with ut.

I’m also using the program Type Fu to help me learn.

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I tried dvorak a couple of decades ago by remapping my normal keyboard and switching keycaps around. It seemed to speed up my typing a small but noticeable amount, but I also was using other computers/typewriters and I found I was constantly having to relearn dvorak when I returned to it after even a short absence.

A friend recommended colemak to me. It was designed as a compromise-version of qwerty that is more efficient. It makes 17 changes to key layout, and from what I’ve read offers a much easier transition for people used to qwerty.

(I still use qwerty)

I had a small printout of the Dvorak layout, but would stop and think where a key was located, rather than just having a look. If all else failed, I could have a look. I think this helped me learn the layout better. I’ve never switched keycaps around, as my fingers know where the letters and characters are. Some of the letters I can type, but can’t tell you where they are on the keyboard without a lot of effort (and perhaps mentally simulating typing them).

For the german-speaking realm, it would not be DVORAK, but NEO. But I am not sure if having a Neo (or Dvorak) layout on one computer and then moving to computers/devices with QWERTY/QWERTZ layout would drive me crazy. I use 3 computers and an iPad and every device would need the Neo layout. While I can easily install stuff on my own computer, my second “main” computer is a completely locked down corporate PC.

Hint: WASD keyboards let’s you order any layout possible.

I don’t have a problem switching. If I forget, it only takes a couple of keystrokes to realize I need to switch from Dvorak touch typing to QWERTY four-finger typing.

I used to have two Harleys, one with brake and shift on opposite sides. Also not a problem to switch. Turns out our brains have context-dependent motor programs.