Ricky Kresslein

Typing Dvorak


Over the past few days I've been learning to type using the Dvorak keyboard layout.

If you've never heard of Dvorak, it's a keyboard layout that moves the keys around in a more efficient typing pattern (at least for English typers), which encourages a back and forth hand movement. In other words, each hand should be typing approximately the same amount of characters for both efficiency in speed as well as improvements with RSI.

Today, I saw some information about the Colemak keyboard layout, which was invented far more recently, in 2006. So, of course, I second guessed myself and went searching around the web as to which was better. It turns out, neither is better, as is the case with almost everything I search for using the term "X vs. Y". There are differences however. The big ones to me were that Colemak is slightly more efficient and also keeps the main shortcut keys used with Cmd or Ctrl the same. For example, to copy and paste with Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V, you can use your existing muscle memory; those keys are in the same place as they are on a standard QWERTY keyboard.

Then I started thinking whether I should switch to learning Colemak. After a half-hour spent debating, I realized something. This entire goal to learn a new keyboard layout was a waste of time! In trying to be more efficient, I was being less efficient. That would be a worthwhile temporary loss if it would lead to a life of typing 50% faster, but from what I could find most people type maybe 10% faster on Dvorak/Colemak, if at all.

I decided that all the potential time in the future spent switching keyboard layouts, searching different operating systems for an odd layout, potentially typing passwords incorrectly when on a different layout, and so on, would waste more time than I would likely save. Plus, I don't have any RSI issues.

Simplicity in this case means sticking with QWERTY.

So, in the end, I freed up the time I was using to learn Dvorak and typed this article using good, old-fashioned QWERTY touch-typing.