Dvorak Keyboard

Does anybody have experience with Dvorak keyboard?

Bob, old pal,
I don`t, but why do you ask? :confused: :slight_smile:
Take care

I’ve heard that it may increase your typing speed, and even reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. So I was wondering if it’s worth the effort. If I could increase my wpm by 30% say it would be worth an effort. :smiley: As I understand it you can choose Dvorak layout from the International system preference, so you don’t need to buy any new hardware.

is this any use? :smiley:


I’ve seen different opinions. The fastest person in the world 212 wpm writes on Dvorak. But some comparison suggest that there is no difference between Dvorak and QWERTY. I just wondered if anyone in this forum uses Dvorak and what his/hers experience is. I read about 300 wpm and think much faster. As it is now I’m very much aware of the keyboard when I write and it chops my thought process. I would very much like to feel like a pianist who knows the chords by heart and enjoys playing for its own sake.

What quality works of prose has the worlds fastest (WPM) writer published ?

Its like comparing a competitive eater to a gourmet with enhanced taste buds who lives for the sensation of food taste and experience.

If the process of converting mind pictures into words is disturbed by the keyboard why not dictate and get someone in India to type it out for you.

It worked for Barbara Cartland, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Cartland

I am so cool ice sometimes forms around me.

There is a subtle feedback between the person creating and the tools he uses to create. That is why some people prefer Mac to PC, Scrivener to Word, typewriter to computer, pencil to typewriter, oil to water colors, Dvorak to qwerty, and so on and on. Being able to master the tools of your trade is one of the great joys in life and yes it produces better quality. :smiley:


I put a several weeks into trying to learn the Dvorak layout quite a few years ago. I was typing 145 wpm on qwerty at the time. I struggled to get back to 145 on the Dvorak, finally gave it up.

The only alternate I found that really seemed to up my speed was a prototype folding keyboard that allowed one to set it as two parallel frames - sort of like a very thin accordion? I was getting a bit over 150 on that, and at first it felt much more comfortable on the wrists. But I had to give it back to the inventor, who never got funding to put them into production. I’d also been a bit concerned at not being able to move from one keyboard to another easily had I gotten very used to it.

I’ve played Bach from the age of ten, but I’ve never felt the slightest connection between music and other keyboards.

At least for myself, while I can still type 120 on a good day, when writing it’s probably more like 20 wpm. I think when I write. And pause. And think. And type. And write. Your description reminds me more of Stevie King’s writing machine in Tommyknockers. And they will get you. :astonished:

I’m bi-lingual (Dvorak/QWERTY), and I do prefer Dvorak for extended periods of writing, I do, oh yes I do.

I taught myself Dvorak over a month a while back, in response to a comic strip, of all things. There are plenty of good typing tutors out there (a number of them online, even), and it’s surprisingly intuitive to learn as long as you remember one thing: don’t look at the keys!

I know, you’re learning a new layout, of course it seems that you should be looking at them - but don’t. Learn the home row first, by heart, and then just practise that on the typing tutor, carefully avoiding any temptation to stare at your hands, until it’s second nature. Then move to the other rows. Considering that Dvorak has hundreds of possible word combinations on the home row by itself, you won’t be extremely limited even if you are stuck there for a week.

As to speed, well I’m not certain. What I AM certain about is that it’s incredibly more efficient. I can type for hours on Dvorak before I start getting RSI/Hand pangs. Not so with QWERTY. I have to take more regular and extended breaks. The reason is really simple - when writing prose in Dvorak your fingers barely move from the home row at all…they just occasionally flicker out to get one of the more rarely used letters.

For prose, Dvorak is indispensable. However, for anything else it’s of limited value. When I’m coding, I need that semicolon on the home row (Dvorak has it way up high on the right), so I type on QWERTY. Fortunately, OS X makes it simple to switch between them. I’ve even got it on a global keyboard shortcut :stuck_out_tongue:

It may not be from the same inventor, but I know such keyboards do exist and are in production, as I know someone who uses one :slight_smile: No idea what brand it is or where she got it from, but they definitely exist.

I am reminded of the Piers Anthony comment regarding Dvorak and QWERTY:

Congrats on avoiding that pitfall!

I really haven’t encountered a problem. It’s really like being bilingual, I guess (although with the atrocious difficulties I’m having learning French, it may be a poor analogy).

Speech recognition software or dictation software? These may speed up your process.

After all a court dictator can keep up with spoken word and spoken word is quite fast…

I started learning Dvorak in August, in an effort to minimise the discomfort of arthritic fingers. Just thought I would give an update on progress…

I would say that Dvorak is undoubtedly easier on the fingers. No question about it. But as for speed… well, maybe I just haven’t put enough effort into it, but it is only now (after six or seven months) that I feel my typing speed is back up to my pre-Dvorak QWERTY speed. And I think that maybe I now make more errors (some of them habitual). Still, over a session of any length worth mentioning, it doesn’t hurt as much to type, and that is worth a lot of backspacing and retyping!

Speed of typing has more of an impact on certain areas of my writing than I expected. As it turns out, typing a bit slower didn’t particularly interfere with my creative flow, so that was less of a problem than I had expected. Where I really noticed the difference was in off-the-cuff things like emails and forum posts; typing them quite often didn’t seem to be worth the effort. Often I found that if I couldn’t fire off a reply at the speed of thought, then (against my natural instinct) I simply wouldn’t bother replying.

A downside is that I absolutely cannot type in QWERTY any more, despite formerly being a touch-typist (albeit a rather unprofessional one). Doing sys admin stuff on my children’s machines drives me mad with frustration as I stare intensely at the keyboard looking for the right key, so I have had to activate the menu-bar keyboard switch on their machines. This might be because I have had no need to use QWERTY in any serious way since I switched. Perhaps if I had regular access to a QWERTY keyboard, I might be more flexible.

Initially, I thought I would want to switch my keycaps so that they had the right letters on them, but I never got round to it and now wonder why I ever even considered it. I used Dvorak on a G3 iBook initially, and now on a MacBook and an AlphaSmart Neo. No problems with any of them. And endless fun watching other people try to type things on my machine! :slight_smile:

For regular prose typing in English, I don’t know why more people don’t use Dvorak, although I wouldn’t fancy it for coding or for other languages. I wonder if there are different Dvorak layouts for different languages because, earlier in this thread, somebody mentioned the awkward position of the semi-colon – but my semi-colon is on the readily accessible QWERTY-Z key, and not up high on the right so I have no trouble generating Victorian-looking sentence syntax. :slight_smile:

That is a good point. What I would love is a Dvorak layout that switches to QWERTY automatically whenever a major modifier is depressed. Most of those shortcuts are set up to be ergonomic. Cmd-C and Cmd-V roll off the fingers in QWERTY—not so much in Dvorak. Maybe it would be awkward holding two spatial maps in the head at once like that—but for me anyway touch typing and shortcut typing are different enough mental events that it could probably work.

If you have Dvorak set in the keyboards list, does Cmd-space not switch to “last used keyboard” for you? Oh no, it’s so much part of my needs that I have it set in the preferences … presumably for you guys it calls up Spotlight or something.

I have British English and QIM Sogou (Chinese) set up in the keyboard menu and have reset the shortcut to Cmd-space, which had always been the default for that on both Mac and Windows … until Apple came up with Spotlight! So I can switch back and forth between the two with consummate ease.

You could do the same with Dvorak and your personal flavour of QWERTY, but you’d have to work out some other shortcut if you wanted to retain your Spotlight access via the keyboard … or reassign Spotlight.


All true, but Cmd-space + Cmd-C + Cmd-V + Cmd-Space is probably, I would guess, more effort than simply pressing Cmd-C and V using the Dvorak mapping for the C & V. :slight_smile:

I don’t know why but every time I see the phrase “Dvorak Keyboard”.

I think of this guy

I don’t know why but I do.

I believe the option ‘Dvorak - Qwerty ⌘’ in the International → Input Menu of System Preferences does mostly that. Only with ⌘ though, as far as I know…


There are Dvorak adaptations in several European languages. The available Italian ones were made according to the same philosophy that inspired the Qwerty adaptation: take the American layout, and stick accented vocals where they fit.

I did a different work with my adaptation: as Dvorak suggested, I analyzed a long text to find out the most commonly used key sequences in Italian, and a way to alternate both hands the most. The result can be downloaded here (only for Mac):

studio-magazine.com/apps/dvo … index.html