Switching to Dvorak

As a person not unfamiliar with adopting unconventional skills, I randomly on a whim just switched keyboard layouts to Dvorak — and of course typing anything now is a continuous FML-fest. Does anybody else here use or has made the switch to Dvorak?

I do notice however that despite the current laboriousness of learning a new layout, the letters are placed much more intuitively and that one does indeed spend much more time on home row. Should I keep it up and give it a chance or ditch?

(by Stan for
group greggshorthand)


9 comments Add yours
  1. The Dvorak layout is undoubtedly superior to the conventional QWERTY layout. I've only known one other person to switch over, and he swears by it. If you're willing to deal with all the headaches that are involved in the transition, I'd say go for it.

    The only drawback is that you might find yourself in situations where you have to use the old layout. I'm not sure how easy it would be to hold both systems in the mind and fingers.

  2. I try every few years. It's great fun seeing which mistakes I make. Some interesting patterns. Shorthand helped me understand what my kids went through learning to read and write, Dvorak gave did the same when they learned to type.

    I didn't stick with it because I use ctrl-x, c, v and z (especially z) very often.

    I've heard that it's very easy to switch systems, once you've become proficient. Switching back and forth while learning might delay the learning process, much like mixing longhand and shorthand.

  3. I think it depends on how you usually use your computer.

    If you spend most of your time on one machine that is not shared much. And if you do a fair amount of writing. And if you don't use keyboard shortcuts excessively, then Dvorak is definitely worth doing because you can transition without too much effort and distraction.

    For me it didn't work, since I fail some of the above tests. I flip between machines and operating systems and like to do most of my editing in VIM and even though those don't present huge difficulties, the extra configuration layer is just not worth it.

  4. Definitely switch!!! In fact, I'm typing this using the Dvorak layout now.

    It's very easy to switch between QWERTY and Dvorak after you have mastered both. The speed drops for the first minute or so after switching, but then it rises back to normal. I usually type in QWERTY, and only switch to Dvorak for long passages (eg most of the time I program in QWERTY).

    It took me about 2 weeks or so with 30 minutes spent per day to get up to a reasonable speed (using a typing tutor). I knew I had a long report coming then, so I just typed the whole thing in Dvorak. After that, my Dvorak speed is already (nearly) comparable to my QWERTY speed. (Given that I only half-touch-type in QWERTY with my hands flying at crazy angles without using the home row)

  5. Wow. Thanks everyone. I'm currently typing on my iPhone modded to support dvorak and I have to say it's not bad. I don't really share any of my computers so that test I pass. In fact my mac is entirely in Japanese — with a now dvorak layout and my netbook runs the Korean version of windows so you could probably guess that most of my tech is only used by me :p.

    I think I'll keep it up and see where it goes. Although I feel that my brain hates me right now for adding yet ANOTHER writing method/langauge system to my already long list of pending projects.

  6. Dvorak made left- and right-handed keyboards, which might be better for single-finger entry. I used to use Fitaly on the Palm, but it's no longer supported. Four rows rather than 3, so the buttons were a bit bigger, common letters in the middle column and common groupings respected.

  7. Hm. I thought Colmak was like an intermediate between QWERTY and something completely unrelated like Dvorak. Never checked it out but looks intriguing — the idea anyway. I'm already sucked into Dvorak tho :[.

  8. Yeah, from what I've read, both Dvorak and Colemak are improvements on QWERTY. There's more available online for those two than for the brand new one I mentioned above. I'll give Colemak a shot and let you know how it works… Btw, I downloaded a Colemak keyboard for my Droid phone. They have Dvorak as well (for iPhone too, I believe).

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