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How to make your own Dvorak keyboard
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How to make your own Dvorak keyboard

by Jason GreenOctober 12, 2009

The keyboards we use everyday to most of us are called “QWERTY” keyboards, because they have that name because the top row of keys are arranged in that order. They did that to slow you down, so the heads on old typewriters wouldn’t catch on each other. We use it today, cause that’s what our teachers learned on and it just became “the norm”.

Here is a simple guide to make your own dvorak keyboard out of any old qwerty keyboard.

Just grab an old popkey keyboard from the graveyard, pop the keys off and rearrange the keys like so.

You’ll start out with this:

qwerty-keyboard-layout

and end up with this:

800px-KB_United_States_Dvorak.svg_836

Now to get windows to recognize it as Dvorak instead of qwerty, goto…

For Windows XP

  1. Select Start->Control Panel.

  2. If you’re viewing by categories (the default), click Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options.

  3. Click Regional and Language Options.

  4. Click the Languages tab

  5. Click the Details button

  6. Click the Add button

  7. Under Keyboard Layout/IME, select United States-Dvorak (or Left- or Right-handed), then click OK.

  8. If you want it to be default, select United States-Dvorak again in the Default input language pull-down

Then just press ok and your done!

Why use Dvorak?

  • Learning: Dvorak is much easier to learn than QWERTY, especially for new typists. Beginning lessons designed for Dvorak can be much more productive (and interesting) because you can type thousands of real words on the home row.
  • Speed: With careful training, it seems most QWERTY typists can switch to Dvorak and regain their old speed in about a month. After that, it’s all gravy.Some people have had trouble regaining their old speed. This seems to happen if they don’t give up QWERTY entirely while they retrain, or if they train too hard.If you have to type constantly and can’t afford to lose a few weeks’ work, I suggest you put off switching until you can take some time off.Although many people (including myself) achieve much higher speeds in Dvorak, a few have complained that they still can’t type much faster after switching, especially fast QWERTY typists (perhaps 60 or more WPM). Even so, they usually find Dvorak more comfortable.
  • Comfort: Dvorak wins this contest hands down. The Dvorak keymap is carefully adapted to the English language. For example, most typing in Dvorak takes place on the home row, so your fingers and hands don’t have to move around so much. Dvorak also divides words more evenly between hands, so one hand isn’t typing whole words like agree, fact, grass, greater, opinion, regard…

The Dvorak keyboard layout is a free control panel option on every modern computer. Dvorak is a vastly more comfortable and efficient alternative to the old-standard “QWERTY” pattern, which was designed in the 1800s with no effective attempt at typing comfort.

Here is a quick lesson guide on learning Dvorak, it’s quite good as most Learn to type lessons are just rehashed qwerty typing courses. http://green.cx/dvorak-lessons

About The Author
Jason Green
The writer and owner of Green Complex, Jason is an A+ Certified for Computer Hardware egghead and Eagle Scout since 1999 but has been building computers and programming for much longer. An enthusiast to say the least, his hobbies also include photography, video games, and reading. See his proficiencies on Smarterer.

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