If you use a DvorakKeyboard as your primary means of textual input, please add your name and anything else relevant.
Linkbane Had always been unsatisfied with my QWERTY speed, around 90 wpm, and decided to switch over for sheer speed purposes. After a little less than a year of practice, my speed has exceeded 150 wpm, and I aim to be an excellent typist. It took me about three months to exceed 100 wpm after starting, but all that one needs is a great amount of practice and focus.
AulusVB I've had jobs that require typing all day for most of my life. A little less than a year ago I switched back to that kind of job after 6 months of no typing at work and noticed the fatigue in my hands. After doing some research I decided to learn Dvorak. I installed an open source typing tutor that supports the dvorak layout and after 3 weeks of an occasiional 1 to 2 hours a day I am at 28 wpm. I've been typing qwerty at work and dvorak at home which gets a bit confusing sometimes. I will be switching completely over once I reach around 40wpm. Hopefully next week.
NicholasV - About a year ago I quit QWERTY cold turkey and learned Dvorak. It was an incredibly difficult first week. After that week I was up to about 14 words per minute. After the first month I could type at 40 words per minute. In four months I was up to 80 wpm which is where I am now, 90 on a good day. The reason I stuck with it was the noticeable difference in comfort. The fatigue I feel typing Dvorak is much, much less than the fatigue I feel with QWERTY. I'm extremely glad I made the switch. The fact that you can type common words like 'the' 'and' 'as' 'is' 'this' 'then' 'than' 'those' 'these' and 'that' all using the home row is really great.
DarrenHobbs - Tried learning it over the weekend out of sheer perversity. I'm up to 12-14 wpm already (the following Monday), compared to 50 wpm on qwerty. I haven't yet decided if I prefer it, but I like the way all the vowels are under the same hand. Common words also seem slightly easier to type. And so far no problems at all jumping between dvorak and qwerty. I just wonder if there is an even 'better' design out there?
ShaeErisson - I taught myself Dvorak because I wanted to see if it was better, now qwerty typists appear to be jumping all over the keyboard to get stuff done.
PhlIp - I taught myself Dvorak because I'm the Keith Moon of keyboarding. Dvorak lets me add dead 'boards to the scrap heap in the back room more often. Oh, and I write faster, too, so the keystroke half-life is actually much longer now.
JimRussell - (No longer) I gave Dvorak a good trial, and got up to 40-50 wpm. But I could never beat the 80-90 WPM I got back then from qwerty, so I finally gave up. Did you go cold turkey, or try to "switch back when working"? You know, I simply don't recall. There is some chance that I never forced myself to convert once and for all, not wanting to slow down when I had "important" things to do. Since then, though, I have seen claims that the whole Dvorak thing was oversold, and the speed improvement claims rarely realized. Tell us it ain't so!
ChrisMorris - Been typing Dvorak for over a year now. Love it. Wrote DVAssist [http://clabs.org/dvorak.htm], a Win 9x/NT tray util that toggles between Dvorak and QWERTY just by double-clicking. Also has a pop-up window displaying the current layout. Great for learning and shared machines.
RobertChurch - I've been a Dvorak typist since roughly November of 1998, and I'm very, very happy I did it. I switched cold turkey one day, and experienced a tremendously frustrating week, but I now feel less wrist strain and am generally more comfortable when typing. One myth that seems to hold people back is that you will be unable to type QWERTY once you've learned Dvorak. Not true. I do a fair amount of work on other people's machines, and I can switch back and forth with only momentary confusion.
BillTrost first started playing with using Dvorak around 1991. I got so I could type without staring at the cheat sheet, but found that I spent enough time in front of other people's computers that I had to switch back. A year or so ago, my hand was bothering me a lot, so I decided to try Dvorak again. It seems like I was doing it well enough in about a week that I never felt the urge to switch back. An odd thing I did notice was that I actually had to learn Dvorak several times - once for normal typing, once for simple control sequences, once for emacs control sequences, once for vi control sequences...
I still am faced with the occasional qwerty (ever notice how hard "qwerty" is to type on a Dvorak keyboard?) keyboard, but it really isn't too difficult. If I look at the keyboard (not my fingers, oddly enough), the qwerty will generally come out. So type eyes locked on the caps. The MuscleMemory will see you thru.
DavidVincent - Using Dvorak since 1999. Have to switch briefly back to QWERTY some days. Still an interesting exercise. No idea if my speed has improved, but I feel I'm doing less work for about the same output.
PhilDawes - Using Dvorak for hacking on my own laptop, Qwerty on Client machines. I find the context switch easy. I'm not convinced that I've got any faster at typing using Dvorak, but my RSI has cleared up.
WyattGreene - I learned qwerty as a kid and used it very heavily for years. Then I switched to Dvorak in late 1999. It took me about a year to get comfortable enough with Dvorak to feel like I was typing at my former qwerty speed. Now I feel like I type slightly faster than qwerty. Dvorak is more comfortable when typing; I have no desire to switch back to qwerty. I have no trouble typing relatively fast on a qwerty keyboard when I have to.
BlakeMason - My chemistry teacher in high school typed in Dvorak, so I though I would try it out. It only took me two weeks to learn and I noticed right away I could type faster, and more comfortably. I have even convinced three other people to try the layout. If you know Dvorak, try to convince others to try it. BTW, I can still type qwerty with no problem, so I don't have to panic when I use someone else's computer.
CortlandHaws - I am a Mac user and rearranged the keys on my keyboard to the Dvorak layout. Why? For the heck of it (for no particular reason other then that it adds entropy).
TomPlunket - My hands started hurting while working, so I started talking to Dvorak-using friends about it and started looking at getting a fancy keyboard. I found the "A Brief Course in Dvorak" page, spent many hours working through it, got deathly ill about half of the way through... I was still using QWERTY at work, and the next few evenings I'd fire up ABCD to do a few more lessons. I got sick every time. Tres bizarre. Anyway - I managed to get through it, switched the work 'board to Dvorak and never went back. The first week was a bit rough but my speed was acceptable the next week, and now I don't know; maybe it's the same as I was in QWERTY, maybe it isn't. I don't care because I can type for days and my hands never hurt anymore. I can't type for crap on a QWERTY board these days though. Oh - and I changed my keycaps one day because it was easy to do, but then realized that I was up the creek when it came to playing games that didn't respect the keymap or h4X0ring the BIOS or whatever, so I changed 'em back. Oh yeah, one more thing: I have "learned" keycombos by the actual key that I press now, which confuses me. Control-C is "cut selection" in Windows, but that's the key with the I on it, so I think "Control-I" when I type it. Unfortunately that means when I'm out-thinking myself I type Control-I (I being where G is on QWERTY), but Control-I usually doesn't do what I want. ;)
PaulRuane - I learnt Dvorak after I took a development job that turned into a management job. My day became a mass of emails so I thought I'd make it more interesting for myself by learning Dvorak. About a year later, I'm now typing Dvorak every day but I feel I'm still not back to my Qwerty typing rate. However, it is a lot less stressful on the fingers.
TyberiusPrime? - I learnt dvorak because one day my fingers started to ache from typing... I also switched to a ms natural keyboard, and was back up to speed after about a month (50 wpm). I haven't had one of my fingers hurt related to typing ever since. (Except that one time I had to work with the most godawful keyboard you could ever imagine... my fingers hurt by the end of the day, I replaced it, all was fine. I can still type qwerty at ~45 wpm if, and only if I look at the keyboard.
AlecSinger? -- One crazy morning I threw myself at the Dvorak layout. I put little lettered pieces of tape all over my mac keyboard along with a larger piece in the corner which read "Dvorak or die!" in threatening capital letters... Roughly a month later I'm very thankful I never "went back".. OnlyWhen? you've odyssied all over the keyboard with your Qwerty will you see the thing you've always looked for was sitting right there underneath your fingers - Ithaca at last!!
JonathanTang -- I picked it up in about a week when I was feeling particularly bored. Started by literal hunt-and-peck: I'd hit keys until I found the letter that I wanted. Typing speed got usable when I pushed myself to write papers with it (even though it took 4 times as long), and then started touch-typing when I started using it for AIM. Lost the ability to touch-type Qwerty then, but I've since regained it. Can now touch-type on Qwerty at about 70-80 WPM and Dvorak at about 80-90.
ChuckMoore -- Doing it the hard way, by writing the keyboard driver for his personal OS/programming system, ColorForth. He had made his own chording keyboards (brass keys!) for earlier systems.
JeremyBowers -- Two days and counting (June 2004). My wrists don't "hurt" yet but lately they have really been scaring me a lot due to an unusually pronounced bout of twinging. As I have neither job nor insurance, this seemed a better idea then just quietly getting my first case of RSI with no medical support (and the cheapest solution, too). I think it will help but only time will tell. It's a risk, in that I could just be wasting my time, but the payoff sounds like it could be worth it. NoGutsNoGlory.
SunnanFenderson -- Been using dvorak for years. I think since late 1999. Some pointers: 1. Having a "cheat sheet" in front of your eyes, when learning, helps a lot more than labeling the keys. I used one for the first two days. 2. For me at least, learning qwerty again, after I learned dvorak, took a while. Now I know both well.
RichardKulisz -- Been using dvorak for at least 5 years now. Took two tries to learn it because I couldn't give up typing for long enough the first time. Can type dvorak and qwerty now, dunno at what speed.
RyanD -- Started Dvorak three weeks ago. I switched to dvorak because I had serious tendinitis in both of my forearms. I did this to slow me down why I recovered. As far as the tendinitis goes icing every hour has done wonders for it. I have always been a touchtyper so I printed the sheet and taped it to the top of my monitor and left the keys as qwerty. Took me 2-3 weeks until my typing was productive and not painfully slow. My hands are still hurting but are improving I figure another 3 weeks and ill be as good as new. I have definitely ERGOed out my desk. This http://www.kinesis-ergo.com/advantage.htm will be delivered tomorrow. Ill post my 2 cents on that later. Main complaint is Copying/Paste and other shortcuts, other then that it is great. [This is doubly annoying because even once you've burned the keystrokes into your fingers, Ctrl-V and Ctrl-W are next to each other. Closing the web browser when I meant to paste something has become my #1 source of lost work now that I'm no longer using IE. At least the text is still on the clipboard, so it's usually more of an inconvenience than a disaster. -- jt]
NickMoodie -- Heard of Dvorak first just over a year ago. A couple of weeks ago my housemate was researching keyboards and layouts, and in doing so introduced me to dvorak. Being bored I decided to learn to use the layout myself and now there's no looking back. I'm almost up to my old qwerty speed but will keep getting the practice in. Unfortunately I can't find an easy way to switch my laptop to dvorak but I'm still getting my fingers around that as well as I used to. Maybe soon I'll be able to type dvorak without looking. I definitely prefer it.
Ip -- Why would ever use QWERT? It's a piece of shit.
Pygmygod -- Started using Dvorak about a month ago because I was doing a Traineeship and it was so boring that I needed a challenge. My friends use it and they love it so I decided to give it a go. The "tutor" that I'm using is "ABCD A Basic Course in Dvorak" by Dan Wood, my typing speed is probably the same at the moment but I can at least touch type, where as when using QWERTY I was just hunting and pecking, and I'm only half way through the tutorial! There is a lot of articles on the net about Dvorak vs QWERTY and one that I find quite interesting is the fact that an average QWERTYist's fingers move 16-17Miles in one day and a Dvorakist's fingers move about 1Mile. The only thing that I found annoying is that in my Traineeship I had to do a lot of 'Copy and Pasting' because the C and V are further apart in Dvorak. But that was only a minor setback compared to the great benefits of Dvorak which for me is the easier typing, less stressful on the hands and eyes(no looking up and down to see if you've typed the correct thing), better punctuation, grammar etc. (It helps when learning to you use grammar properly in ICQ etc.) I changed the keys on my keyboard at home and ended up with a 'board that was pretty munted up so I got out the Labeller and started printing off little letters. A problem is that in the BIOS your hardware usually comes with QWERTY only :( and some st00pid games can't map the Dvorak keys. But who cares when you can see the original keys as well. I prefer it also!
OolSchreglmann -- I converted to Dvorak maybe two years ago. I decided the time was ripe for it when Windows XP (or NT) became the standard operating system on PCs all over and I realized that you didn't even need the installation disk any more in order to change the layout to Dvorak wherever you are, whosever machine you use. (UNIX-based systems have at all times been versatile enough - if you know how to do it.) You can also easily toggle between layouts, but I hardly ever do that any more on my own machine. I can't tell you whether I type actually faster - I've never been a fast typer for someone who writes as much as I do - but it sure is a lot more comfortable to use. It doesn't tire you out as fast. Confusing vowels and diphthongs on the left-hand side is the hardest hurdle about it. But all the rest is smooth sailing! As for my method of switching, it involved a lot of cursing for about the first four weeks. I never marked my keys with the Dvorak layout but instead chose to touch-type away blind right from the start. It was hard, but it worked out fine in the end.
Ryan -- between jobs in 2004 I had a few months off and decided to make the switch since my wrists had been hurting me typing QWERTY all day at my previous job. After a few months of learning using the shareware typing tutor program called "Master Key", I was up to speed. I can now type about 90 words per minute on DVORAK and haven't used QWERTY as a touch typist since. When QWERTY is required, I have to hunt a bit to find the keys. I've switched both my laptop keyboard at home and my keyboard at work to DVORAK by popping off and moving the keys. The main hurdle at this point may be the GRE test - the testing centers seem to be completely inflexible about allowing me to take the test using DVORAK instead of QWERTY. I hate mindless adherence to policies like that!
BarryKelly? -- When I was 17, about 8 years ago, I was determined to learn how to touch type. First, I painted over the keys on the keyboard so I couldn't see the keytops. Unfortunately, I knew the spatial location of QWERTY keys, and could still find the right keys while looking at the keyboard. Combined with knowledge of the existence of Dvorak, I decided to switch. I didn't have a map of the keyboard, nor did I try to work out the whole layout. I simply kept hunting with my fingers (not my eyes) for the right key. Thus I did learn Dvorak. I wrote a low-level keyboard hook for Windows so that I could use Dvorak when administrative rights didn't permit changing the layout, and wrote my own version of the Linux layout so that "loadkeys dvorak" on Linux would be the same as Windows (the chief difference is, on European keyboards, there is an extra key beside the left-shift key; Linux has < >, while Windows has | \). I type >100 WPM without trying to be fast.
DavidFlater -- I switched to Dvorak a long time ago to see if it would make my wrists stop hurting. It did. And it's darned convenient to be able to type as fast as somebody is talking. The speed gains for non-English input like source code are not as great. The brackets and parenthesis are still out in right field.
JeffBrzezinski? -- I switched to Dvorak as a result of a bet. My friend wanted to make the switch and I bet him he didn't have the willpower while I did. He switched back to QWERTY after 4 days, and I've been on Dvorak for about 9 months now. I feel like my speed on Dvorak is slower than that of QWERTY, but that could just be because my fingers don't have to move as fast to type the same amount as before. I still can't switch back and forth between QWERTY and Dvorak without watching the keys for QWERTY, but I plan to work on that this year.
Stefan Scheytt -- I switched to Dvorak in 1998 after seeing a 14-year-old hacker at a convention use it. It was rocky at times but I have far surpassed my QWERTY speed -- TyperA.tk clocks me at 77wpm. Type both German and English no problem, although English is far easier on Dvorak. Can switch QWERTY/QWERTZ and Dvorak effortlessly now, which was quite confusing in the beginning. Love it and would never go back to the old ways... too crampy!
Anon -- I decided to learn to touch-type during the summer this year (I was a two-finger typist on qwerty), and decided instead to just drop qwerty altogether instead of learn it.
ScottVokes -- I taught myself the Dvorak layout about two years ago and haven't looked back. (I think it's much better for Emacs, too.)
Olovprssn -- I run Ubuntu on wy computer and switched to DVORAK 3 days ago. I'm catching up quicker than I thought. Amd I'm quite sure I'll keep using DVORAK
P.V.Anthony -- Was checking the web for a QWERTY training app then found web pages about DVORAK. Gave it a try and feel in love with it. Really easy and fast to learn. Now already 4 years, 2010, and still loving it. Give it a try
Negat* -- I began to use dvorak as my primary keyboard layout just because of being tired of QWERTY. But I find that I really love dvorak, it can let me 装B.
Sam Gillespie - I'm currently trying the Dvorak keyboard now. I only started two days ago and hit about 20WPM. I'll report back with any improvements I make some time in the future. Note: on QWERTY I hit speeds of 80-100WPM depending what I'm typing, so this keyboard has a lot to live up to.
Chase M. -- I recently started a Dvorak keyboard in order to take notes faster for college to keep up with my professor. I am up to around 120 WPM after6 months
EdPoor -- since 1999. But I still haven't found a way to rearrange the keys on my notebook. So when I want to type with one finger (e.g., must hold cellphone in other hand) I have to remember where the Dvorak letters are, or hit Ctrl-Shift to revert to Qwerty).
Rustem -- I began using Dvorak about a year ago but unfortunately had to give it up. Before I tried it, I was able to touchtype on QWERTY and also in Cyrillic, my first language being Russian. It took about a month of exercise - 1 hour a day - to reach about the same speed on Dvorak as I had had on QWERTY. It did feel better and I'm sure I would have picked up more speed. Unfortunately, though, I noticed that I was making much more typos on QWERTY, when I did have to use it - on other people's and public machines, mostly. I don't know if it only happened to me that the ability to touchtype on the two layouts interfered, but, as I said before, I can also touchtype in Russian, and that doesn't cause any problem with my typing on QWERTY.
Ahmad Khan -- I love trying something different and new in computers. I read about DVORAK, and even broke my laptop's $50 keyboard during re-arranging keys. Now that I have been using DVORAK for about a year, and am really good at it, I don't think it really matters what layout you use for a user like me. I have to use lots of applications like CAD, 3DS and many games, no text intensive work. So I feel alienated, because most of the application shortcuts are QWERTY based, and remapping around hundred shortcuts, or even 20 if you don't know all is a mess. Plus I can't really control games well as they use WASD movement to allow right hand on mouse. Well it was a bad choice but I think I'll stick to it. I tried to use two layouts, but ended up mixing, so all my devices have DVORAK. If I ever have to use any other layout, like QWERTY, it's a nightmare and I look like noob peeking into keyboard. Finally, it will be worth the sacrifice to vow not to touch 90% keyboards of the world if I get over 100 WPM in typing.
All in all, for anyone who is thinking of switching to Dvorak I would suggest to consider the following:
you will feel terrible on public computers. To make things worse, it is usually when you use public computers that you need your typing skills the most, as you're short of time.
Dvorak layouts for mobile devices are yet to become available.
If you only compose 20-30 emails a day, do you really think 20-30% time saving matters? How long would it take you to pay off the ca. 30hrs of exercise (of course it might take you less time, but not by an order of magnitude)?
Even as I compose this, my typing is not really the limiting factor - I have to, erm, think about what I'm writing. When I write emails to my employer's clients, I have to think even harder :-D
If you're just an average office worker, not a professional typist or at least a journalist (I'm not diminishing the profession, just referring to how much I think they type), and are looking to improve your efficiency at the work place, I would suggest to look elsewhere. Speedreading?