To those who were experienced (> 70 WPM, say) typists before the switch to Dvorak -- were you faster after switching?

There are a couple good SO threads on Dvorak, but they are more on how to learn or reduction in typing pain than speed before/after. I know it will take me 1-2 months to feel comfortable, but I want to know if I should expect to be faster afterward. I am a programmer and type maybe 90-110 WPM on QWERTY.

EDIT: I agree that coding is not typically IO-bound, and that a minimum typing speed is sufficient. This is half from curiosity, but it will be an undertaking to achieve QWERTY parity, so I want to know if I should at least expect some asymptotic improvement.

+9  A: 

I think it helps reduce pain more than increasing speed.

While I completely agree with Jeff that we're typists first, programmers second, I think programming needs a minimum typing speed rather than being the fastest typist on the planet. Since it's a "compute-bound" task, you just want to make your I/O delay as low as it doesn't make your brain wait for it. After that barrier, more speed will not have much positive effect as it's no longer the bottleneck.

Mehrdad Afshari
+5  A: 

Not according to this article: Typing Errors

"The standard typewriter keyboard is Exhibit A in the hottest new case against markets. But the evidence has been cooked."

Jeff Bauer
As someone else said, I'd rather not read an article about this subject by someone who's religiously forbidden from admitting markets can be wrong.
A. Rex
+1 It's a great article. The point of the article is not that markets can't be wrong it's that people can think something is better/true/accurate because the person pushing said idea cooked the books.
The story is demonstrably false. Read this angry letter to the editor the next month:
Jason Baker

I've never learned Dvorak, but I have known some people who have. 1) You will probably be surprised at how quick you pick it up. If you really go for it, you will probably be proficient in a week or two. 2) About half the people I've known who learned dvorak claim that it made them forget QWERTY!

Forgetting QWERTY could be a really bad thing, considering it is everywhere.
James McMahon
I forgot QWERTY and that was a nuisance.
Craig McQueen
+10  A: 

Yes it's worth it. I'm able to type faster(letters on left side and right side are equally distributed) and comfortably with Dvorak than Qwerty.

And you'll have a lesser chance of developing RSI, both hands are utilized equally.

Using Dvorak layout for 13 years.

Michael Buen
+33  A: 

I tried teaching myself Dvorak one summer. The first week was really, really hard. I have been typing for so long that it has become a very natural way for me to express myself. Suddenly typing at a fraction of my normal speed meant I couldn't express myself any more. It was 10+ years ago and I still cringe when I think of it.

I had taken the time to move the keycaps around on my keyboard, but when I decided to go back to QWERTY, I didn't bother moving they keycaps back. I could still type fine, since I don't look when typing QWERTY, but everyone else would get confused as soon as they looked down. Ha ha.

A friend at work succeeded at switching to Dvorak, and ran in to some challenges associated with working in a team environment. Whenever someone came to his office to look at something, they would have a hard time working. When he would Remote Desktop to a server, and then someone else would connect to the same session later, it would sometimes be in Dvorak mode. When he went to someone else's computer to look at something, he still had to type QWERTY when he got there, so he couldn't go 100% Dvorak.

He said it made him a slightly faster typist, but didn't think it was worth the initial and ongoing challenges.

Jay Bazuzi
Good story. I never thought about those interaction problems with dvorak users coming into play.
I've considered it but the interaction problems would make it not worth it in my mind.
Loren Pechtel
It is possible that his faster typing wasn't caused by the switch, but just by the additional typing training.
Ryszard Szopa
Possibly, but I'm definitely faster in Dvorak than in QWERTY - and I had plenty of training and use in QWERTY beforehand. I still don't particularly think it was worth it though.
In college I built the ultimate machine, and I decided to give it the ultimate paint job. I ended up spray-painting one of my IBM keyboards jet black (except the LEDs). It was awesome; only the true geeks could use it.
There are issues when working in a team, but switching the keyboard layout is not that big of an issue. On all of my machines it's just ALT + Space, so other people can also use these machines (keyboards are still physically QWERTY).
Same here. I tried Dvorak for half a year or so. It didn't necessarily make me type faster, but I did type fewer errors and it "felt" better to type. However, whenever I moved to another's computer, I was handicapped because I couldn't type normal speed anymore. That's why I switched back. Also, the shortcuts didn't work anymore.
+15  A: 

In my opinion it is not worth it. I'm a touch typist in QWERTY that types approximately in the 100 WPM range and I learned Dvorak because I didn't have anything better to do while catching the train.

Anyways I feel like it's been mostly a waste of time because

  • I have not seen any improvement in my typing speed. I am nowhere near as fast (50wpm) in Dvorak due to lack to practice, and when you're learning it is very easy/tempting to fall back on qwerty habits.
    • There is a QWERTY lock-in and nobody uses Dvorak. Even on computers with which I am allowed to remap the keyboard, I've found this to be too much of a hassle and it's faster to just bang it out in qwerty
    • If you use a lot of hotkeys with applications like window manager and emacs it's painful to go against muscle memory.

Anyways I wouldn't bother learning Dvorak unless you were really worried about RSI or you were a secretary or some sort. My experience has been that with coding the bottleneck is how quickly you can think of a solution, not type it out.

On the other hand if there were some convenient portable way to type in some hybrid method, (ie: dvorak unless the control or meta modifier key was depressed, in which case default to qwerty) then I would probably give that a try. I think this is easily toggled on Macs but I haven't found a way to do this in Linux.

+1, getting an ergo keyboard is probably a much better investment of time/money.
@jcollum: I just got one. =D
You can set up Windows to switch keyboard layouts with a hotkey.
+13  A: 

Article from:

As a computer professional, you've probably done some typing over the years. A lot of typing. And your hands don't always love you for it. If you are concerned about catching the carpal tunnel syndrome, you should be looking into Dvorak keyboards. They have been designed to minimize the finger movement for the most common phrases you type. And when your finger move less, they get less strain too.

Dvorak keyboards are mostly known for their ability to speed up typing. Along with this comes the usual crowd of naysayers that state that it hasn't been proved that Dvorak actually is faster that Qwerty. However, no-one has ever produced evidence that it is slower either. And they're really missing the point, too. It isn't about being faster, it is about being easier. Dvorak keyboards are easier because they have been designed so that the most common phrases are located nearer the base position of your fingers.

How is Dvorak easier than Querty, when you're touch-typing you're relying on muscle-memory anyway. There shouldn't be any thinking involved.
Jasper Bekkers
In dvorak your fingers don't have to move as far to type most words because the most common letters are in the home row. Qwerty is designed to put the most common letters far away to slow down the typist and eliminate typewriter jams.
@Jasper: Considering the context, I think by "easier" they mean something like "easier on your hands", not "easier to use".
Edan Maor
@Jasper and Edan: The only reason we find QWERTY easier to use is because we learned to type on this layout. Had we begun on a Dvorak it would have been a different story.
+5  A: 

I did a long blog post on this very subject a few days ago.

In Summary:

Was the switch worth it? For me, yes. But the reasons I feel like it was worth it are very subjective. The only concrete gain I had was WPM. But that alone would not be worth the switch (what's a gain of 5 WPM worth when you're already in the 70 range).

Do I feel like Dvorak is the right choice for most programmers. No. The gains are mostly subjective and there are a few detractors. But if you enjoy a challenge and have a few months to kill ...

ha! - “Didn’t wrok for me” :-). Just added your blog to the list of "things I'd like to check out later"
Dan Malkinski
+1 for "subjective".
+2  A: 

I've been a code monkey for over 20 years and have found that the best solution to avoid RSI is simply to take short breaks here and there.

To me, there are simply too many downsides to learning Dvorak although I've considered it in the past. Most of the downsides entail working with other people or having them work with you.

Honestly, what is that 30 characters a second going to buy you for the investment in your time to get to that point and investment in your time to continue using Dvorak?


I am a dvorak typist and have unlearned qwerty. To me, dvorak did not speed up my typing at all. But I was not a fast typist to begin with anyway. Dvorak is a much more comfortable keyboard layout to use. Do I think it was worth it? Ultimately, yes. Because at one point I was really sick of the uncomfortable positions that qwerty makes your fingers go through to do some simple stuff.


IF you decide to change, it's worth looking at Colemak too - it's designed to plug a few gaps that Dvorak left in the ideology (right-hand heavy; I not on a home key; etc), and also to help ease the transition from Qwerty (more letters stay on the same hand as Qwerty with Colemak than with Dvorak, ZXCV all remain in the same place for shortcuts)... but of course, it's not all that well supported.

Dvorak is a good idea implemented fairly averagely, and well supported.

Colemak is the same idea implemented beautifully, but not well supported.

I'd rather advocate qwerty than Colemak, to be honest. I say this as a Dvorak typist. Colemak is 1. different enough to qwerty to be a pain (re working with other people, see above), and 2. has none of the advantages of Dvorak (e.g., vowels and common consonants on the home row) that actually makes the pain worth it.
Chris Jester-Young
See also:
Chris Jester-Young
+1  A: 

I think it's worth it if you primarily type prose and if you can get away with using your own computer almost all the time. Not if you primarily code or if you need to use other computers frequently. I started with Dvorak, and switched to Qwerty because languages, keyboard shortcuts, editor commands, etc. are all optimized for a Qwerty keyboard. Also, it's a pain feeling like a fish out of water whenever you're using someone else's computer.

+3  A: 

There was an interesting article about a stochastic optimization algorithm application to different keyboard layouts (including Dvorak) to find the best layout ever.

The metrics for Dvorak doesn't seem to do bad though

Can Erten
+1 for a very cool article!
+2  A: 

I taught myself to use Dvorak up to 50 wpm. I thought it would help with RSI, but it ended up putting way too much stress on my pinkies and just made my hands hurt more. I ended up just learning to touch type better with Qwerty and things got better.

Dvorak does feel more natural in someways and is fun to mess around with, but there are some disadvantages.

  • You can never share your computer with anyone
  • You lose qwerty after a bit, and it becomes hard to use other computers
  • You have to entirely relearn all your short cuts, because most interfaces are not keyboard layout agnostic and the only key in common between dvorak and qwerty is the M. This can be especially annoying if you use Photoshop, vim or emacs regularly. Also, it's twice as hard to copy and paste as the keys are now completely reversed.
  • If you have a mac, you can overcome the layout problem by turning on a special dvorak-qwerty mode that flips back to qwerty when you press control.
  • The increased stress on hands varies by person to person. You might have some problems, or you might have a beefier pinky and not notice anything.
and 'a' is common
Craig McQueen
The pinky pain subsides after a while - on a QWERTY keyboard, you use your (right) pinky much less, while on a dvorak you use it just as much as any other finger.
+10  A: 

I did a bit of research over Dvorak vs. Qwerty, and here are the facts:

  1. there are no scientific proofs Dvorak is faster than Qwerty.
  2. it's lot easier to practice Qwerty and build up your typing speed than learn Dvorak, catchup to your previous Qwerty typing speed, and then try to increase your typing speed.
  3. if you use a lot of keyboard shortcuts (especially Vim users), you'll have to remap a lot of stuff
  4. arguments in favor of Dvorak don't hold much for foreign languages and/or programming
  5. if you switch between a lot of computers you'll still have to use Qwerty.

To me, Dvorak sounds like a classic case of premature optimization, and when it comes to numbers, it's not even clear that it's faster than Qwerty. In conclusion, if typing is really slowing you down (ie. you type slower than, lets say... 50WPM) practice Qwerty, if you're worried about ergonomics buy a better keyboard.

Facts missing in your post: Dvorak is much easier on your hands and wrists. There are localized Dvorak layouts, just as there are localized Qwerty layouts (but this is much less noticeable). You can switch layouts in different computers.And also: [citation needed]. Numbers, please.
Adriano Varoli Piazza
Actually, Dvorak is no problem in Vim. Vim provides a setting to use a different keyboard layout for commands, and different for insert mode and `:` command line. So you can churn out commands in QWERTY, as they were designed, and input text in Dvorak.

I might have seen someone switch. Took him more than half a year to get used to the new layout. And his typing speed, after nearly a year of typing in Dvorak, is not notably faster than the speed others type in QWERTZ.


In short, no. I couldn't type noticeably faster, I have no pains from using a QWERTY keyboard, and it just caused endless confusion whenever using another computer that I couldn't easily change the layout on.

+2  A: 

My girlfriend taught herself Dvorak (I am a lucky man, in a lot of ways), and uses it on her home machines. Since the rest of the world uses QWERTY, she gets thrown for a minute when she frequently encounters the foreign keyboard layout. The first thing she does when she sets up a new environment is try to figure out a way to set the keyboard layout.

I've been tempted to learn once or twice, but in the end, it seems like a big hassle to me. If I was serious about the geek cred, I'd learn a chording keyboard instead.

Darcy Casselman
+2  A: 

I type at around 85WPM in QWERTY and switched to Dvorak for about a year to see if it would help with my carpal tunnel. I did not find it worth it, for most of the reasons already mentioned:

  • My Dvorak typing speed did not beat my QWERTY speed.
  • Braces and other common coding symbols were no easier, and made my pinkies hurt, even after a year.
  • Compatibility with other people was problematic; Remote Desktop in particular had some interesting quirks when trying to switch between QWERTY and Dvorak.
  • Many CLIs are setup with QWERTY in mind and I routinely found myself on environments or in apps with clumsy keyboard shortcuts from a Dvorak perspective.

In the end, after a year of trying, dealing with Dvorak problems on a daily basis simply stopped being worth it, since there had been no appreciable gain in typing speed or reduced RSI. That said, if I ever switch from being a coder in a multi-system environment to an author working 100% on a single box writing English prose, then I would probably make the switch again. It did feel much more natural when restricted to the task of English writing.

Luckily it only took me a few weeks to "relearn" QWERTY and get back up to speed with it.

+2  A: 

I think that my dvorak speed probably ended up near my qwerty speed. I've been typing on dvorak for about 2 years now, but I don't do a lot of straight out typing.

yes, pinky stress is still a problem due to the {}/=\?+|-_ characters, but there is a dvorak for programmers arrangement. I have no experience with it though.

do you really type 90 wpm as a programmer? that's like edgar stiles or chloe o'brian fast.

speed was never my motive though. the reduction in pain and stress far out weighs any loss in speed that I may have encountered.

and it took me about 3 months of typing nothing but dvorak before feeling comfortable.

I say go for it!

+5  A: 

One small piece of advice from my own experience:

Switching to Dvorak will be a pain, and frankly quite useless, if you're working as a tech, or switch workstations often. I worked a lot with users a while back (and with user workstations), and since no one had Dvorak the result was I lost speed on both setups, because I kept switching between them.

If that's not part of your scenario, you can simply ignore this of course. ;)

Marcus L
+7  A: 

Yes, absolutely. It took me three months (after switching to Dvorak) to reach ~150WPM. I've touch-typed Qwerty before, and even after almost a decade, I only achieved ~100WPM. I did not change any other habits when I moved to Dvorak; I use the same fingers for the same keys, etc. I hadn't tried to specifically improve my typing speed other than by using it daily and doing the same things I did earlier.

For me, though, the typing speed isn't the main benefit (I'm also a programmer); the main benefit is that it's much more comfortable to type. I can still touch-type at ~80% my old speed in Qwerty (it'd be 100% if I still used Qwerty regularly, as I did in the first few years), but it feels very awkward and uncomfortable in comparison. It's not that I type differently now, it's just that I know how much nicer it feels in Dvorak :-) (I've heard the same thing even from people who tried Dvorak but gave up after a few hours/days.)

Other people I know have generally reported anything from minor to major gains in typing speed, but the initial learning period involves typing painfully slowly for several days.

YMMV: Most people I've spoken to were comfortable in touch-typing Dvorak after 2-10 days with a few hours a day of typing. Using something like for the first few days certainly is more efficient than just switching and trying to learn it the hard way. I did the latter, and it took me ~2 weeks until I felt comfortable, and a few more to reach my former typing speed.

I've never looked back after changing, and I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try if you have a period where you can afford typing really slowly. If you don't have time to learn it without much external pressure, I'd only recommend trying this if you're really suffering from RSI and already fixed obvious problems (keyboard height/alignment, etc.).

Thanks for keeping it real! I've been typing Dvorak for over 5 years now, at about 100 wpm on average, similar to my qwerty speeds before I switched ("because I needed something mentally challenging to do before my brain melted from boredom"), but in the end it's really a comfort thing for me too.
Chris Jester-Young

Here's my experience with the Wide World of Dvorak. I was typing about 90 words per minute in QWERTY, but decided that wasn't enough. So, I switched last November. The first couple of weeks were painful, painful, painful. People kept asking me if I was using my cell phone to compose replies to them. I couldn't manage above 20 words per minute for about a month. However, bit by bit, ever so slowly, I've regained much of my speed back. Nowadays, I can type about 70 words a minute. Sure, this is a decrease in performance, but I know it will take years to undo my decade of QWERTY experience. The important part for me is that typing at 70 WPM has never been this comfortable.

But you're concerned about programming, are you not? Good question. Sure, it takes a long time to re-learn my programming experience. And the fact that VI is almost unusable might be a deal-breaker for some. But it's not that bad. I think I can program about 90% of the speed I used to, and a lot more accurately than before.

Seems to be a trade-off between speed and comfort. Are you willing to give that up? If so, Dvorak is for you. Or, are you a speed demon who wants to squeeze every ounce of speed they can from their keyboard? In that case, Dvorak probably isn't worth the switch.


I know this post is old but if you decide to switch to dvorak dont worry about vim compatabillity.


I am a programmer and spent quite some time trying DVORAK. Here are a few notes on my experience:

  • Firstly, a graph of my typing speed over time. Note that I do not "touch type" QWERTY, its more of a 4 or 7 finger combination of button mashes which has kinda worked for me over the years.
  • Typing DVORAK at work can be extremely annoying. I have found that when using remote desktop my settings don't always carry over. Sometimes someone else would come and use my workstation and get rather annoyed about not being able to type, especially since it violates the SOE.

The speed is not the best benefit, I had a summer job answering e-mails 8h/day. My hands really hurt after one month, but then I decided to switch to Dvorak, and it was a noticeable improvement. (I had used Dvorak at home for several years, so using it on the work didn't slow me down).

I would say that it is worth a try if you have problem typing for long periods.

+1  A: 

I have a different way of using Dvorak, and I would say it's helped a lot -- what I've wound up doing is typing in Dvorak on split keyboards and Qwerty on straight ones. The improvement with Dvorak is not so much in terms of typing speed, but in reducing RSI. I have used a split keyboard since well before I switched and while the shape helps, I find that Dvorak helps more. The problem I had at first was that all the other machines were set up with Qwerty -- especially a problem for shared testing machines, which I had to use a lot but where people complained if I remapped the keyboard.

As the only computers with split keyboards that I use regularly are my own, the arrangement of layout to keyboard shape matches up very nearly 100%.

Andrew Aylett

I like how people on this thread brag about being touch typists when the qwerty keyboard exhibits an inferior arrangement of letters and typically little or no concession to ergonomics. We should all be exploring better options for typing when many people spend a large part of their work-day doing it. I'm personally open to the Dvorak style even though I haven't tried it. I also type 75+ WPM without using a "home-row" or any other traditional mechanism of "touch-typists." That being said, I'm happy with my typing even if I have to occasionally look at my keyboard. I'd much rather have that problem than all of the carpal-tunnel and arthritis issues you touch typists will be having. Good luck with that.

+2  A: 

As a five-year Dvorak typist, who is typing this response in Dvorak, let me say that it is likely not worthwhile switching to Dvorak.

My typing speed has not improved; it was about 75 WPM before the switch, and it is about 75 WPM now.

Because we Dvorak typists have gone through months of difficult times to switch to Dvorak, and because we rarely get more than a slight increase in typing speed, we often say that Dvorak is "more comfortable". Comfort is nearly impossible to measure.

In exchange for this comfort, we find it difficult to type on standard keyboards, on anyone else's keyboard. (It's difficult to have more than one keyboard layout in your muscle memory. I haven't managed it.)

Another answer pointed me to Dvorak Keyboard -- Is it really faster?, which says what I wanted to say, more completely.

Chip Uni
+4  A: 

I switched to Dvorak and have had an overall more enjoyable experience:

  • I was surprised at how quick it was to get back to my qwerty speed - since I'd done Mavis Beacon for both, I can say it took around 2 months to get good at qwerty (with an existing knowledge), and 4-6 weeks to do the same with Dvorak)
  • It is a lot more pleasurable.
    • Finger presses alternate hands and help timing
    • Your hands tend to "roll" inwards for each word ('nth' for example is a 4,3,2 finger roll on the left hand)
    • Fingers 3 and 4 on each hand are the most common letters (they are the strongest fingers apart from the indexes, which is used in most of the stretching moves, so gets slightly less prominent 'home' letters (u and h))
    • Your fingers don't move/stretch as much

Some tips:

  • Create hot keys for Dvorak and Qwerty layouts so you can switch for other users
  • When using Remote Desktop, change the layout before you connect. This will carry the layout across the session.


  • Dvorak is english-optimised, but coding is not english. This is why a programmer is not going to register a speed increase when using Dvorak, since it is probably just as non-optimal for development as qwerty is for english. (I think it about balances out however).
  • Switching back to Qwerty (on another computer) takes about 10 minutes for me to get to about 70% of my old qwerty speed.


I did this because my brother got RSI/OOS, and so I figured I'd give it a crack. Since I've learnt it and minimised the cost of the shared computer scerarios, I'm not going back (the comfort definitely outweighs the minimal usage costs).

+ when I'm famous and need to write my auto-biography, I'm going to get the massive benefit :) (e.g. I know that if I actually start typing english instead of code, my finger memory will increase to the point where I will actually get the 30% bonus that dvorak can claim - fast typing is about that thing called 'flow' and dvorak simply puts less barriers in the way to that).


I Type dvorak. I switched from qwerty about 4 years ago. I was a very fast typer with qwerty, and was just intrigued with the new layout of dvorak. My goal of dvorak was never to become a faster typer, but to become a more efficient, more comfortable typer. Dvorak just makes sense. I've also re-mapped my CAPS-lock key to become a second backspace button, so now I can fly through backspacing when I need to. The thing with dvorak for me is that I used to type a LOT more often while I was using the QWERTY keyboard. Now that I have switched to dvorak, I am past the point in college and high-school when I was typing a whole lot more on the computer anyways. Now I just type phrases for searching, a little chatting, and not a whole lot more.

When I first learned dvorak, I did it cold-turkey. There is a simple program (called DV Assist) that switches your keyboard between dvorak and qwerty with a simple hot-key. I actually learned it very slowly and painfully, without switching back to qwerty ever. I ended up forgetting the qwerty layout!!!
Now I'm in dental school, and there is a certain program we use for our clinic that demands qwerty layout. So I was forced to re-learn qwerty. I typed qwerty at school, and dvorak at home. now I know both very well. I believe that I am probably the same speed typist dvorak and qwerty. I am MUCH MUCH more comfortable typing dvorak. It is by far my preferred keyboard layout. I am typing it right now. The switch is worth it. For a person who works as a typist, receptionist, or very frequent typer - it will be a very difficult time to switch because you will be super slow for a few weeks. Try to learn it at home, while retaining qwerty for work. Then make the full switch, cold-turkey. It is VERY VERY worth it. The keys just are in better places, and it is much more natural. I promise.


To answer all complaints about "relearning keyboard shortcuts" and "awkward shortcuts". How on earth do you use short-cuts? If you don't do touch typing, the question is out of your league, and if you do, how is any shortcut worse of than any other? The shortcuts I use most is the copy/cut/paste (C-c, C-x and C-v), which all are hell to type on Qwerty.

fortunately as a lefty I tend to use ctrl+ins / shift+ins / shift+del. And to hell with all those apps that don't recognize these shortcuts! :)
and you don't have to move your hands to hit those combos?? :)

I was contemplating changing to Dvorak layout because of all I had heard and read about it. After spending some time training on it, I did some research on the internet, and found one very interesting link :

[This][1] is a fascinating study of why the 'superiority' of Dvorak is pretty much a hoax based on an analysis of the Navy study oft-quoted as the ultimate/final evidence of Dvorak's superiority. It all started with a book by August Dvorak (et al.) in which references were made to there own research as proof of the fact that Dvorak was far superior to the QWERTY layout. These claims were further buttressed by a Navy study which, the authors of the article prove, were doctored to favor Dvorak. This is much more believable since the study itself was conducted by August Dvorak, who had a financial interest in the success of the Dvorak layout.

A no. of subsequent studies failed to support Dvorak's superiority.

If you are a QWERTY touch typist, PLEASE go through this article before committing to switching to Dvorak. Perhaps, your time would be better spent training on QWERTY itself.

The article, or the studies mentioned therein, do not mention RSI. I wonder whether Dvorak has been proven superior as far as RSI is concerned. If so, that alone is enough motivation to switch.

If you read the article above and have switched to Dvorak from being a QWERTY touch typist, could you please share your experience and whether you actually found it better than QWERTY ?

EDIT : Looks like this article (and the angry follow up) has already been mentioned at the beginning of this post.

I am still confused .. what is the verdict .. to Dvorak or not to Dvorak ?

[1]: oft-quoted


I switched to Dvorak in 2001 out of curiosity, and because I was not very busy at work so I could afford the luxury of taking 20 minutes to write 1-sentence emails. I switched cold-turkey; one day I changed my keyboard layout and I didn't use qwerty every again except on other peoples' computers.

I would say that I hit a speed plateau after about 3 years. After that amount of time though, it's hard to say how much faster I am than I was on qwerty. The fact that I can't tell is a sign that it's not worth it. But I am pretty certain that, even if I'm not faster, I am just as fast.

And maybe more importantly, I do feel that typing is more efficient with Dvorak; I feel like I am more a part of the keyboard and that my typing is more fluid.

There are some other advantages to dvorak, like when company tries to use my computer, they get the strangest expression when they start typing. I don't tend to like other people using my computer, so this turns out to be a form of security.

But there are so many disadvantages --- everyone else's computer is on qwerty so you may struggle every time you have to go back to qwerty. The worst is if you have to use a customer's computer, and the customer sees you typing very clumsily they may lose confidence in your skills as a programmer.

Another disadvantage is that so many games and applications make assumptions about your keyboard layout so you will find that familiar WASD pattern scattered around your keyboard as a Dvorak user.

In the end, maybe the biggest advantage of Dvorak for me I think is just the experience. It's even psychological - it illustrated how I see words in patterns. Maybe I subconsciously type words in my head as I think them. Because when I started learning Dvorak, words started to "change shape" in my head and that was a bizarre feeling.


I'm a professional software engineer, I switched to a Kenesis advantage together with dvorak a few months back, I catched up to my old speed in less then 2 weeks and find it definitly worth it. I am still able to type QWERTY just as good as I used to which makers working in a team or on other computers less of a problem. The Kenesis has a hardware switch which means you will never have to change the layout in your OS preventing any problems such as with remote desktop.

Back to the subject, while programming aint so much about speed it does definitly help - however I changed because I was starting to have RSI symptoms which disappeared. my wpm went from 90 to about 150. Do note that it is hard to tell whether the kenesis or dvorak made the difference. However typing qwerty on a Kenesis advantage is a pain in the ass.