Greg Heo

Adventures in Dvorak

Two weeks ago, I switched keyboard layouts. I am now skilled enough to type up my experiences.

I’m about two weeks in my switch to using the Dvorak (DSK) keyboard layout. Going from ~70wpm on QWERTY drove me close to insanity for the first week but I think my head has cleared up now and I’m no more insane than usual.

According to the latest timings, I’m up to ~30wpm. The Internets suggest I’ll be back up to speed in another month or so. I also hope I stop mixing up closing windows (CMD-W) and paste (CMD-V).

As a vim user and general keyboard shortcuts fan, I thought switching would be horrible but it’s only been about half as bad.

So why the switch?

How I did it

I put this in the corner of my screen:

DSK layout

I only needed that on screen for a few days. After that I could remember where all the keys were, although it took a couple of seconds to think about it. Knowing where the keys are is still not quite 100% automatic yet but pretty good.


My laptop still has QWERTY keys printed on them, which means looking at the keys doesn’t help but even makes things worse. I think this is a good thing — I never learned to touch type so I have to learn it now.

I have a DSK keyboard overlay at my desktop but strangely enough that slows me down. If I forget where a letter is and start looking at the keys my speed will start to drop.

I’m also curious to see what happens when I switch back and forth between DSK and QWERTY.

My next purchase will be one of these “Ultimate Keyboards”:

Ultimate keyboard

I’ll put it on my wish list for when I hit 70wpm again!