Friday, April 20, 2007

Miss Qwerty, Meet Mr. Dvorak

We all type our journals and our comments on a Qwerty keyboard.  That is the standard typewriter/computer keyboard.  It is called Qwerty because the first six letters of the top row spell that "word".

My typing teacher said it stood for Quickly We Educate Rapid Typists. Yet, Understand, I Order Practice. 

But it is not the only keyboard layout.  A Mr. Dvorak, and his associates thought there must be a batter layout. They studied letter frequency, finger dexterity, and handedness and came up with the layout that bears his name: Dvorak. 

They noted that it was easier to type if you use alternate hands on alternate letters.  They also noted it was easier to type if the fingering sequence went from outside toward the center, the way we drum our fingers on the table when we are waiting for our soup in a slow restaurant. They noted that most folks are right handed, so the most frequently used letters ought to be located under the right hand.

They put together typewriters using their new layout, trained typists to use it... and what do you know... those typists became the fastest in the world. Did the world rush to change the standard layout.  Well, NO.

But the Dvorak keyboard hung around for people willing to learn a new system and who wanted to improve their typing performance.

As I grow older, I have been making more and more typos... typographical errors, so I thought I ought to look into the Dvorak layout and at least TRY it.  .But where to find it. Where indeed.

Guess what.  Windows, your and my operating systems, has a Dvorak keyboard BUILT RIGHT IN.  Betcha didn't know that.  Nor did I.

I turned on my built in Dvorak keyboard (<<-LINK) by going to START - CONTROL PANEL - LANGUAGES - DETAILS. And there it was, an option.  I can toggle back and forth between Qwerty and Dvorak by touching ALT-CAPS together.

It has been fun to experiment.  I see the logic of the arrangement of the letters. I can see how it would be a faster, easier keyboard to use.

But I have been typing Qwerty for sixty years, I am not apt to try to change for real.  It is just fun to experiment with.

For example:  If I type the the famous speed sentence "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the partÿ" while toggled to Dvorak, it looks like this: "br, co yd. ycm. urp ann irre m.b yr jrm. yr yd. acp ru yd. lapyfv_ 

Wasn't that fun?  Try it yourself on your computer. 

Tags: , , , keyboard layouts, windows


garnett109 said...

Chuck Why Do you Know This? LOL!
I'm just happy to type with my middle finger as fast as I can.
Have a great weekend friend!

msecz said...

Gee it took me long enough to learn Qwerty , guess I willl stick to it or I may get

hewasolddog299 said...

Now, this may well be apocryphal, but common wisdom held that learning to use a Dvorák keyboard well would result in the singular inability to return to using a Qwerty one...

Old wives tale or not, just be careful you don't become too enthralled or you'll be hunting for instructions on how to re-key your keyboard (it's not hard).

madcobug said...

Very interesting Chuck. Helen