Keyboard Layouts

Keyboard Layouts (Phonetic, Dvorak and Colemak)

Keyboard Layouts for the Fastest Typing Speed

Keyboard layout refers to the arrangement of keys on the keyboard. Letters printed on each key show you what type of keyboard layout you are using. However, the story of the keyboard layout starts with QWERTY which was implemented on Remington No. 2 typewriter in the year 1878.

QWERTY's Layout

QWERTY layout was specifically designed for typewriter typists. The basic design principle was to make distance between the letters to avoid accidental hit of the wrong letter and slow down the typist for a while and then increase the speed. It is the most popular and standard keyboard layout among computer users, typewriters, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It has been named QWERTY as its top row contains the letters Q, W, E, R, T, and Y. A QWERTY’s layout keyboard is shown in Figure 1.  If you don’t have a QWERTY keyboard, you may get one here. 

Figure 1. QWERTY’s layout

Dvorak’s Layout

Dvorak’s layout was designed during World War II to replace QWERTY’s layout and improve the efficiency of typists by repositioning the keys. It positions the most common letters on the home row and the bottom row has the least common letters which are a bit hard to reach.

People who believe in Dvorak‘s layout claim that it is more efficient as compared to QWERTY layout and can help increase typing speed and accuracy. A Dvorak’s layout keyboard is shown in Figure 2. 

Dvorak’s layout keyboard are rarely available  in the market. Here is a link if you are interested in a Dvorak’s keyboard. 

Figure 2. Dvorak’s layout

Colemak's Layout

Colemak is a variant of the QWERTY layout with 17 keys changed locations. Colemak’s layout also put commonly used letters on the home row. A Colemak’s layout keyboard is shown in Figure 3

Figure 3. Colemak’s layout

Which Keyboard Layout is Efficient and Faster?

As far as typing speed is concerned, it is the same across all layouts. It is evident that switching from one layout to another will cost you time in terms of practice to relearn the new position of the keys. Both Dvorak and Colemak are regarded as the most efficient and fastest layouts in terms of speed and accuracy, but at the same time, studies show that people who switched from QWERTY keyboard layout failed in achieving efficiency and more speed.

Have you ever tried switching to another layout! What is your experience with the new keyboard layout? Let me know in the comments below which keyboard layout do you use.

Conclusion

To conclude, in this article three keyboard layouts are discussed briefly. Keyboard layout refers to the arrangement of keys on the keyboard. There are mainly three keyboard layouts naming; QWERTY, Dvorak, and Colemak. 

QWERTY layout was specially designed for typewriter typists. It is the most popular and standard keyboard layout among different users. 

Dvorak’s layout was designed during World War II to replace QWERTY’s layout. This keyboard layout improved the efficiency of typists by repositioning the keys. Dvorak’s layout arranges the most common letters on the home row and the least common letters on the bottom. 

Colemak is a variant of the QWERTY layout which repositions only 17 keys. Like Dvorak’s layout, Colemak’s layout also arranges commonly used letters on the home row. 

Our book, Learn Touch Typing in 12 Simple Lessons, helps you learn touch typing with QWERTY keyboard layout. Now you can acquire touch typing skills with little efforts and time. 

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