Learning to type properly and which keyboard layout to use?

Hey guys,

I never learned to type the proper way, as in using the home row keys and not looking down at the keyboard. I type basically with only two fingers and have become fast enough with that, but what is the best way to learn to type fast and accurately the "proper" way? And should I switch to DVORAK or keep the QWERTY layout? I know DVORAK is faster in theory, but I don't feel like I can get used to it from using QWERTY my whole life.

I would say.. unless you main usage is to type million lines of text or code on your personal rig every day and hardly ever switch to someone elses PC... use the QWERTY. I am not going to trip a discussion of the real speed improve of DVORAK or any other alternative layout.

QWERTY is the most common western layout, so in my opinion learn that and your good to go =)

I used DVORAK but quit it, as as soon as I was sitting at a PC that was not mine, I fucked up and my typing speed decreased to 0 and my typo increased to 1000 ^^ that’s IMO not worth the hassle

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If you want to read into it, this guy goes a lot into the history and efficiencies of keyboard layouts:


The one major issue there is, of course, that the more efficient methods of typing are increasingly rare and generally not practical to learn if you use different computers a lot, and people won't know how to type with yours. The best thing you can do is get a keyboard that lets you modify the layout on the board so that it translates it to QWERTY for the computer to see, and you can just carry that everywhere you go. I don't know if there are any good keyboards out there like that, though.

Personally, I use both a modified C-Dvorak layout and Qwerty, mostly because I grew up with Qwerty, so it's easier to remember. I'm on the computer enough that I generally don't need to look at my hands when I type, which actually helps a lot. If you know where your hands are and can see the mistakes you make on the screen, it is easier to correct, even if you're not 100% sure where a key is. That way it becomes muscle memory, as just looking at the keys won't help you. I would recommend putting a blanket or something over your hands and forcing yourself to guess. You'll learn a lot quicker that way.

You can also use a program/website like this to learn where to put your hands. You want to move your hands as little as possible:


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If you spend most of your time on your own keyboard... learn DVORAK. I did and have loved it ever since. Not only is it faster, but you hands move less so it's WAY less strenuous on your wrists and there's less chance of carpel tunnel syndrome.

However, if you will spend most of your time on other people's computers, then learn to touch-type with qwerty.


I've lived on QWERTY my whole live sadly, havent had the chance to change over to DVORAK at all.
if you plan on gaming at all, you're going to appreciate QWERTY A LOT. however i know my friend Manikyath games on AZERTY, i think he uses that layout simply for the massive amount of symboles and punctuation available. :P

good luck to you!
and whatever layout you use. let it be on buckilng spring switches. ;) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Just play a lot of online video games my home row is basically just the hot keys from Warcraft 3

You could start playing ZType at http://zty.pe/

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I agree with wat the others have said, that if you need to use someone else's computer or a shared device, QWERTY is the way to go. Unless you're one of those persons who's brain has no problems with switching, then it doesn't matter.

For me personally, although I have no experience with DVORAK, I found that a well designed, non-standard keyboard layout will make your QWERTY typing life much easier and enjoyable: the HHKB keyboard. It's very fast and easy to type on because of a few reasons:

  • Caps-Lock as Control (not HHKB specific)
  • Arrow/Function/Meta keys are quickly accessible from the home row
  • Backspace and ESC are far easier to reach
  • It simple has an awesome feel to it, typing those characters
  • The small keyboard makes for very quick mouse access

It takes about 2-4 weeks to get used to (with prior QWERTY knowledge), but once your muscle memory kicks in, you'll not want to use anything else, guaranteed :) Yes, it's expensive, but the keyboard as well as keys (important!) have a very long life time, and the keys can even be replaced with a new stock set.

Besides all that, your first step is to learn QWERTY with a standard layout. I'd say, give it at least 3 months before switching to the HHKB. As for how to learn it: just try to practice 15-30 minutes a day for a month. There are a lot of apps to choose from. I used Typing Master, but other good picks are, for example, keybr.com [1] or 10fastfingers.com [2]. The important thing is that you stick to the training regiment for a month. The more you train, the faster you'll pick up the basics, so you could even do it in less time. Once you got those down, practice with random texts or play typing games to further improve your speed up to a level that feels acceptable to you.

Good luck on your journey!

PS: If you're a developer and in a European country with a non-QWERTY layout, I'd recommend learning standard QWERTY and use the EurKey [3] layout for your language specific keys. Although make sure to know your country's standard layout at least a bit, for when you need to use someone else's machine.

[1] http://www.keybr.com/
[2] http://10fastfingers.com/top1000
[3] http://eurkey.steffen.bruentjen.eu/

My only problem, and main reason I haven't bought a HHKB, is the lack of F-keys. There are plenty of my older games that utilize the F-keys, and having to use a function button to access them would be a big downfall. I also don't like the positioning of the function key itself for quick access to everything (would of much rather had it be in place of the Caps-lock).

Of course the key mapping is easily fixed in Linux, but the lack of F-keys is still the one thing that bugs me the most.

Well, I'm just a casual gamer. I play games that usually just use the F-keys for quick saving and loading, and if not, you can customize that away anyways. I didn't run into any problems yet, but got a TKL in my drawer should the need arise. It's not like a HHKB alienates you to them (hence better than DVORAK) and It's just a Micro-USB plug away. But sure, for fast action games like PvP shooters, where short key travel matters, you might want to keep a cheap TKL handy.

Otherwise, what I can tell you is that I was afraid of the F-key usability too, at first. Particularily since I'm a developer, we need the function keys as our daily bread. It turned out to be a no-issue though, and I am now actually unsure as to what is my preference. On the one hand you have to press two keys on the HHKB to activate a function key but on the other hand, it feels so much better and rolls off effortlessly because they're so much closer to the home row. I guess it could depend on your anthropometry, but I feel overall, it's a much better tradeoff vs. what you get with a standard layout.

Btw. I learned the HHKB layout at work in the office and it was no issue at all.

Damn you. You are convincing me more and more that I need to get a HHKB

If you use Linux KDE comes with a great program called "ktouch". It's good for learning typing blindly from the beginning.

Mission accomplished then :D

Go for it, what you gotta loose anyway? In the unlikely scenario where you don't like it, you can sell it off for a pretty decent price on ebay anyway.

What made things more complicated for me though was the choice between the standard HHKB and the Type-S. They're both great, but after one year, I can say that the Type-S does have quite a bit more smoothness to it, and I just appreciate it more. Considering the build quality and long live I expect to get out of them, I wish I had gone for a second Type-S instead for home use too. Although for gaming, the standard HHKB might have a slight edge. The Type-S was my first choice because of work. I wanted to minimize on disturbing my peers (mind you, both are much more quiet than your standard office keyboard or Cherry MX browns) and it does pass that test with flying colors.