Programming with a Dvorak keyboard

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About four years ago, I decided to switch my keyboard layout from QWERTY to Dvorak.  I was starting to get some pain in my wrists, and I’d read that Dvorak reduced a lot of the repetitive motions that I thought were causing my troubles.  I’ve played piano for decades, so I thought I had decent flexibility and health in my wrists, and I didn’t want to risk long-term problems.

So I found some layouts and tutorials, and I figured out how to convert my keyboard.

Here’s my nutshell review:


  • It did seem to reduce my wrist fatigue–no more pain!
  • I probably type a bit faster.  Certainly no slowerBuilt in password obfuscation (see below re: frustration)
  • Geek cred (not as much as my tlhIngan Hol knowledge, but…)


  • Everyone who has to type on my machines gets really irritated.  If I’m not there, it’s a showstopper, because no one has a clue what’s going on, or how to switch back.
  • It’s hard to find a good keyboard which can hard-wire switch from QWERTY to Dvorak (or even just do Dvorak)
  • I have to look at the keys when I type on other people’s machines now.
  • The standard English Dvorak layout isn’t terrific for programmers; some of the important keys (like curly braces) are the biggest reaches.

I’ve read that if you switch back and forth regularly, you can keep fluency with both layouts.  I’m considering giving that a shot, just to mitigate my family’s frustrations.

But I’m sold on it personally.  I even took the time to switch my MacBook Pro keys around.  I’ll have to post a pic sometimes.  Everybody liked that; now my kids can actually type stuff if they need to…

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