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Dvorak keyboard

Contributor(s): Abdo Sharif

The Dvorak (pronounced duh-VOR-ak, not like the Czech composer) keyboard is a typewriter key arrangement that was designed to be easier to learn and use than the standard QWERTY keyboard. The QWERTY system was developed originally as a way to reduce the number of times that the mechanical keys would interfere with each other. The Dvorak keyboard, on the other hand, was designed from the typist's point-of-view - with the most common consonants on one side of the middle or home row and the vowels on the other side so that typing tends to alternate key strokes back and forth between hands. The Dvorak approach is said to lead to faster typing. Named after its inventor, Dr. August Dvorak, the design took 12 years to perfect. Dr. Dvorak also invented systems for people with only one hand.

Both Windows and Macintosh operating systems provide ways for the user to tell the system that they are using a Dvorak keyboard. At least one company makes a keyboard that can be switched between QWERTY and Dvorak. Although the QWERTY system seems too entrenched to be replaced by the Dvorak system, it also seems likely that some small number of keyboard users will prefer the more ergonomic arrangement of the Dvorak system.

This was last updated in September 2005

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