My Tips on Learning the Dvorak Keymap

The Dvorak keymap was invented by August Dvorak (not Antonín Dvořák, and not John C. Dvorak), to improve on the ineffecient QWERTY keymap.  It looks like this:

  `~  1!  2@  3#  4%  5^  6^      7&  8*  9(  0)  [{  ]}  \|
        '"  ,<  .>  p   y        f   g   c   r   l   /?  +=
          a   o   e   u   i        d   h   t   n   s   -_
            ;:  q   j   k   x        b   m   w   v   z
Or with the shift-[Char] items taken out:
   `  1   2   3   4   5   6       7   8   9   0   [   ]   \
        '   ,   .   p   y        f   g   c   r   l   /   +
          a   o   e   u   i        d   h   t   n   s   - 
            ;   q   j   k   x        b   m   w   v   z

(That's the split-keyboard version.)

Notice that the vowels are in a line on the left, and that high-frequency consonants spread out from the right-center.  There are other patterns to be found in the clever design.

I switched to using a Dvorak keymap in about 1997, and it's been happytime ever since!  Specifically: without the switch, I would have developed (instead of basically eliminating) serious RSI, which would have halted my vocation and avocation for my writing and programming.

People who want to switch to Dvorak (typically because they hear, correctly, that it'll likely help their RSI / CTS) often ask me for advice.  After a while I decided to type up my learning tips on this web page, here.

Sean M. Burke, 1999, 2014