Relearning QWERTY

I type in Dvorak on my laptop. I’d learned it for kicks some time ago – 2003, one slow summer? – because I’d read that it was somewhat better for you in terms of typing. I was more interested in playing around with rewiring my muscle memory than the purported gain in speed. It took me a couple of weeks, but I eventually got the hang of it, and I type more correctly in it than I do in QWERTY. I enjoy typing in Dvorak more, too – I like the balancing of the left and right hand.

Still, I live in a QWERTY world. One of my clients issued me a laptop that’s locked-down, so I can’t change my keyboard layout. At the other client, I work on a Mac that other people occasionally log into, so I’m a little wary of changing the keyboard layout to Dvorak just in case it messes up the login screen.

I can touch-type in QWERTY, but I tend to use two or three fingers, relying on muscle memory to hit the key with the finger that feels closest to it. This is not as efficient as it could be, so I’ve been thinking about making myself learn how to type QWERTY the proper way: fingers on the home row, lots of use of pinkies, and so on.

It’s frustrating learning how to type properly in QWERTY, but then again, it was frustrating learning Dvorak too. I have to think about typing instead of just focusing on what I want to say or do. Still, if I can get rid of some of the frustration that comes with working on other people’s computers, I think that will pay off.

I like the typing lessons at http://typingclub.com the most. I just have to remember to spread them out so that I don’t get annoyed and overwhelmed. Here we go again…

  • http://www.jimsjournal.com Jim

    Switching between two different keyboard layouts? All I can think of is the times I have had to drive in the UK or in Australia. Or trying to send email using a computer terminal in the lobby of a hotel in France (the AZERTY layout).

    I learned to type QWERTY in 1959 (age 16) and that skill got me through many college term papers back in the days of manual typewriters.

    As always, your blog is awesome.

  • http://sachachua.com Sacha Chua

    Jim: Almost-but-not-quite-the-same keyboard layouts throw me off a lot. =) Radically different keyboard layouts are easier. Retraining a familiar layout to use different fingers is pretty tough. Thanks for reading!