Switching to Dvorak on a MacBook Pro

This is my first article typed on a Dvorak keyboard. I just finished moving the keycaps around on my MacBook Pro and I haven’t yet had occasion to use every letter in a sentence. (Q and Z were the holdouts.) My favorite keys are B and apostrophe.

The preceding paragraph was written in eight minutes.

13 thoughts on “Switching to Dvorak on a MacBook Pro

  1. Good luck with that.. You will be my 3rd friend who types Dvorak. The other two somehow retained the ability to type QWERTY as well, which would seem to be no small feat!

  2. I’d never heard of it before, but it looks like a good idea. I’m a terrible typist with QWERTY, I wonder if it would help.

  3. Took me about two weeks total to get back up to speed once I learned Dvorak. They say that it takes about an hour of practice per WPM.

    Now, I’m down to maybe 30 WPM in QWERTY, but in Dvorak I will often hit 80, 90, sometimes even 100 WPM! It was definitely worth it!

    Stick with it; it will pay off!

  4. I just started using dvorak but I’m damn slow at it. Too scared to change the keys though on my macbook, after attempting on a Dell.

    This took about an hour to type lol.

  5. I switched to Dvorak back in August after touch-typing QWERTY since 1996. I averaged about 110 wpm in QWERTY, peaking up to about 125. With Dvorak, I am only at 80, but I feel as though I will catch up before long. Really the issue is that Dvorak did such a good job with the bottom row. Letters that I hit infrequently – such as B, Q, J and X – tend to trip me up, or I will hit the QWERTY key for them (B for X, etc). When I learned QWERTY, I would frequently drill for speed. I have not really done this with Dvorak yet, which is probably the other reason I have not caught back up to myself. Stick with it, you will get it. Before long you will be typing Dvorak with no problem whatsoever.

    This only took me a minute or so to type. :D

  6. Hey that’s great! I switched to Dvorak just over two years ago and never looked back! Now all the computers in the house are dvorak and I’m typing this message in just under 8 milliseconds. You’ll do really well, and thank you so much for your informative site. I’ll be switching my site to sandbox in the next few minutes!

    Ironically, it was wordpress that first got me typing in dvorak.. or was it dvorak that got me into wordpress? I did a search on google for blogging software and I was surprised to learn about this interesting little package who’s creator was a Dvorak typist!

    Best of luck!

  7. By the way! Does the macbook have other markings on the keys that get rearranged and put in the wrong place after moving the keys around (like volume markings or function keys, or a numerical keypad?)

    This message typed in just under 3 milliseconds

  8. OK just kidding. but make sure you type with your fingers on the home row. You should be able to remember the positions of all the keys by now, so stick to proper typing form. This is one design where the layout is designed to be typed from the home row.

    Here are some interesting links you might like:

    The Dvorak Zine: http://dvzine.org/
    An interesting little zine about the Dvorak layout


    http://youtube.com/watch?v=FkMB5Q27nQI
    Two youtube videos about the Dvorak layout outlining the results of August Dvorak’s original study at the university of Washington.

  9. TEST:
    This is my first article typed on a Dvorak keyboard. I just finished moving the keycaps around on my MacBook Pro and I haven’t yet had the occasion to use every letter in a sentence. (Q and Z were the holdouts.) My favorite keys are B and apostrophe.

    The preceding paragraph was written in eight minutes.
    END TEST:

    …. Had to give it a run. Took me 56 seconds.

    I also have a MacBook Pro (Unibody) and got a lot of awkward looks when I was unpacking it, and proceeded to pull out a few small tools to take off every key, and rearrange the letters before I had even powered it on. =]

    I’ve been typing in Dvorak for a year and a half now, and am now an unofficial spokesperson for the layout. I’ve gotten 3 of my friends to switch, all of whom are very satisfied at doing so.

    On my Dell, I had to modify some of the keys so that they all fit… On both the Unibody and the Bluetooth keyboard, they all move nicely, and no keys need to be modified or put in abnormally.

    The Bluetooth keyboard they can be popped of old school (thumb in one corner) but on the new unibody, you pry a corner up, and manually unclip it before, then remove the clip assembly from the key… replace the clip piece first, then the key. This prevents damage to the key tabs.

    Well, I’m babbling now so I’ll call it done… but hey, at least my fingers aren’t fatigued!

    – Pixel -

  10. I’ve just made the switch on my aluminum MacBook Pro. It was surprisingly easy to rearrange my keyboard. Since this is my first message ever typing in Dvorak, I’m definitely hunting and pecking, but I’m very surprised at how natural it feels so far. I don’t think it’s going to take very long at all to get comfortable with it.

    This message has taken about 6 minutes to type, and I’m getting faster already…

  11. Indeed! I have been typing in Dvorak for about three years now. I came upon this post because I also just got a new MacBook Pro (also unibody), and I was wondering (with the backlighting) if there were any special procedures for rearranging the keys safely. Unless someone here has any more information, looks like I’ll be doing some more research.

    By the way, Andy, my favorite sentence that contains every letter is “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.”

  12. Good luck with the journey! I’ve been typing Dvorak on a Kinesis Contoured Keyboard for ~19 years now. After the first few months, I started typing well over 100wpm, much faster than i ever was on Sholes (QWERTY) layout and/or a flat keyboard. Does take some persistence to learn, though.

    Have fun!

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