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Typing in Dvorak

Published November 30, 2009 in Health Conditions , Help For Writers , Writing - 0 Comments

Most people have grown up learning how to type in the style called QWERTY. If you look at any typical keyboard today, it is QWERTY layout. Usually nobody ever questions why we write in QWERTY. It has always just been that way.

I’ll give you a quick history lesson. Back in the 1800’s when typewriters first started coming out, the big question was how should we type. Typing, back in the day, was hard work. To get a good print on the sheet, a typist had to hit the keys pretty hard. It was found that after repeated typing, a typist usually had to stop, as their wrists would become sore. And it was a condition that lasted a long time, often causing a typist his job.

Doctor Dvorak developed a typing style where typing a word usually involved both hands, that way a majority of words would not be typed with one hand. This took much stress of the wrists, and many typists noticed a great improvement in the health of their wrists. The only problem with this typing style, however, was that many letters were close together, and being hit right after the other. This caused keys to jam up in the typewriter.

For efficiency reasons, the typewriter was universally set to QWERTY. This style allowed the minimum amount of key jamming. However, this did not help the typist’s wrists.

In today’s typing world though, QWERTY is not needed. We do not having key jamming problems any more. Dvorak is much easier on the wrists, minimizing the chance of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. When I first started writing, I noticed pain starting to increase in my wrists.

Soon it became a constant problem, and I had to start wearing wrists bands. Working on the farm, having sore wrists could not be tolerated. I started looking for solutions. I read an article on Holly Lisle’s site about the Dvorak style of typing. She said it helped her out with her wrists. I tried it, and after a couple of months, I learned the typing style, and now my wrists are fine. I also type much faster then I did in QWERTY as typing is much more natural with Dvorak.

If you are interested in typing in Dvorak, all it takes is a simple setting change on your computer. You can even go as far as buying special Dvorak keyboards. Though I really don’t think it is necessary, as long as your a typist that doesn’t look at the keyboard.

To switch your settings in windows, click on your “Start” button in the bottom left hand corner of your screen. In Vista or 7 that will be the little blue round windows sign. Then click on “Control Panel” in the menu that shows up.

Make sure your in “Control Panel Home” and not “Classic View”. Then click on “Clock, Language, and Region”. Then click on “Language and Regional Options”. Then select the “Keyboard and Languages Tab” at the top, then select “Change Keyboards”

Select the “Add” button and then select “English-United States”, then “Keyboard”, then “United States- Dvorak”. Press “Ok”.

In the “Default Input Language” section, click on the pull down menu and select “United States- Dvorak” Press “Ok”. Now exit out. You are done. You computer is in Dvorak. Try typing in a word document. You’ll see the keys are all different.

You will want to print out a Dvorak chart so you can memorize the keys. It will probably take you a couple months to get really good at it, but the benefits are well worth it.

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