Using Dvorak Keyboard Layouts In OS X Snow Leopard
Selecting and using the keyboard layouts for Dvorak, Left-handed Dvorak, Right-handed Dvorak, or Dvorak with Qwerty commands is now easy with OS X Snow Leopard.
Still using Leopard? You can't use the Left-handed Dvorak or Right-handed Dvorak layouts, but the others are still available. You need to read Using The Dvorak Keyboard Layout With Leopard instead.
First you need to set up your system so you're ready to switch to the Dvorak layout of your choice. This won't actually switch you to the Dvorak layout, so don't panic yet! Firstly, use the Apple Menu to open System Preferences:
Now select the "Language and Text" icon in the top row, and then the "Input Sources" tab on the right:
You'll see a bunch of flags and country names, mostly all in alphabetical order. Scroll down until you see the "D"s and right under "Dutch" you'll find four Dvorak layouts. Here's what you should be looking at now:
Select the checkbox for the Dvorak layout that you want to use, the four options are:
- This is the standard Dvorak keyboard layout which is optimised for use by touch-typists using both hands.
- Dvorak - Qwerty ⌘
- Standard Dvorak keyboard layout but when you hold down the command key (⌘ key) the command characters work from a Qwerty layout. This might be useful for people who memorise command keys by where they are on the keyboard instead of remembering which letter the command uses.
- Dvorak - Left
- A left-handed Dvorak keyboard layout, optimised for typists using the left hand only.
- Dvorak - Right
- A right-handed Dvorak keyboard layout, optimised for typists using the right hand only.
Also check the checkbox labelled "Show input in menu bar" - see the red arrow in the above picture if you're not sure. This will cause a picture of a flag to appear in the top right corner of the menu bar, and currently it will be the flag of the keyboard you are already using. If you're using a standard US or International keyboard it will be a USA flag, but for those using a different keyboard layout you'll see the flag for the country the layout belongs to. Here's what mine shows:
Now you can close the system preferences window, you're done setting up.
To start using the Dvorak layout, click on the flag in your menu bar and then on the Dvorak line. Notice how the "flag" that's showing now is the one for your Dvorak keyboard layout - you can always tell which keyboard layout is active by seeing which flag is showing.
You can easily go back to your usual keyboard layout by clicking on the flag again and selecting your original keyboard. You can always switch between the two this way, using only the mouse, so even if you get thoroughly confused about which key is which you can still go back to the one you know best. You can also select "Show Keyboard Viewer" from the same menu and OS X will pop up a picture for you showing where the keys go in each of the different layouts. The keyboard viewer also flashes the image of any key you press on your keyboard, so it can be very helpful for practising.
I suggest that you pop over and read Dvorak Keyboard Layout - Resources For Switching now, so you have more tools to help you learn about your shiny new keyboard layout.
- Ricky Buchanan