If you use a Mac computer and have trouble using the standard QWERTY keyboard layout, the Dvorak layout may be a good option for you. Dvorak layouts put the most frequently used keys right under your fingers, so you can type with less finger movements needed.
There are four types of Dvorak layouts available with the Mac:
- Dvorak – The standard Dvorak layout
- Dvorak Left – Puts the most used keys under your left hand
- Dvorak Right – Puts the most used keys under your right hand
- Dvorak QWERTY ⌘ – Switches back to QWERTY while you hold down the command key
Who might want to use a Dvorak keyboard layout? Because they are more efficient and mean you’re moving your fingers less they can be very good for people with RSI and other pain conditions, and for people like me whose disability causes extreme fatigue – I use Dvorak myself. The right-handed and left-handed Dvorak layouts can be great for people who are living with the after-effects of a stroke affecting one hand but not the other, and other people whose disability affects one side much more than the other.
Here’s the standard Dvorak layout:
To switch your keyboard layout to Dvorak using Mac OS X:
- Choose “System Preferences” from the Apple menu
- Click on the “Keyboard” icon in System Preferences, then the “Input Sources” tab which is on the top right.
- Click on the “+” near the bottom left, select the keyboard you want and then click “Add”
I also suggest you make sure that “Show input menu in menu bar” is selected, in the “Input Sources” tab. That will show you a tiny flag in your menu bar which will indicate which keyboard is selected at any time – you can click on the flag to change keyboards.
Now you know the technical aspects, make sure you read 4 Easy Steps To Typing With Dvorak to learn to make the most of your new keyboard layout.