Increase Your Typing Speed and Reduce the Risk of RSI with the Dvorak Typing Method

I don’t know about you, but when I was in high school, I took a typing class.  It’s served me well since then, because I’ve done a lot of typing. Like most of you, I learned on the standard QWERTY keyboard.  The problem with this keyboard, though, is that people who use this keyboard set-up are at a higher risk for developing RSI (repetitive strain injury) and carpal tunnel syndrome.  There is a way to reduce the risk of developing RSI, even if you do a lot of typing, and that is by using the Dvorak keyboard, which is pictured below:

As you can see, the Dvorak keyboard layout is very different from the QWERTY keyboard layout – the home row contains all the vowels on the left side, and the most commonly used consonants are on the right side. The next most commonly used keys are in the top row, and the least frequently used keys are in the bottom row.  In this post, I’ll discuss how to learn the Dvorak typing method, and how to change your keyboard to a Dvorak keyboard.
How to learn the Dvorak typing method
There are several excellent free websites you can use to learn the Dvorak typing method.  The three that I’ve been using are:
Dvorak keyboard training – This is an excellent site because you don’t need to change your keyboard to the Dvorak layout in order to use it.  Just look at the keys on the keyboard layout on the screen.  Also, the lessons seem to go in a logical order.  The first lesson covers the first eight keys of the home row, the second lesson adds the other two keys in the home row, etc.  It also saves your progress using a cookie. The problem that I have with this website is that sometimes when I press a key, I will see strange characters come up.
Power Typing – What I like about this website is that the lessons are more like drills in the beginning. Instead of typing words, you’ll type the same letter several times in a row, then move to combinations of different letters. What I don’t like about this website is that the lessons don’t go in a logical order – at least it doesn’t  seem logical to me. The first lesson covers the first eight keys of the home row, then the second lesson goes to  P, Y, F, and G keys, which are in the top row of the Dvorak keyboard. Also, as far as I can tell, there’s no way to save your progress. You also have to add the Dvorak keyboard layout in  your computer before you can do the lessons on this website.
Typing Web – This brings me to the third, and perhaps my favorite, website, TypingWeb.  I’ve only recently started using TypingWeb, but it’s the best one I’ve used so far, because it shows a layout of the Dvorak keyboard, and it also shows you which finger of which hand you should be using to type the letter if you get stuck.  You do have to add the Dvorak keyboard in your computer before you can use Typing Web.  It also saves your progress so that you don’t have to start over from the beginning.
That’s my brief introduction to the Dvorak typing method. If you use it, or have tried to learn it, I would love to hear about your experiences.


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