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Dvorak Simplified Keyboard

The modern Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (US layout)

The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (/dəˈvɔːræk/ də-VOR-ak) is a keyboard layout patented during 1936 by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother-in-law, Dr. William Dealey. Several modifications have since been designed by the team directed by Dvorak or by ANSI. These variations have been collectively or individually termed the Simplified Keyboard or American Simplified Keyboard, but they all have come to be known commonly as the Dvorak keyboard or Dvorak layout.

Dvorak proponents claim the layout requires less finger motion and reduces errors compared to the standard pattern, the QWERTY[1][2] keyboard. It is claimed that the reduction in finger distance traveled permits faster rates of typing while also reducing repetitive strain injuries,[3] although that claim is controversial.[4][5]

Although the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) has failed to replace the standard QWERTY keyboard pattern, most major modern operating systems (such as Windows,[6] macOS, Linux, Android, Chrome OS, and BSD) allow a user to switch to the Dvorak layout. Neither iOS nor BlackBerry 10 provide a system-wide, touchscreen Dvorak keyboard, although third-party software is capable of adding the pattern to both iOS and Blackberry 10.



The Dvorak layout was designed to replace the QWERTY keyboard pattern (the de facto standard keyboard layout, so named for the starting letters in the top row). The Dvorak pattern was designed with the belief that it would significantly increase typing speeds with respect to the QWERTY layout. Dvorak believed that there were many problems with the original QWERTY keyboard pattern, claiming that it was a problem that:[7]

  • Many common letter combinations require awkward finger motions.
  • Many common letter combinations require a finger to jump over the home row.
  • Many common letter combinations are typed with one hand. (e.g. was, were)
  • Most typing is done with the left hand, which for most people is not the dominant hand.
  • About 16% of typing is done on the lower row, 52% on the top row and only 32% on the home row.

Dvorak studied letter frequencies and the physiology of people's hands and created a pattern to alleviate the problems he believed were part of the QWERTY pattern. The pattern he created adheres to these principles:[7]

  • Letters should be typed by alternating between hands (which makes typing more rhythmic, increases speed, reduces error, and reduces fatigue). On a Dvorak keyboard, vowels are all on the left home row, the most used symbols are on the left, while the most used consonants are on the right.
  • For maximum speed and efficiency, the most common letters and bigrams should be the easiest to type. This means that they should be on the home row, which is where the fingers rest, and under the strongest fingers (Thus, about 70% of keyboard strokes on the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard are done on the home row and only 22% and 8% on the top and bottom rows respectively).
  • The least common letters should be on the bottom row which is the hardest row to reach.
  • The right hand should do more of the typing because most people are right-handed.

The Dvorak pattern is intended for the English language. For other European languages, letter frequencies, letter sequences, and bigrams differ from those of English. Also, many languages have letters that do not occur in English. For non-English use, these differences lessen the alleged advantages of the original Dvorak keyboard. However, the Dvorak principles have been applied to the design of keyboards for other languages, though the primary keyboards used by most countries are based on the QWERTY design.

The pattern was completed during 1932 and was granted U.S. Patent 2,040,248 during 1936.[8] The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) designated the Dvorak keyboard as an alternative standard keyboard layout during 1982; the standard is INCITS 207-1991 (R2007) (previously X4.22-1983, X3.207:1991),[9] "Alternate Keyboard Arrangement for Alphanumeric Machines". The original ANSI Dvorak layout was available as a factory-supplied option on the original IBM Selectric typewriter.[specify]

It has to be noted that previously, during 1893, a keyboard layout for the Blickensderfer typewriter model 5 was developed by George Blickensderfer after careful analysis of the English language with quite the same results for the home row of keys. Blickensderfer determined that 70% of the most commonly used letters (ETAOIN SHRDLU) and 85% of words contained the letters DHIATENSOR. That's why he used these letters for the last row of the typewriter. The Dvorak's home row AOEUIDHTNS has the vowels on the left and has replaced the R by the U.


August Dvorak was an educational psychologist and professor of education at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.[10] Dvorak became interested in the keyboard pattern while serving as an advisor to Gertrude Ford, who was writing her master's thesis on typing errors. Touch typing had come into wide use by that time, so when Dvorak studied the QWERTY layout he concluded that the QWERTY layout needed to be replaced. Dvorak was joined by his brother-in-law William Dealey, who was a professor of education at the then North Texas State Teacher's College in Denton, Texas.

Dvorak and Dealey's objective was to scientifically design a keyboard to decrease typing errors, speed up typing, and lessen typer fatigue. They engaged in extensive research while designing their keyboard layout. During 1914 and 1915, Dealey attended seminars on the science of motion and later reviewed slow-motion films of typists with Dvorak. Dvorak and Dealey meticulously studied the English language, researching the most used letters and letter combinations. They also studied the physiology of the hand. The result during 1932 was the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard.[11]

During 1933, Dvorak started entering typists trained on his keyboard into the International Commercial Schools Contest, which were typing contests sponsored by typewriter manufacturers consisting of professional and amateur contests. The professional contests had typists sponsored by typewriter companies to advertise their machines. Additionally, QWERTY typists did not want to be placed near Dvorak typists because QWERTY typists were disconcerted by the noise produced from the fast typing speeds made by Dvorak typists.[better source needed][12]

During the 1930s, the Tacoma, Washington school district ran an experimental program in typing designed by Dvorak to determine whether to hold Dvorak layout classes. The experiment used 2,700 students to learn the Dvorak layout, and the district found that the Dvorak pattern students learned the keyboard in one-third the time it took to learn QWERTY. When a new school board was elected, however, it chose to terminate the Dvorak pattern classes.[12] During World War II, while in the Navy, Dvorak conducted experiments which he claimed showed that typists could be retrained to Dvorak in a mere 10 days, though he discarded at least two previous studies which were conducted and whose results are unknown.[13]

With such great apparent gains, interest in the Dvorak keyboard layout increased by the early 1950s. Numerous businesses and government organizations began to consider retraining their typists on Dvorak keyboards. In this environment, the General Services Administration commissioned Earle Strong to determine whether the switch from QWERTY to Dvorak should be made. After retraining a selection of typists from QWERTY to Dvorak, once the Dvorak group had regained their previous typing speed (which took 100 hours of training, more than was claimed in the Navy test conducted by Dvorak), Strong took a second group of QWERTY typists chosen for equal ability to the Dvorak group and retrained them in QWERTY in order to improve their speed at the same time the Dvorak typists were training. The carefully controlled study failed to show any benefit to the Dvorak keyboard layout in typing or training speed. Strong recommended retraining QWERTY typists in order to increase their speed over switching, and attributed the previous apparent benefits of Dvorak to improper experimental design and outright bias on the part of Dvorak, who had designed and directed the previous studies. However, Strong had a personal grudge against Dvorak and had made public statements before that study was even performed noting his opposition to any alternative keyboard design.[14] Despite this, interest in the Dvorak keyboard layout subsequently waned.[13] Later experiments have shown that many keyboard designs, including some alphabetical ones, allow very similar typing speeds to QWERTY and Dvorak when typists have been trained for them, suggesting that the basic design principles of the Dvorak design may have failed to produce results because typing is a very complicated physical activity regardless of design.[15]

The work of Dvorak paved the way for other optimized keyboard layouts for English, such as Colemak but also other languages like German with Neo and French with BÉPO.[16]

Original Dvorak layoutEdit

The typewriter keyboard pattern that Dvorak & Dealey patented.
The Dvorak typewriter keyboard pattern that was publicly promulgated.

Over the decades, symbol keys were shifted around the keyboard resulting in variations of the Dvorak design. During 1982, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) implemented a standard for the Dvorak layout known as ANSI X4.22-1983. This standard gave the Dvorak pattern official recognition as an alternative to the QWERTY keyboard.[17]

The pattern standardized by the ANSI differs from the original or "classic" pattern devised and promulgated by Dvorak. Indeed, the pattern promulgated publicly by Dvorak differed slightly from the pattern for which Dvorak & Dealey applied for a patent during 1932—- most notably in the placement of Z. Today's keyboards have more keys than the original typewriter did, and other significant differences existed:

  • The numeric keys of the classic Dvorak layout are ordered: 7 5 3 1 9 0 2 4 6 8 (used today by the Programmer Dvorak[18] layout)
  • In the classic Dvorak layout, the question mark key [?] is in the leftmost position of the upper row, while the slash key [/] is in the rightmost position of the upper row.
  • For the classic Dvorak pattern, the following symbols share keys (the second symbol being printed when the SHIFT key is pressed):
    • colon [:] and question mark [?]
    • ampersand [&] and slash [/].

Modern U.S. Dvorak keyboard patterns almost always place semicolon and colon together on a single key, and slash and question mark together on a single key. Thus, if the keycaps of a modern keyboard are rearranged so that the unshifted symbol characters match the classic Dvorak pattern then, sensibly, the result is the ANSI pattern.

Availability in operating systemsEdit

The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) is included with all major operating systems (such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and BSD). As for iOS, only iOS 7.1.1 offers Dvorak. Since the introduction of iOS 8 during 2014 Apple iPhone and iPad users have been able to install third party keyboards on their touchscreen devices which allow for alternative keyboard patterns such as Dvorak on a system wide basis.

Early PCsEdit

Although some word processors could simulate alternative keyboard layouts by software, this was application specific; if more than one program was commonly used (e.g., a word processor and a spreadsheet), the user could be forced to switch layouts depending on the application. Occasionally, stickers were provided to place over the keys for these layouts.

However, IBM-compatible PCs used an active, "smart" keyboard. Striking a key generated a key "code", which was sent to the computer. Thus, changing to an alternative keyboard layout was accomplished most easily by simply buying a keyboard with the new layout. Because the key codes were generated by the keyboard itself, all software would respond accordingly. During the mid to late 1980s, a small industry for replacement PC keyboards developed; although most of these were concerned with keyboard "feel" and/or programmable macros, there were several with alternative patterns, such as Dvorak.


Amiga operating systems from the 1986 version 1.2 onward enable the user to modify the keyboard pattern by using the setmap command line utility with "usa2" as an argument, or later in 3.x systems by opening the keyboard input preference widget and selecting "Dvorak". Amiga systems versions 1.2 and 1.3 came with the Dvorak keymap on the Workbench disk. Versions 2.x came with the keymaps available on the "Extras" disk. In 3.0 and 3.1 systems, the keymaps were on the "Storage" disk. By copying the respective keymap to the Workbench disk or installing the system to a hard drive, Dvorak was usable for Workbench application programs.

Microsoft WindowsEdit

Versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51 and later have shipped with U.S. Dvorak layout capability.[6] Free updates to use the pattern on earlier Windows versions are available for download from Microsoft.

Earlier versions, such as DOS 6.2/Windows 3.1, included four keyboard patterns: QWERTY, two-handed Dvorak, right-hand Dvorak, and left-hand Dvorak.

During May 2004 Microsoft published an improved version of its Keyboard Layout Creator (MSKLC version 1.3[19] – current version is 1.4[20]) that allows anyone to easily create any keyboard pattern desired, thus allowing the creation and installation of any international Dvorak keyboard pattern such as Dvorak Type II (for German), Svorak (for Swedish) etc.

Another advantage of the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator with respect to third-party programs for installing an international Dvorak layout is that it allows creation of a keyboard layout that automatically switches to standard (QWERTY) after pressing the two hotkeys (SHIFT and CTRL).

Unix-based systemsEdit

Many operating systems based on UNIX, including OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenSolaris, Plan 9, and most Linux distributions, can be configured to use the U.S. Dvorak pattern and a handful of variants. However, all current Unix-like systems with X.Org and appropriate keymaps installed (and virtually all systems meant for desktop use include them) are able to use any QWERTY-labeled keyboard as a Dvorak one without any problems or additional configuration. This eliminates the burden of producing additional keymaps for every variant of QWERTY provided. Runtime layout switching is also possible.

Chrome OSEdit

Chrome OS and Chromium OS offer Dvorak, and there are three different ways to switch the keyboard to the Dvorak layout.[21] Chrome OS includes the US Dvorak and UK Dvorak layouts.

Apple computersEdit

Apple had Dvorak advocates since the company's early (pre-IPO) days. Several engineers devised hardware and software to remap the keyboard, which were used inside the company and even sold commercially.

Apple IIEdit

The Apple IIe had a keyboard ROM that translated keystrokes into characters. The ROM contained both QWERTY and Dvorak patterns, but the QWERTY pattern was enabled by default. A modification could be made by pulling out the ROM, bending up four pins, soldering a resistor between two pins, soldering two others to a pair of wires connected to a DIP switch, which was installed in a pre-existing hole in the back of the machine, then plugging the modified ROM back in its socket. The "hack" was reversible and did no damage. By flipping the switch, the user could switch from one pattern to the other. This modification was entirely unofficial but was inadvertently demonstrated at the 1984 Comdex show, in Las Vegas, by an Apple employee whose mission was to demonstrate Apple Logo II. The employee had become accustomed to the Dvorak pattern and brought the necessary parts to the show, installed them in a demo machine, then did his Logo demo. Viewers, curious that he always reached behind the machine before and after allowing other people to type, asked him about the modification. He spent as much time explaining the Dvorak keyboard as explaining Logo.[citation needed]

Apple brought new interest to the Dvorak pattern with the Apple IIc, which had a mechanical switch above the keyboard whereby the user could switch back and forth between the QWERTY pattern and the Dvorak layout: this was the most official version of the IIe Dvorak mod. The IIc Dvorak pattern was even mentioned by 1984 advertisements, which stated that the World's Fastest Typist, Barbara Blackburn, had set a record on an Apple IIc with the Dvorak layout.

The Dvorak pattern was also selectable using the built-in control panel applet on the Apple IIGS.

Apple IIIEdit

The Apple III used a keyboard-pattern file loaded from a floppy disk: the standard system-software package included QWERTY and Dvorak layout files. Changing layouts required restarting the machine.

Apple LisaEdit

The Apple Lisa did not offer the Dvorak keyboard mapping, though it was purportedly available through undocumented interfaces.[22]

Mac OSEdit

iBook with alpha and punctuation keys manually rearranged to the Dvorak layout.

During its early days, the Macintosh could be converted to the Dvorak pattern by making changes to the "System" file: this was not easily reversible and required restarting the machine. This modification was unofficial, but it was comparable to many other user modifications and customizations that Mac users made. Using the "resource editor", ResEdit, users could create keyboard layouts, icons, and other useful items. A few years later, a third-party developer offered a utility program called MacKeymeleon, which put a menu on the menu bar that allowed on-the-fly switching of keyboard layouts. Eventually, Apple Macintosh engineers built the functionality of this utility into the standard system software, along with a few layouts: QWERTY, Dvorak, French (AZERTY), and other foreign-language layouts.

2010 Apple Wireless Keyboard in Dvorak Layout

Since about 1998, beginning with Mac OS 8.6, Apple has included the Dvorak layout. It can be activated with the Keyboard Control Panel and selecting "Dvorak". The setting is applied once the Control Panel is closed out. Apple also includes a Dvorak variant they call "Dvorak – Qwerty ⌘". With this layout, the keyboard temporarily becomes QWERTY when the Command (⌘/Apple) key is held down. By keeping familiar keyboard shortcuts like "close" or "copy" on the same keys as ordinary QWERTY, this lets some people use their well-practiced muscle memory and may make the transition easier. Mac OS and subsequently Mac OS X allow additional "on-the-fly" switching between layouts: a menu-bar icon (by default, a national flag that matches the current language, a 'DV' represents Dvorak and a 'DQ' represents Dvorak – Qwerty ⌘) brings up a drop-down menu, allowing the user to choose the desired layout. Subsequent keystrokes will reflect the choice, which can be reversed the same way.

Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" and later offer a keyboard identifier program which asks users to press a few keys on their keyboards. Dvorak, QWERTY and many national variations of those designs are available. If multiple keyboards are connected to the same Mac computer, they can be configured to different patterns and use simultaneously. However should the computer shut down (lack of battery, etc.) the computer will revert to QWERTY for reboot, regardless of what layout the Admin was using.

Mobile phones and PDAsEdit

A number of mobile phones today are built with either full QWERTY keyboards or software implementations of them on a touch screen. Sometimes the keyboard pattern can be changed by means of a freeware third-party utility, such as Hacker's Keyboard for Android, AE Keyboard Mapper for Windows Mobile, or KeybLayout for Symbian OS.

The RIM BlackBerry lines offer only QWERTY and its localized variants AZERTY and QWERTZ. Apple's iOS 8.0 and later has the option to install onscreen keyboards from the App Store, which includes several free and paid Dvorak layouts. iOS 4.0 and later supports external Dvorak keyboards. Google's Android OS touchscreen keyboard can use Dvorak and other nonstandard layouts natively as of version 4.1.[23]

Comparison of the QWERTY and Dvorak layoutsEdit

Keyboard strokesEdit

Touch typing requires typists to rest their fingers in the home row (QWERTY row starting with "ASDF"). The more strokes there are in the home row, the less movement the fingers must do, thus allowing a typist to type faster, more accurately, and with less strain to the hand and fingers.

The vast majority of the Dvorak layout's key strokes (70%) are done in the home row, claimed to be the easiest row to type because the fingers rest there. Additionally, the Dvorak layout requires the fewest strokes on the bottom row (the most difficult row to type). However, QWERTY requires typists to move their fingers to the top row for a majority of strokes and has only 32% of the strokes done in the home row.[24]

Because the Dvorak layout concentrates the vast majority of key strokes to the home row, the Dvorak layout uses about 63% of the finger motion required by QWERTY, which is claimed to make the keyboard more ergonomic.[25] In fact, it has been estimated that during a typical 8-hour day a typist's fingers will travel 25 kilometers (16 mi) on a QWERTY keyboard and only 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) on a Dvorak keyboard. Because the Dvorak layout requires less finger motion from the typist compared to QWERTY, some users with repetitive strain injuries have reported that switching from QWERTY to Dvorak alleviated or even eliminated their repetitive strain injuries;[26][27] however, no scientific study has been conducted verifying this.[28]

The typing loads between hands differs for each of the keyboard layouts. On QWERTY keyboards, 56% of the typing strokes are done by the left hand. As the right hand is dominant for the majority of people, the Dvorak keyboard puts the more often used keys on the right hand side, thereby having 56% of the typing strokes done by the right hand.[24]

Awkward strokesEdit

Awkward strokes are undesirable because they slow down typing, increase typing errors, and increase finger strain. Hurdling is an awkward stroke requiring a single finger to jump directly from one row, over the home row to another row (e.g., typing "minimum" [which often comes out as "minimun" or "mimimum"] on the QWERTY keyboard).[29] In the English language, there are about 1,200 words that require a hurdle on the QWERTY layout. In contrast, there are only a few words requiring a hurdle on the Dvorak layout.[29][30]

Hand alternation and finger repetitionEdit

Alternating hands while typing is a desirable trait because while one hand is typing a letter, the other hand can get in position to type the next letter. Thus, a typist may fall into a steady rhythm and type quickly. On the other hand, when a string of letters is done with the same hand, the chances of stuttering are increased and a rhythm can be broken, thus decreasing speed and increasing errors and fatigue. Likewise, using the same finger to type consecutive letters is also to be avoided. The QWERTY layout has more than 3,000 words that are typed on the left hand alone and about 300 words that are typed on the right hand alone (the aforementioned word "minimum" is a right-hand-only word). In contrast, with the Dvorak layout, only a few words are typed using only the left hand and even fewer use the right hand alone.[24] This is because most syllables require at least one vowel, and, in a Dvorak layout, all the vowels (and "y") fall on the left side of the keyboard.

Standard keyboardEdit

QWERTY enjoys advantages with respect to the Dvorak pattern due to the fact that it is the de facto standard keyboard:

  • Keyboard shortcuts in most major operating systems, including Windows, are designed for QWERTY users, and can be awkward for some Dvorak users, such as Ctrl-C (Copy) and Ctrl-V (Paste). However, Apple computers have a "Dvorak – Qwerty ⌘" setting, which temporarily changes the keyboard mapping to QWERTY when the command (⌘) key is held.
  • Some public computers (such as in libraries) will not allow users to change the keyboard to the Dvorak layout.
  • Some standardized exams will not allow test takers to use the Dvorak layout (e.g. Graduate Record Examination).
  • Certain games, especially those that make use of "WASD" for in-game movement, may not work properly with a Dvorak pattern. This can often be corrected manually by reassigning WASD to "AOE", the Dvorak equivalent.
  • People who can touch type with a QWERTY keyboard may be less productive with alternative layouts that they have not trained themselves on, even if these are closer to the optimum.[31]
  • Not all people use keyboard fingerings as specified in touch-typing manuals due to either preference or anatomical difference. This can change the relative efficiency on alternative layouts.

One-handed versionsEdit

Left-handed Dvorak layout
Right-handed Dvorak layout

During the 1960s, Dvorak designed the left- and right-handed Dvorak patterns for touch-typing with only one hand. He tried to minimize the need to move the hand from side to side (lateral travel), as well as to minimize finger movement. Each layout has the hand resting near the center of the keyboard, rather than on one side.

Because the layouts require less hand movement than layouts designed for two hands, they can be more accessible to single-handed users. The layouts are also used by people with full use of two hands, who enjoy having one hand free while they type with the other.

The left-handed Dvorak and right-handed Dvorak keyboard layouts are mostly each other's mirror image, with the exception of some punctuation keys, some of the less-used letters, and the ‘wide keys’ (Enter, Shift, etc.). Dvorak arranged the parentheses ")(" on his left-handed keyboard, but some keyboards place them in the typical "()" reading order. Illustrated here is Dvorak's original ")(" placement, above; it is the more widely distributed layout, not least because it is the one that ships with Windows.

Research on efficiencyEdit

Some studies show favourable results for the Dvorak layout in terms of speed, while others do not show any advantage. In both cases, accusations of bias or lack of scientific rigour are common.

The Dvorak layout is designed with touch-typing in mind, where the user is meant to lay their hands upon the home row, hence the placement of keys on said row. Other methods of Typing such as hunt-and-peck or a hybrid method might see less optimal results.

The speed at which one types are also limited to other factors. Despite switch from paper to computers as the writing medium the Words per Minute of authors and writers has not seen a noticeable increase as considerations on what to write (that is, thinking speed) is the bigger contributor to writing speed limits.

The first studies were performed by Dvorak and his associates. These showed favourable results, and generated accusations of bias.[4]

During 1956, a study with a sample of 10 people in each group conducted by Earle Strong of the U.S. General Services Administration found Dvorak no more efficient than QWERTY[32] and claimed it would be too costly to retrain the employees.[31] The failure of the study to show any benefit to switching, along with its illustration of the considerable cost of switching, discouraged businesses and governments from making the switch.[33] This study was similarly criticised as being biased in favor of the QWERTY control group.[7]

Economists Stan Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis have written articles in the Journal of Law and Economics[4] and Reason magazine[13] where they reject Dvorak proponents' claims that the dominance of the QWERTY is due to market failure brought on by QWERTY's early adoption, writing, "[T]he evidence in the standard history of Qwerty versus Dvorak is flawed and incomplete. [..] The most dramatic claims are traceable to Dvorak himself; and the best-documented experiments, as well as recent ergonomic studies, suggest little or no advantage for the Dvorak keyboard."[4][34]

However, research during 2013 by economist Ricard Torres suggests that the Dvorak pattern has definite advantages.[35]

Resistance to adoptionEdit

Although the Dvorak design is the only other keyboard design registered with ANSI and is provided with all major operating systems, attempts to convert universally to the Dvorak design have not succeeded. The failure of the Dvorak pattern to displace the QWERTY pattern has been the subject of some studies.[4][36]

A discussion of the Dvorak pattern is sometimes used as an exercise by management consultants to illustrate the difficulties of change. The Dvorak layout is often used in economics textbooks as a standard example of network effects,[37][38] though this method has been criticized.[4]

Most keyboards are based on QWERTY patterns, despite the availability of other keyboard patterns, including the Dvorak.

Other languagesEdit

Although DSK is implemented in many[citation needed] languages other than English, there are still potential issues. Every Dvorak implementation for other languages has the same difficulties as for Roman characters. However, other (occidental) language orthographies can have other typing needs for optimization (many are very different from English). Because Dvorak Simplified Keyboard was optimized for the statistical distribution of letters of English text, keyboards for other languages would likely have different distributions of letter frequencies. Hence, non-QWERTY-derived keyboards for such languages would need a keyboard pattern that might be quite different from the Dvorak pattern for English.

United Kingdom (British) layoutsEdit

Whether Dvorak or QWERTY, a United Kingdom (British) keyboard differs from the U.S. equivalent in these ways: the " and @ are swapped; the backslash/pipe [\ |] key is in an extra position (to the right of the lower left shift key); there is a taller return/enter key, which places the hash/tilde [# ~] key to its lower left corner (see picture).[citation needed]

The most notable difference between the U.S. and UK Dvorak layouts is the [2 "] key remains on the top row, whereas the U.S. [' "] key moves. This means that the query [/ ?] key retains its classic Dvorak location, top right, albeit shifted[citation needed].

Interchanging the [/ ?] and [' @] keys more closely matches the U.S. layout, and the use of "@" has increased in the information technology age. These variations, plus keeping the numerals in Dvorak's idealised order, appear in the Classic Dvorak and Dvorak for the Left Hand and Right Hand varieties.


The Svorak Keyboard layout

The Svorak layout places the three extra Swedish vowels (å, ä and ö) on the leftmost three keys of the upper row, which correspond to punctuation symbols on the English Dvorak layout. This retains the original English DVORAK design goal of keeping all vowels by the left hand, including Y which is a vowel in Swedish.

The displaced punctuation symbols (period and comma) end up at the edges of the keyboard, but every other symbol is in the same place as in the standard Swedish QWERTY layout, facilitating easier re-learning. The Alt-Gr key is required to access some of the punctation symbols. This major design goal also makes it possible to "convert" a Swedish QWERTY keyboard to SVORAK simply by moving keycaps around.

Unlike for Norway, there’s no standard Swedish Dvorak pattern and the community is fragmented.[39] In Svdvorak, by Gunnar Parment, the punctuation symbols as they were in the English version; the first extra vowel (å) is placed in the far left of the top row while the other two (ä and ö) are placed at the far left of the bottom row. Another Swedish Dvorak analog, sv_dvorak, keeps the punctuation symbols as they were for the English version. The first extra vowel (å) is placed in the far left of the top row while the other two (ä and ö) are placed at the far left of the bottom row.


The Norwegian implementation (known as "Norsk Dvorak") is similar to Parment's layout, with "æ" and "ø" replacing "ä" and "ö".

The Danish layout DanskDvorak[40] is similar to the Norwegian.

An Icelandic Dvorak layout exists, created by a student at Reykjavik University. It retains the same basic layout as the standard Dvorak but features special Alt-Gr functions to allow easy usage for common characters such as "þ", "æ", "ö" and dead-keys to allow the typing of characters such as "å" and "ü".

A Finnish DAS keyboard layout[41] follows many of Dvorak's design principles, but the layout is an original design based on the most common letters and letter combinations of the Finnish language. Matti Airas has also made another layout for Finnish.[42] Finnish can also be typed reasonably well with the English Dvorak layout if the letters ä and ö are added. The Finnish ArkkuDvorak keyboard layout[43] adds both on a single key and keeps the American placement for each other character. As with DAS, the SuoRak[44] keyboard is designed by the same principles as the Dvorak keyboard, but with the most common letters of the Finnish language taken into account. Contrary to DAS, it keeps the vowels on the left side of the keyboard and most consonants on the right hand side.

The Turkish F keyboard layout (link in Turkish) is also an original design with Dvorak's design principles, however it's not clear if it is inspired by Dvorak or not. Turkish F keyboard was standardized during 1955 and the design has been a requirement for imported typewriters since 1963.

There are some non standard Brazilian Dvorak keyboard designs currently in development. The simpler design (also called BRDK) is just a Dvorak pattern plus some keys from the Brazilian ABNT2 keyboard pattern. Another design, however, was specifically designed for Brazilian Portuguese, by means of a study that optimized typing statistics, like frequent letters, trigraphs and words.[45]

The most common German Dvorak pattern is the German Type II pattern. It is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. There is also the Neo layout[46] and the de ergo layout,[47] both original patterns that also use many of Dvorak's design principles. Because of the similarity of both languages, even the standard Dvorak pattern (with minor modifications) is an ergonomic improvement with respect to the common QWERTZ pattern. One such modification puts ß at the shift+comma position and the umlaut dots as a dead key accessible via shift+period (standard German keyboards have a separate less/greater key to the right of the left shift key).

Dvorak, with a French BÉPO layout

For French, there is a Dvorak layout[48] and the Bépo layout, which is founded on Dvorak's method of analysing key frequency.[49] Although Bépo's placement of keys is optimised for French, the scheme also facilitates key combinations for typing characters of other European languages, Esperanto and various symbols.[16]

Three Spanish[50] layouts exist.

A Romanian version of the Dvorak layout was released in October 2008. It is available for both Windows and Linux.[51]

Dvorak encodingEdit

Typing a sequence of symbols using a Dvorak keyboard as if it were a QWERTY keyboard results in what is known as a Dvorak encoded string.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Baker, Nick (11 August 2010). "Why do we all use qwerty keyboards?". BBC Corporation. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
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  5. ^ Brooks (5 April 1999). "Introducing the Dvorak Keyboard -- Dissenting Opinions". Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
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  7. ^ a b c Noyes, Jan (August 1988). "The QWERTY keyboard: a review". International Journal of Man-Machine Studies. 18 (3): 265–281. doi:10.1016/S0020-7373(83)80010-8. 
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  9. ^ "ANSI INCITS 207-1991 (R2007)". Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
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  11. ^ Cassingham 1986, pp. 32–35
  12. ^ a b Robert Parkinson. "The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard: Forty Years of Frustration". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  13. ^ a b c "Typing Errors". 
  14. ^ Joe Kissell. "The Dvorak Keyboard Controversy". Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
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  16. ^ a b "bépo official website". Retrieved 2014-12-21. 
  17. ^ Cassingham 1986, pp. 35–37
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  24. ^ a b c Jared Diamond. "The Curse of QWERTY". Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
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  28. ^ Klosowski, Thorin (October 18, 2013). "Should I Use an Alternative Keyboard Layout Like Dvorak?". Lifehacker. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b Jared Diamond. "The Curse of QWERTY". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  30. ^ William Hoffer (1985). "The Dvorak keyboard: is it your type?". Nation's Business. Archived from the original on 2012-05-26. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  31. ^ a b Strong, E.P. (1956). "A Comparative Experiment in Simplified Keyboard Retraining and Standard Keyboard Supplementary Training". Washington, D.C.: General Services Administration. 
  32. ^ Kissel, Joe. "The Dvorak Keyboard Controversy". Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  33. ^ "US Balks at Teaching Old Typists New Keys". New York Times. 1956-07-02. 
  34. ^ Liebowitz, Stan J.; Margolis, Stephen E. (2001). "The Fable of the Keys". Winners, Losers and Microsoft. Oakland, Calif.: Independent Inst. p. 30. ISBN 0-945999-84-4. 
  35. ^ Torres, Ricard (June 2013). "QWERTY vs. Dvorak Efficiency: A Computational Approach" (PDF). Retrieved 29 January 2017. 
  36. ^ David, Paul A. (May 1985). "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY". American Economic Review. 75: 332–37.  and David, Paul A. (1986). "Understanding the Economics of QWERTY: The Necessity of History.". In W. N Parker. Economic History and the Modern Economist. New York: Basil Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-14799-3. 
  37. ^ Clements, M.T. (2005). "Inefficient Standard Adoption: Inertia and Momentum Revisited". Economic Inquiry. 43 (3): 507–518. doi:10.1093/ei/cbi034. 
  38. ^ Liebowitz, S.J.; S.E. Margolis (1994). "Network Externality: An Uncommon Tragedy". The Journal of Economic Perspectives. 8 (2): 133–150. doi:10.1257/jep.8.2.133. 
  39. ^ Svorak/Dvorak?
  40. ^ Dansk Dvorak – Dvorak er et ergonomisk tastatur layout. Museskade? prøv det ergonomiske Keyboard: Dvorak
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  44. ^ "SuoRak". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. 
  45. ^ "O que é o teclado brasileiro?". Archived from the original on 2006-07-03. Retrieved 2006-06-08. 
  46. ^ Hanno Behrens. "NEO keyboard". 
  47. ^ de-ergo – Forschung bei Goebel Consult
  48. ^ "Clavier Dvorak-fr : Accueil". 
  49. ^ "Disposition de clavier francophone et ergonomique bépo". 
  50. ^ "Dvorak keyboard layouts". 
  51. ^ "Învaţă singur - de Nicolae M. Popa". 

External linksEdit