Dvorak keyboard tips

Use a Dvorak keyboard – ditch the old QWERTY keyboard

Anyone who has used a Dvorak keyboard will know the benefits of it, less finger movement and less risk of RSI, along with improved typing speeds. Once you’ve learnt the Dvorak layout it is also easy to switch back to QWERTY as well, so you not left alone in a world unfamiliar with you. A few tools can help learning and using the Dvorak keyboard easy.

Hardware options

At Hoolean (https://shop.hooleon.com/search?q=dvorak+sticker) you’ll find labels for your current keyboard, allowing you to convert it to the Dvorak layout easily.

If you’d like a nice keyboard, a mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX style switches can be customised with an XDA profile key cap set, turning it into a natively labelled Dvorak layout. For more info, see this quick summary of key cap profiles, this Amazon listing for a YMDK branded XDA keycap set, and your favourite Cherry MX switch.

Durgod K320 TKL Keyborad with YMDK DSA profile PBT key caps

Software options

A useful software tool, DvAssist (http://clabs.org/blog/DvAssist), allows you to switch between keyboard layouts on the fly. It runs in the system tray and a simple double click switches between QWERTY and Dvorak. Carry it on a USB key and you can run it on other PCs as well.

For touch typing training try Stamina (https://typingsoft.com/overview.htm), a free utility that adds a bit of fun too.

If you know both QWERTY and Dvorak layout you’ll find switching between the two easy (but wondering why people still use QWERTY). If you only learn Dvorak then DvAssist will change the layout quickly so you can touch type on other peoples computers, ignoring the labels on the keys.

Setting the login screen keyboard layout on Linux

While most operating systems provide a Settings app that allows the keyboard layout to be customised, these settings usually apply to a user session and don’t necessarily affect the initial login screen.

On Linux, the default system keyboard layout can be changed by editing the /etc/default/keyboard file, with a command such as

sudo gedit /etc/default/keyboard

Update the file so that the variant is set to ‘dvorak’, similar to


Restart, and the login screen should then allow you to type correctly with a Dvorak keyboard.