In order to assist you decide which keyboard layout between QWERTY vs Dvorak vs Colemak could be ideal for you, we will compare three different keyboard layouts, QWERTY, Dvorak, and Colemak, in this post. In order to complement the typewriter, the first typing arrangement, known as QWERTY, was created in the 1870s. It is far less effective for modern keyboards than the Dvorak and Colemak layouts, but it works very well with typewriters.
The Dvorak & Colemak layouts are more efficient, but because the QWERTY standard was established so long ago and people are so accustomed to using it, few people are aware of them. You might opt to switch if you look at the background of these keyboard layouts, how they differ, and how to set up your keyboard for Colemak or Dvorak to master one of these more recent typing techniques.
QWERTY vs Dvorak vs Colemak: Which Layout is Faster?
Unfortunately, there is currently no conclusive evidence to support the idea that one layout is fundamentally faster than another because QWERTY is so frequently used and the sample size for Dvorak and Colemak typists is so small. Anthony “Chak” Ermolin, the winner of the 2020 Ultimate Typing Championship, is now the fastest typist in the world. He uses a QWERTY keyboard.
Only one competitor, John “NoThisIsJohn” Leeds, who types using the Dvorak pattern and came in at position 12, used an alternative layout during the competition. While there are certainly fast typists who use alternative layouts, it is important to note that the top 10 quarter-finalists in the competition all used the QWERTY keyboard.
There may be more proof that one or both of the Dvorak and Colemak layouts are quicker than QWERTY as time goes on and more people become aware of them. The younger generation of typists would need to modify them in order to advance Dvorak and Colemak’s adoption in the realm of competitive speed typing because these layouts are still essentially unknown to the general public.
Which Layout Should You Choose?
Christopher Latham Sholes created the first typing layout in the 1870s. This arrangement was intended to be slow and ineffective so that typewriters wouldn’t jam from being used too quickly. Sholes achieved this by spacing vowels and other frequently used letters widely apart and by avoiding placing many of them on the home row. The letters A, S, D, F, J, K, L, and colon/semicolon are found in the home row of the QWERTY keyboard if you glance at this list and then look down at your keyboard.
The only letters that match up with the chart below, which displays the most frequently used letters in the English language in texts according to Wikipedia, are A (ranked third), S (ranked seventh), and D (ranked tenth):
- 1. E – 13%
- 2. T –9.1%
- 3. A – 8.2%
- 4. O – 7.5%
- 5. I – 7%
- 6. N – 6.7%
- 7. S – 6.3%
- 8. H – 6.1%
- 9. R – 6%
- 10. D – 4.3%
This layout is used by almost every computer keyboard nowadays, which explains why it’s so popular and widely accessible. It is also the main cause of other layouts’ lack of popularity and their relative obscurity among the general public.
Dr. August Dvorak created the Dvorak layout in the 1930s. The most frequent consonants and vowels, with the exception of the letter U, were put on the home row because Dr. Dvorak wanted the design to be quick and effective:
- A (3rd)
- O (4th)
- E (1st)
- U (13th)
- H (8th)
- T (2nd)
- N (6th)
- S (7th)
As you can see, the Dvorak layout also places the first and second most often used letters in the English language, E and T, on the middle finger, which is the longest finger. Additionally, the most frequent punctuation is located just above the left hand’s home row, which has been found to have benefits for typists who use this keyboard layout.
However, there is preliminary research that suggests Dvorak (and Colemak) typists tend to be more accurate. The Dvorak layout is not frequently used, hence the sample size of typists who use it is too small to make a clear conclusion of the layout is intrinsically faster than the QWERTY layout.
If you want to try this layout, you can be reassured in the knowledge that, at the very least, you might become a more accurate typist. However, as with learning anything new, it will take months to get used to, and the more practice you put into mastering the Dvorak layout, the more progress you will make and the faster you will be able to type.
It is fairly simple to set up your keyboard for a Dvorak layout if you want to start using one. All you need to do is modify the keyboard settings in your computer’s system preferences. Your keyboard’s keycaps will be inaccurate since they are still set up for a QWERTY layout even after you change the settings so that you can type on a Dvorak layout. Make sure to get a keycap puller before you start removing and reconfiguring your keycaps, and then allot 20 minutes to do it the right way for the Dvorak layout.
If you want to type more quickly in the long run and are up for the challenge of learning something new, Dvorak is a terrific choice. The Dvorak layout may take some time to get used to, but the effort will be worthwhile in the end.
Finally, we have the Colemak layout, which was created in 2006 by Shai Coleman and is one of the newest keyboard layouts. It was intended to be an improvement on the Dvorak, where the O (4th) is swapped out for the R (9th), the E (1st) for the S (7th), and the U (13th) for the T from the right hand (2nd). In contrast to the Dvorak, the Colemak’s right hand has the H (8th) in place of the N (6th), the T (2nd) in place of the E (1st), the N (6th) in place of the I (5th), and the S in place of the O (4th):
- A (3rd)
- R (9th)
- S (7th)
- T (2nd)
- N (6th)
- E (1st)
- I (5th)
- O (4th)
With the Colemak layout, the letter I makes its debut in the home row. The punctuation keys are located in the same location as on a QWERTY keyboard, with the exception of the colon/semicolon key, which is shifted above the home row. Colemak may be simpler if you want to transition from QWERTY to a different layout because there are less keys that need to be replaced because of the identical period and comma keys.
On a Mac, moving to Dvorak is quite similar to switching to a Colemak layout. However, there is no simple way to change your keyboard settings on a Windows PC, which is one of the reasons it has a very tiny user base.
Although it is challenging to get a Windows PC to run a perfect Colemak layout, Colemak.com has developed a third-party application for Windows users, even though this program does not replace the Caps Lock on a QWERTY keyboard with the second Backspace key. All things considered, it is evident that the Dvorak community holds the Colemak layout in high regard, and both are well regarded in the QWERTY typing community as a whole.
Conclusion: Which Layout Should You Choose? QWERTY or Dvorak or Colemak
There are a few considerations when contrasting the QWERTY layout with the Dvorak and Colemak layouts. First off, the QWERTY keyboard layout is far less effective than the other two layouts and is only so widespread now because to its long history and widespread use over the previous 150 years.
When switching from the QWERTY layout, the Colemak layout is undoubtedly the most efficient and user-friendly. However, you would need to obtain a third-party application that does not remap the Backspace key with Caps Lock as in a real Colemak layout. Whatever keyboard layout you decide on, enjoy yourself while typing.