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MacBook owner opts for Dvorak layout

updated 10:40 am EST, Wed December 27, 2006

MacBook Dvorak layout

One enthusiastic Apple owner has physically modified his MacBook keyboard to utilize the Dvorak keyboard layout. Seeking the more modern Dvorak layout -- which is faster than the antiquated QWERTY style still in widespread use today -- resulted in the exchange of several keys using a standard mini screwdriver to produce the desired effect, according to Most modern operating systems -- including Apple's Mac OS X -- ship with built-in support for the Dvorak keyboard layout to accommodate customers who need or desire a faster means of typing text on a regular basis. The original QWERTY keyboard layout was invented in the 1860s by newspaper editor Christopher Sholes in Milwaukee, who also invented the modern typewriter. The aged QWERTY typing style was engineered to place the most frequently-pressed keys as far apart as possible to prevent mechanical bars in original typewriters from becoming entangled with one another, ultimately slowing down typing speed.

by MacNN Staff





  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In other words he broke i

    In other words he broke his keyboard by removing the keys. What's the point?

  1. Euge

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Qwerty Myth

    Contrary to popular belief, the QWERTY layout was not created to slow down typing. As a matter of fact, Sholes originally had it in alphabetical order. Reconfiguring it to the qwerty layout actually reduced jamming.

  1. pottymouth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    He didn't break his keyboard, he just moved the keys. I think that should be fairly simple on a typical laptop keyboard where all the letters are basically the same shape and size. Doesn't work so well with a desktop keyboard where they are angled differently row to row.

    I gave Dvorak a whirl but found that any increase in typing speed was completely killed by the much longer reaches for standard keyboard shortcuts. I guess I just don't type enough to make it worthwhile.

  1. Sosa

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dvorak Should be Standard

    Or at least Apple should have it as an physical keyboard option when ordering a new computer. I have a Powerbook I've been wanting to switch to Dvorak but I'm afraid of breaking the keyboard. My next computer I want it on a Dvorak keyboard! Anyway I did it on the Dell at work by rearranging the keys and it works well, although some of the angles are off. Its also cool that no one else can type on it!

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I depend on Dvorak

    Both windows and MacOS have had Dvorak layouts available just about forever. The dvorak 'home row' layout of aoeuidhtns makes typing fast (eventually) but more important, it makes it a lot easier. It would be nice to have the physical keys show the letter that appears when you type on them. But it's completely unnecessary if you're a touch typist, and that's the whole point, isn't it? If you're going to switch, and I would highly recommend it, make sure you have a couple of weeks to acclimatize yourself. In 12 weeks just about anyone will be typing 50 or 60 words a minute -- that's another Dvorak difference that almost no one mentions, is that it's easier for everyone to get up to a pretty good average speed. Have fun, everyone!

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    this is news?

    What's next, "MacBook owner plugs non-Apple mouse into computer!" ???

  1. sehix

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dvorak (keyboard) & Apple

    Dvorak keyboard layouts (there are a couple of varients) have been available most of the time on Apple's computers since the Apple/// and //e. The trick was usually finding out that it was there, and how to access it.

    It is quite possible to map the keyboard so you have Dvorak layout for typing, and keep some of the command-key equivalents in the same place as in Qwerty, if you really want to.

    Dvorak really can make for greatly reduced effort if you type a lot, I've used it off and on since 1980. (It's not a practical option if you have to use employer-supplied machines at work, unfortunately.)

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Beta vs VHS

    Petrol vs Diesel, Fast Food vs Food that is good for you, iPod vs Everything else, one button rodent vs multi buttons-- QWERTY will never die, people can barely type on it as is, let alone change. DVORAK will never hold the user mindshare that QWERTY does. Ever.

    We'll see eye, pen, voice or telekinetic inputs before DVORAK is widly adopted.

    Think back to the early 90s when the US was going to change to Metric to be like the rest of the world. Never happened. Even England is split 50/50 on Old English measurements and metric. Simply put: It may be great for some folks, but it isn't going to become mainstream.

    More power to the modder, he's ensured no one will touch his laptop.

  1. macs4all

    Joined: Dec 1969


    OS X and Dvorak (ASK)

    I believe that OS X has an alternate Dvorak (Actually, American Simplified Keyboard (ASK)), that tries to accomodate muscle memory regarding keyboard shortcuts, by switching temporarily to the QWERTY layout when the Command (Apple) key is pressed.

  1. Salsa

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The D-Q Keyboard Layout

    Apple has a keyboard layout called D-Q that uses Dvorak for typing and QWERTY for keyboard commands. That's what I use. You can find that layout in the input menu of the International preference control panel.

    When I first switched to Dvorak, I put those stickers on my keys so I could see which key was which, but I quickly got used to them and began touch typing and haven't needed those stickers since.

    The main advantage of Dvorak is that it's easier on the hands since you don't have to reach as much. It helps prevent fatigue in the forearms and carpal tunnel syndrome.

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