Author Topic: Colemak or Dvorak  (Read 5883 times)

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Offline Chaotic Embers

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Colemak or Dvorak
« on: Sun, 22 January 2012, 20:09:14 »
What are the advantages of each? Right now I am leaning toward Dvorak, because I'm afraid that Colemak will be too similar to Qwerty and I might subconsciously switch back to Qwerty whilst typing on Colemak. Dvorak, on the other hand, is completely different (obviously). Also, I am only 15 (please do not treat me like an utter moron) so it's not like I've been touch typing Qwerty for a long time.

Offline Tony

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 22 January 2012, 20:41:01 »
Both these layouts are excellent alternatives for Qwerty.

Colemak is a bit better:
- It has more balanced workload splitting between hands. Dvorak use the right hands too much.
- It keeps ZXCVQWABHM in the same place, so editing hotkeys (copy, paste, cut, undo, select all) remain unchanged. Learning is also faster since you only have to learn the rest 17 keys

I am a Colemak user and I confirm that your fear of switching back to Qwerty because of Colemak's similarity is imaginative but not true, like your fear of stumbling while walking when you were 1 years old.
« Last Edit: Sun, 22 January 2012, 20:45:40 by Tony »
Keyboard: Filco MJ1 104 brown, Filco MJ2 87 brown, Compaq MX11800, Noppoo Choc Brown/Blue/Red, IBM Model M 1996, CMStorm Quickfire Rapid Black
Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline AUAnonymous

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 22 January 2012, 22:30:54 »
If you are a good QWERTY touch typist, I would actually suggest sticking with QWERTY just to make your life easier in the long run (dealing with other people's computers etc.), but if not I would also suggest trying out Colemak for the same reasons Tony listed. Also I found that Dvorak has some awkward letter placements like 'l' and 's' that are hard to type together. I may be a bit biased because I use Colemak, but I think purely from the perspective of the layout, it is better than Dvorak.
Noppoo Choc Mini (MX Blacks) - First mechanical keyboard :D
Why don\'t you give Colemak a try? You\'ll like it, I promise.*

*Not a real promise

fossala

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 00:38:10 »
I decided to learn dvorak rather than colmak because it is built into most OS's (Windows, OS X and anything with Xorg (*BSD, Linux, Solaris etc)) where as colemak has still to make it into Windows and only just made it into OS X in the latest version.

Offline Tony

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 01:10:09 »
Check this Alternative Layout review by a geekhacker who have tried both Dvorak and Colemak with speed around ~100wpm
 
http://geekhack.org/showwiki.php?title=Island:10018

And check the Carpalx website for more information

http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/carpalx/?keyboard_layouts
« Last Edit: Mon, 23 January 2012, 01:17:53 by Tony »
Keyboard: Filco MJ1 104 brown, Filco MJ2 87 brown, Compaq MX11800, Noppoo Choc Brown/Blue/Red, IBM Model M 1996, CMStorm Quickfire Rapid Black
Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline ZeroGraVT

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 04:16:42 »
I switched to Colemak about 3.5 months ago for the same reasons outlined above. I read the review here on GH and it was very helpful when deciding. I also read other people's experiences like Tony's and decided to go for it. It was slow at first but now I've caught up with my old QWERTY speed and slowly starting to surpass it. From time to time I do find myself pressing a key that would be in QWERTY but that's to be expected. Properly learn how to touch type in Colemak and I think you'll find it's very rhythmic almost effortless at times especially compared to QWERTY. When I was first learning it, I thought it was very similar to playing a piano though I can't actually play the piano. I think it was because how my fingers stayed mostly on the home row and how you can type complete words just by staying on the home row.

Offline sordna

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 13:36:38 »
Quote from: Tony;496492
I am a Colemak user and I confirm that your fear of switching back to Qwerty because of Colemak's similarity is imaginative but not true, like your fear of stumbling while walking when you were 1 years old.

So you can switch between the 2 layouts wihtout problem? What's your current WPM with each layout?
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline cactux

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 13:39:48 »
g
[FS]☠ The temple lol ->HERE<-

fossala

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 14:07:29 »
Quote from: cactux;496942
g

I concur.

Offline erw

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 15:13:27 »
Quote from: AUAnonymous;496533
If you are a good QWERTY touch typist, I would actually suggest sticking with QWERTY just to make your life easier in the long run (dealing with other people's computers etc.)


This really depends on how much you use other people's computers.

I think an alternative layout would have been tough when I worked in tech support in an office with 50 employees. That was 4 hours a week (compared to the maybe 100 hours a week I use my own computers).

But if it was simply sharing one computer with a QWERTY user, setting up layout switching or a portable layout shouldn't be too bad. Or this: http://colemak.com/Converter (it's pretty awesome in all its simplicity).

If it's simply helping out with installing a program for a friend or putting a song on at a party (the extent to which I use QWERTY now), I don't mind hunting and pecking. And if you can maintain touchtyping in two layouts, there's no problem at all :)
Kinesis Advantage LF (MX Red), Kinesis Advantage (MX Brown), Colemak

Offline Chaotic Embers

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 23:07:14 »
Okay thanks for all of the replies guys, I really (really) appreciate it. I guess I've decided, Colemak it is. I'm hoping to start as soon as I have a free weekend so I guess about a week or two. What do you guys think about getting colemak stickers for my laptop keys to help me learn the locations? (long-term use?) Also, does anybody here have any thoughts on the portable colemak tool? I was hoping I could put it on my flashdrive so I could use Colemak at school when doing a long paper/project. And one more question, what would be a good (free) typing tool to help my transition to Colemak?

Thanks again,
Barrett

Offline Chaotic Embers

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 23:12:06 »
Quote from: cactux;496942
g

Quote from: fossala;496965
I concur.

You both make some really solid points that are tough to argue against.

Online Input Nirvana

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 23 January 2012, 23:21:41 »
I used TypeTrainer4Mac, about a third of the way through I quit and just kept on typing!
Kinesis Advantage | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | all on Mac
Evil Screaming Flying Door Monkeys From Hell               Proudly Geekwhacking since 2009
Staying in touch with Tapatalk Pro                               Thanks much, Smallfry

Offline Tony

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 06:12:10 »
Quote from: sordna;496940
So you can switch between the 2 layouts wihtout problem? What's your current WPM with each layout?

I dropped Qwerty completely when I'd reached 25wpm in Colemak. Keeping both layouts slow you down in both and make your fingers confused.
Keyboard: Filco MJ1 104 brown, Filco MJ2 87 brown, Compaq MX11800, Noppoo Choc Brown/Blue/Red, IBM Model M 1996, CMStorm Quickfire Rapid Black
Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline erw

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 09:07:42 »
Quote from: Tony;497481
I dropped Qwerty completely when I'd reached 25wpm in Colemak. Keeping both layouts slow you down in both and make your fingers confused.


I did the same.

Then I surpassed my old QWERTY touch typing speed in two months. Since then, I've been jumping around in the 70-80 WPM range at hi-games.net. Their texts are a bit harder than typeracer, where I'm closer to 80 than to 70.

Kinesis Advantage LF (MX Red), Kinesis Advantage (MX Brown), Colemak

Offline boli

  • Posts: 350
Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #15 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 11:47:53 »
Quote from: Chaotic Embers;497327
Okay thanks for all of the replies guys, I really (really) appreciate it. I guess I've decided, Colemak it is. I'm hoping to start as soon as I have a free weekend so I guess about a week or two. What do you guys think about getting colemak stickers for my laptop keys to help me learn the locations? (long-term use?) Also, does anybody here have any thoughts on the portable colemak tool? I was hoping I could put it on my flashdrive so I could use Colemak at school when doing a long paper/project. And one more question, what would be a good (free) typing tool to help my transition to Colemak?

Grats on your decision for Colemak, welcome to the club. :)

You might want to check out colemak.com for tips, lessons etc. And also to read other people's experiences while learning, as well as maybe adding your own.

About your questions: Instead of stickers hidden by your fingers I'd suggest attaching a small print of the layout to your display. You won't need it for long though, as learning the new locations is easy enough. The hard part is convincing your fingers. :)
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline Tony

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #16 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 12:03:29 »
1. Portable Colemak tool:
http://www.mediafire.com/?c84idcqnvt10y2y

2. Learning Colemak software
TypeFaster. It is free. For learning Colemak only.
Amphetype. It is free too. For offline typing exercises.
Typeracer.com and hi-games.net. For online typing fun.

3. Colemak stickers:

I don't use any. Since Colemak requires touch typing, right from start I do not look at the keyboard and therefore keeps the Qwerty legends intact.
« Last Edit: Tue, 24 January 2012, 12:09:13 by Tony »
Keyboard: Filco MJ1 104 brown, Filco MJ2 87 brown, Compaq MX11800, Noppoo Choc Brown/Blue/Red, IBM Model M 1996, CMStorm Quickfire Rapid Black
Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline sordna

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 12:22:34 »
Quote from: Tony;497481
I dropped Qwerty completely when I'd reached 25wpm in Colemak. Keeping both layouts slow you down in both and make your fingers confused.

So basically you confirm what the OP asked, being able to type 2 similar layouts is confusing! This means I made the right choice learning Dvorak years ago. I can switch back and forth easily, probably because they are very dissimilar. I score around 100WPM on dvorak and 70WPM on qwerty, and can therefore use most people's computers without them questioning I'm a computer professional :-)
« Last Edit: Tue, 24 January 2012, 12:27:00 by sordna »
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline boli

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 12:37:15 »
Quote from: sordna;497672
So basically you confirm what the OP said: Being able to type 2 similar layouts is confusing! This means I made the right choice learning Dvorak years ago. I can switch back and forth easily, probably because they are very dissimilar. I score around 100WPM on dvorak and 70WPM on qwerty, and can therefore use most people's computers without them questioning I'm a computer professional :-)

I think a widely accepted theory over at the Colemak forums is that it's entirely subjective. ;)

As I've switched cold turkey myself I can't offer any experiences. It seems plausible to me that it is confusing using a similar old layout while learning a new one, however I do think it's easier to relearn QWERTY once Colemak is mastered. Personally I've never felt the need to relearn QWERTY, even though I don't look like a professional when using someone else's computer, as I resort to hunting & pecking mostly. ;) If I do have to type for more than 2 minutes I install/switch to Colemak and after that I do look like a professional once more. :P If I want to look any more pro I let them see my Advantage. :D Seriously though, it doesn't happen often enough to make relearning QWERTY worthwhile.

BTW here's a counter example to above theory. Ryan Heise (creator of hi-games.net) maintained his QWERTY skill while learning Colemak, and he also learned at an incredible pace!
ryanheise.com/colemak/

I tell myself this is far from typical, because it took me one year to get back to my old speed (to be fair I also switched to the Advantage during that year). ;)
« Last Edit: Wed, 25 January 2012, 02:07:28 by boli »
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline ZeroGraVT

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 13:01:21 »
For me I had to do it cold turkey because on the first day my fingers would get really confused and I just had a hard time typing in Qwerty again. I tried relearning Qwerty after a few weeks after that and could do it at around 15wpm but decided it was counter productive for me so I just stuck with colemak. It is only 17 letters between the two that you have to learn so I don't see why you can't learn both and be proficient at both.

Offline sordna

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 13:13:35 »
I'd like to collect more data about this, I find it fascinating. Anyway, in my case I switched cold turkey to Dvorak and totally stayed away from QWERTY on purpose (with rare/emergency exceptions) for at least 6 months (until my Dvorak speed reached my old qwerty speed). That was a long time ago, now I go to typeracer on my Poker (qwerty) once a week or so to practice the skill. I also type qwerty on laptops, but more than 90% of the time I'm on Kinesis Advantage LF's set to Dvorak. For some reason it's extremely confusing for me to type QWERTY on the Advantage, probably because that's where I learnt dvorak on... but it works out well, native dvorak on the Advantage, and qwerty everywhere else, which conveniently implies all computers I work on can have standard US keyboard layout in the OS settings.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline WhiteFireDragon

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 13:20:54 »
If we just took your Kinesis away, would you be able to type Dvorak on your linear keyboards?

Offline sordna

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 13:28:58 »
Yes, I can touch-type Dvorak on flat keyboards (I make typos though because of the stupid staggered layout) but I'm not too confused. But my conscious choice is QWERTY on flat keyboards just so I can be comfortable any computer that's not my own / doesn't have a Kinesis hooked to it. If you took my Kinesis away forever though, I would switch to Dvorak on flat keyboards.
Kinesis Contoured Advantage LF with Cherry MX Red switches / Extra keys mod / O-ring dampening mod / Dvorak layout. ErgoDox with buzzer and LED mod.
Also: Kinesis Advantage Classic, Kinesis Contoured Model 110, Data911 TG3, Fingerworks Touchstream LP, KBC Poker (Cherry MX Red), IBM Space Saving keyboard (Buckling spring), Goldtouch GTU-0077 keyboard

Offline boli

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #23 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 13:44:24 »
Interesting indeed. :) In the Colemak forums I also read about the fact that it's apparently easier to use a different layout on a physically different keyboard in the Colemak forums, which your experience supports.
Keyboard: Kinesis Ergo Advantage (two LF editions with red Cherry switches, one regular with brown switches)
Keyboard layout: basically Colemak, with some remapping to end up with my custom Kinesis Advantage layout
Typing test profiles: typeracer.com / hi-games.net / keybr.com

Offline erw

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #24 on: Tue, 24 January 2012, 14:43:02 »
Quote from: sordna;497672
So basically you confirm what the OP asked, being able to type 2 similar layouts is confusing! This means I made the right choice learning Dvorak years ago.


Your QWERTY skills might look professional, but your logical reasoning seems a bit rash ;-)
« Last Edit: Tue, 24 January 2012, 14:46:56 by erw »
Kinesis Advantage LF (MX Red), Kinesis Advantage (MX Brown), Colemak

Online Input Nirvana

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 25 January 2012, 01:38:17 »
Quote from: erw;497827
Your QWERTY skills might look professional, but your logical reasoning seems a bit rash ;-)


BANG!  And this corner, weighing in at whatever, is the challengerrrrr........ERWWWWWWWWW........
Kinesis Advantage | RollerMouse Free 2 | Apple Magic Trackpad | Alphagrip | Colemak | all on Mac
Evil Screaming Flying Door Monkeys From Hell               Proudly Geekwhacking since 2009
Staying in touch with Tapatalk Pro                               Thanks much, Smallfry

Offline dish

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 27 January 2012, 21:23:54 »
Is there anyone who typed 130+ wpm in QWERTY on a 5 minute test and switched to dvorak or colemak and achieved tangible benefits?

I've thought about switching a few times, but I mostly see inconveniences.  I already type kind of odd with qwerty.  I use different fingers to press the same key depending on the sequence of letters I'm typing, and I've never tried to consciously decipher how I do that.  I did learn to touch type properly in school and got up to ~120 wpm that way, but it feels so much more natural to me to type how I do now.  The idea behind colemak/dvorak seems to be exactly what I am doing with how I type qwerty.

I did poke through the colemak forums briefly, but besides the guy who spent six months or so typing to achieve okay results I didn't see a whole lot going on there.
« Last Edit: Fri, 27 January 2012, 21:41:57 by dish »

Offline Playtrumpet

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 27 January 2012, 23:39:23 »
^

I was a 110-120+ Qwerty typist when I decided to learn Dvorak. I'm up to about the same average now after about 5 months, but with higher top speeds. Still, 5 months vs nearly a decade and a half of Qwerty - I always believe I can get faster and so I always practice. ^_^
Das S Ultimate Brown | Dvorak

Offline Tony

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Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 27 January 2012, 23:45:26 »
Quote from: dish;501225
Is there anyone who typed 130+ wpm in QWERTY on a 5 minute test and switched to dvorak or colemak and achieved tangible benefits?

I've thought about switching a few times, but I mostly see inconveniences.  I already type kind of odd with qwerty.  I use different fingers to press the same key depending on the sequence of letters I'm typing, and I've never tried to consciously decipher how I do that.  I did learn to touch type properly in school and got up to ~120 wpm that way, but it feels so much more natural to me to type how I do now.  The idea behind colemak/dvorak seems to be exactly what I am doing with how I type qwerty.

I did poke through the colemak forums briefly, but besides the guy who spent six months or so typing to achieve okay results I didn't see a whole lot going on there.

If you care about your speed, do not try any other layout. The switching experience is quite difficult and it takes about 6 months to a year to get back full speed.

Ryan Heise, the hi-games.net author, has switched from 120wpm in Qwerty to 130wpm in Colemak in 6 months.

Colemak/Dvorak cannot make you type much faster, but brings you typing comfort and make you less tired when typing for a long time.

My speed gain is only 5wpm after switching to Colemak, but I am happy with the comfort Colemak brings. My hands most of the time remain on the home row.
« Last Edit: Sat, 28 January 2012, 00:11:23 by Tony »
Keyboard: Filco MJ1 104 brown, Filco MJ2 87 brown, Compaq MX11800, Noppoo Choc Brown/Blue/Red, IBM Model M 1996, CMStorm Quickfire Rapid Black
Layout: Colemak experience, speed of 67wpm

Offline erw

  • Posts: 112
Colemak or Dvorak
« Reply #29 on: Sat, 28 January 2012, 04:20:07 »
Quote from: Tony;501308
it takes about 6 months to a year to get back full speed.


I agree with everything else, but let's not make these six months a universal truth. It might apply for most 120+ WPM people, but even here, I don't really think 120+ WPM is the norm. I was touch typing QWERTY at 60-65 WPM when I switched and now, I'm at 75-80. I could also have gotten faster with QWERTY, but the faster I typed, the more it hurt. But the point still is, I surpassed my QWERTY speed in two months.
Kinesis Advantage LF (MX Red), Kinesis Advantage (MX Brown), Colemak