Keyboard Hardware Dvorak vs Software Dvorak

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Which is better, keyboard with Dvorak layout builtin, or software Dvorak via the operating system?

There are advantages for both.

Hardware Dvorak Advantage

  1. Plug in keyboard to any computer and use right away. No need to switch layout in OS.
  2. Your co-worker can type with another keyboard plugged into the same computer, or the builtin laptop keyboard.
  3. If you type Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, or using any input methods based on English letters, now you can type it using Dvorak layout.

Disadvantage:

Software Dvorak Advantage

  1. On Mac or Linux, you can use a layout of Dvorak with QWERTY shortcuts.
  2. If you have a laptop and a external keyboard of hardware Dvorak, and you turn on Dvorak layout for your laptop, the external keyboard will now type gibberish. You don't have this problem if all your keyboards are software Dvorak.

Disadvantage:

Switching Layout

Using software Dvorak, you can easily toggle between QWERTY or DVORAK, by hitting a key combination in OS, such as Left Alt+Shift.

Using hardware Dvorak, you can usually easily toggle too, either by pressing a special key, or less conveniently by using a dip switch. It depends on the keyboard.

For example, on Kinesis Advantage Keyboard, you can switch by pressing special button progm+F3 for QWERTY and progm+F4 for Dvorak.

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Kinesis Advantage 2

For example, on TypeMatrix Keyboard, press fn+F1 to toggle Dvorak.

typematrix keyboard 2030 29175 s
TypeMatrix

List of Dvorak Keyboards

List of Dvorak Keyboards

Keyboard Layouts

  1. qwerty heatmap  to build a fire-s365x171
    Alternative Layouts
  2. Alt Graph, Compose, Dead Key
  3. Most Efficient Layout?
  4. Maltron vs Dvorak
  5. Colemak vs Workman

Dvorak

  1. Dvorak Layout
  2. Hardware vs Software Dvorak
  3. Myth of QWERTY vs Dvorak
  4. Dvorak vs Colemak
  5. Blank Keycaps vs Labeled Keys
  6. List of Dvorak Keyboards
  7. Qwerty to Dvorak, A PhD thesis, 1978

International

  1. International Layouts
  2. QWERTZ, AZERTY
  3. German
  4. German Ergonomic
  5. French
  6. New French Layout
  7. French Ergonomic
  8. French Letter Frequency
  9. Russian
  10. Portuguese Ergonomic
  11. Chinese Input Methods
  12. Japanese Layouts

Layout Efficiency

  1. English letter frequency To Build a Fire  Jack London 50383
    Char Frequency Counter
  2. Most Efficient Layout for Numbers?
  3. Semicolon vs Apostrophe Frequency
  4. Inverted Number Row Better?

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