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Shipman's Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) page

Here is the story of my conversion to the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard.

I learned touch-typing in 1962 at the age of 12. Although I have never been primarily a typist, my work has always involved a lot of typing, maybe three hours a day. By age 30 I could do about 40wpm.

In 1980 I converted to the DSK. After about 20 years of daily use I could do about 80 wpm.

I don't need the Dvorak symbols on the keytops. That would defeat the whole purpose of touch typing, which is to look at the copy (and occasionally the screen), never the keyboard.

I can still cope with a QWERTY keyboard if necessary, at about 20–30wpm.

The keying rate does not tell the whole story. My error rate and fatigue both went way down after the conversion. People who watch me typing often spontaneously observe that my fingers barely seem to be moving at all.

Some people were first exposed to the DSK when the Apple III came out in the early 1980s. This machine had a built-in DSK arrangement that was enabled by a simple keystroke combination. I'll take some indirect credit for this. My friend Tom Root worked on that operating system and it was due to my arm-twisting that he added that feature.


2006 update

Around 2000 I purchased a Kinesis Essential keyboard (see Shipman's Kinesis keyboard page), and set it up with a DSK layout. I can currently maintain keying rates of about 100wpm.

Here are the Linux keyboard layouts I currently use. Both are based more or less on the current Windows XP and MacOs X built-in layouts, which in turn are based loosely on the ANSI X4.22-1983 standard; for information on this standard, and a lot more on layouts, see Roedy Green's DSK page.

Here's my layout for the Kinesis Essential:

+  !  @  #  $  %     ^  &  *  (  )  |
=  1  2  3  4  5     6  7  8  9  0  \

    "  <  >  P  Y     F  G  C  R  L  ?
tab '  ,  .  p  y     f  g  c  r  l  /

     A  O  E  U  I     D  H  T  N  S  _
     a  o  e  u  i     d  h  t  n  s  -

      :  Q  J  K  X     B  M  W  V  Z
      ;  q  j  k  x     b  m  w  v  z
The keys on the lowest row (`[]) are unchanged.

Here's the layout I use for a standard 101-key keyboard under Linux:

~  !  @  #  $  %     ^  &  *  (  )  {  }
`  1  2  3  4  5     6  7  8  9  0  [  ]

    "  <  >  P  Y     F  G  C  R  L  ?  +  |
    '  ,  .  p  y     f  g  c  r  l  /  =  \

     A  O  E  U  I     D  H  T  N  S  _
     a  o  e  u  i     d  h  t  n  s  -

      :  Q  J  K  X     B  M  W  V  Z
      ;  q  j  k  x     b  m  w  v  z

I use xmodmap under X-windows for these remaps.


Next: Shipman's Brief History of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK)
See also: Shipman's ergonomics page
Previous: Shipman's ergonomics books and links
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John W. Shipman, john@nmt.edu
Last updated: 2006/04/19 18:16:09
URL: http://www.nmt.edu/~shipman/ergo/dsk.html