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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Reigning Three Keyboard Layouts

By Sam Miller

If you use your computer day in and day out, then you just might be familiar with the QWERTY keyboard. Moreover, you also might have the ability to type very fast using this particular keyboard layout. However, are you aware that there are other keyboard layouts that are available? Yes, there are indeed so many layouts that you can choose from. The QWERTY keyboard layout is not the only one; it's just one of the popular ones. Including the QWERTY, there are actually three keyboard layouts that are popular. The other two include the DVORAK and the COLEMAK.

You may ask yourself right now, why is there a need to have many keyboard layouts developed? Why not just stick to the QWERTY keyboard layout? The reason behind the many available layouts is actually simple: ease of use. While you may find the QWERTY layout the most functional for you, not all computer users might share the same sentiments. This is precisely why other keyboard layouts have been developed. To determine which particular layout just might be the most functional for you, it would actually be better to look into the history of each of these layouts, so that you can make a wiser and more informed decision.

Christopher Sholes is actually the person who developed the popular QWERTY keyboard. Back in the day, the keyboard layout of mechanical typewriters was not really that efficient. At the time, the frequently used vowels and consonants that were arranged too close to each other. Consequently, the keys kept jamming against each other, rendering the original layout useless. Thus, Sholes took it upon himself to rearrange the keys so that frequently used vowels and consonants would no longer get jammed against each other. Over time, this became the standard when it comes to electronic keyboards.

Still, there is always room for improvement. Well, the perception of improvement here would depend on one's preferences. This is the reason behind Dr. August Dvorak's decision to develop the DVORAK keyboard layout. Note that the name of the layout does not pertain to the position of the keys at all; rather, it pertains to the doctor's surname itself. With the DVORAK keyboard layout, the most frequently used keys are actually located as close as possible to the home keys. This way, the stronger fingers would be used in hitting these frequent keys. Your pinky fingers, in fact, would have just four letters to operate. Combinations of letters that are considered frequent are easily typed in as well.

The Colemak keyboard layout is the modern alternative to the two layouts previously discussed. This layout was designed to incorporate ergonomics when touch-typing. With this layout, your fingers would have a more comfortable position, that you can even type 35 times more words with just the home row! What's more, the layout is very easy to learn, and typing lessons are available just about anywhere. Like the DVORAK keyboard, the stronger fingers handle most of the typing as well.

There you have it, the three keyboard layouts that are very popular amongst the many computer users of today. So, which should you choose? As mentioned above, you should go with the layout that is the most comfortable for you.

If you are interested in three keyboard layouts, check this web-site to learn more about three keys layout.

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