Dvorak keyboard training

This is a free online typing course, that enables you to learn the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout rather quickly. There are five lessons, each of which most people can complete within two hours. After these lessons, you will be able to touch type the entire alphabet.

EN NL DE SV PL ?

  ~  !  @  #  $  %  ^  &  *  (  )  {  }  ____
  `  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  0  [  ]   BS 
 ___  "  <  >                       ?  +  |  
 Tab  '  ,  .  P  Y  F  G  C  R  L  /  =  \  
 ____                                _  _____
 Caps  A  O  E  U  I  D  H  T  N  S  -  Enter
 _____  :                             _______
 Shift  ;  Q  J  K  X  B  M  W  V  Z   Shift 

Instructions

How does this tutor program work?
Put your fingers on the 8 base positions "AOEU HTNS" ("ASDF JKL;" on a QWERTY keyboard) and type the highlighted word. Press the spacebar after each word. Good luck!
How is learn.dvorak.nl different from other Dvorak typing courses?
Almost all keyboard education software is stuck in the age of QWERTY, where not a lot of words can be made with just the home row, and you had to type endless sequences of letters (but not words). Most Dvorak keyboard tutors use the same approach, but instead of "fff jjj fjfj", they'll have "uuu hhh uhuh", even though this inefficient way of learning to type is no longer necessary with the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. Instead of focussing on the positions of letters first and letter patterns (muscle movement patterns!) second, this site skips right to learning to type entire words. The first lesson introduces all eight base positions. I believe that this is the golden mean between learning individual letters, and switching to Dvorak cold turkey.
How often should I repeat a lesson and when should I advance to the next one?
There are no set values for this. Do whatever feels good. But if you really need my guidance, how about advancing when you can finish an entire lesson (100 words) in 15 minutes?
Why no punctuation?
When you've finished all the lessons and can type the entire alphabet without looking at the keys, you're ready to use Dvorak in day to day use. Keep a cheat sheet nearby for the punctuation keys, and you'll quickly learn them. Only 9 non-alphanumeric keys are different from QWERTY; you can probably do that on your own.

Keyboard settings

You do not have to change your keyboard settings to use this site (if you're using US QWERTY, QWERTZ or AZERTY.) Do you see that drop-down that says "No keyboard mapping"? When you choose your current layout from that list, you can type Dvorak here without changing anything on your computer.

But... everything else will still be QWERTY / QWERTZ / AZERTY...
Yes. That's okay, it won't slow you down when learning Dvorak. Just learn the alphabet first, and configure your keyboard layout later. Not being able to type words is incredibly frustrating; you don't have to put yourself through that.
I've finished lesson 5 and I rock. Can I change my settings now?
Of course, and you definitely should! In Windows, it's under Language Settings, (not Keyboard). In Mac OS X, under International. Under Linux you can set it via your desktop environment's configuration manager, or you can run "setxkbmap dvorak" in X or "loadkeys dvorak" on the console.

Keyboard labels?

Is modifying your keyboard the best way to learn a new layout?
Not really. The best way to learn a new layout is to use blank keys. If you want blanking stickers for your keyboard and don't mind spending € 5 plus shipping, just e-mail me. They're black, by the way.
What if I don't want to relabel my keyboard?
Just keep using your QWERTY labels then. It can be a bit confusing, but it's still a good way to learn Dvorak, because it encourages you not to look at the keys.
So labeling your keyboard with a Dvorak layout is a bad idea?
Yes, while you're still learning the layout it's better if your keyboard doesn't try to help you. To see the letters, you need to remove your hands, and that movement screws up the training scheme. When you've mastered the alphabet, though, proper key labels can help you to locate those nasty seldom used symbols. Besides that, it'll look really cool and be a great conversation starter.
But I still want them because it'll make my keyboard (and me) look more interesting. Do you sell Dvorak keyboard stickers/labels?
Yes. With these, you can change any keyboard to the Dvorak layout in 10 minutes. The stickers will stay on for years on end (if you cleaned your keyboard before applying the labels). The following colors are available:
  • white on black (also available in 15x15 mm for island keyboards)
  • black on white (also available in 15x15 mm for island keyboards)
  • yellow on transparent
  • red on transparent
  • orange on transparent
  • blue on transparent
Send an e-mail to aoeu@aoe.nl if you want to order. They're € 5 per sheet; shipping is free for addresses in The Netherlands, € 3 for international destinations.