Make a Dvorak / US Keyboard

Introduction: Make a Dvorak / US Keyboard

About: I am a fiction writer who believes that if technology is truly labor-saving, we should use it to get more done.

Why make a Dvorak keyboard? Dvorak is easier to type allowing you to type faster, it lessen finger fatigue while typing, and make it so you don't have to share your computer with most people. There is an initial learning curve, so it turns off a lot of people.

However, if you are like me, I find it easier to hunt and peck until I learn the keyboard layout and then start to touch type later. Unfortunately, most people recommend using a blank keyboard or a regular keyboard and typing the new layout without the advantage of looking at your hands. Looking at your hands is a bad habit in typing.

I propose making a keyboard that can switch back and forth between Dvorak and the standard US QWERTY layout. I couldn't find a Dvorak skin for my keyboard, so I tried the approach of rearranging the keys and using a QWERTY overlay.

Read more about the Dvorak layout here. (This method works for the Colemak layout as well.) Other perspectives are here.

Step 1: Stuff You Will Need.

1.) A Logitech K400R keyboard. They are about $20 at Walmart.

2.) COSMOS keyboard skin

3.) Some kind of prying tool.

Step 2: Take Apart the Keyboard

1.) Pry up a key.

2.) Pry off the letter keys and punctuation keys.

3) Save out the J and F keys. They are special. In a QWERTY keyboard they go where the index fingers go. We are moving them, so they need to be like every other key.

Step 3: Assemble the Keyboard in It's New Format.

1.) Place all keys in back on the keyboard in the Dvorak Layout.

2.) Save the F and J keys for modification.

Step 4: Modify the F and J Keys.

1.) The F and J keys are different. They are keyed so they only fit in the slots they came from. With a knife, carefully remove the little line of plastic at the top of the key stem.

2.) Also remove the plastic in the squares that the keycap fits in so they are like the other key squares.

3.) Put in the F and J keys and make sure they go up and down in their new locations.

4.) Shave off the little ridge of plastic under the letter. In our example, the J has had it's plastic removed, but the F hasn't.

Step 5: Enjoy Your New Dvorak Keyboard.

1.) Enjoy your new Dvorak keyboard.

2.) To revert to QWERTY, install the overlay. Remove the overlay when you want to write in Dvorak.

Step 6: Configure You Operating System

This varies in OS, but Linux, Mac, and Windows all have a way to change the keyboard to Dvorak. Some even have a built in key code to switch back and forth.

The images here are from Windows 10. In all versions of Windows these settings may be changed in the Control Panel.

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