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    From Qwerty to Dvorak and now to Colemak

    • Started by Soner
    • 3 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 04-Dec-2018
    • Posts: 1


    I have decided to register since I have found interest in learning Colemak.

    Let me introduce myself first: I am a competition-driven typist on several Typing-related sites such as TypeRacer, 10-Fastfingers, Typera.tk and so forth, who is highly accomplished in both Qwerty and Dvorak. I grew up using Qwertz and switched to Dvorak in December 2012. I generally type in English and German and can achieve peak speeds of over 150 in German and over 170 in English. My overall average lies between 135-145 wpm. This is a speed that I can sustain over a longer period of time and/or on more difficult content. My personal best is 185 wpm on TyperRacer (the quote that I typed my PB on can coincidentally be seen in a video of Reckful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xTDvYPPYn8). My personal bests at 10-Fastfingers are 174 for the normal English test and 154 for the advanced test (167 wpm / 143 for German). All my PBs were achieved on Dvorak using the Das Keyboard Model Ultimate. As far as Qwerty is concerned, my average wpm is about 25 slower on that layout. The difference is most significant for the English language, not so much for German. However, Dvorak was still a game changer in both languages for me.

    I am quite happy with my current speeds and regularly manage to be high in the ranking lists of the most popular typing site. So, why the change? It is born out of pure curiosity and the human aspiration for more. I know that with a lot of training and dedication I have pretty much achieved my limit on Dvorak. I cannot go much faster. So I'm looking forward to learning Colemak and I will begin soon. My experiment might be quite interesting since I have not yet stumbled upon a very fast Dvorak typist who switched to Colemak or vice versa. It was quite interesting to read that the already Qwerty-accomplished typist by the nickname of Viper did so great after switching to Colemak. However, I don't think that I can ever achieve a 200 wpm run on 10-Fastfingers with Colemak as he was nearly able to match my current Dvorak speed on a Qwerty layout. You cannot disregard the importance of talent when it comes to world class feats. Dvorak is already a neat layout and I do not think that Colemak is much more superior.

    My quite intuitive guess is that I will max out my Colemak speed after a year or so and that it will give me 10 wpm more at best. I downloaded the Colemak version without the removed capslook for the sake of the delete key as I am using caps lock instead of the left shift key (read "Typing tips from the fastest typist, Sean Wrona" if you want to know why that is better).

    Thanks for your attention.

    • 0
    • Reputation: 90
    • From: Oslo, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 4,501

    Sei willkommen, Freund! ^_^

    I hope your Colemak experience will be as pleasant as mine! I was a slow Dvorak typist by your standard who switched and never looked back. It's true that Colemak probably isn't inherently faster than Dvorak – maybe even QWERTY is as fast for all we know, once you use enough home-brewed tricks on it?! But I feel it's more comfortable.

    Since you have an ISO keyboard I suppose, I'd suggest considering Colemak-CAW or at least the CurlAngle aka DH mod part of it. It feels very good I think.

    Another thing to consider is sticky shift instead of the Caps trick of Sean. It should be slightly better, as it only takes one press instead of two for a single capitalized letter. For multiple capitalized letters, Caps will still be better but then it depends on how common those are. In German there's certainly a lot of single capitals!

    Also take a glance at my German locale layout suggestion. I feel it works very well for me (using Norwegian which is similar), but I do some coding so I have the special letters on AltGr; if you type more native language than brackets then have the brackets on AltGr for sure.

    Finally, Extend is wonderful. You can get it with PKL_eD (see my BigBag), together with the German locale and the ergo mods and whatnot. Extend uses the Caps key as standard but there are other options. If you do want to use sticky Shift though, you won't need the Caps key for anything else after all, and can use the wonders of Extend directly.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    • 0
    • Reputation: 51
    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
    • Posts: 647

    Nice to see another speed demon looking at Colemak. Interesting that you find Dvorak is already 25 wpm faster than Qwerty. There is something of a debate on how much of speed gain can be expected by switching to Colemak, so your experience would certainly be interesting to note. (Most Colemakers consider the gain in comfort to be more important than that of speed, but I guess if you feel more comfortable, that might help with speed too, especially during longer typing sessions!)

    I suspect your Colemak and Dvorak speeds might end up quite similar, but maybe you'll have less tired right pinky and ring-fingers on Colemak vs Dvorak which might help a bit.

    Let us know how if you find the Colemak HE bigram causes any obstacles to speed, especially in English.

    Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

    • 0
    • Reputation: 3
    • Registered: 21-Apr-2010
    • Posts: 779

    I learned how to touch type in Dvorak, bypassing Qwerty.  And I'm still stuck at about 80wpm and that's on a good day.   The main benefit for me is the touch typing, and not having to think about it.  I'd hate to have to go back and learn another layout now.

    I tried Colemak for all but a day or two, so can't comment on the merits of it.  Somewhere on here (I think) I've some text that I've transcribed to Colemak.  That appears random gibberish, but it gives you a feel for typing in Colemak under another layout.  Basically take some text and substitute the letter swaps.  I was surprised that I could feel the difference.  Some patterns were new to me.  Not all bad.

    If I were you, I'd be more than happy with your Dvorak performance, and work on that.  Or get work as a transcriber.  Perhaps you could learn Steno!  I personally wouldn't bother with Colemak (it's about as pseudo-scientific a layout as Dvorak IMHO).   But each their own.

    Edit: Don't bother looking for my post, I couldn't find it.  Here is an online transcriber:


    Try it with a large section of text.  If you are good at typing random chars, already, you'll get a feel for Colemak that way.

    'The cat sat on the mat' (Dvorak) => 'Ens uae oae ri ens mae' (Colemak).

    Last edited by pinkyache (06-Dec-2018 11:54:19)

    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

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