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- Registered: 21-Jun-2022
- Posts: 7
Hey everyone, Today I will share my experience of using the Colemak layout for about 10 months and share some of my thoughts, tips, and tricks.
I used to use a QWERTY layout when I had my first computer. I was not using it for anything other than gaming, though. After that, I used the laptop for my college work for about two years. Since I am in the CS field, I got into speed typing. And after about 50 hours of typing in MonkeyType, I reached an average of 52 wpm, and my highest wpm was 73 wpm on 200 English MonkeyType words.
But due to the QWERTY layout, my left hand started to hurt after typing for around 15 to 20 minutes. Since the qwerty layout is more left-hand oriented and I also use my left thumb for pressing the spacebar, I could not type effectively after typing for some time on MonkeyType. One day I saw a youtube video describing faster layouts than QWERTY. I research different layouts on the internet and found that Colemak is the fastest among them. Then, I learned the variations of Colemak-DH, Colmake-DHK, Angle mod, extend layers, etc. I wanted to be somewhat at the top in speed typing. So I thought the perfect layout was essential for that, lol. So I started to compare various layouts in Stevp99's keyboard layout analyzer on the Colemak-DH website. Colemak-DHk, with the angle mod, was the most comfortable among them. So I decided to use it.
I created a new MonkeyType account and started typing. But before that, I used keybr website for about 8 hours to be able to type without seeing the keys. After that, I kept typing for about 10 months. I used to type mostly in 200-wpm English. I sometimes typed 1k and quotes mode too. While I was typing, the two keys were most annoying. One of them was the G key, and the other one was the C key on Colemak-DHk. Since I wanted to make a perfect layout, I researched which letters are used in English more often and found that both G and C is used very often in English than the V and F keys. And both the keys are in a comparably worst position than they should be, so I swapped C to F key to V to G (In Colemak-DHk) layout. I have also swapped capslock to backspace.
After making those changes, even the keyboard analyzer tool favors my layout to be most comfortable among any other. You can make it even more comfortable by swapping : key to " key if you use " key more often than : key. But still, the F key is the worst key on this layout. I hate this key so much. It is the only problem with this layout that affect my typing speed, and almost always, I type the after word wrong while typing on the MonkeyType. I think it can be solved using your right thumb instead of your left thumb. Also If it will be beneficial if you have your backspace in place of capslock. This is my keyboard looks right now.
QWERTY Layout: https://github.com/adityaxv/My-Keyboard … QWERTY.png
Do you see how symmetric my layout looks compared to QWERTY?
Now I have reached a max typing speed of 130 wpm and reached the top 9811 users in the world in 155 hours, and I can also type an average of 115 wpm easily using this layout. I reached 0 wpm to 130 wpm in just about 10 months. I don't know If I could have reached this fast with any other layout.
Here are some data on Time Typing and Personal Best according to the screenshots I had taken.
58 hours - 91 PB
78 hours - 102 PB
124 hours - 121 PB
154 hours - 130 PB
Now My left hand does not hurt even after typing for an hour which used to hurt so bad by typing just for 15-20 min on qwerty. This is by far more comfortable than qwerty. This layout becomes my addiction. Whenever I start my laptop, I type. Whenever I feel sad, I type. Whenever I get bored, I type. This has become one of my tools to escape reality lmao. Sometimes I type for 1 hour and more on MonkeyType a day. My max is 1 hour and 45 min on Monkeytype.
This is my profile.
https://raw.githubusercontent.com/adity … rofile.png
Key Points and Things I have learned.
1. You must know touch typing. i.e., without being able to type without looking at the keyboard. That will take about 10-12 hours max.
2. after that, type on MonkeyType for 15-20 min daily. No need to type more than that. But you must type almost every day.
3. Don't feel sad if you feel like you don't improve. There were a number of occasions when I felt like quitting speed typing since I was typing a lot and was not improving. I wanted to truly give up when my average typing speed was 105 wpm, and my PB was 120 wpm. Because no matter how much I typed, I was not improving, but my typing speed decreased instead of increasing. But I kept going, and now I feel much better at typing and can comfortably type 120 wpm.
4. You should be don't worry about anything but focus on the words and the words after that words and let your muscle memory do the trick. For that, I recommend making your words size below 1.5x. (mine is 1.375x)
5. You should always keep your timer and words per minute kept on. It may seem like a distraction to you but trust me; those are the ones who will keep you motivated to type fast for the full one minute. I reached my 130 wpm PB after turning on WPM.
6. I don't think you need any other website other than MonkeyType to improve your typing speed in any area (just except learning touch typing). It is the most perfect typing website on the internet.
7. If you are not focussing on the typing speed, then also type up to 5k words on Monkeytype to improve overall typing. 200 words also help a lot because you can type the biagram-related words quickly, even though you have never typed that words.
8. Finally, if you are focusing on the layout for speed typing and are really fast at other layouts like QWERTY, then you should keep using the QWERTY layout. mythicalrocket, izangi, Josuha, Slekap, and many others are monsters at typing and use QWERTY layout. And the mythicalrocket and slekap have used the colemak layout, too. And they still find the QWERTY layout better at speed typing. It just shows that it will never be the layout, but the amount of time and hard work you put in is what matters.
9. But if you are focusing on a more comfortable layout. Then go for the colemak layout with your eyes closed. Just think about it in this way 6-10 months of sacrifice will make the rest of your life very comfortable with the job you do or you use your keyboard for whatever reason.
10. Not to use Dreymar's EPKL. Just kidding, I started using Dreymar's EPKL. I read the GitHub blog 2-3 times, the colemak forum and Reddit, and even watched a youtube video. I spent about 2 months on that and still could not even change the colemak DH layout to Colemak-DHk. I wanted to swap C to F and V to G too :(. I would have definitely used it if I could modify the keyboard easily. Dreymar extend was very useful, though, So I reached took the part which I needed, which was arrow keys, front space, up and down key and put them in place of (I, J, K, L, U, O, :) (on QWERTY layout) and right alt as my extend button and implemented on AutoHotkey which was far easier.
11. Capslock is the worst position on the keyboard. Use something better as Backspace or Extend. Also, Extend is very helpful if you hate to move your hands just for arrow keys. If you want more than arrow keys, then you can refer to Dreymar's extend layer.
12. Don't worry about what I would do If I used another computer. You can put the .exe file on Git Hub, Google Drive, any other cloud storage, or even in the pen drive. You can have my My Layout.exe file at my Git Hub. Know that New Layout.exe have Enter key in place of Capslock and Backspace in place of Enter key. The .exe file can be used without AutoHotkey being installed in your computer, while for the .ahk file to work. Autohotkey must be installed on your computer. One downside is that it does not work on Linux/Ubuntu.
Here are my AutoHotkey files: https://github.com/adityaxv/My-Keyboard-Layout
14. Lastly, you don't need a special or expensive keyboard for typing. Just use the keyboard that you are most comfortable with and whose keys are smooth and responsive. (Mine is ASUS TUF A15).
15. You can put the Autohotscript file in the Windows startup folder so that you don't have to start it every time you start your PC. Also, turn off AutoHotKey while gaming.
Thanks for reading, and Happy typing!