One Hand Typing and Dvorak
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If you have good use of one hand, you must first try to learn a system that enables you to work, study, and play on a standard, normal keyboard. This one hand typing system is called One Hand QWERTY.

This method teaches the one hand user to type on a normal keyboard, with one hand, just as fast as he would on an adaptive keyboard. If you are searching for options for a young person with a hand disability, then it is MANDATORY that you do NOT try alternatives to the standard keyboard if the child has full use of one hand. Child typists and Assistive Technology and Adaptive Keyboards

 What is Dvorak, and why use it?

The keyboard you are most likely sitting at as you read this is called a QWERTY keyboard (look at the Q in the upper left of your keyboard, then at the W, E, R, T, Y)

One of the cherished legends of typing history is that when the keyboard was invented, typists got fast, too quickly. The old key system would get jammed. So, they rearranged the keys into QWERTY so those darn typists wouldn't speed around on them! This may not be 100% true (see more on typing history, click here).

Quoting the above link:

"The Dvorak keyboard sounds very good. However, a keyboard needs to do more than just "sound" good, and unfortunately, Dvorak has failed to prove itself superior to QWERTY. It appears that many of the studies used to test the effectiveness of Dvorak were flawed. Many were conducted by the good professor himself, creating a conflict of interest question, since he had a financial interest in the venture. A U.S. General Services Administration study of 1953 appears to have been more objective. It found that it really didn't matter what keyboard you used. Good typists type fast, bad typists don't."

In 1936, August Dvorak, a professor of statistics at University of Washington, came up with an arrangement of the alphabetic keys which he felt would help us move around the keyboard faster. He used the exact keyboard we all use today, but moved all the letters around. He placed common letters on the home row making the stronger fingers do most of the work. Several years later, a friend of his lost an arm. So, Dvorak created One Hand Dvorak for the Left Hand, and One Hand Dvorak for the Right Hand.

Today, you can go into the operating system of almost all computers, and tell it to switch your keyboard arrangement to Two Handed Dvorak, or either of the One Handed Dvoraks. It is a free thing to do. Then, you can pop the key caps off, and move them into the Dvorak position.

However, you will not find Dvorak set up at any work place you go to. So, should you decide to take the time to learn the Dvorak placement of keys, then hope to get a job, you have a problem. If you are asked to work on a computer at work you will forever to saying, "Hang on, this will only take a second" while you go into the operating system to make the "switch." Same problem if someone needs to use your workstation. Of course, the keys labels will all be in QWERTY position, which is the wrong spots for Dvorak. So, although your computer will now think in Dvorak, what looks like Q on your keyboard will now type the number 7. You get around this by popping all the keys off and replacing them in the Dvorak position. But, your employer will get very ticked off if you pop off the keys on a computer in use by the rest of the work staff. The rest of the staff will undoubtedly be using QWERTY! So, you can memorize where the Dvorak position is, but leave the key caps in the QWERTY position. But you will NEVER have the option of glancing down at the keys when you find yourself straying from home base and need to peek.

Pictures of One Hand Dvorak keyboard layouts.

Of course, if you intend to forever work from your home, then One Hand Dvorak would not be as limiting for you.

Most of those suggesting the Dvorak system for the one hand typist are two handed typists who use QWERTY, and would not switch for any reason. They see that Dvorak is possibly more efficient. But so is the metric system, and Esperanto*. Taking a year to learn a keyboard that the world is NOT using is NOT efficient.

If you are an adult, and know how to do at least 30 wpm on the QWERTY keyboard, I have no objections to your learning Dvorak. If you are responsible for a child learning to type, I think it is a terrible disservice to force Dvorak on them. Instead, teach them to use the tool they will find everywhere they go to work or play, the QWERTY keyboard.



My issue with the Dvorak keyboard layout is simply that it is not the same set-up as the other kids use, nor what is used by 99.99% of the work force! Yes, it is easier for the child typist to reach the keys, because the normal sized keyboard is too big. When a child is young, you do not suggest a wheelchair because the bike is too big! You get them a child size bike. The logic of suggesting an alternative the child will never find in their friends homes, nor in any job, and which will make them feel an outcast escapes me.

See more about child size keyboard at:

Some are worried about having the child switch from the small keyboard to the large keyboard as they grow. If you have ever switched from a laptop, to a normal keyboard, you will know that this only takes a few seconds of adaptation time.

In case I have not been clear, I strongly oppose any one-handed child being taught Dvorak.

Teach them to use the keyboard all of their friends are using. I am deeply sadden that when you go to the Microsoft website, and type One Hand Typing, they do not even suggest that you can use a NORMAL keyboard! They only tell you about One Hand Dvorak!

One Hand Typing System Comparisons:

 The Choice

 Best for



Where to buy and to learn more

Use the standard keyboard (ONE HAND QWERTY)*

Children, and those who have not yet learned to type*, or those who knew how to type, but have been "hunting and pecking for at least 6 months since their injury. 'Sellablity' in the job market. 100% compatible with the mainstream for work and play, enables the one hand person to use the same computer and keyboards as any two handed person. Least expensive.  $49


Half QWERTY Half Keyboard

Adults who knew how to touch type before their disability to one hand

Learn Half-QWERTY in a matter of minutes, with little or no retraining.


Half Keyboard (left hand only)

Half-QWERTY Keyboard






Half QWERTY Half Keyboard


Adults who have seriously tried to learn One Hand QWERTY, and like the idea trying to learn a new way to type. The keyboard is arranged out in an alternative layout, but shaped to better help the hand $695


Bat one hand keyboard

Those with disabilities in both hands Uses simple "cords," with very little movement  $199


One Hand Dvorak

Adults who have seriously tried to learn One Hand QWERTY, and like the idea trying to learn a new way to type. The keyboard is arranged in an alternative layout. Free


One Handed Keyboards That Use One Handed Dvorak, or Adaptive Uses From Dvorak

There are two one-handed keyboards which use Dvorak, or an adaptive keyboard system from Dvorak

  • Alphasmart
  • Frog Pag

Alphasmart Keyboards For One Handed Students

  • 2 Types of
    One Hand Typing

    • Book
    • Download Now with Practice fields (Mac or PC)

    See more on both