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I’ve been using this layout for a long time, and I really like it. Helps a lot with wrist strain/arthritis.

For those curious, it took me about a week and a half to switch to this layout: 3 days of memorizing the layout, and a week to fight the muscle memory. I don’t personally type faster in this layout, but I can type for far longer with far less muscle fatigue.


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    I’ve been using it for about 10 years now, since I moved, had no internet at home and needed something to do ;)

    I never bothered to type quickly, but occasionally people ask me to do the typing speed test and say “wow, that’s actually quite above average” so I guess it kinda works in that regard?

    One thing I noticed though: when I sit down to a qwerty keyboard these days, I subconsciously “tilt” my hands so that my wrists are more on the outside – with colemak they’re more straight, so to say. So I guess it may have a benefit regarding potential RSI.

    From a hindsight, I’m not sure it was worth switching: qwerty feels stupid and awkward now, yes, but I’m not sure if the circumstantial benefits of colemak are worth it when I have to reconfigure the keyboard bindings of pretty much every single software I use :/ Especially the vim-alikes: hjkl is hnei for me, and so every other keybinding moves now and oh god I hope I won’t need all these keys after all…

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      I learned Vim shortly after Colemak, and I just didn’t bother changing things around. Sure hjkl is messed up, but I don’t use them much anyway.

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        I guess this is what one would call “chaotic neutral” in D&D. :-)

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          I learned Emacs instead of Vim specifically because I knew Dvorak already and saw the hjkl stuff and thought it wouldn’t be a good fit.

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            A bit late now, but after a month or two you largely stop using hjkl. There are generally better movement keys for a given situation. Using something like 5k to move down 5 lines is something I do regularly though.

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        If you like Colemak you might be interested in Colemak-DH and Workman, as well.

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          I think what’s holding back all layouts are multiple things:

          • The need to still live with the weird way columns of keys are shifted around on standard keyboards.
          • The assumption that people use all 10 fingers to type, which I think is largely not the case for a majority of people.
          • The assumption that people follow the strict separation of “left half of the keyboard for the left hand, right half of the keyboard for the right hand”.

          I played with some ideas here, which places some popular keys in the middle (which is usually considered to be a spot for the weaker fingers).

          The assumption is that people’s hand movements are more dynamic than generally expected, making those keys into areas that are expected to be used either by the left or the right hand.

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            Ortholinear keyboards are available (I use an ErgoDox) and Workman seems to work well for them. Colemak is preferred more on shifted keyboards from what I’ve seen.

            New layouts are mainly held back by the cost of switching and the cost of using a non-standard layout.

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          I’ve been using Colemak full-time for something like 5 years now, and I don’t regret it a bit.

          Switching initially was hard, I switched cold turkey and it took me three weeks to get back up to a reasonable typing speed. On the other hand I learned to properly touch type only then.

          The reason for me was chronic RSI issues, and colemak definitely made a big difference (though I’m still using conventional keyboards).

          For context, I’m also a vim-keybinding user (on emacs), and that works out fine. HJKL are an anti-pattern anyway, and I don’t use them much.

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            5 years colemak users club.
            colemak is hard coded on all my keyboards firmware, so I don’t have to mess with configurations.
            Only notebook is using software set colemak.
            I use vim and qtile (I live in terminal most of the time).
            My keyboards if someone is interested -> https://alicef.me/my-first-review.html#my-first-review

            p.s. I have no problem using HJKL
            they are just in a different pattern but I personally like it.
            Is a bit like playing flight games with inverted controllers.
            So I don’t understand when people say that using vim with colemak is complicated. I feel this more natural.

                j↓ l→   
              ←  h   
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              I’m curious to know more about how Shai Coleman went about designing it. A cursory look at the material suggests that he did it by incrementally making adjustments to QWERTY and measuring the results, but I can’t tell for sure.

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                If I recall correctly, yes. He started with QWERTY and only moved the letters that needed to be moved; I believe the changes were based on which letters were most commonly typed in the English language.

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                  This is the reason that even tho I’ve been typing Dvorak for almost two decades, I still recommend people learn Colemak instead. They are nearly equivalent in terms of comfort and speed, (honestly coming from Qwerty basically anything will be such a huge improvement that the differences between decent layouts will feel like a rounding error) but Dvorak makes many egregious changes that don’t actually help but make it more difficult to learn.

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                I started using Colemak about 4 years ago. It took me around 2 weeks to get half of my typing speed back (40 wpm). I think after a month or two I was back to full speed, but it took around 2 years before I started spelling with Colemak.

                I’ve found that it’s really hard to avoid qwerty. I don’t use other people’s computers much, but mobile devices don’t support Colemak. Sure typing on a phone is different, but I do think having a consistent layout matters.

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                  android does support colemak, i’m using it on it.

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                  this is ergonomic keyboard https://klawiatura.wordpress.com/ ;)

                  coleman have trouble how using +? i must using shift. for example for increase size oftext browser. why { i must using shift? etc. no sorry is not for me

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                    Dvorak provides better alternation of the hands, it’s not more difficult to learn and it’s less uncommon.

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                      I switched from Qwerty to Colemak around 2008 after trying but dismissing Dvorak because it didn’t work well with my native tongue. I tracker my progress the first month, but i think i have lost the chart now. IIRC the first week or twq was uncomfortable, and then it took än additional two weeks until i surprised my old Qwerty accuracy and speed. With hindsight, it’s an insanely small investment for being able to spend the rest of my life in greater comfort.

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                        I’m curious: are your typos a result of using Colemak, or are you out of your normal typing environment?

                        (surpassed/surprised seems like the sort of error you’d get on a phone keyboard)

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                          I’m on my phone indeed. These days I rarely have time to sit with a full-size keyboard other than at work. :(