Image of the glider from the Game of Life by John Conway
Skip to content

Why Dvorak? Comfort

One of the big advantages of typing in the Dvorak layout is the comfort that comes with it. It is estimated that you spend nearly 70% of your time typing on the home row, with only 30% of your time stretching for letters off of the home row. If that's the case, then I should be able to type a great deal of words on the home row itself. Let's see if that's the case. Counting the number of words that I have on my Debian system, I get the following:

aaron@kratos:~$ wc -l /usr/share/dict/words

Out of those 98,569 words, how many can be typed with the home row on QWERTY? I need to search through that file using regular expressions. For that, I have the powerful grep and egrep utilities. I am using the egrep tool, passing -c to keep a count for me, and -i to ignore case sensitivity. Let's take a look:

aaron@kratos:~$ egrep -ci ^[asdfghjkl\;\']+$ /usr/share/dict/words

Out of 98-thousand words, I can only type 233 using just the home row on QWERTY?!? That blows! Let's see how that would compare to the Dvorak layout:

aaron@kratos:~$ egrep -ci ^[aoeuidhtns-]+$ /usr/share/dict/words

That's a lot better! Nearly 10x the amount of words are available typing on just the home row using Dvorak than with QWERTY! I can already see how much more enjoyable my typing class in school would have been.

{ 20 } Comments