Learning Colemak, a Qwerty Keyboard Alternative

Colemak is an alternative keyboard layout to the standard Qwerty layout that we use everyday.

A better alternative? maybe? Up to you, however here are some stats and a quick FAQ page for your reference.

A couple of notes to get you started

These are specifically for a GNU/Linux machine but i am thinking it probably works similarly on other Operating systems.

While you are practicing/learning to touch type try not to use stickers or modify your physical keyboard in any manner, later on you can use visual aids.

  • Get a typing practice application (i.e. a touch typing program):

KTouch is awesome, FOSS  and easy to install (i.e. apt-get install KTouch).

  • Set the Colemak keyboard mapping for your machine:

setxkbmap us -variant colemak

  • Launch KTouch, set up your profile and start practicing.

Better to unlock lessons as you go

  • When you have finished practicing for the day, set your keyboard back to Qwerty mapping.

setxkbmap us

Practice typing a little bit everyday as opposed to going cold turkey, otherwise it can feel very frustrating and you will probably loose heart

Baby steps to big dreams

Once you have finished all the typing lessons (i.e. the KTouch lessons) you can go ahead and start typing in the wild :). It will feel a little slow at first but you will get comfortable and faster as you start typing more. You will also see some of the advantages of the Colemak keyboard (e.g. your hands do not move all over the keyboard as you type, which does happen with Qwerty)

Please note: This is an ongoing little experiment on my part and you should also take it as such, do no expect to learn to type on Colemak in a couple of hours and start writing/programming professionally right away (everything takes practice).

Your mileage may vary, my opinions certainly will.

If you find mistakes or typos, kindly let me know so I can fix them 🙂

Enjoy and share with others.



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