Dvorak or no Dvorak

By: Sara Cleveland

Further adventures in iPad land today.

Henry did eventually get it to sign me in to iTunes. As best we can tell, it was a problem on the server side of things with Apple. I don’t find this comforting, exactly, but at least there’s nothing wrong with my device.

Getting all the apps I needed installed didn’t take very long, but I quickly realized there was a a big hurdle that needed overcoming before I could start writing. The keyboard was QWERTY. Now, this isn’t a problem for probably 99% of the populace (I don’t have any accurate figures on Dvorak layout usage), but for me it’s an issue. Sure, I can type in QWERTY for short periods of time well enough to get my point across and send text messages. My typing speed is even somewhere between between 50 and 70 wpm once I really get going, but my accuracy is rather on the low side. To type in QWERTY I now need to concentrate. It’s no longer second nature the way Dvorak is. This isn’t good when my focus needs to be on my story. Not to mention the increase in typing errors that will have to be edited out later. Yuck.

The first results I got when I started Googling Dvorak for iPad were not encouraging. Fortunately, I didn’t throw in the towel after the first discussion board I read through. Man, there’s some serious venom against Dvorak on the Apple community boards. At any rate, I eventually found the answer I was looking for.

Although iOS does not support Dvorak natively for the on-screen keyboard Dvorak was hiding in the settings for the hardware keyboard. That works for me since I plan to do most of my typing via the Bluetooth keyboard built into my iPad’s case. I did a find a 3rd party software keyboard that supports the Dvorak layout, so I’m giving it a try. I think it may even have some swipe functionality like I’m used to with Android, so that would be a plus. Usually I don’t bother with switching the layout on my on-screen keyboard. Strangely enough, I hunt and peck better with QWERTY still. But, with a screen almost big enough to touch-type on it’s worth giving it a go.

The next thing I need to explore is if there’s some sort of adapter I could use to make my favorite keyboard, my TypeMatrix, work via BlueTooth. Now THAT would be sweet.