I have determined I want to learn the COLEMAK keyboard layout. The point? It’s not about typing speed. The layout requires far less wrist motion than qwerty, and it feels very confortable. You can see that your hands are not moving much (the author claims that your hands travel 2.2 times more on QWERTY).
IF you spend most of your time using your keyboard (and if you are an academic, chances are you do), this one-time investment of your time might be worth it. We only have a set of hands for life, and if you imagine all the papers you should write in a lifetime stacked, you’ll feel the immediate urge to protect your hands .
I’m not a touch typist on QWERTY, and wanted to learn touch typing, so I decided to go with COLEMAK instead.
It seems that you can only learn for about an hour and a half a day, and thus it will take a month before you can do any work at all. Some people have tried to go cold-turkey, but I have to get actual work done. If you peruse the forums, there are people posting detailed reports on their experiences.
There are lessons available in the website; one is supposed to go through them till reaching 96% accuracy or more. They recommend against relabeling or reorganizing the keys. Instead, the way to go seems to be to tape a copy of the layout on your monitor, like this:
BTW, If you suffer from back pain I have friends who swear by .
I’ll post more on how things go for me on the new layout. The good thing is that it’s not an all-or-none change: I can still do QWERTY when I have to get something done under a deadline.