Rajath Ramakrishna

Switching between qwerty and colemak

Posted on — | 2 min read

Early last year, I had some pain and discomfort in my wrists, so I decided to switch to a split keyboard. I went down an /r/ErgoMechKeyboards rabbit hole and ended up getting a Moonlander Mark I. Around the same time, I also found that a lot of people use Colemak as the keyboard layout and that QWERTY is actually very inefficient. And down another rabbit hole I went.

After doing a lot more research, I decided to go all in with both split keyboard and new layout at the same time. From what I read, it apparently helps with muscle memory when transition to split keyboard + the new layout is done at the same time. Also, I picked Colemak because, it was one of the most popular for all-round typing - both coding and general typing (in English). I didn’t want to try out a bunch of layouts before deciding on one since doing so was going impact my productivity at work.

Since I quickly wanted to ramp up and get better speeds with Colemak, I stopped using QWERTY completely. As my speeds improved, I was no longer able to type in QWERTY on my laptop keyboard. As I typed, I was hitting wrong keys all the time and I would immediately stop and get my split keyboard that was configured for Colemak. Now this became a little cumbersome since everywhere I went I had to take my keyboard with me.

One day, I pushed through the wrong key presses and forced myself to type in QWERTY for some 10-15 minutes and I got much better at it. Turns out, the human brain is quite capable ot handling this kind of drastic change. Once I got some confidence in this switch, I now regularly switch between QWERTY and Colemak and I type fast in both. My Colemak speeds are still not great, but it’s getter better.