One-Hand Keyboard Typing Instructions

by Peter

An online guide to typing with one hand using One-Hand Keyboard software.

Typing with One Hand

Type with one hand, using your existing two-handed muscle memory.

When you need to press a key with your (unused) injured hand, press the “mirror” key instead with the hand you are using. Use the same finger, on the same row of the keyboard, and with the same finger motion. The only difference is that you’re using your uninjured hand. The motion is the same (although mirrored), so your muscle memory lets you do this very easily.

So, if you’re typing with your left hand, any time you want [O] type [W] instead. Press [D] to get [K].

As you are typing, One-Hand Keyboard will actively change the keys you press into the word you want.

Add Words to Your Dictionary

If the app does not know an uncommon word (such as your last name), you can add it to your dictionary for future one-handed typing. Do this by turning one-handed typing on, then typing out the unknown word with two hands. Press the actual keys.

The uncommon word will then appear at the top of the word prediction choice list. Press spacebar, and it will be added to the dictionary. You will then be able to type that word with one hand.

Picking Alternate Words

When the word prediction pop-up bubble is displayed, press [Tab] to switch to the next word. [Shift] + [Tab] goes back to the previous word. The [Up] and [Down] arrow keys can also be used, which is easier for your right hand.

If you select a word using Tab or the arrow keys, it will be moved to the top of the word prediction list for that particular set of words. It will then be the first prediction when you try to type that word in the future.

Editing Words

Delete letters from a one-handed word prediction by pressing [Backspace]. If you are typing with your left hand, you can also use the [~] key.

Punctuation, Quotation, etc.

One-Hand Keyboard works with standard punctuation and quotation. Simply type a word, then type a punctuation character or the punctuation’s mirror key.

The app may predict a complete word rather than a word + prediction. In that case, simply use Tab or the arrow keys to select the word + punctuation you want from the Mac word prediction list.

Using One-Hand Keyboard in Mac OS X

When you install One-Hand Keyboard via the Mac App Store, you will be able to type with one hand in any app’s textfield.

The app lives up in your menubar, near the clock. Click the ① in your menubar to access the app’s options. Select “Open at Login” to run One-Hand Keyboard any time your Mac restarts.

What should I cover next?

Is there a particular one-hand typing feature you’re having trouble using? Please let me know in the comments, and I will add it to the guide.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Janet Wallace July 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm

It would be better if you used an another word to describe the affected extremity.
For those with a permanent disability the term “bad” is negative.
Typically, the use of “involved or limited” better describes it.

It might turn off individuals from using this. I am not injured but researching strategies to teach amy son with challenges the most efficient technique. I would not let him read the instruction to this program nothing bad about his disability.

Just an FYI …

Reply

Peter July 31, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Hi Janet, thanks for the feedback. I’ve clarified the post with “injured”/”uninjured”… that’s who this typing technique is specifically for, two-handed touch-typists with temporary hand or arm injuries.

The app won’t be a good fit for your son (unless he previously touch-typed on the homerow with two hands) but I know of several solutions for permanent one-handed typing. I also type in (two-handed) Dvorak myself, if you need any advice about the one-handed varieties. Feel free to email me for more info: support@onehandkeyboard.org

Reply

Brandt August 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I am one of those touch typists who have suffered permanent damage to, in my case my right hand. As I wrote to Peter before, this app has set me free again. Being able to type at over 70 words a minute is incredibly invigorating. I could never learned some of the other typing methods, for I was taught to type two handed qwerty since I was a kid.

Reply

jackie carpio September 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I am an professor at Community College of Denver. I like to learn how to type one-handed.

Reply

JEANNE September 15, 2013 at 9:31 am

I RECENTLY SUSTAINED A TRIPLE FRACTURE IN MY RIGHT (DOMINANT) SHOULDER. I FACE REPARATIVE SURGERY NEXT WEEK. MY VOCATION DEPENDS ON EXTENSIVE WRITING. I’M AWAKE, LOOKING AT VOIVE RECOGNITION OPPTIONS (BUT I THINK AS I WRITE…) AND THEN CAME ACROSS THIS.
I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT HOW ONE USES QUOTATION MARKS —
ALSO, CAN I WORK IN “PAGES”?

Reply

Peter September 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Hi Jeanne, I’ll respond to your email. Have you tried the demo app?
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/one-hand-keyboard-free-one/id501185004?mt=12

Reply

Dianne February 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm

I cannot figure out how to use the return/enter key

Reply

DCM September 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm

The “v” letter seems to be missing entirely from my version. If I type “b” or “n” for “v”, I never get the “v”. What am I missing? Thanks.

Reply

Gene October 31, 2016 at 7:55 pm

What (where) is the “mirror key” — you don’t explain?

Reply

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