One-Hand Typing

by Peter

I have found that people seeking one-handed typing generally fall into four camps:

Temporary Injuries

Broken arms, fractured wrists, sprained fingers.

There are many common injuries that prevent people from using one hand.

These injuries result in one-handedness for anywhere between one week to three months.

The one-hand typing solution to temporary injuries is to use your existing muscle memory. Using One-Hand Keyboard, transfer your existing two-hand typing muscle memory to typing with one hand.

It’s easy to learn, because you already have the muscle memory. Stay productive by touch-typing with one hand, then switch back to two-handed typing when you have healed.

Permanent Injuries

Amputations, Strokes, Severe RSI or Carpel Tunnel, Brachial Plexus Injuries, etc.

There are two schools of thought for one-handed typing following a permanent hand/arm injury. Choose which one is best for you.

  • One-Hand Keyboard: Based on Your Former Muscle Memory

    One-hand touch typing based on your former muscle memory.

    Takes only minutes to learn. Type fast again quickly. No need to learn a new keyboard layout.

    This is for someone who used to be two-hand touch typist, before their injury.

    Use One-Hand Keyboard to utilize your former two-hand typing speed. Start typing again with one hand in only minutes. No need to learn a new keyboard layout.

  • One-Hand Dvorak or QWERTY

    PROS: Experts will be very fast and comfortable typing with one hand.

    CONS: Will take weeks of dedicated practice to learn.

    One-Hand Dvorak is a keyboard layout optimized for one-handed use. Your fingers are placed in the center of the keyboard, and the most common letters are arranged within easy reach.

    One-Hand QWERTY, aka the “FGHJ” layout, is another option.

    One-Hand Dvorak is a great keyboard layout. The problem is that it takes days or weeks of dedicated practice to learn any new keyboard layout. Many people end up giving up and hunting-and-pecking instead.

One-Handed from Childhood

People who have been one-handed since childhood should learn a dedicated one-hand keyboard layout.

They never learned to touch-type with one hand, so there is no benefit (as there is with injured adults) to learning a method that relies on existing muscle memory.

One-Hand Dvorak is the preferred option, as it is more comfortable and has less potential for RSI injury. Frequently-used letters are located directly under your fingers, while less-frequently-used letters are farther away.

Typing one-handed on on the QWERTY layout is another option. Place your fingers in the “FGHJ” home-row position. This requires some long and awkward reaches for common letters such as “A” and “O”.

Situational

Holding a baby. Petting a cat. Using a mouse and typing at the same time.

People want to do all kinds of things while they are typing.

Most just end up hunting-and-pecking the keys. While this is easy to do, it’s hardly fast or comfortable.

The better solution is to use One-Hand Keyboard to touch-type with one hand while your other hand is occupied.

It’s easy to turn off. So you can switch back to normal two-hand typing easily.

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