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Are there any well-estabilished solutions for using a computer efficiently with the left hand on the keyboard exclusively, and the right on the mouse; optimized for, but not limited to programming?

One thing I've heard of is the one-handed Dvorak layout, but I doubt that it's really enough to be able to program efficiently using one hand... just the sheer amount of twisting my hand towards shift+something whenever I need a special symbol (and that's like 1/3 the keys I type during programming) sounds unpromising, not to mention a set of common keyboard shourtcuts (like word completion or context assist). I believe I'd need to remap those too.

I believe that the possibility of chording using not ctrl+something or alt+something, but instead combinations of keys from the keyboard's home row only, would make one-handed operation more comfortable. And also the common symbols would need to be available more easily, I cannot imagine having to press shift whenever I need a parenthesis!

Then, I don't want to reinvent the wheel and I'm positive that, well,someone had the idea before me and came up with a convenient solution. Fellow SuperUsers, do you have any clues?

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closed as not constructive by random Jun 26 '12 at 20:39

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Why not trying to avoid/minimize the mouse use? Using autohotkey script, you can have an smarter mouse on you keyboard. –  Codism Mar 8 '12 at 17:23
    
The solution would be Coffee++ for Windows an Linux. It is a keyboard layout for typing with just your left hand. Optional, you can use the right hand in addition to speed up typing also. –  rubo77 Apr 19 '13 at 22:49
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4 Answers

If you're worried about twisting your hand, try enabling sticky keys, so you can press Shift (or Ctrl or Alt) without having to hold it.

You could also remap Caps Lock to Control so you don't have to move your hand as far.

You could also look at buying a one-handed keyboard from FrogPad or half-qwerty.

Or there is a free AutoHotKey script to emulate the half-qwerty layout. You'll have to install AutoHotKey and save the script as an .ahk file to use it.

The Wikipedia page on Chorded Keyboards might also have some other ideas.

Finally, if you can't find anything else, you could create your own custom keyboard layout. In Windows, you can do this using the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator (MSKLC). Chording would be possible by setting a key as a dead key.

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Paper describing half-qwerty: edgarmatias.com/papers/hci96 –  Mikel Dec 16 '10 at 23:57
    
The half-qwerty concept sounds interesting - I'd like to see that done in software to work with any keyboard. –  Joel Coehoorn Jan 28 '11 at 16:44
    
Wow, the AutoHotKey half-qwerty script is crazy, but kinda cool. Would take some getting used to. –  Jeshii Jan 28 '11 at 17:17
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Concerning Autohotkey script or free application, Numpad-QWERTY is the latest one. Visit jabobian or Autohotkey.

Numpad-QWERTY is completely free, and you can even customize it. You can use Numpad-QWERTY without interference between sing-hand and two-hand.

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I'm the developer of the One-Hand Typing apps below. Should be just what you're looking for.

One-Hand Keyboard is the best option, as it has predictive text. Just type the one-hand keys and it will automatically figure out which word you meant. Type "tges" and it will change it to "this". Your muscle memory makes it very easy to do this.

Mirror-QWERTY is the non-predictive-text version. You hold spacebar to "mirror" the keys. So to type "this" you type [T] [G+Space] [E+Space] [S]. I find this a lot harder to do.

I've made it very easy to switch between a normal keyboard and one-hand typing. Just hit Caps-Lock to switch to one-hand mode.

I hope one of these solutions works for you! Would love to hear your feedback.

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Predictive text has very limited use, i.e. it needs a dictionary (which is impractical if you type in an exotic language, like Polish in my case), or if you are a programmer and most of your typing is technical jumbo mumbo. :-) –  Kos Mar 8 '12 at 17:45
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I could try the mirrored solutions, but they seem to have the drawback of, well, starting off from qwerty (which is counter-ergonomic by definition). However the learning curve probably is easier than with the One-handed Dvorak :-) –  Kos Mar 8 '12 at 17:49
    
Right, the real reason to use the mirror layouts is that you already have the muscle memory if you are a two-hand touch typist. You don't have to learn a new layout. Spending days/weeks learning a new layout is a lot of work and most people do not follow through. The mirror layouts, although not optimal, allow you to begin one-hand typing almost immediately. –  pkamb Mar 8 '12 at 18:49
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There is a keyboard layout called the DVORAK Left Handed Keyboard specifically designed to make typing easier with a single hand. Your home row moves to the FGHJ keys (which become DTHE), and the vowels are mostly on your index finger, while the other most common characters are arranged around your hand. The right edge becomes numeric, the left symbols. It takes weeks and months of practice to get good with this layout; I'm not sure it's the best answer for your needs, but it certainly reduces hand movement when typing with only your left hand.

It's more designed for people with only one hand though, rather than someone who might bounce between two and one handed typing.

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