I'm looking for a keyboard, (preferably mechanical) that I can use at work that has a physical switch that switches between Dvorak and qwerty. I've been told that these exist but I'm having a difficult time finding one.

In case you're wondering, the reason I don't want to use the OS to manage input language is because I need to switch between input languages all the time, for instance, if someone else needs to use my computer I can't have it on Dvorak mode. And even though there is a keyboard short-cut to switch layouts, it only works for the currently selected window. Worse of all though is that there is a bug in windows where if you connect to a remote PC with a different keyboard layout, the remote machine's language will change to your local layout and the next person that logs in will be typing in Dvorak. I already got burned for that before and so I'm stuck typing qwerty at work now even though I'd be much more productive typing in Dvorak.

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It would be easier to just change the software you are using. Instead of using the built-in keyboard layout manager, you could use a different tool. You could even write your own using AutoHotkey!

I just started working on such a tool which conditionally remaps the QWERTY keys to the Dvorak layout. You press CapsLock twice in a row within 500 milliseconds to switch between layouts. A tooltip in the tray informs you of the event.

You can give it a try here: https://bitbucket.org/iglvzx/qwertytodvorak

  • Amazing, finally a use for the capslock key LOL. I'll check it out later. – JSideris Mar 6 '12 at 17:47

I use a Kineses Advantage Pro USB keyboard. It uses a keyboard hotkey combination to switch between Qwerty and Dvorak modes. This means you can set the keyboard to Dvorak mode, plug it into any system that accepts a USB keyboard, running any operating system, and type Dvorak without ever changing the operating system's key map.

To toggle the keyboard between Dvorak and Qwerty modes, you press Program+Shift+F5.

In addition, it also switches between native Mac and PC modes, it has a programmable macro memory (so I can program the keyboard to type things with a hotkey) and it's the most comfortable keyboard I've ever used.

It's not cheap, but it is a great keyboard.

My keyboard has both Qwerty and Dvorak labels


The CODE Mechanical Keyboard uses Cherry MX Clear keyswitches and has a series of DIP switches which control (among many other things) whether the keyboard layout is QWERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak. I haven't used one myself but I have read some positive reviews about them, and have heard that they are fairly quiet for mechanical keyboards.

DIP switches on a CODE keyboard


I ran across this USB pass-through device that will let you re-map any USB keyboard. Kinda spendy, but would let you dynamically re-map whatever keyboard you want at the hardware level, on the fly.


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