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Only five English words?[edit]

"...there are only 5 English words that can be spelled using just the letters in the top row: perpetuity, prerequire, proprietor, repertoire, and typewriter." Oh, yeah! Obviously tree, pet, pretty, propriety, require, type, writer (and hundreds more) aren't English words then, right?

This only proves my theory: Wikipedia editors are morons. And they protect pages so that their moronic articles stay untouched... in perpetuity.

Mmmmmm no. It says 5 Ten letter words. Who's the moron now? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

QWERTY Spelling[edit]

May I know why someone is documenting how to spell a word that is on the screen? (first line). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:25, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Excellent Resource[edit]

I'm surprised the following article has not been referenced:

QWERTY keyboard: A review. Noyes, J INT. J. MAN-MACH. STUD. Vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 265-281. 1983

Abstract: The standard typewriter keyboard (nicknamed QWERTY) was designed over a century ago. During this time, QWERTY has become a controversial issue, because many individuals feel that the sequential keyboard market is being monopolized by a sub-optimum layout. Despite these feelings, in 1971 the International Standards Organization recognized QWERTY as the standard keyboard, and a year later Alden, Daniels & Kanarick (1972) concluded that QWERTY was "the de facto standard layout for communications and computer interface keyboards". This article reviews the origins of the QWERTY keyboard, and other sequential keyboards which have been developed since 1909. The reasoning behind the design of these other keyboards and the subsequent impact they made on the keyboard world are discussed. Various explanations are suggested as to why this previous research has not had any effect on the design of the QWERTY keyboard. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:41, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Good resource indeed. Here is another reference that future editors might want to look at:

Paul A. David. 1997. Path Dependence and the Quest for Historical Economics: One More chorus of Ballad of QWERTY. Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford (Accessed December 8, 2009).

This ref is of relevance in particular with regard to the debate on efficiency in the final section and the suggestion that the work of Liebowitz and Margolis [2] represents more rigorous research. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:04, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

In the end of the first paragraph, there is an unsupported claim as to the rational for a non-optimized standardization, Economic efficiency has been idealized and imagined to exist where good the economic reality does not support it being the rational; there for economically optimized selection of key board lay out. technological, behavioral lock-in and technological pathway dependency are similar effects to the reference of network theory. I would like to see this expanded upon perhaps in a subjection and remove the unsupported inference to efficiency. Tests have been done to show typing speed which is a principle indicator of keyboard output. There is a contradiction in the reasoning that is applied and the reference to network theory. It seems like network theory is the social manifestation of the phenomena. I very much like this quote from David (1985) "I believe there are many more QWERTY worlds lying out there in the past, at the very edges of the modern economic analyst's tidy universe; worlds we do not yet fully perceive or understand, but whose influence1 like that of dark stars, extends nonetheless to shape the visible orbits of our contemporary economic affairs. Most of the time I feel sure that the absorbing delights and quiet terrors of exploring QWERTY worlds will suffice to draw adventurous economists into the systematic study of essentially historical dy­namic processes, and so will seduce them into the ways of economic history, and a. better grasp of their subject." Alaskanwarrior (talk) 03:49, 22 January 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alaskanwarrior (talkcontribs) 03:47, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Keyboard diagram[edit]

I'm of the DIY school of Wikipedia editing, but I'm not sure how to go about this. Not everyone has the QWERTY layout printed on their keyboard keycaps. Shouldn't the article include a diagram of the keyboard layout, like most other articles? —INTRIGUEBLUE (talk|contribs) 22:46, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

There is one in the Computer keyboards section. I don't know why it's so tiny as to be unreadable, though. Shreevatsa (talk) 23:19, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

"h" looks like "n," "j" like "i," etc.[edit]

Was the QWERTY keyboard arranged so that letters that looked like each other were closer together?

B is like H, N is kind of like H, R is maybe a little like F, and E like R. But probably it's just coicindence and the ones that don't look like each other are more frequently together than those that do.

By the way, IE8 CANNOT handle a lot of text on screen. Right now in this discussion/edit box, it's typing really, really slow. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:00, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

No. As the article states, the QWERTY keyboard layout was designed to prevent mechanical keys from jamming. That meant using a configuration that slowed typists down somewhat, since typing too fast was one of the things that caused jamming. As the article notes, the mechanical jamming issues have been otherwise resolved, and QWERTY is merely a legacy of the early days of the typewriter. There have been many keyboard designs which are demonstrated to be faster than QWERTY, because the other keyboard designs are optimized purely for human speed without regard to the mechanics of early typewriters. One reason these others have not caught on is that it has been shown that QWERTY-trained touch typists do not become faster when retrained on a different keyboard, since it is impossible for touch typists to completely unlearn the QWERTY training. This has been studied as an example of the "installed base" advantage, of which another notable example is Microsoft Windows. (Software designed for Windows typically performs sub-optimally when "ported" to another operating system. Thus, technically better-performing operating systems do not supplant Windows in the marketplace because of the advantage Windows enjoys in terms of the installed base of compatible software.)
Bob99 (talk) 17:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Your two statements:
  • "the QWERTY keyboard layout was designed to prevent mechanical keys from jamming."
  • "That meant using a configuration that slowed typists down somewhat,"
Don't hold up. The first is true, but the second isn't a corollary of that. The point of the QWERTY layout isn't to slow anyone down, it's to carry on working at full speed whilst avoiding the type bar clashing problem. It does this by trying to keep the most common sequentially-used typebars physically separated from each other. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:01, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
If any of this is really true about the design of the QWERTY keyboard, why are "E" and "R" next to each other? These are extremely commonly used next to each other in English and other Romance languages, and I remember from typewriter days of having trouble with words like "here" and "there" causing type bars to clash and get stuck. If the QWERTY designer was really trying to avoid that, I'd say he failed. Jpp42 (talk) 06:19, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

I'd have to disagree with the statement "QWERTY-trained touch typists do not become faster when retrained on a different keyboard, since it is impossible for touch typists to completely unlearn the QWERTY training." I learned to touch-type on a QWERTY keyboard in 1967 and spent quite a few years earning my living from the QWERTY keyboard. In 1986 I trained myself to use the Malt Layout

I was still able to use the QWERTY layout and for about 5 or so years after I was still able to exceed 50 words per minute touch typing, without any difficulty. In 2010 I can still use QWERTY, though I prefer (and choose) not to. There was no question of "unlearning" QWERTY since it was never "replaced" by Maltron, but was in "parallel"*.

I've now moved on to "touch typing" in software based shorthand (on the Maltron keyboard), and I've certainly trebled my QWERTY speed.

On Edit: 21 Jun. *My first MALTRON keyboard had a switchable QWERTY/MALTRON layout with dual-engraved keytops and I made a deliberate decision when I started using the MALTRON keyboard to use the Malt layout. Because of the vast difference between the 3D curves of the MALTRON keyboard and the flat QWERTY keyboard, and the resultant kinaesthetic muscle memory essential for touch typing, there is little or no confusion between the two keyboards, any more than there is confusion between a QWERTY computer keyboard and a musical instrument keyboard.

Proword (talk) 07:15, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Fast enough[edit]

I guess it's just my opinion, and since it's just my opinion it doesn't matter, but I think QWERTY keyboards type plenty fast. I already type too fast on them, frequently typing words I didn't mean to (not typos, exactly, because they're spelled correctly and the grammar usually stays fine). So for me the problem is that I wish the keys were harder to hit, like on a typewriter. But maybe if I switched to such a thing I'd regret it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:05, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Two unsubstantiated claims[edit]

The article makes two claims for which no citation is provided.

1. "it was designed to prevent jams while typing at speed"

The prevent jams bit is correct. The "while typing at speed" is unsubstantiated. The article cited and linked to, aside from the fact that it's not terribly scholarly, mentions nothing about facilitating speeds, simply about reducing jamming. Sure, the obvious inference is that spending less time unjamming means spending more time typing (resulting in an effective speed increase), but that's not the same claim.

Moved the footnote reference from speed to jams; added "citation needed" after speed.

2. "enabling salesmen to impress customers by pecking out the brand name "TYPE WRITER" from one keyboard row"

Aside from the issue of why pecking out "typewriter" from a single row should impress anyone, there is no citation for this claim. Added "citation needed". —Preceding unsigned comment added by CNJECulver (talkcontribs) 12:50, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Again leaving aside the question of "why", is there any necessity for a citation? The simple, observable fact is that, regardless of the intention of the design, the word "TYPEWRITER" can be typed (by anybody) on a single row of keys, with a single finger.

Proword (talk) 01:31, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

I think the claim that he struggled for "60 million years" is also stretching the truth a bit. Someone want To Change That ?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:41, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

More dubious claims are found in the Effects section. Although this refers to genuine research, it is quite controversial - the results in the individual languages did not reach the level of statistical significance. There's a blog about it here: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Physicsisshiny (talkcontribs) 01:24, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Having TYPEWRITER on the top keys cannot be anything but a bit of deliberate whimsy, and if this is 'unsubstantiated' then how about using common sense. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Improper phrasing[edit]

I object to this phrasing:

"While it is often said that QWERTY was designed to "slow down" typists, this is incorrect – it was designed to prevent jams[1]"

It is not incorrect to say this if it was designed to prevent jam's, as a jam only occurred when you pressed two keys in rapid succession. You could say speed up bumps were designed to prevent accidents and NOT to slow down cars, which would be nonsense because going FAST over speed bumps wouldn't really be safe. It's simply not fair to say it's INCORRECT. None of the citations reference original designers or quotes about their intentions so the word "designed" is questionable.

A better wording would be:

While it is often said that QWERTY was designed to "slow down" typists, there is no documentation to support the claim this was an intentional design decision. The inefficient layout does help prevent jams in "up-stoke" models.

Stevemulligan (talk) 13:02, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

I'd agree there. Certainly such a statement is not NPOV. Why did you do it (talk) 21:26, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and removed it. Besides, the source that was cited doesn't conform to the reliable sources guidelines. Why did you do it (talk) 21:31, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

In September 1977 Lillian Malt presented a paper to a conference of PIRA - the Printing Industry Research Association - in which, on page 1, she says:

"One piece of equipment which is universally recognised as being ill-fitted to human operation is the ubiquitous typewriter keyboard. The standard Scholes-designed keyboard with its qwerty layout, must be one of the very few pieces of equipment which has entirely resisted improvement, which could and should have been made to complement our advancing technological ability.

It has been said of the Scholes letter layout that it would probably have been chosen if the objective was to find the least efficient - in terms of learning time and speed achievable - and the most error producing character arrangement. This is not surprising when one considers that a team of people spent one year developing this layout so that it should provide the greatest inhibition to fast keying. This was no Machiavellian plot, but necessary because the mechanism of the early typewriters required slow operation."

This would seem to be a fairly reliable source.

Proword (talk) 03:02, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

Backslash Key[edit]

The "standard layout" shown has an enlarged enter key and the backslash key to the left of the backspace key. But most keyboards (e.g., Dell, HP, IBM, Apple, Matias, iHome, LifeWorks, Advanced Logic Research) have the backslash to the right of the right bracket key, and this goes back to PS/2 keyboards. Somebody should update the layout or show both variants. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:00, 13 January 2010 (UTC)


What is the justification for stating that being able to type many words using only the left hand helps left-handed people?

For someone who actually can type with both hands, the typical reason to type one-handed temporarily is to free up the other hand to do something else like turn a page, adjust the mouse position (on a computer), etc. Most people use their dominant hand for that, so freeing up the right hand and typing with the left is more advantageous for a right-hander. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:57, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

I'd suggest that given the minuscule amount of time a typist would spend typing "one-handed" (using a mouse, turn a page etc) there would be no advantage for "right-handers" in this situation. The mouse is a device which is used to perform tasks which cannot be performed as easily (if at all) by keystrokes.

Proword (talk) 01:59, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

UK-Extended Keyboard[edit]

Can somebody check the keyboard shortcuts for typing letters with accents? I believe that in many of the listed cases Ctrl should be used instead of AltGr. (talk) 18:50, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Alternatives to QWERTY[edit]

It says:" I love you!!!! " at the end of this chapter, i welcome it but not so sure that is the right place for that phrase. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:21, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

At the bottom of the subtopic header there is a link to footnote reference ten. I am going to replace this link with a citation needed template as there is conflicting (or mis-sourced) data contained within the link. The data is as follows:

There is no mention of Blickensderfer in the immediate link. There may be a mention within the article, but that requires a membership, and;

In the link they make mention of Dvorak, which had the reported '70% of English words on the home-row' within the line 'aoeuidhtns' according to a link shared on the Dvorak page as a source, featured on Discover Magazine.

The removal of the 70% line may or may not be necessary pending a more tributable source. Typenolies (talk) 04:32, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Clarity of "0" and "1"[edit]

The original presentation is cited thus:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - ,
Q W E . T Y I U O P
A X & C V B N ? ; R

However, the article then suggests that the patented version of 1878 did not include "0" or "1". I would assume by this that the original design *did* include the "1", but it was removed in 1878? If so, should this be made clearer? (talk) 15:02, 1 October 2010 (UTC) Woops, should have logged in... This comment is from me Nsmith 84 (talk) 15:03, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Half-qwerty image[edit]

I've just restored the half-qwerty image The silent gnome removed. Eir edit summary was "Removed pic. The description is clear enough, the pic isn't and it messes up the page."[1] I personally find the picture useful; it makes it immediately obvious what is being described, without needing to read the detail of the text at all. I have, at the same time fixed up the layout. —me_and 23:07, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

I too found the pic useful. (talk) 21:34, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

"QWERTY not made to avoid jamming."[edit]

" Contrary to two common misconceptions - the QWERTY letter arrangement was not derived to slow down typists nor to avoid jamming.[1]" CITES:

The "not to avoid jamming it" bit goes against everything I've ever read on the subject. Not saying it necessarily wrong, I think it should have a better citation than a random blog on the subject. The claims of Research Papers on typing, etc., should be presented in the opening paragraph. A "other claims" section would be fine, but elsewhere on the page. (talk) 18:07, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done clearly a dubious citation, and it certainly contradicts other sources. —me_and 19:03, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
The poster who added that dubious blog cite had also deleted a paragraph about reducing jams. I have now added it back. Cshay (talk) 20:38, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

There seems to be controversy on this. E.G., this presents evidence that preventing jamming was NOT a criteria: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

Remington No. 389[edit]

"Remington No. 2 and No. 3 and No. 389 of 1878" seems kidding. What's Remington No. 389?-- (talk) 08:44, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

ASDF ocurence[edit]

I added the folowing observation to the entry refering to the QWERTY keyboard on the asdf page: "this sequence of four characters may often be observed as meaningless text input, by itself or followed by other characters, (where any random sequence would suffice), with the possible explanation that this type of keyboard is the most popular, the user's right hand might mostly be on the mouse (or a similar device) and these four characters are the most accessible alphanumeric characters to the left hand with respect to the fingers used in typing" It might not be the apropriate place for such an observation, but I think it's worth mentioning. I often heard programmers saying "Don't use 'asdf', use something meaningfull". My personal perception is that people use it as a jargon, and if right, it's also worth mentioning. However, I think that the place of the observation should be on the QWERTY keyboard page and the entry should link there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:47, 19 March 2011 (UTC)


Once again, approved Wikipedians concur that 'God's in his Heaven and all's well with the world.' In this instance, the article, from the outset, favours QWERTY over its rivals, on the basis of flimsy evidence: two named economists in a referenced link which can be accessed only by subscribers (is it even proper for Wikipedian 'evidence' to depend on a subscription-only link? Is a subscription-only link indeed acceptable evidence?). Having thus expressed bias in favour of the QWERTY layout, the article naively ignores and omits to mention the enormous commercial interests presumably (if quietly) in play between rival keyboard layouts, making its casual, predictably conservative bias particularly ill-advised and foolish.-- (talk) 23:29, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Y as a vowel?[edit]

Perhaps someone could come up with a definitive (ie: non Wikipedia) reference that actually states Y "can be a vowel" as Opera hat suggests. At best, I found which states it is a semi-vowel - If Opera hat is correct, this would mean a semi-circle "can be a circle" also... a a semi-detatched house can be a "detatched house also". Additionally, on reverting my edit, he suggests I read up on "VOWEL" and gives a Wikipedia link (is referencing Wikipedia an acceptable source anyway?).

The article states "There is not necessarily a direct one-to-one correspondence between the vowel sounds of a language and the vowel letters. Many languages that use a form of the Latin alphabet have more vowel sounds than can be represented by the standard set of five vowel letters." thus clearly indicating not only 5 vowels, but that a vowel sound does not HAVE to use vowels to be produced. MrZoolook (talk) 02:33, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Obviously no evidence is forthcomming. MrZoolook (talk) 08:52, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
No - it means that vowel letters can stand for more than one sound (got and go, for example), and that combinations of vowel letters with other vowel/consonant letters can make a variety of sounds (met and meat/meet, moot, cat, cart etc.) I can't think of an English word that creates a vowel sound without using a, e, i, o, u or y. As for your logic about if semi-vowel=vowel then semi-circle=circle, this depends on treating language as if it were built up entirely from small units of consistent meaning. It isn't. Compare half-pint, which is not a pint, and half-bottle, which is still a bottle, only a small one. The letter "Y" in English functions as both a consonant and a vowel - such as in the word "yearly". The problem is not that Y is in some strange uncertain quantum state, it's that our division of letters into vowels and consonants can't be made absolutely cleanly.VsevolodKrolikov (talk) 09:35, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
At least in french:
* 6 voyelles écrites : A, E, I, O, U, Y.
* 16 voyelles phonétiques, ou vocoïdes : a, ɑ, e, ɛ, i, o, ɔ, u, y, ə, œ, ø, ɑ̃, ɔ̃, ɛ̃, œ̃. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:58, 2 August 2012 (UTC)


Source 6 references in this former paragraph below is a blog

Sholes struggled for the next five years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine's alphabetical key arrangement. His study of letter-pair frequency by educator Amos Densmore, brother of the financial backer James Densmore, is believed to have influenced the arrangement of letters,[5] but called in question [6]

^ Yasuoka [1]

I have therefore edited the paragraph to read.

Sholes struggled for the next five years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine's alphabetical key arrangement. His study of letter-pair frequency by educator Amos Densmore, brother of the financial backer James Densmore, is believed to have influenced the arrangement of letters[5]. However this is called into question elsewhere 'citation needed'

Can someone stick in the 'Citation needed' in the right format

SeldomSerious (talk) 22:19, 25 August 2011 (UTC)Seldom Serious


"particularly in the United States" doesn't sound correct... I think the QWERTY keyboard has been universally adopted in all English speaking countries. I don't see why the US is specifically mentioned. (talk) 01:00, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Backquote not a "dead key"[edit]

I would suggest that Backquote is not a "dead key" - when typed on its own it generates a ` symbol, which at the very least is used in LaTeX to represent an open quote. The Wikipedia entry for Dead Keys states, "The dead key does not generate a (complete) character by itself", which doesn't hold for the Backquote key. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:22, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

An illustration of the first keyboard[edit]

Here is an illustration of keybord, on page 195 They say that before, some keyboards were circular.

Titre : La Télégraphie à l'exposition universelle de 1867 
Éditeur : imp. Impériale (Paris)
Date d'édition : 1869
Type : monographie imprimée
Langue : Français
Format : Gr. in-8° (4°)
Format : application/pdf
Droits : domaine public
Identifiant : ark:/12148/bpt6k6212491s
Source : Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Littérature et art, V-17654
Relation :
Provenance :
Date de mise en ligne : 16/07/2012

Qwerty and Azerty[edit]

Artile gives:

  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 -
    A E I . ? Y U O ,


  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - ,
Q W E . T Y I U O P
A X & C V B N ? ; R

It is often say that Azerty comes from Qwerty. But it looks closer from the previous one, no?

  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - ,

Previous keyboards[edit]

Hughes telegraph (1866-1914), first telegraph printing text on a paper tape. Manufactured by Siemens und Halske, Germany; range: 300-400 km

When this article deals with the Murray Qwerty Keyboard; it might make sense to indicate that other keyboard were considered before, such as explained in Ticker Tape page article (See Illustration). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Deleted section "effects" on "negative connotations"[edit]

I've just deleted the section of the article entitled "Effects". It's based on only one source, a blog post at [2] which doesn't look at all reliable to me. The original paper [3] talks about the "emotional valence" of words, which I think isn't the same as "connotations". And the research has been strongly challenged at [4]. If we're to cover this topic on Wikipedia, we need to give due emphasis to both sides of the debate. But personally I don't think it's significant enough to deserve coverage here, unless further and more reliable sources can be found. Jowa fan (talk) 02:28, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Is there a QWERTY copyright?[edit]

Is there a copyright on the original QWERTY keyboard layout still extant? I raise this question not merely by way of 'original research,' but because, if there were still in existence such a copyright, still accumulating royalties to a current copyright owner, this would clearly have huge potential implications in terms of their continuing accumulation of wealth and power to influence/suppress customer choice of keyboard layout.-- (talk) 22:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

IANAL. Copyright duration depends on country. However, the article states:

The QWERTY layout became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878,

Something copyright in 1878, in the US for example, is now in the public domain. (See Copyright_law_of_the_United_States#Duration_of_copyright) I expect that other countries would also have long since expired. You may also be thinking about patents: those are 20 years in the US, so again, long expired.
Deathanatos (talk) 08:46, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Somebody told me that in fact AZERTY was introduced in France to circumvent the then valid QWERTY patent. Unfortunately, I have no valid citation to mention this in the articles. -- Karl432 (talk) 18:39, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

International variants - move to separate article[edit]

I don't think that this edit listing all of the international variants (the content was moved from Keyboard layout#QWERTY was a good idea, as it clutters the QWERTY article unnecessarily. I suggest that the text should be in a separate article, with a summary in both QWERTY and Keyboard layout. Mitch Ames (talk) 03:59, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Could modern computers be made without QWERTY?[edit]


I heard on The World at One on Saint George's Day 2013 that modern computers could be made without the familiar QWERTYUIOP keyboard - if any one knows anything about this, it could go in the article. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 15:10, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

It's covered by QWERTY#Alternatives to QWERTY. Mitch Ames (talk) 14:00, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

New historical research challenges "slow the operator down" story[edit]

Recently, new historical research has come out debunking the idea that the keys were arranged to slow people down, rather it was designed to assist the first customers - telegraph operators.

News coverage on the research:

PDF on the research:

--Wowaconia (talk) 20:23, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

From Huffingtonpost:

Most of us were taught that the man who invented the keyboard created the QWERTY design to slow typists down. This popular theory was just debunked. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Proword (talkcontribs) 03:57, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

The paper by Lillian Malt referred to above

is a refereed paper submitted to the Printing Industry Research Association in 1977, and shows quite plainly that this Huffington article is false. The story is NOT an urban myth. Whether Malt's assertions are correct is a different matter altogether. However, if anything she presented in her paper was incorrect, it would not have been accepted for presentation. Proword (talk) 03:53, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Contrary to Popular Belief[edit]

Contrary to popular belief[5], the QWERTY layout was not designed to slow the typist down

This expression should removed as it is merely unsupported assertion, and cannot be verified in line with Wiki guidelines.

I would suggest that it be rewritten:

Some have claimed that the QWERTY keyboard was designed to "provide the greatest inhibition to fast keying"[1] while others say that this is merely an urban legend.

Proword (talk) 08:42, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^

Home Row[edit]

There is an unspoken assumption in this article that the "home row" is the central row of letters or the second row up from the space bar.

Almost every word in the English language contains at least one vowel, but on the QWERTY keyboard only the vowel "A" is located on the home row, which requires the typist's fingers to leave the home row for most words.

This makes it sound as if the design of the keyboard was so poor as to have one common vowel on the well-established "home row". The fact that touch typists today are trained to think of this as the "home row" is merely a convention that has resulted from this having been found to be the best way to teach typing.

I don't have a direct citation, but I did read once that the presence of all the vowels on the top row was because, when it was first designed, it was the top row that was thought of as the "home row" by the designers (who weren't after all trained touch-typists or expert ergonomists, but making the first mechanical writing machine). Other alternatives to QWERTY definitely thought of the top row as the home row, placing the least common letters on the bottom, most difficult to reach, row. (Possibly I'm thinking here of the DHIATENSOR on which the home row was the bottom row.) Silas Maxfield (talk) 18:05, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Fixed font or picture to display layouts?[edit]

The boxes on the page that display the evolution of the layout are confusing. They use a proportional font which does not preserve the alignment of the characters at the right ends of each row. For example, on a real QWERTY keyboard, the 8 key is above and to the right of the U key, but in the article, it is shown as to the left of the U. Similar, the L is below and right of the O, but in the article it is left of the O.

These could be fixed by using either (a) a monospaced font, or (b) an image, instead of a proportional font.

Any reason not to? Marzolian (talk) 07:37, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

UK-extended - in two places?[edit]

Section seems largely to duplicate the section near the top; some rationalisation is probably desirable.

G6JPG20.133.0.13 (talk) 18:58, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Persian keyboard?[edit]

The section on the Romanized Persian keyboard says nothing about it being QWERTY, and the image is of the standard Persian keyboard (which , transliterated, is more like ZSSGhFKh). (talk) 07:36, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Where's the French standard?[edit]

Under Canada it's mentioned that French Canada uses a different system than France does. However the French keyboard isn't anywhere in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:43, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

QWERTY is not from International Telegraph Alphabet No. 2[edit]

I think this should be included in the article, if it can be found in a published source. I was just doing analysis on ITA2 and realized that when the numbers are put in order, they spell QWERTY, so I got excited. But then reading the "Donald Murray" article, it becomes apparent that ITA2 is based on QWERTY, not the other way around. From this article, it's apparent that QWERTY is based on arranging symbols so that common letters are spaced out and don't jam the works of the typewriter. I also wanted to put this here in the Talk so that should someone else find this, they'd be the faster to realize what's going on.

I also want to mention here that along with the above, I recently did work analyzing the etymology of the numeral (and letter) encodings in Bar Codes, Zip Code Bar Codes, ASCII, Binary, Morse Code, ITA2 and Van Duuren's, with maybe more to be added. I hope to put this work online for free. If it could be in some way encorporated into Wikipedia, that would be great, but finding published material about it might be difficult to do. Or it might be easy. Best wishes to whomever works on Wikipedia articles like this one. Whew.

Oh, and one more thing. I didn't look, but in ITA2 and Van Duuren's, there are Telegraph Commands which are abbreviated in my listing. I want to suggest that the Wikipedia article give the unabbreviated forms and explain sufficiently the frequency and operations of said commands. Many thanks.

Dwarfkingdom (talk) 00:11, 7 August 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 11 August 2014[edit]

Change "Additionally, there are only 5 English words that can be spelled using just the letters in the top row: perpetuity, prerequire, proprietor, repertoire, and typewriter." to "Additionally, there are only 5 ten-letter English words that can be spelled using just the letters in the top row: perpetuity, prerequire, proprietor, repertoire, and typewriter." (add "ten-letter" since the statement is incorrect... there are many shorter words (e.g., owe, tripe, yet, quiet, quite, quieter...) Jeffmodell (talk) 20:14, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Sam Sing! 08:50, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 30 September 2014[edit]

Please remove citation #4 because (1) the link is no longer valid and (2) the cited page is of dubious quality: it provides no references of its own and is not a first-hand source. The Wayback Machine last successfully crawled this page on 12 Nov 2013. Presently, the cited link returns a 403 Forbidden error and, in fact, the entire subdomain is no longer in operation. (talk) 21:50, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done The refs. were added (or re-added) by three September 2011 edits, so should any content be removed as well? The editor who added these even acknowledged that the source was a "blog post cite" (in their edit summary). I'm dubious of this: While it is often said that QWERTY was designed to "slow down" typists, this is incorrect – it was designed to prevent jams while typing at speed, yet some of the layout decisions, such as placing only one vowel on the home row, did have the effect of hobbling more modern keyboards. Well yes, I think it was intended to "slow down" typists—for the purpose of preventing jams, no? And any particular layout "hobbles" modern (electronic) keyboards?? Maybe it hobbles typists, but not the keyboards themselves! Wbm1058 (talk) 03:15, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 October 2014[edit]

Under Section 3. Computer Keyboards, the footer on the image on the right side says that the "\" is omitted on U.S. keyboards, which is false. Please fix. (talk) 16:49, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Reverted edit from April 2013, thanks for noticing and reporting it. The backslash is in the top row in that picture. Wbm1058 (talk) 02:34, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

US International in the Netherlands.[edit]

            Many computer-experienced Dutch people have retained the old habit of using Alt + number codes to type accented characters; others routinely type without diacritics, then use a spelling checker to produce the correct forms.

While true, afaik this mostly goes for people (sysadmins,programmers) using US-standard to avoid dead keys for quote and braces combinations often used in programming, not US-international. Since accent occurrence in Dutch is lower than e.g. German or French this quite doable for even non trivial amounts of text. (talk) 16:25, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

This is JUNK Keyboard :([edit]

OUT qwerty!!!!!-- (talk) 05:23, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

Canadian Multilingual Standard?[edit]

I'm a Canadian with a French background and have been working with computers since the 80s. But I've never heard of or seen this apparently "standard" keyboard before until I read this article. If it truly does exist and is used at all by "some Canadians" as the article states (beyond some idealized concept promoted by Microsoft or someone trying to standardize something that never caught on), a reference is direly needed. Failing that, it should be removed as being irrelevant to Canadian keyboardists. The Quebec French keyboard also mentioned in the article exists, and I know of its use. But in my experience, even more common are keyboard layouts that use a "standard" english QWERTY layout translated by the keyboard map of the host OS - this doesn't split the shift or enter keys and instead remaps the keys differently. Though unfortunate that there is no good French standard keyboard in Canada, and I wish there was, in my experience, the so-called Canadian Multilingual Standard is not it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:54, 25 February 2015 (UTC)


A little limited, hey? My keyboard does not have a win key, not to speak about an ALTGR key (how do you pronounce ALTGR btw?). I guess this article could be made to a more cosmopolitan level by getting rid of Windowsisms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:04, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Alternative historical explanation[edit]

The May 2013 article here in The Atlantic, "The Lies You've Been Told About the Origin of the QWERTY Keyboard", by Alexis C. Madrigal, references a study by Japanese researchers, who make the case that the QWERTY keyboard layout evolved over time under the influence of telegraph translators. Perhaps this should be noted in this article. — Loadmaster (talk) 20:10, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Properties / teh[edit]

Alternating hands while typing is a desirable trait in a keyboard design. [...] (The common typo teh shows that alternating hands is a natural tendency.)

How so? Typing "the" uses alternating hands, while "teh" doesn't.

--CyBot (talk) 13:43, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

Memories of Old Typewriter Keyboards[edit]

The sequence QWERTY just specifies the sequence of the capital and minuscule letters. That for numerals also stands without comment. But the sequence of characters that get printed or inputted when the numerals are keyed along with the shift key did have a change from typewriter to computer keyboard. Even though the computer sequence is that which the ASCII sequence specifies as the binary code for the corresponding numeral - with one bit changed - both sequences are completely arbitrary, especially VISUALLY. I think a note on this used to appear on this Wikipedia page, but does so no longer.

Maybe it used to be:--

       !   "   #   $   %   _   &   '   (   )   *   +
       1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   0   -   = 

as opposed to:--

   ~   !   @   #   $   %   ^   &   *   (   )   _   +
   `   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   0   -   = 

But I think there were other differences. My own idea is that the topological features of the shifted numerals should have been comparable to those of the numerals that lie beneath them [say: & 3, # 4, $ 5, ( 6, ^ 7, % 8, ) 9, @ 0] - rather than having to be memorized by rote - which had to be changed for the transition from the old typewriter sequence to the new ASCII form. I still have to look at the keyboard. (talk) 18:31, 18 March 2016 (UTC)

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