Why are keys on a keyboard in this weird order?

Lukács Andrea

Lukács Andrea

If you have ever seen a keyboard, you most probably have asked yourself: why are the keys in the order they are? The answer is more logical, than you think.

The QWERTY order first was used on old fashioned typewriters. The first generation of typewriters used metal arms, called typebars for each letter. Every one of them had one letter (uppercase and lowercase) molded into the end of them. When pressing a key, the correct typebar rose from the rest and hammered the letter onto the paper with the help of an ink ribbon. Problems started to occur when two adjacent keys were pressed down, because the typebars could get stuck into each other, thus slowing down the process of typing.

To solve this problem, they arranged the keys in an order that the most commonly used letters are the furthest apart from each other- and this is how QWERTY was created.

Most people are already used to the QWERTY, but if you think logically, it isn’t the most efficient: The most commonly used letters being the furthest apart from each other makes that your fingers are constantly moving longer distances.

If you’d like to try out some alternative layouts, here are some funky suggestions:


Dvorak layout presents the most often used letters on the home row so that you don’t have to move your fingers so much. It also takes into account that the majority of the population is right-handed.


Colemak layout maintains much of the original QWERTY layout. This layout is intended to have the strongest fingers type the most frequently used keys.

These are some layouts, but if you’d like to change your whole keyboard, you should look at these:


These keyboards have two square sets of letters on the left and right side of the keyboard with a number pad in the middle, rather than one single rectangular group of keys.

Razer Tartarus

The Razer Tartarus has 32 programmable keys, and it’s comfortable, especially when using them for an extended period of time, like gaming.

If you really hate the QWERTY layout, you can try out these alternatives. We probably won’t, we embrace tradition when it comes to keyboards.

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