Pair Programming with Qwerty and Dvorak keyboard layouts



Is it possible to plug in 2 keyboards and have one with Dvorak layout and the other with QWERTY layout? (On OSX)


Posted 2010-11-11T16:29:30.653

Reputation: 2 387

Question was closed 2017-07-12T13:53:34.770

Lets ponder the bigger question--What is the deal with the paired programming? Paired programming is a sure-fire way to get half as much done in twice the time. – riwalk – 2010-11-11T16:31:59.760

are you expecting to have two people typing simultaneously? or just so if one makes a mistake the other can correct, and is more comfortable with another type of keyboard? (I'm sorry I don't actually know the answer, but I'd like to understand the reasoning at least) – onaclov2000 – 2010-11-11T16:34:12.580

The is a great keyboard, with a physical switch to Dvorak mode.

– sren – 2011-01-10T01:05:11.197



You can do this Linux in X Windows, and this may also apply OSX (another X Windows-based operating system).

Find the device ID of the keyboard to change:

$ xinput -list | grep -i key
⎣ Virtual core keyboard                     id=3    [master keyboard (2)]
    ↳ Virtual core XTEST keyboard               id=5    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Power Button                              id=6    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ Power Button                              id=7    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ LITEON Technology USB Keyboard            id=9    [slave  keyboard (3)]
    ↳ LITEON Technology USB Keyboard            id=10   [slave  keyboard (3)]

Then change the layout using setxkbmap:

$ setxkbmap -device 9 dvorak


Posted 2010-11-11T16:29:30.653

Reputation: 11 926

1You can find the list of keyboard layouts at /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/base.lst under the ! layout section. – craastad – 2014-02-12T09:42:11.017

Awesome! But I had trouble making it work. I could switch the layout of one keyboard, but after a while the other(s) switched as well. I could not use the built-in layout switcher (of MATE) to switch until I un- and replugged one of the keyboards, but then they were again all in sync. – KlaymenDK – 2016-06-03T09:15:12.020


The open-source Karabiner-Elements solved this for me. It has a "Devices" tab that let's you specify which keyboards will get the new key mapping, or which ones should be ignored. So I leave my OS set to QWERTY, apply the Dvorak mapping to my keyboards, then leave my pair's keyboards unaffected.enter image description here


Posted 2010-11-11T16:29:30.653

Reputation: 454


You can do it with any hard-wired Dvorak or remapable keyboard.

The Kinesis Advantage should do the trick. It has both QWERTY and Dvorak modes but it's quite expensive (300$) and the layout may not be for everyone.


Posted 2010-11-11T16:29:30.653

Reputation: 51


I have my Kinesis hardware-mapped to Dvorak sitting on my desk, and a second keyboard sitting off to the side as a "guest" keyboard. The second keyboard is also handy for any games that assume that you use an antiquated layout.


Posted 2010-11-11T16:29:30.653

Reputation: 7 522


Not, as far as I know, using the basic OS X setup. If you want to modify a kext you can do it. I would suggest you get the Dvorak keyboard as hardware Dvorak, not software Dvorak, as in this case your setup will work as expected.


Posted 2010-11-11T16:29:30.653

Reputation: 1 181