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What is a One Handed Keyboard?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2017
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A one handed keyboard is a type of keyboard that can be used to type all the letters with a single hand. Some of these devices are very small and are used as plug-ins for things like personal organizers, cellphones, or combination phone/organizer devices. They may help type in material faster than possible with the hunt and peck style of most small device keyboards. Others are larger devices, and some look absolutely nothing like a keyboard (like the BAT keyboard), but use a combination of buttons pressed (or chords) to produce different letters.

There are many reasons why someone might choose to have a one handed keyboard. For smaller devices, they simply may want something easy to carry that only requires one hand to use. Conversely, some people desire a one-handed keyboard if they have disability or significant injury in one hand, rendering it difficult to type with two. These folks then have numerous choices in type available to them.

Some types of these keyboards are based on the standard QWERTY model or the DVORAK model. If typists have learned to touch type via either of these models, they may prefer using a similar key arrangement with a one handed keyboard. Many claim that with practice, typing speed can be similar to two-handed typing, and both keyboards allow people to “hunt and peck” too.

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Another model that may work for those trained on QWERTY is the half QWERTY keyboard, which has only half the keys and may be easier to learn for those used to a full keyboard. By using the space bar, this type allows people to access the other keys in a similar fashion to how they would be typed by the hand not used. Some believe that the half QWERTY is the best choice for those who are already quick typists trained in the QWERTY method.

Other styles of keyboards exist and these are constantly evolving. Most of them have a learning curve. It takes a while to master typing with one hand with any new method. The BAT system, for instance, where people press button combinations to produce letters can take time to memorize. Those who practice constantly, for example those who have jobs as typists, can become speedy on any system. However, for occasional use, one handed keyboards with complex new systems can be difficult to master, and some are quite expensive.

Another issue with one handed keyboards is hand exhaustion. People who type frequently end up using one hand to type all letters and symbols, and many of the keyboard types available are not ergonomic. Price is another consideration. Some styles are well above $500 US Dollars (USD), but a few are inexpensive, and models like the DVORAK may be obtainable for little or no money.

For many people, though, any price associated with a one handed keyboard is well worth it if they can type with ease after learning additional steps to produce all the letters. Some people simply choose to go on with regular keyboards, and buy them in smaller sizes, and this may be fine for hunt and peck typing. For those who need to type regularly with a single hand, learning a one handed keyboard system may be well worth it, since many are able to type at excellent speeds with practice, rivaling the speeds of competent two-handed typists.

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