Methods of one-handed typing

This page is a collection of one-handed typing options that I am familiar with.

Layouts for traditional keyboards: No Layering

Layouts that are not relied upon layering will be described here. They are essentially rearrangements of QWERTY keyboard keys.

FGHJ layout

This is the most obvious way to type one-handed. You simply place your fingers on the center of QWERTY keyboard (on FGHJ keys). Can be used with eather right or left hand. It is not optimized for any of these hands eather way, haha.

FGHJ Layout
FGHJ right-handed typing (85 wpm)

This method of one-handed typing can be summarized with just two points:

  • It is the most accessible way to type one-handed (huge plus)
  • It has zero optimization, so typing is not very convenient (huge minus)

There is a video of lovely lady typing on it at incredible 85 wpm. However she uses her left hand for Shift (her left hand was traumatized during some unfortunate accident in her childhood).

One-handed Dvorak

This layout is designed specifically for one-handed typing. It is probably second most popular one-handed typing option compared to FGHJ. It has both left-handed and right-handed option.

Left-handed Dvorak layout
Left-handed Dvorak typing (54 wpm)

Although letters and symbols have frequency based positioning (frequent keys are near home row), this layout has some disadvantages: 

  • Shift is inconvenient to press (requires big stretch of pinky or index finger)
  • Enter, Tab and Baskspace are far to reach

OETA layout

One crazy guy (NoThisIsJohn) created right-handed layout called OETA and just for fun reached unbelievable 100 wpm on it within about one month of training. This is the fastest one-handed typing that I ever saw.

OETA (Right-handed)
OETA (Left-handed)
Right-handed OETA typing (80..100 wpm)

OETA brings Enter and Backspace closer to the index finger. With a bit of programming it also relies upon Sticky Shift (you press Shift once, and next key you type will be shifted). This are noticeable improvements compared to one-handed Dvorak layout.

Also notice that in one-handed Dvorak layout all the main vowels are concentrated on the index finger (this was done to avoid consecutive same finger uses). OETA does not use this principle, so vowels are all over the fingers, thus increasing consecutive same finger uses. And despite that incredible 100 wpm still were reached. It may actually mean that it is not that improtant to avoid consecutive same finger presses when designing one-handed layouts.

STREAK layout

This is left-handed layout developed by Mr Konomu (he also created New Frogpad layout, see below).

Original post link:

There is no video of typing, but letters frequency based placement looks promising. Numbers and some of the symbols placement is from left-handed Dvorak layout.

STREAK (Left-handed)
STREAK (Right-handed)

Layouts for traditional keyboards: Heavy Layering

Layouts that are based on heavy usage of layering will be described here. They in general use roughly half the keys of QWERTY keyboard for one-handed typing. This is because every key can have increased number of functions due to layering.

Mirrored QWERTY (family of layouts)

This is the most popular way of one-handed typing that uses layers. It relies upon double-function of Space key:

  • Quick tap of Space works as usual (sends Whitespace character)
  • Holding Space mirrors the keyboard

There many variations to this basic idea (like using Caps Lock or LAlt for mirroring instead of Space).

QWERTY layout has approximately 60/40 hand load, so Space will be pressed approximately every 2nd letter (beware of thumb overuse).

Mirrored QWERTY: Main idea

However developers of Mirrored QWERTY layouts for some reason tend to ignore obvious layout drawbacks:

  • Some of keys (for example: [ ] ” ; ) can not be directly mirrored into a left hand, so they are usually simply not mirrored at all :/
  • Double-function of Space sabotages two-handed typing speed
  • Hitting hotkeys is inconvenient and is hard to be done without looking onto keyboard: try for examle hitting Ctrl+Alt+Space+Q with one hand to call Ctrl+Alt+P hotkey
Mirrorboard typing: 52 wpm

Representative of Mirrored QWERTY layouts family:  Mirrorboard layout. It has most of the outlined drawbacks.

OK, I seriously need to promote now my OPRIQ layout. In it’s core it is Mirrored QWERTY, but it has none of the drawbacks mentioned above:

  • All keys are available in one-handed mode
  • Two-handed speed is not sabotaged
  • Modifiers keys (Shift/Ctrl/Alt) are placed to provide convenient hotkeys usage

ENTI-Key++ Layout (also called Coffee++)

This is probably the strangiest left-handed layout that I ever saw. However its author is actually using it, and some ideas can be gained from this layout.

Originaly published at:

All the letters are grouped near left side of the keyboard. And right hand (when needed to aid typing) can enter 4 frequent duplicated letters which are: E, N, T, I.

I can see how this can be used as a left-handed keyboard, however right hand usage seems very unbalanced too me. Yes, you can enter 4 additional frequent letters and some symbols with right hand, but still left hand does all the job letter-wise, so in two-handed typing mode left hand will probably be severely overloaded. I haven’t tried myself Coffee++ layout, but judging from my experience with OPRI.60 layout, left hand overload can become very serious issue.

ENTI-Key++ layout

Frogpad and its modifications

To be done:

  • Original Frogpad
  • Konomus Frogpad
  • Other extensions

Special one-handed keyboards with no layering

To be done:

  • Onekb
  • Crafted Dvorak 8×8
  • Maltron (meh)

Chorded keyboards

To be done:

  • Cykey
  • Kee4
  • Artsey
  • Tap/Tap2
  • decaTXT
  • Twiddler


To be done:

  • KeyMouse
  • RazerNagaPro + Dvorak