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the best layout
Partially optimized QWKRFY and fully optimized QGMLWY layouts are the last word in easier typing.
the worst layout
A fully antioptimized TNWMLC layout is a joke and a nightmare. It's also the only keyboard layout that has its own fashion line.
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Download keyboard layouts, or run the code yourself to explore new layouts. Carpalx is licensed under CC BYNCSA 4.0.
layouts
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Colemak  Popular Alternative
Colemak  The Popular Alternative
The Colemak layout is one of the more popular alternatives to QWERTY and Dvorak. It has its ZXCV keys in the classical QWERTY position and the only punctuation key that it relocates is the ; which is moved to make the right pinky service a letter key.
Colemak  typing effort
Below are the typing efforts of Colemak, Dvorak and QWERTY. QWERTY comes out as the big loser here, with a huge increase over Colemak in the base effort (+193%), a large stroke path increase (+36%) and a significant penalty increase (+16%). Dvorak is already an improvement over QWERTY, so the difference between it and Colemak is smaller.
model  keyboard  total effortrel%  effort contributionsrel%  

base  penalties  path  
mod_01  colemak 
1.842

0.34418.7

0.76341.4
R0.158 F0.487 
0.73539.9

dvorak 
2.098
(+13.9)

0.39718.9
(+15.4)

0.93744.7
(+22.8)
R0.171 (+8.2) F0.638 (+31.0) 
0.76536.5
(+4.1)


qwerty 
3.000
(+62.9)

1.00033.3
(+190.7)

1.00033.3
(+31.1)
R0.408 (+158.2) F0.408 (16.2) 
1.00033.3
(+36.1)


Colemak  detailed statistics
Colemak makes even greater use of home row (74%) than Dvorak (71%). This leaves QWERTY's 34% far behind. Bottom row use is low at 9%, like Dvorak.
Colemak is more balanced in hand use, with a 6% preference for the right hand (Dvorak has 14% for the right and QWERTY 15% for the left).
Cumulative run statistics for Colemak are worth looking at. The rh_{l}(0) and rh_{r}(0) are nearly both 50% (0.55 and 0.49, respectively). This means that half of the time successive keystrokes use the same hand and that this characteristic is symmetric with respect to the left and right hands. In other words, Colemak is very good at maintaining hand alternation for both hands. Consecutive uses of the home row is also favourable in Colemak, with 85% of runs having a length of <=5 strokes (compare this with 4 strokes for Dvorak and somewhere between 12 strokes for QWERTY).
Both Colemak and Dvorak make greater use of the pinky. Colemak uses the pinky 16% of the time (18% for Dvorak and 10% for QWERTY). Colemak does a good job at loading the stronger fingers (index and middle) and uses them 67% of the time. This is better than Dvorak which uses these fingers 60% of the time, but not as good as QWERTY which uses them 69% of the time.
carpalx effort optimization  keyboard name  statistics  effort  

row_{h}  row_{b}  hand asym  finger freq  cumulative run distribution  mod_01  
none 
Colemak
QWFPGJLUY;[]\
ARSTDHNEIO'
ZXCVBKM,./

0.74  0.09  0.06 
0.16 0.17 0.26 0.41 

1.842
0.344^{18.7%} 0.763^{41.4%} 0.735^{39.9%} 

none 
Dvorak standard
',.PYFGCRL/=\
AOEUIDHTNS
;QJKXBMWVZ

0.71  0.09  0.14 
0.18 0.21 0.26 0.34 

2.098
0.397^{18.9%} 0.937^{44.7%} 0.765^{36.4%} 

none 
QWERTY standard
QWERTYUIOP[]\
ASDFGHJKL;'
ZXCVBNM,./

0.34  0.15  0.15 
0.10 0.21 0.27 0.42 

3.000
1.000^{33.3%} 1.000^{33.3%} 1.000^{33.3%} 

Colemak  word difficulty
Using the typing effort model described in Carpalx  Typing Effort, I ranked 612 character words by their corresponding effort (effort is normalized to word length) using a dictionary of 480,000 words (/usr/share/dict/words, Red Hat 4 Enterprise). Below is a table that shows sets of words representing effort percentiles.
COLEMAK ENGLISH Word Efforts  

average effort  percentile  wordeffort 
6.8  hardest  zaqaziq7.7 zyzzyva7.5 pazazz7.2 tazzas7.1 zaqqum7.0 pizzazz7.0 mazzard7.0 gozzan7.0 zyzzyvas6.9 hazzan6.8 pazazzes6.8 razzia6.8 pizazzy6.8 pizzazzes6.7 lazzaro6.7 cazzie6.7 zoozoo6.7 bazaar6.6 azazel6.6 izzard6.5 gozzard6.5 jazzbow6.5 piazzas6.5 razzly6.4 razzle6.4 
2.9  90%  caricography2.9 clavariaceae2.9 computably2.9 gastromyces2.9 gasworks2.9 knobbling2.9 marmalade2.9 nabobism2.9 obliger2.9 obliges2.9 skoals2.9 
2.6  80%  asyllabic2.6 beaverboard2.6 bouquetin2.6 cryptical2.6 homicidious2.6 michiko2.6 nonmajor2.6 sarcophagic2.6 sholoms2.6 tamper2.6 vampireproof2.6 
2.3  70%  asarone2.3 bathyscaphes2.3 fluoridize2.3 gametophobia2.3 megaloscope2.3 mercurially2.3 neoacademic2.3 polygoneutic2.3 premorally2.3 seraphlike2.3 subantiquity2.3 
2.2  60%  crossfoot2.2 giggled2.2 giggler2.2 giggles2.2 ligula2.2 mytishchi2.2 phlyctaenae2.2 poppyfishes2.2 regave2.2 stomodeums2.2 unifarious2.2 
2.0  50%  brewises2.0 castorin2.0 chapaties2.0 delirious2.0 glandiferous2.0 implete2.0 leafgirl2.0 mythify2.0 odours2.0 phenicopter2.0 praenomens2.0 
1.9  40%  antiars1.9 coregency1.9 counselor1.9 isochela1.9 keyser1.9 muttonhood1.9 platyrrhin1.9 shelver1.9 shelves1.9 tokenless1.9 triplexes1.9 
1.7  30%  aspidiotus1.7 beethovian1.7 candidiasis1.7 dionaea1.7 ftncmd1.7 grisounite1.7 lengthful1.7 mantlepieces1.7 otherwise1.7 shortfall1.7 sorehawk1.7 
1.6  20%  crossbench1.6 directories1.6 infauna1.6 intramundane1.6 muspellsheim1.6 pushing1.6 reheeling1.6 superinfer1.6 trienniums1.6 unparsonic1.6 windstorms1.6 
1.3  10%  annadiane1.3 beerothite1.3 coenosteal1.3 contestate1.3 desiring1.3 ettirone1.3 oriently1.3 overseeing1.3 senorita1.3 tiemannite1.3 uniterated1.3 
0.2  easiest  steeds0.1 steers0.1 stenar0.1 ensteep0.2 teetan0.2 seessel0.2 nessie0.2 steeps0.2 nettie0.2 sensal0.2 sentry0.2 seethe0.2 esseda0.2 teethe0.2 settees0.2 nessim0.3 testees0.3 stenton0.3 essera0.3 settee0.3 stints0.3 steens0.3 nettly0.3 stettin0.3 entrees0.3 teethy0.3 