Transitioning from a staggered keyboard to an ortholinear one may seem challenging. There are many factors that can affect the approximate time it takes for a user to get used to using a columnar keyboard, including:
- Using a staggered keyboard.
- Knowing how to use a split keyboard.
- The user's previous skill level (being a touch typist or not).
- Whether the user already uses other layouts (Colemak / QWERTY).
- The amount of time available each day for learning.
Considering these factors, it's challenging to establish an exact timeframe, so the learning curve can last anywhere from 3 weeks to some months. As a recommendation, you can follow the steps we suggest below:
- Learn to Touch Type: Touch typing involves using all your available fingers, and pressing the correct keys with them. If you're not a proficient typist, practice on sites like Typing Club and Typing Study. And you can also have fun learning with games like Epistory and The Typing of the Dead.
- Ditch Bad Typing Habits: Get rid of those bad touch typing habits, for example, pressing Q & P with the ring finger, pressing X with the middle finger, or using your index finger to press C. Some errors on a staggered keyboard might go unnoticed, but carrying those errors to a columnar keyboard can be catastrophic.
- Find Your Space: Most ergonomic keyboards are split and have multiple thumb keys. Discover which is the most comfortable for you and the comfortable location for the space key, assigning one key at a time.
- Customize Your Thumb Cluster: Identify your most used modifiers and add them to thumb keys where you feel it's right. Assigning a different color to these keys will help you get used to the new layout. You can also assign dual-function keys, like having Space or Enter with a tap and Shift, Ctrl, or any modifier by holding it down.
- Personalize Your Way: Create layers, macros, super keys, and whatever you need. You can have a layer for symbols, a numeric keypad layer, and another for navigation. The possibilities are endless.
Remember to practice regularly, set realistic goals, and progress steadily to master your new ortholinear keyboard. You're not alone in this learning curve; in the Discord community, you can find users who are on the same journey as you.