Dvorak is Wrong Again

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To divert his attention from the sub-zero temperatures and piles of snow that prevent travel beyond a well-heated building, reader Sergio Miguel Huarcaya writes from the University of Michigan to ask:

I use Mac 10.3.7 and the Dvorak - Qwerty Command keyboard layout to use the regular keys for Italic, Bold, Copy, and Paste. But in Microsoft Word X for Mac, the layout doesn’t always switch to Qwerty when I press Command. Is there a way to fix this, without changing all the command key is the Tools/Customize Menu?

I admit that I view the Dvorak keyboard layout much the same way that I look at Esperanto and the metric system—a far more efficient and logical way to go about things, but not for old dogs reluctant to learn new tricks. However, despite my stubborn devotion to horse-and-buggy technologies, I took a gander at how Microsoft Word handles the Dvorak - Qwerty Command keyboard layout and was likewise disappointed in the results—worked sometimes, other times not.

I found it responded slightly better when I deliberately pressed the Command key, waited half a tick, and then pressed the letter key that completed the command, but this isn’t a surefire solution. While dinking around with alternatives it occurred to me that I might revisit days of yore and map keys F1 - F4 to Copy Paste, Undo, and Cut so that it wasn’t necessary to invoke the Command key as often (old timers might recall that some keyboards once had such commands stenciled under these F keys).

Word aficionados know where I’m going with this. In the spirit of Microsoft programs before it, by default, Microsoft Word maps Undo to F1, Cut to F2, Copy to F3, and Paste to F4. If the “press Command and wait a bit” trick doesn’t work, at least you can depend on the first four F keys to do some of the work for you and then use Word’s Customize command to remap the other key commands you use most often.

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