Please explain QWERTY

Why was the keyboard arranged as QWERTY and not the alphabetical one?


The earliest typewriters in the 1870s arranged the keys in more-or-less alphabetical order, or in a pattern derived from how typographers worked to typeset books and newspapers. But as typists got faster, the mechanical keys would jam up. To slow down typists and avoid jams, many of the most popular letters in English were moved to opposite sides of the keyboard.

Best Regards,
Lyka Remeticado
Community Associate at Typesy

The arrangement of characters on a QWERTY keyboard was designed in 1868 by Christopher Sholes, the inventor of the typewriter. According to popular myth, Sholes arranged the keys in their odd fashion to prevent jamming on mechanical typewriters by separating commonly used letter combinations.
The construction of the “Type Writer” had two flaws that made the product susceptible to jams. Firstly, characters were mounted on metal arms or type bars, which would clash and jam if neighbouring arms were pressed at the same time or in rapid succession. Secondly, its printing point was located beneath the paper carriage, invisible to the operator, a so-called “up-stroke” design. Consequently, jams were especially serious, because the typist could only discover the mishap by raising the carriage to inspect what had been typed. The solution was to place commonly used letter-pairs (like “th” or “st”) so that their type bars were not neighbouring, avoiding jams.
Sholes struggled for the next five years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine’s alphabetical key arrangement. The study of [bigram (letter-pair) frequency by educator Amos Densmore, brother of the financial backer [James Densmore] is believed to have influenced the array of letters, but the contribution was later called into question. Others suggest instead that the letter groupings evolved from [telegraph] operators’ feedback.November 1868 he changed the arrangement of the latter half of the alphabet, O to Z, right-to-left.In April 1870 he arrived at a four-row, upper case keyboard approaching the modern QWERTY standard, moving six vowel letters, A, E, I, O, U, and Y, to the upper row as follows

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - A E I . ? Y U O , B C D F G H J K L M Z X W V T S R Q P N

Hi, @reillyhaines!

Really great question and one that many people have!

An ABC layout makes sense in the beginning, as we are already familiar with alpha order, but the QWERTY layout was indeed designed to be a more efficient keyboard layout. The QWERTY format is the best option for typing since it spreads the most used keys. This allows you to avoid too many fingers crammed into one area, vying for popular letters. While an alphabetical layout may be easier to learn when first starting to type, the benefits of the QWERTY layout far outweigh the time spent learning it.