Toggle Dvorak

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In my ArchLinux setup with XMonad, I’ve found myself wanting to swap between QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard layouts when practicing Dvorak. While my Kinesis Advantage keyboard allows me to swap layouts at the hardware level (I’m assuming by simulating Dvorak on top of Qwerty), I also found a keyboard-agnostic way to do this.

Configuring Keypress Toggle

For X11, create the following configuration at /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/00-keyboard.conf:

# Read and parsed by systemd-localed. It's probably wise not to edit this file
# manually too freely.
Section "InputClass"
    Identifier "system-keyboard"
    MatchIsKeyboard "on"
    Option "XkbLayout" "us,us"
    Option "XkbModel" ","
    Option "XkbVariant" ",dvorak"
    Option "XkbOptions" "grp:toggle"
EndSection

This enables toggling Dvorak via Right-Alt.

Configuring Visual Indicator with Xmobar

So, along with XMonad, I use Xmobar to display useful information such as my current workspace, battery charge, and time. To avoid confusing myself when switching between keyboard layouts, I added a visual indicator in the right corner of Xmobar via the following:

-- Display of Xmobar information
, template = "%StdinReader%  }{ %battery% | %multicpu% | %coretemp% | %memory% | %dynnetwork% | %KAUS% | %date% || %kbd% "

, commands =
    [
    -- Series of commands to run on Xmobar
    -- ...

    -- keyboard layout indicator
    , Run Kbd            [ ("us(dvorak)" , "<fc=#00008B>DV</fc>")
                         , ("us"         , "<fc=#8B0000>US</fc>")
                         ]
    ]

Copyright © by Chip Senkbeil

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