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Updated July 26, 2022

Many don’t realize this, but geography has much to do with how a typical keyboard letter scheme is set up. Highly-rated keyboards come in different arrangements depending on where you are in the world. You can even go into your computer settings and change them for yourself. However, knowing how to choose the right keyboard can be challenging, so let’s compare two popular layouts, QWERTZ vs QWERTY, to clarify things.


  • The first six letters on a keyboard usually depend on geographical location. However, you can rearrange the layout through the keyboard settings if desired.
  • QWERTZ is a typical German layout for a keyboard. It is also used in many Central European countries.
  • QWERTY is the most common American keyboard layout.

And for those looking into different keyboard styles, read our guide on the finest chiclet keyboards.

Differences Between QWERTZ vs QWERTY Keyboards

QWERTZ and QWERTY may look like funky strings of letters, but they represent the first six letters in the top row on modern-day keyboards and typewriters.

Insider Tip

To change your computer’s keyboard settings, you can go into the general settings, navigate to the Time, Language, and Regions settings, and change it.

Of course, QWERTZ and QWERTY aren’t the only layouts. Other countries, such as France, use an entirely different version. If you want a quick introduction to that preferred keyboard style, read our article on AZERTY vs QWERTY.

Key Layout

The most efficient layout depends entirely on your preferences. And it would be ridiculous even to suggest that there is a “superior” keyboard choice.

The main thing to understand when considering a typing layout is efficiency. If you speak and write in the English language the most, you will likely prefer the QWERTY layout because the letter Y is used more often. However, the QWERTZ layout is often selected for those speaking and writing in a national language such as German because the letter Z is more commonly used. Therefore, many German-speaking and Central European countries use the QWERTZ layout.


The QWERTY layout is known to put excessive stress on the left hand, so make sure to give yourself a break to avoid contracting carpal tunnel.

If you are an American who wants to do away with the standard keyboard layout in favor of something else and it works for you, then go right ahead. Most computers allow you to access the settings to switch from the standard keyboard layout to one of your choosing. And if you need something like a Swiss or German keyboard but your computer doesn’t have these settings, you can purchase an external keyboard online that plugs into your system.

STAT: The fastest typing speed ever recorded was on a typewriter. Back in 1946, Stella Pajunas types at 216 WPM. (source)


Is it worth learning a foreign language keyboard layout?

If you’re learning a new language that uses a different keyboard layout than what you’re used to, it’s good to study the new design. Learning a new format can be especially handy if you plan to have a job where you must type a lot in that language.

Who uses the AZERTY keyboard layout?

France is the country most commonly associated with AZERTY. However, Belgium and Luxembourg also use this international keyboard layout.

Which layout is faster: QWERTY, Dvorak, or Colemak?

There’s no way to tell which layout is inherently the fastest. However, the current world record holder for WPM uses a QWERTY layout.
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