Editors' reviewEssentially a language file for keyboards, Xpert Keyboard requires serious setup and learning time. After installing the software, settings in Windows need to be adjusted to activate it. Xpert Keyboard includes a good help file that covers the settings for different versions of Windows. Once the keyboard is set to use Xpert Keyboard, the mapping for various keys will be changed. The help file provides a diagram of the new key arrangement, but we would like to see some form of training utility that helps you learn the new setup. It's a particularly high hurdle to get someone who learned to type a certain way, and who has been doing it for many years, to learn a new system. The publisher of Xpert Keyboard claims the new key arrangement produces faster typing speeds, but we leave it up to the user to determine if it helps. The key arrangement has some oddities. The E key appears twice, in its old spot and in K's former spot. K takes the place of the colon key, and the colon moves to the tilde spot. Because tilde is then available only via the Symbol font, users who need to type tildes a lot won't want to use Xpert Keyboard. However, if you need to increase your typing speed and don't mind relearning how to type, Xpert Keyboard is worth a try.
The Xpert Keyboard is a fast and easy alternative to the standard Qwerty keyboard (designed in 1878 to slow typing and to prevent the jamming of mechanical keys). Built for speed and ease of transition, the Xpert Keyboard enables average touch-typing speeds of 40wpm with no training. Opposite-hand keystrokes go from 50 percent on the Qwerty keyboard to 83 percent on Xpert. The admired Dvorak keyboard of 1936 scores 80 percent, but it moves 24 letters and is hard to learn.
In contrast, the Xpert Keyboard moves only two common letters, A and N, and provides a second E key (13 percent of all letters typed), making transition from Qwerty easy. Speed tests are important. Xpert is faster than it feels, and your speed can double without you noticing. Get a word count by going to 'File', then 'Properties', then 'Statistics' or try an online test at our Web site. Test on Qwerty, then test Xpert after 20 hours of use and expect a pleasant surprise.