I started typing in Cyrillic a week ago, using Google Translate's keyboard option (so I've got a different question from this one). However, I've been downgraded from a touch-typist in English and Japanese to a hunt and peck typist for Cyrillic. When using Google Translate's keyboard, I'm especially confused by the fact that the keyboard contains more columns of letters than an English alphabet keyboard has.

How do I learn to touch-type in Cyrillic? Solutions which are flexible in which language's Cyrillic is being taught would be useful, because I've discovered different languages have different layouts - Russian Cyrillic has "йцукен" for qwerty, while Mongolian Cyrillic has "фцужэн" for qwerty.

  • Let me ask you what does confuse you in the fact that more columns of letters than an English alphabet keyboard has ? What difference does it make? These extra letters are placed on keys, which are not letters in English, like ;, ', < etc. So what is the problem? You should perfectly normal use these symbols when touch-typing in English without looking on a keyboard. With Cyrillic you use letters and when you need those symbols you switch layouts.
    – d.k
    May 10, 2015 at 11:32
  • personally I learned to touch-type in English and in Russian with the help of just the correct placement of a keyboard relative to my arms, eyes and a monitor (the ideal position is the one of a laptop) and learning by heart the layout. And the resistance to look on a keyboard without at least several attempts to recall where a letter is placed. This is very individual, I suppose that someone has another approach.
    – d.k
    May 10, 2015 at 11:41
  • it's not about Russian language
    – shabunc
    May 29, 2019 at 18:29

4 Answers 4


I would recommend trying a "phonetic" Russian keyboard layout. If you google "russian phonetic keyboard", you will find a number of links explaining how to set it up.

What you get as a result is a layout that tries to map a standard QWERTY layout phonetically to Cyrillic. So A maps to А, B maps to Б, L maps to Л, N maps to Н, etc. Of course, since there are more letters in the Russian alphabet, some of the mappings are arbitrary.

I can touch-type in English using the QWERTY keyboard, but I never learned the standard Russian йцукен layout. However, using the Russian phonetic layout I was able to touch-type in Russian almost immediately. I am also a native Russian speaker, so that may have a been a factor here.

  • 1
    Heh :) I learnt to touch-type in Russian on a standard йцукен layout back in early 1980s, when there weren't personal computers around. A mechanical typewriter and lots of practice worked for me.
    – Aleks G
    May 13, 2015 at 21:06
  • 1
    Why would you do that? In Russia everybody learns both QWERTY and ЙЦУКЕН and they are never confused. If kids can master it, why won't you? (Of course if you can't bear to mark your keys this might be another story) ЙЦУКЕН is much more ergonomic also, kind of like Dvorak.
    – alamar
    May 15, 2015 at 10:11
  • @alamar, It so happened, that I learned to type in English in the US on a QWERTY typewriter. Russian typewriters were hard to come by, and unicode hasn't been invented yet. :) So I never had the need to learn йцукен, because яверты works great for me.
    – Dima
    May 15, 2015 at 10:20
  • see "phonetic" Russian keyboard layout here: translit.ru Jan 11, 2016 at 23:43

I know I am late to this thread, but for the sake of future users seeking to learn to touch type I would recommend this website: http://www.keybr.com/

I like this website because it generates random and often nonsensical words to help you learn to type. I find that this helps train touch-typing faster than typing actual Russian words does. The site also provides a number of statistical tools with which you can track the speed at which you type and the letters which give you the most trouble.

  • This is exactly what i was looking for, great tool Mar 26, 2020 at 2:21

I would like to suggest you to learn to touch type Cyrillic in http://www.typingstudy.com First you have to put a Cyrillic keyboard layout in settings and then use http://www.typingstudy.com/en-russian-3/ this.


Learn one keyboard layout, the one you'd use most frequently. Layouts are in some sense independent from the language. Obviously one can type in English on German or French layout. It's only the characters special to that language that can be missing. You could learn to enter them in some alternative way when needed.

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