1. 41

As part of my masters I’m researching the design of the keyboard, and like this thread I would like to know what keyboard setup lobste.rs have.

I’m typing this using a Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, connected to MacBook Air. I have made an atreus, which was my first mechanical keyboard build, and an ErgoDox which is my main keyboard for my OpenBSD machine.

I’m also building a Dactyl Manuform and a Corne, and plan to explore alternative layouts, probably starting with Colemak or Dvorak.

If you would also like to help with my research I have short questionnaire that you can take.

    1. 25

      “Have you used any of the following ergonomic keyboards” is missing a “No” option IMO, since it is a required question.

      1. 2

        Thanks, you are right this would have been better with a ‘no’ option, I’ve stopped it being a required question.

    2. 12

      A while back I bought two of these USB Thinkpad keyboards, using the old (good) keyboard layout: https://www.newegg.com/lenovo-thinkpad-usb-wired/p/N82E16823218006

      I have used the crap out of them. They are the absolute best.

      Internally it’s just a USB controller attached to the same keyboard that shipped in older Thinkpads, so I’ve already fixed up at least one keyboard with parts from eBay.

      Despite things like Vimium or i3 or other ways to reduce mouse usage, most folks still need a mouse from time to time. Reducing the travel time from your keyboard to your mouse seems really high value to me, and I’m lost why most of these custom or fancy keyboard people don’t focus on having a nearby mouse of some kind?? I’m not the OP of this thread, but I highly empathize: https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/626sga/how_about_trackpoints/

      These Thinkpad trackpoint keyboards are perfect. The mouse is right there.

      1. 10

        I love my shinobi tex, a mechanical homage to the thinkpad design: https://tex.com.tw/products/shinobi

        1. 4

          Just got yesterday mine. Such a pleasure to have again some key travel, and feeling the fingers match the keys. Really nice to alternate with the laptop keyboard (X1E Gen1) and is an incentive to work more at the desk with a big screen. For me the trackpoint on the shinobi work much more precise and easy. I was expecting a little more pressure resistance from the keys, but in the end I think it is quite comfortable. It’s really nice too that there is a deeper mold in the keycaps. Was expensive, but I’m definitely happy about this purchase.

        2. 4

          oh my gosh i’ve never seen this before, this is amazing!

        3. 4

          Woah! This is the first keyboard I’ve seen in years that tempts me…

        4. 3

          How are the key symbol printings holding up? I got mine a week ago and I’m already noticing L-Ctl, Esc, and frequent letters fading. It’s not a big deal since I don’t really look but I’m surprised.

          1. 3

            I’ve been using mine for ~9 months daily, and while it’s true that some letters started fading very quickly, they seem to have reached a “plateau”. Definitely the discolouring has slowed its pace or the keycaps would be blank by now.

          2. 2

            Same here. Fading on frequent used keys. Been using it since last november.

      2. 5

        Thank you for your comment. I feel the same way about trackpoints, and your comment made me order a ThinkPad USB keyboard :)

        I really like the newer chiclet design, so I’ve picked a more recent model. Luckily they seem to be designed with a similar concept; reuse of the existing laptop keyboard design (see https://dontai.com/wp/2018/09/06/thinkpad-wired-usb-keyboard-with-trackpoint-0b47190-disassembly-and-cleaning/ for disassembly). The number of key rows don’t really bother me, and for all I’ve tried I don’t feel comfortable on keyboards with mechanical switches. Too many hours on a ThinkPad, I think.

        1. 4

          i am very happy lenovo is still making these keyboards, even if it’s the new layout

      3. 4

        I have one of these and I love it! I’m a sucker for the trackpoint and I love the pre-chiclet key design. It’s super portable too - I can easily throw it in my backpack with my laptop if I’m going to be out of the (home) office all day.

        It’s a little sad that these version seem to be so unavailable these days :(

      4. 4

        I’d recommend ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II because it is wireless - via Bluetooth or Wireless Nano USB Dongle.

        1. 5

          I own the first generation as wired version and the micro USB socket is absolute garbage. Two out of three keyboards lose USB connection when the cable is moved slightly. But, this problem can be fixed pretty easily by disassembling the keyboard, bending the socket back to normal shape and then adding a large solder blob to the socket case such that it can’t bend that easily anymore. I fixed both keyboards reliably with this procedure.

    3. 10

      I use Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard.

      I was using the Mac keyboard beforehand, but my left wrist + ligaments on top of the hand started hurting after prolonged usage, so I knew I had to switch to an ergonomic keyboard. One of the best purchases of my life. Tbh, I rly dislike the fact that the keyboard is connected thru USB instead of bluetooth, but I assume that’s some business decision, in order to force pairing the keyboard with the mouse (cuz you can’t buy the keyboard standalone… it comes with the mouse).

      1. 2

        I also use this keyboard on a Mac and I absolutely love it.

      2. 2

        I use the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard too. I love it. It feels great to type on even after long periods. It’s not huge, it’s light and easy to move around my desk. It’s not mechanical unfortunately. I also wish it was Bluetooth. But honestly, the worst part for me is whatever material they used for the palm rest wears away relatively quickly. I’m already on my 2nd keyboard and thinking about buying another one. I might buy a bunch because Microsoft will stop making them at some point and I don’t want to pay a fortune in the post-production market.

        1. 4

          But honestly, the worst part for me is whatever material they used for the palm rest wears away relatively quickly

          I’ve had to take apart my 1st to try and repair it, but failed. I noticed though while taking it apart, it is VERY easy to replace this wrist rest material with something of your own. It would be a easy modification to use another material.

          I think a big reason behind the material they chose is it’s easy to clean while still being soft.

          1. 2

            Can you explain? I didn’t think the wrist rest would be that easy to replace, mostly because of the shape and how it’s attached to the rest of the plastic. What material do you recommend and how would you get everything fit in nicely?

            1. 3

              You wouldn’t replace the rest but the material. The material just slides right off :)

              1. 2

                I get it now. Very interesting. I don’t think it will be easy but peeling off just the stop surface is more promising than that what I was originally picturing. Thanks.

      3. 2

        You used to be able to buy one without a mouse, and it still used the dongle.

        It’s a mixed bag: I lost the dongle to one keyboard, which sucked. On the other hand, my experience (which I’ve heard echoed from others) is that wireless dongles connect much more reliably than Bluetooth.

      4. 2

        I use the old-style Microsoft Ergonomic Pro keyboards - produced when they were switching from PS/2 connectors to USB, so they come with a split connector with both. Right now I troll eBay for ones that look like they’re in good shape (haven’t found new in box for sale) because there hasn’t been a good replacement made since the early 2000s. The Logitech ergonomic keyboards from early 2000s were good, but it seems Logitech got out of producing real ergo keyboards.

      5. 2

        It’s a shame they don’t make a slightly better quality one, as the ergonomics is just perfect. Plus, it doesn’t differ so much from a regular QWERTY keyboard.

        However, some keys get stuck, latency is a bit too high for my taste and the rubber palm rest gets damaged too quickly.

      6. 2

        Thanks for the recommendation! Btw, seems like you can indeed buy a keyboard alone: https://www.amazon.de/Ergonomische-Tastatur-Microsoft-Sculpt-QWERTZ-Layout/dp/B00EY8PXZG/

        1. 1

          Oh, dope! I didn’t know that! Will do when I’m replacing my current one! Thanks!

    4. 10

      I’ve used the Kinesis Advantage almost exclusively for about 7 years. I have a wrist injury from a motorbike accident a decade ago that has made me extra sensitive to RSI issues, but with the Kinesis and reduced mouse usage it’s okay. The main drawback is that it’s quite bulky - I’m currently traveling around Africa with one and it takes up a non-insignificant chunk of luggage space.

      There’s a few other similar keyboards, like the Ergodox, but one of them work for me as they don’t have key wells. The Dactyl might be interesting …

      1. 3

        I love my kinesis, but the problem is that I don’t have a really good cadence of cleaning it. I’ve heard yearly/monthly/even weekly. I’d love to start a conversation around that.

        1. 3

          I do it whenever it annoys me, and I don’t really know how often that is. Maybe twice a year? My usual process is to pull all key caps and submerge them in a bleach dilution for a while, then wash them off and wipe/vacuum the rest as appropriate.

          1. 3

            Twice a year sounds about what I do for the one I use daily. I snap a picture of the keyboard to help remember what goes where, then pop all the key caps off, and usually clean them thoroughly with a damp cloth. I usually take the whole keyboard apart, and thoroughly clean out any crumbs, dust, etc. For my older Kinesis keyboards I would use Deoxit on the connectors, to try to make them less flaky.

            I cleaned out a keyboard I’d left sitting unused a few years, and it had spiders inside. So good clean out never hurts…

            1. 2

              Nice, tazjin and astangl, thanks for the advice.

    5. 9

      I use a ZSA Moonlander, which I absolutely love, and I doubt I’ll ever want to use another different keyboard again. I just filled out your survey!

      1. 4

        I also recently got a Moonlander. I’m not back at my full speed yet but I’ve only had it for a full week. So far I really enjoy it.

        1. 3

          I got a Moonlander last year just before Christmas. That way I could use the break to relearn how to type. I learned proper touch typing for the first time in my life. Found out that I was crossing over for the ‘y’ and ‘6’ keys all the time. It’s been about two and a half months now and I feel like I’m back up to speed.

          Recovery was partly spending 30 minutes a day on typing sites, and partly a matter of changing the layout to avoid my most common errors. (When trying to use my left index finger to hit the phantom ‘y’ key on the left side, I was hitting the “layer 2” modifier. Remapped those centerline keys to ‘(’, ‘{’, and ‘[’, which helped a lot.)

          1. 2

            I’m having exactly the same issue right now. Thanks for the suggestion.

      2. 3

        The Moonlander looks really good to type on! when I’m back in work I think I’ll invest in one!

        Thanks for doing the survey.

        1. 3

          I can’t recommend it enough. You’re clearly experienced with split/ergonomic keyboards, and I can’t speak to others as this is the only one I’ve used, but there isn’t a single thing about this keyboard I wish I could change, and I’ve been using it for a few months now.

          1. 2

            Thanks for the recommend, typing on the ErgoDox that I built has been a pleasure, and the Moonlander looks like a great extension of that.

    6. 8

      Pre-production Keyboardio Atreus (Speed Copper switches), with some custom hacked firmware I got from Jessie at some point, and Colemak.

      I’ve been meaning to switch firmwares to something which allows me to define my layout in plain text in my dotfiles, but at the same time it just works at the moment, and there are other yaks to shave.

    7. 7

      Unicomp model M. I bolted it a couple of years ago because the plastic rivets were falling off.

      1. 4

        I have two. If my wife uses one to murder me with, no jury will convict her.

        1. 3


          “… Why is there a large drill press on the kitchen table?”

          “You know my buckling-spring keyboard that you hate? Well, I bought the drill press because I plan to bolt mod it.”

        2. 2

          You should try the new model f. Mine is 4+ kg…

    8. 7

      Vortex POK3R

    9. 6

      A $12 Logitech K120. It’s great, it’s cheap, it’s plenty.

    10. 6

      I’m all in on Apple keyboards these days: a Magic Keyboard at the office, gathering dust, and an older USB model at home. I’m not religious about them being Apple, but I want a small keyboard (none of that stuff to the right of the Return key, forcing me to move my hand farther when reaching for the trackpad), I need the Mac layout, and I want a chicklet keyboard or whatever you call the laptop style keys. I’ve been on those since the turn of the century, a lot longer than I’ve been on Apple hardware. I’d like to get a Magic Keyboard at home, too — I really like it not being quite as mushy as this old one — but I’m it’ll return to the inverted-T style arrows the way the laptop keyboards did.

    11. 5

      I have a bunch of keyboards. One of my special interests is high-quality rubber dome boards. I have a buyer’s guide on my web site, if anyone is interested.

      Right now, though:

      • On my Windows 7 PC, I use an Acer 6312K, with Alps-like Acer switches. Quite nice.
      • On my old Macs, I use an original Apple USB Keyboard for the iMac G3. Not very nice.

      Other notable keyboards include IBM Model M, Topre Realforce 104UG, Dell QuietKey RT7D5JTW. None of them see any use at the moment. Just ordered a Dell AT102W. Looking forward to trying it!

      1. 3

        Since you like rubber dome boards, I’m curious what you think about a Sun Type-5. I have one whose layout is very nostalgic for me, that I have been thinking of converting to USB with a spare Pro Micro or similar.

        1. 3

          Would love to try one, but haven’t had the chance. It’s absolutely beautiful, and I’ve heard good things about it, apart from the difficulty to use it with other computers. Sounds like a worthwhile project!

    12. 4

      I use the now-discontinued Keyboardio Model 01 that I love and have done a bunch of firmware customization on. I use a Dvorak layout, tweaked for this particular setup; my firmware setup is here

    13. 4

      Currently, a WASD Code 87-key that I’m moderately happy with.

      I have a Unicomp Endurapro project keyboard though, that I plan to switch to once I’ve completed it. My rough plan for that keyboard is:

      1. Bolt-modding.
      2. Custom keycaps (hyper, super, meta, as per my previous Unicomp.
      3. Replace the resistive joystick-style trackpoint (unusable, IMO) with a modern strain gauge model.
      4. Replace the Unicomp controller with a Teensy controller.
    14. 4

      Kinesis Advantage/Advantage2 for 21+ years, with Logitech TrackMan Wheel next to it.

      I’d love to get a keyboard with dished ortholinear layout, like Kinesis, but with hall effect key switches (maybe beam switch), and high quality double shot PBT key caps. With the renewed interest in mechanical keyboards, such a thing could be possible, eventually.

    15. 4

      Are you interested in lobste.rs users, or people who are into mechanical keyboards specifically? My keyboard is “generic 15E-ish logitech, but I had to look at the keyboard to remember what brand it was”. I imagine that even on this site, keyboard-agnostics probably make up the majority.

      1. 1

        In terms of my research I interested in all keyboard use - including touch screens. I have been amazed that QWERTY is the standard layout even on most touch screens - I understand that this is a legacy hangover from the mechanical keyboard but I was expecting better options to occur on mobile phones - something like the Keebee. I assume that most people will use whatever keyboard comes with their device - but I am hoping that the future holds more keyboards that are built for the your own hands and connect by Wifi / Bluetooth / USB to what ever computing device you are using.

        1. 2

          Keybee is nice but as most alternative keyboards it is not only latin-alphabet centered but english-centered. I use the Google one because I input text in french, english, chinese (with bopomofo) and a bit of arabic. I use the same qwerty keyboard for all latin scripts language and can switch back forth between the others with a swipe.

          Edit: only talking about touch devices.

          1. 1

            This has been a point of my research that I have deliberately avoided (partly as I only speak English), but I am aware that the non-english languages don’t necessarily easily map to a standard keyboard design. I do wonder if a better layout design could help with these issues as well. I have read some of the Google research on adding languages to their Gboard and the challenges it poses.

            Can I ask how you get around using non-english languages on a standard keyboard?

            1. 2

              I don’t due to the mental burden of learning multiple keymap to be honest. I only use multiple languages on my smartphone thanks to the visual aid of the Gboard. Worst also, I am so used to touch-type with AZERTY that most of the time I stick to it or QWERTY on a standard keyboard. I try moving to Colemak/Dvorak/Bépo a few times but did not put the energy necessary to make the switch.

              I hoped to find keyboard with small e-ink keycap that would change based on the keymap selected on my computer and as I mainly use a laptop without external monitor (I was most of the time on-the-go and did not need to use other language than latin script based ones for work), a visual aid on the screen tend to take to much place. My partner touch-type on QWERTY and Bopomofo and could switch from one keymap to the other easily because she learned this way.

              Multi-language physical keyboards are still putting on the stress on the user memory where touch based keyboards provides a constant visual aid. It is a hard problem imho to do it correctly on standard keyboard. Touch-typing in multiple languages with non latin script characters on a standard keyboard demands so much more energy than on a touch-device.

      2. 1

        I’m also interested to see if there is a link between touch-typing and ergonomic keyboards - as learnig to touch-type was one of the reasons I bought my first ergonomic keyboard - as with a standard keyboard layout my wrists would ache after 20 minutes of typing, but that didn’t happen on the Microsoft Ergonmic keyboard that I bought in the late 1990’s.

        1. 2

          Can’t be a strong correlation from my experience.

          Coworkers (programmers) who touch-type or mostly touch-type: 95%

          Coworkers (programmers) who use ergonomic keyboards: 10-15.. out of everyone whose desk I saw in the last 20 years. (Don’t know what they have at home, of course, but I’ve never seen a workplace that wouldn’t let you bring your own keyboard).

    16. 4

      I use a Topre Realforce 87u for work and a Razer Blackwidow for my home PC. I also have a wrist rest I use for work and home with each keyboard.


      • Super compy. Key strikes are much less punishing that on other keyboards for me.
      • Not as loud as other mechanical keyboards.
      • Has a hardware switch to swap caps lock/control so I don’t need to fiddle with that with OSes.
      • Doesn’t seem suitable for gaming for me.


      • Had to add o-rings to the keys to make it quieter and strikes less harsh and punishing.
      • It was my first mechanical keyboard, and it’s at least 5 years old with heavy usage and no issues.
      • Even with o-rings under the keys, it’s still super loud.
      1. 4

        I LOVE my realforce! I used a lot of different keyboards over the years, but i end up having two Realforce, one R2 and one R1 with weighted keys. It’s my absolute go to.

      2. 3

        I spend an amount of time researching keyboards that I wouldn’t feel comfortable disclosing to anyone outside of this community. The Realforce 87u so far has lived up to its reputation.

        Recently I’ve been trying out a matias Tactile Pro 4, whose switches are a kind of modern alps switch varaint that I missed from my old Apple IIc. The physical response is great but I think I have to ditch it because it sounds like a Gatling gun.

      3. 2

        I loved mine, as well (87u), but recently it has started … not being detected by most USB controllers when I plug it in. It also suffers from being a black/gray model and I can’t see anything on any of the keys without a light.

        But the feel of the keys is glorious and quiet. For now, I just use my Varmilio with Cherry MX Clears. It has a software switch to swap control / caps lock so I don’t have to fiddle with settings as well.

    17. 4

      Blank das Keyboard I’ve been using this keyboard since 2016. I’ve never had a problem with it.

    18. 3

      I bought a HHKB last year, and it’s been ok. A lot of people seem to over-hype it, and it might be a bit too expensive. There is a difference though, even if you only conciously realize it when using a cheaper keyboard. The default layout (control, backspace, tilde) is also something I miss on other keyboards…

      There is something about ergonomic keyboards that I find “visually” unappealing. I can’t put my finger on it, it might be that they seem to use more space, or that the concept of a split keyboard is just foreign to me.

      1. 2

        I’m a big fan of the HHKB but did apply some mods, mainly the Yang ble controller & bke redux domes (ultra light).

        A controller with firmware customizability made a big difference in my usage. The domes make it slightly more tactile but the difference isn’t that noticeable IMO.

      2. 2

        That’s my general thoughts as well. It’s way too expensive for what it is… But if you have one and you use the command line a lot, it is really quite ergonomic for the situation.

        1. 2

          I luckily got mine for about 100 euros less than it is currently being sold for (at least on Amazon), but even then it is a lot.

        2. 2

          How do you get around the lack of CTRL and ~ in the command prompt?

          1. 1

            CTRL is located where caps lock usually is.

          2. 1

            What do you mean by lack of CTRL?

      3. 2

        I really enjoyed my HHKB, but yes, definitely expensive. Now I’m on a much cheaper OLKB and I can’t even use my HHKB. I may have to sell it finally.

      4. 1

        I have this as well and I am quite disappointed… the keys get stuck every couple days and forces me to restart (I’ve cleaned it a number of times). Rather disruptive…

    19. 3

      I had a Truly Ergonomic Keyboard, as my first ortholinear keyboard. Then I went for the ergodox, and then the ‘Lets Split’. At the height of my custom keyboard usage, I was contributing to QMK and TMK and had a keyboard mapping that had drifted into totally custom and great for my specific use. But my let’s split broke, and I switched back to standard mac wireless keyboard and found that maybe just a relatively sane default, like a standard QWERTY keyboard was as productive as my super custom setup. Especially once you subtracted the time I spent tweaking everything.

      1. 3

        In my research all the evidence I have found is that a better keyboard layout will only improve speed by at most 10% - but the increased comfort and accuracy of other layouts makes QWERTY particularly archaic.

        1. 2

          That makes sense. I went down a different road then switching to colemack, etc. I built up a custom layers approach that made it easy for me to do programming tasks. I had easy access to various brackets and permissive hold for modifier keys, double duty keys and some ad-hoc changes to QWERTY to support that. With custom firmware like QMK, the world of keyboard layouts really has whole new dimensions of options.

          That said, I abandoned it all so not sure of the long term value :)

    20. 3

      Kinesis Advantage is only keyboard I’ve used that doesn’t make my hands hurt. ErgoDox might work too, but since Kinesis Advantage works, I’ll stick to it. They’re really well-built, so I’ve got my old PS/2 one still working fine with a PS/2->USB adapter.

    21. 3

      I’m currently using a Kyria as my daily driver, and I really like it. Before that, I was using a Unikeyboard Diverge 3, which is quite nice as well, although the stagger and the thumb cluster is less nice than on the Kyria.

    22. 3

      Boring answer, but it’s important not to have enthusiasm bias: I use the built-in keyboard in my MacBook Air :)

    23. 3

      Variously sized (full, tenkeyless, other) in QWERTY:

      • Filco magestouch with Cherry MX Blue
      • Unicomp Model M
      • Leopold FC750R with Cherry MX Clear-White
      • Tex Shinobi with Cherry MX Green
    24. 3

      At home I use a Filco Majestouch 2 (tenkeyless, brown switches). At work I use something less noisy :)

    25. 3

      Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless, cherry blue. Loud and snappy keys, dense base, reduced footprint. 5 years in and it still feels like it will never wear out.

    26. 3

      Took the survey.

      I use a basic external one at my desktop with Mac M1 Mini and then have a MBP M1.

      I’m sure you’re on https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/ but mentioning just in case.

      I noticed the keys on a keyboard are correlated with a few waves of innovation, could be a fun thing to look into: https://breckyunits.com/how-old-are-these-keys.html

      1. 5

        I’m sure you’re on https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/ but mentioning just in case.

        There’s also https://geekhack.org and https://deskthority.net/.

        1. 3

          Oh nice! I am a new entrant to this world so hadn’t seen those. Very cool, thanks!

          1. 3

            No problem! I’d say they’re good because their focus isn’t limited to “mechanical” keyboards only. There are some great “non-mechanical” keyboards out there too.

      2. 1

        thanks for pointing out How old are these keys - I like the visualisation as well.

    27. 3

      I’m using a das keyboard for Mac and I’m generally happy with it. I’m flirting with the idea of getting a split keyboard though.

    28. 3

      Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, though it’s a bit worn out.

      Your questionnaire asks for a typing speed. I was surprised to reach 99 wpm, according to this random website.

      1. 2

        My 4000 is old and has most of the keycaps polished shiny, which reminds me it’s time to buy a second and store it in the top of my closet. It’s the most comfortable typing experience I’ve encountered.

      2. 1

        Thanks for doing a random typing speed test - and 99 wpm is a good speed. Currently my consistent typing speed is only about 40 wpm, but I think that is partly my brain…

        When I was learning to touch-type I was typing 100 wpm - 40 wpm was me back typing out errors - but that gave me the 60 wpm that I needed to pass the secretarial test at the temping agency and increase my pay by 250%.

    29. 3

      I use an ErgoDox EZ, but I’m not happy with the number of keys. I think it could be easily improved by adding one more row to each side which would get rid of all of the awkward key placements (e.g., brackets, backslash)

      I use an entirely custom layout, that’s based on the Planck layout. Here’s a list of things I think most keyboard layouts for “alternative” keyboards get wrong that I’m compiling here because why not. I’ve never had serious RSI, and I’m not an expert on it, these rules come from me having minor aches and pains and looking at what was causing it and making adjustments until they went away.

      1. Do not have only one thumb that can access the space key. The spacebar is by far the most used key, make sure both thumbs can access it.
      2. Do not use the left caps lock for control. I did this for years, and I used to love it, but it promotes bad keyboard habits. You’re supposed to hold down the modifier with one hand, and press the key with the other. That’s why the shift key is on both sides of the keyboard. Using caps lock for control encourages key chording, which forces your hand into unnatural positions.
      3. Make all of your modifiers accessibly via both thumbs. The thumb is the strongest finger, and holding down modifiers puts the most strain on a finger. So use your thumbs to hold down modifiers if possible, and have your modifiers on both sides of the keyboard so you can avoid key chording and distribute the work between both thumbs.
      4. The guiding principle of your layout should be to minimize key chords. This means keyboard layers are bad, because they promote using additional key chords. If you have to have layers (I do myself), use your thumbs to activate them, and try to avoid key chording as much as possible by having one hand hold the modifiers and the other hit the key.

      I haven’t found the perfect keyboard and layout yet, so half of these I still violate myself all the time. These are aspirational goals.

      1. 2

        These are really good points. It’s interesting that on Maltron keyboards the ‘e’ key was typed with the left thumb as it was the mosted used letter and that way one of the strongest digits was used for typing it. I think thumb clusters are really useful, but I’ve not come across a perfect number of keys for my thumbs yet :~)

        Another point I would add to the list is why do only two of the keys have rasied bumps - to locate the home keys F and J? Our fingers are super sensitive - one of my design ideas is to put the braile dots on each key to represent it’s letter / symbol in braille as even if you didn’t know braille your muscle memory and touch sensitivity would allow your brain to know where your fingers are without looking - which would aid in learning touch-typing.

    30. 3

      Kineses Freestyle Edge, split and tented to about 35 degrees by using a book stand.

      Main keyboard criteria for me are: split, tentable to between 30 and 50 degrees, >= 72 keys (more keys better though). Nice-to-haves that the Freestyle has: 95 keys, mechanical keys, backlight, somewhat portable/compact, softwareless remapping/macros. Nice-to-haves that the Freestyle is missing: thumb clusters (like the Kinesis Advantage, except i would like them to be closer), mouse movement layer (like the Keyboardio Model 01), built-in tenting to >= 30 degrees, contoured/sculpted/concave keywells (like the Kinesis Advantage), columnar/ortholinear layout (like the Kinesis Advantage), maybe trackpoint, palm key (like the Keyboardio Model 01).

      I also tried the Kineses Advantage2 (86 keys), but i guess my hands are too small because the thumb clusters were too far away, and it isn’t tented to a high enough angle for me, also it’s extremely bulky. I also tried the Keyboardio 01 (tented via book stand) but its 64 keys were not nearly enough; all that chording/layer-switching slowed me down. I used to happily use the SafeType vertical keyboard, but it didn’t include arrow keys; they recommended a separate, horizontal keypad, but the frequent wrist rotation between vertical and horizontal caused pain. I am averse to the idea of building my own keyboard.

      For mouse i use a Contour Rollermouse Red in front of the keyboard.

    31. 3

      I mostly use a iKBC MF87 as I share office with my SO. I use my Atreus when I can, and I also have a new Model F keyboard…and an Ergodox…and more keebs.

      I might have an issue. (-:

    32. 3

      I use a ZSA Moonlander. It works great for everything I need to do.

    33. 3

      A family-heirloom IBM Model M. My father bought it for college over 7 years before I was born. It was passed down to me while I was in college, and is still the only standalone keyboard I own (although I’ve been thinking of building a 40%).

      Alongside it is a Microsoft IntelliEye Wheel Mouse Optical that I bought for $1 at a thrift store while in college.

    34. 3

      I switched to a logitech mx keys last year and I’m very happy with it. I did the mechanical keys thing for a bit, but it’s not for me.

      1. 2

        Logitech MX Keys is my favorite keyboard as well! I also use the MX Master 3 mouse.

    35. 3

      A Vortex Race 3 which I adore, as it’s the perfect mix of laptop layout and comfortable key travel.

      1. 2

        I can confrim. I really like the ability to remap keys directly without any applicatino or change in the operating system (e.g. remap Ctrl and Caps Lock).

    36. 2

      Either my laptop keyboard (Thinkpad x270) or an OKLB Preonic.

    37. 2

      Matias Quiet Pro for Mac, which is very very nice: http://matias.ca/quietpro/mac/ … To help with ergonomics I use a standing desk 100% of the day, and I also have a DIY wristpad that I made from a couple pieces of wood and some piping insulation.

    38. 2

      Currently an ErgoDox EZ w/ Cherry Clears.

      Others I own/use in anger: IBM Model M, IBM Model M Spacesaver (same thing with no number pad), Topre Realforce

    39. 2

      The computer I stream from has a Logitech X50, and the one it captures for the stream has a Ducky Shine 6. My main work computer is a Mac, with a Matias Tactile Pro 4.

    40. 2

      60% and 75% ISO mechanical keyboarda of multiple brands. Anything that feels like a model M, I don’t need the numpad. I prefer blue switches with is what feels most like IBM model M. But I have a couple of keyboards with red switches and ended up got used to them too.

      I find non mechanical keyboards to be very inferior in terms of comfort. Don’t really use them at all. I even carry a keyboard on my backpack if I am using a laptop.

    41. 2

      I use a Keychron K2 now, used to use a Logitech K200 for 2+ years. I’m planning to build a Lily 58 or Plank in the near future.

    42. 2

      I’m also using an Ergodox, an Infinity to be exact. I love the split, the orthogonal layout, and thumb clusters.

      I also have a Ducky One. I like it, but prefer the Ergodox for all-day typing.

      Other keyboards I have are not noteworthy.

    43. 2

      TypeMatrix 2030. I love the straight lines, compact form, and the Enter/Backspace in the middle.

    44. 2

      I go back and forth between a Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 Type-S and the Kinesis Advantage 2 with Cherry MX Brown switches.

    45. 2

      I have a Steelseries 6GV2 with Cherry MX Black keys at work.

      At home I have an old KeyTronic ErgoForce but it’s a bit too big for my current workplace.

    46. 2

      Kinesis Advantage/Advantage2, for over 20 years. I used to have a Mac trackpad velcroed to the middle, but these days I have a Kensington vertical trackball [1] velcroed to the middle. Works great on Mac and linux.

      I have two setups like this, for home and office, although you know maybe I’ll see an office again this year? Dunno.

      [1] https://www.kensington.com/p/products/electronic-control-solutions/trackball-products/pro-fit-ergo-vertical-wireless-trackball/

    47. 2

      I am using a TOMOKO MMC023 (Cheap 10 Keyless) and I have no complaints. I’ve been contemplating a 60%: Geek-Customized-SK64S from Bangood or a XD64 Kit are the contenders. I don’t touch type so ergonmic keyboards tend to be frustrating for me to use.

    48. 2

      Fake mechanical RedDragon keyboard from Amazon I bought 6 years ago. Noisy as hell and I love it to death

    49. 2

      I’ve been using a keychron k1 for a few months and before that Apple keyboards (full numeric key and also the smaller version). I’m thinking on getting a moonlander and finally giving a try to a split keyboard a try.

    50. 2

      I’m using an Anne Pro 2, which is a 60% keyboard. As far as I can tell, it’s relatively niche, but there is a pretty good effort behind porting QMK to it along with custom firmware for the RGB controller (which is what I’m using). I own two of these, one with Cherry blue switches and another with Kalih box blacks (I prefer the box blacks). Also have an Anne Pro 1 with Gateron browns, it feels a little cheaper but I’m unsure if that’s the switch choice or general build quality.

    51. 2

      Been using GK64 for a while now. Can’t see myself using any other keyboard. I just love every aspect of it.

    52. 2
    53. 2

      I use an Iris currently with fairly aggressive tenting, with kailh box whites.

      I’m planning on building a corne next, with box jades. I’m also interested in a dactyl but handwriting seems hard.

      1. 1

        the wiring is why my Dactyl is not finished - I was thinking about making some single key kailh hot swap PCB’s that could be mounted in the 3D printed case, but that is another project :~)

    54. 2

      Keychron K3 low profile brown switch I got from their kickstarter campaign https://www.keychron.com/pages/keychron-k3-wireless-mechanical-keyboard There are quite a few keys on my 2016 MBP is not working so I have to rely on the k3 now, one of the best choice I made in year 2020. Used to use Logitech MX Master keyboard at work

    55. 2

      I use RK 987 mechanical keyboard because all the other ergonomic keyboards are just too expensive (> 40 USD), this one is at least better than typing on my laptop with chiclet keyboard.

    56. 2

      Keychron K2, but if the K8 was available at the time of purchase, that’s probably what I would have gone for.

    57. 2

      Ergodox EZ as my daily driver (currently struggling to resist the urge to purchase a Moonlander) I’ve also got a Ducky One 2 which gets used for shorter stints (it’s set up on a desk in my bedroom as Appleseed to the Ergodox in my office).

    58. 2

      I recently invested in a Keychron K1 v4 104-key with red switches after using a K1 v1 87 key with blue switches borrowed from a friend. I like it more than the Logitech G15 I used through the 2000s and about the same as the 2010 Macintosh USB keyboard I’ve used since around 2012.

      I really like the keyboard on my Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5, though. It’s one of the most satisfying laptop keyboards I’ve ever used, and I used ThinkPads and Clevos in the 2000s and Macs since 2009, including the 2016 butterfly (eh) and the 2019 revision that was much more reliable and better feeling altogether.

    59. 2

      I’m using an Ergodox EZ, but am looking for something better matched to my needs.

      I love this keyboard, but it does have some problems. It’s big, with far too many keys. I only use 36 of them, so the additional 40 are completely wasted. And the thumb clusters are too far; I can only really use the closest one comfortably, and can reach the one next to it with a bit of stretching. The others require me to move my hands closer.

      It has helped with my RSI issues though. I was able to go from being unable to type without pain to getting back a couple of productive hours a day after switching to this and developing a keymap I liked.

    60. 2
      • logitech K480 at home
      • logitech K780 at work

      … I also own Das Keyboard v1. I prefer to use 104 full keyboards … But these logitech boards are 1) bluetooth 2) support multiple bt pairings …

    61. 2

      On PCs at home and work, original IBM Model Ms, UK layout. Via PS/2 to USB convertors where necessary, or directly into PS/2 ports if available.

      On my Macs at home (iMac Retina 27” and i5 Mac mini), two original Apple Extended IIs, via ADB to USB convertors.

      I find the key feel is integral. When my fingers feel Apple keyswitches, I use Apple keystrokes, e.g. Cmd-X/C/V for Cut/Copy/Paste. When I feel IBM buckling springs, I use Windows/Linux keystrokes, e.g. Ctrl-X/C/V. As the IBMs do not have Windows (Super) keys, I remap CapsLock to Windows. In Win NT (which I rarely use) this is a built-in feature; I use a free tool called SharpKeys to set the mapping. In Linux, it’s an option in some desktops, including Ubuntu Unity, but sadly not in Xfce, so I use xmodmap.

      I find it very confusing to use a Model M on a Mac – I’ve tried. It feels like a PC so my muscle memory wants to use PC keystrokes. Ditto, using a Mac ’board on a PC. It feels weird and disturbing. I also have a couple of older, pre-IBM-layout Mac ’boards but the layout is a pain and I rarely use them.

      I loathe chiclet keyboards. Early Apple ones were the least horrid but they still are unpleasant. The butterfly-switch ones are deeply horrible to use for me. I like a substantial travel and enjoy the feel of mechanical key-switches.

      I am not a keyboard hobbyist – in fact I don’t think I have ever bought a keyboard in my life. I just saved all these when the machines were being thrown away. (If possible I saved and rehomed the computers, too.)

    62. 2

      I’m using a Hexgears K705A hot-swap board with Kailh BOX White switches and /dev/tty MT3 keycaps. Nice curvy, deep-dish profile, and acceptably clicky switches.

      I also have a vintage NTC Alps White board, which has survived a lot of abuse. Those click-leafs, yum. They don’t make them like they used to.

    63. 2

      I got the impression that the questionnaire is making the assumption that touch typing is better and/or faster than all alternative methods of typing.

      1. 3

        It might be, if you’re transcribing or writing, but I find that thinking/coding is not constrained by my typing speed or correction rate (~35 wpm) and my half-learned touch-typing.

      2. 3

        I touch type but don’t care about the home row. I just hit the keys I want to without sight being necessary.

        Not needing to use your eyes to type helps

      3. 3

        The questionnaire defines touch typing as “using all the fingers and thumbs to type without looking at the keyboard.” By this definition, I touch type, because I use all of my fingers and thumbs to type, and I don’t look at the keyboard, even though my resting position bears no resemblance to the standard “home row” technique that’s usually taught. Rather, my fingers simply know where they need to be and I hit each key with whatever finger happens to be closest at the time. My accuracy isn’t brilliant, but I can sustain 60wpm corrected, and at that point, I don’t find myself limited by typing speed.

      4. 1

        I didn’t mean to give that impression.

        As @Vaelatern and @thequux point out not looking at the keyboard when typing is generally more efficient. From the research I’ve found, the evidence seems to point to the minimising finger movements and setting keys so that common letter clusters can be typed by different hands seems to improve speed, accuracy and comfort. The current default staggered QWERTY layout - does not allow natural hand placement, thus increasing the risks of fatigue and injury. The default key size and spacing was design for less than 6.1% of the worlds population, I’m hoping in the near future everyone will be able to get a keyboard that is a unique fit to their bodies, and thus a pleasure to use :~)

    64. 2

      A Logitech G213 at my desk where I do most of my writing, and a generic thing in the living room. I have a handful of wireless keyboards: an old Logitech that is falling apart, a folding Bluetooth keyboard that is utter garbage, and – as of Friday – a hand-me-down Logitech G613 from my girlfriend. She claims it didn’t work, but it works fine for me.

      I’ve been contemplating getting a Keyboardio Atreus, but it’s hard to justify the cash outflow right now.

    65. 2

      I use a white Ducky One 2 SF with Cherry MX Brown switches. It’s my first mechanical keyboard and I couldn’t be happier with it. It is a small form factor, but still has separate arrow keys. The switches are a safe middle of the road choice as far as mechanical keyboards go, but they are perfect for me. Another advantage is that there is no separate driver or program to set it up. Some see this as a disadvantage. I don’t understand those people.

      As a bonus, it can also double as a Christmas tree.

    66. 2

      Lenovo QWERTY UK MODEL SK-8825. It costs less than $8 here, it’s pleasant to use and quite sturdy. I’m going to buy/build some ergonomic mechanical keyboard soon tho.

    67. 2

      Varmilo and WASD are my brands of choice. 88-key (no numpad) is my preferred keyboard size.

      Colemak is my preferred keyboard layout. If I could uninstall QWERTY entirely, I probably would

    68. 2

      The questionnare is not “short” if I first have to take an online WPM test, because I don’t know how fast I type. Fast enough. And touch-typey enough. Unless on some days where I can’t seem to hit any key.

      Sorry, can’t complete this.

      But if it helps you, the two keyboards I use daily are a Noppoo Choc Mid and a Cherry MX 710+, described here

      1. 1

        Thanks for the feedback - you are right having to take a typing test is not quick. I didn’t intend to get people to do a typing test, I have now changed the wording to ask people to enter 1 if they don’t know their typing speed.

        Thanks for the information, and the feedback.

        1. 2

          Thanks for changing that, filled it out now.

    69. 2

      IBM/Lexmark TrackPoint IV Keyboard (KPD8923). At a glance it could be confused for a Model M13, but it’s a rubber-dome board rather than mechanical, and it’s 104-key rather than 101. But it has removable keycaps, it’s easily disassembled and washed, it has the conventional layout that I like, and it has a real TrackPoint, which is impossible to find these days except on laptop-style keyboards.

      I have a small stock of them in storage in case any break (which happens every few years) but it’s getting hard to find replacements, so one day I will be quite sad.

    70. 2

      Razer Blackwidow (Tournament Edition)

    71. 2

      The HHKB2 Lite. My girlfriend got her hands on a Keychron K6 and I was using that for a while but a decade plus on the HHKB made it a hard transition.

    72. 2

      I use and endorse the use of the Kinesis Advantage line – I’ve been using them for almost 20 years. My main Kinesis died this last month, so I ordered a Dactyl Manuform build, and I use a flat das Keyboard until such a time as the Dactyl arrives.

      I started with the Kinesis because of extreme wrist/hand pain; I don’t know how much of my hands’ subsequent improvement is down to the keyboard or to other changes I made (switching mouses and mousing hands, general ergo improvements). At the end of the day, I’m very happy with the Advantage’s negative camber and the customer service from Kinesis and am only trying the Dactyl because, uh, it’s cool?

    73. 2

      I own one of these keyboards: https://imgur.com/a/jV5rJ sadly it is too loud according to my wife and therefore I use one by Fujitsu that came with a PC or the builtins from my MBP, the F key falls out all the time, the V key always taps twice and the right command doesn’t register regularly. I need an ISO layout because I use bone https://neo-layout.org/

    74. 2

      I mostly use Apple Magic Keyboards with numpad (old wired one at home and the wireless one at the office).

      I’ve considered a Keychron K1 (87 key), but for now I’m waiting for them to release an ISO Nordic variant.

    75. 2

      I have an Ultimate Hacking Keyboard that I ruined trying to change the switches out. Couldn’t get my Corne to work properly. Currently using a Ducky One 2 for work with browns and a GK64 with tangerines for writing. My husband says I can’t buy anymore keyboard parts until I fix the uhk.

      Using the keyboard on the macbook hurts the tips of my fingers the keys are so shallow. I’m also a very hard typer because I was taught in school not to put your wrist on the table to type.

    76. 2

      I use a Gergoplex. I’ve gone through various keyboards over the years, but this is an entirely different level. The switches are super sensitive compared to MX Browns, which definitely takes some getting used to, but it’s less tiring on the fingers.

    77. 2

      Keychron K1 / Aluminum / RGB / 104 keys

      Before that briefly a Das Keyboard, which typed gloriously but the keys started to fade quite rapidly. So I returned it.

      Before that a Logitech K120, because I had that lying around when the WFH thing started.

      Currently I am eying a Keychron C2. They look nice!

    78. 2

      I’ve had a Matias Mini Tactile for years, still love it. It uses ALPS switches just like the old Apple mechanical keyboards did.

    79. 2

      Ergodox-EZ with MX Brown switches

      A heavily modified layout based on Dvorak; many of the ideas from ZenTron:

      • moved up all the keys by one to gain access to more keys under thumbs
      • little finger optimization

      My keymap is here if you hate yourself.

    80. 2

      I’m using an OLKB. I love it more than anything. It took a second to adjust, but less time than I had thought. It has ruined all other keyboards for me, and now as the days go by I’m convinced there needs to be laptop with an ortholinear keyboard built in. OR I need to somehow change my laptop to be some combination of portable computer, keyboard, mouse, and portable screen

      1. 1

        I think the future might an iPad type computer with a seperate keyboard that you connect to it by Wifi / Bluetooth / USB

        1. 2

          AKA the ”naked robotic core” computer concept.

    81. 2

      Moonlander since a couple of months. Not 100% convinced yet but still giving it a chance. It is better than anything I’ve ever used before, just not perfect.

    82. 2

      Just bought a WASD CODE 104 key, cherry MX clear switches, 0.2 noise reduction dampers. It’s my 2nd. I’ve had one at work for ~4 years.

      Currently strugging with The WASD “Skeletor” Vim keyboard which I like from a novelty perspective but I didn’t realize JUST HOW MUCH I rely on backlighting to be able to type less frequently used keys, and the cramped layout is starting to make my wrists hurt.

    83. 2

      I use a KBD75v2 with lubed Gateron Black Inks which I built and wrote about. Love the smoothness of it! I ordered a Rama Works Kara which is a HHKB layout custom keyboard. Never used HHKB but I’m excited to try it.

      Aside from the feel of a custom mechanical keyboard, I love the ability to customize the layout and functionality with QMK.

      1. 2

        err I meant to say VIA which is the firmware that gets flashed onto the board with QMK

    84. 2

      I recently got the Anne Pro II to replace my corsair k63 and I’ve been really liking it.

    85. 2

      Like some others, I use the Keyboardio Model 01, although I use it with the QWERTY layout. Planning to switch to the Keyboardio Model 100 when it is released for hotswappable switches.

    86. 2

      I touch type and use the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard 2019. It’s a bit too wide for my taste (they should make a version without the numpad), but other than that it’s great. I like the split, the wrist-rest, and the general feel. I had the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard before this, which I also liked, but I prefer the more traditional keys on the 2019. Plus USB is far more reliable than wireless.

      Before the Microsoft keyboards, I had some Apple Keyboards, but they became worse and worse and are quite terrible when it comes to ergonomics.

    87. 2

      I use one, wait, no, two Vertex Pok3r (one for work, one for home to replace an G80-3000, but now both are at home), all of them with dampened Cherry MX Blue. Not that the dampening does all that much but I oddly find them slightly more pleasant to type on.

      I also had an ErgoDox EZ which I could not get used to (since I mostly type with the keyboard on my lap, which is why the Pok3r with its substantial case is nice) and during the lockdown I built my own Atreus with dampened Gateron Jades. Haven’t gotten around to properly figure out a good layout for it so it is mostly waiting for me to find motivation to type extremely slow again while trying to remember where the keys are.

    88. 2

      I use a Kinesis Freestyle Pro, and a custom built mechanical keyboard. Both are split ergonomic keyboards

      1. 1

        Out of interest do you have a preference for the othrolinear Kinesis or your staggered custom build?

    89. 2

      Model 01 and Atreus - both from Keyboardio.

    90. 2

      I’m a recent convert to the Logitech K380.

    91. 2

      I am currently compatible with two kinds of keyboards.

      • ThinkPad 7-row laptop ANSI keyboard (like in T420)

      • 87 keys ANSI keyboard (does not have to be mechanical) [1]

      All other keyboard layouts literally does not exist for me - not matter how ‘hackable’ or ‘open source’ or configurable they are …

      [1] https://mechanicalkeyboards.com/shop/images/products/large_914_es87_front1000.png

    92. 2

      I got the only mechanical keyboard I could find that has a 2.4ghz wireless usb connection. I don’t trust bluetooth.. iKBC W200 Wireless

      I’d prefer a 65 or 68% layout but this will work. So far so good. I wanted the ultimate hacking keyboard, but its just too expensive to justify the cost, for me anyways.

    93. 2

      I use a corne with low profile, 20g, linear switches. I use colemak for the letter keys and have the rest of the keys I need arranged to my tastes on several layers. It’s the best keyboard I’ve ever had the pleasure to use, typing fatigue is virtually non-existent.

      1. 1

        Removing typing fatigue should be the holy grail of keyboard design.

    94. 2

      I’ve been using Colemak for about 7 years (or longer)

      The 2015-era MacBook Pros feel much better for me than the 2017 “keyboard gate” MBPro’s… on those, I try to use the external Apple Magic Keyboard.

      I have have two different external keyboards for Linux machines. One loud clicky one with a springy feel and one quiet, short-travel, solid feeling one. Strangely, I like them both.

    95. 2

      I own 5 mechanical keyboards, but the one I’m using right now is a custom. DZ60 v2 w/ novelkey creams (lubed), polycarbonate plate and an aluminium case.