For those who switched from 100% or TKL to 65% or 60%: How was the adaptation? Do you miss something from a more "complete" layout?

As someone who tries to stick with the keyboard all the time. A 100% layout forces my hands to “move” to reach some keys.
I’m trying to use tilling window managers and I like to use vim / neovim. A “tighter” layout would be perfect, apparently

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I never used small boards. I have troubles with 60 % cause of the missing arrow keys so 65 and 75 are my sweetspot right now. I do want a smaller one though just for the collection. I really hope the Candybar gets a 3rd run

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I understand… I don’t want a below 65% layout. The space gain doesn’t make up for the lack of the arrow keys imho.

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TL;DR: 100% :arrow_right: TKL :arrow_right: 60% :arrow_right: 65%, because I like smol but also nav keys.


From 100% :arrow_right: TKL was an easy and welcome transition for me; my first mechanical was a TKL, and I appreciated being able to keep my hands closer together. As someone with shoulder problems, that extra 4-6 inches makes a big difference, and I rarely need a numpad.

I think the first non-TKL format I used was 60%; I’d gotten a bluetooth board specifically to pair with my phone so I could take notes / journal while working a boring “security” job at a place with a non-apprehension policy. (Read: I spent most of my time doing nothing.) For that purpose, I still find it the perfect form-factor, but I do miss the navigation cluster when connected to a computer.

It was either last year or possibly the year before that I finally tried 65%, and I immediately fell in love with it. Excluding DEL and INS, I use the whole navigation cluster frequently at work, which has gotten me in the habit of using it at home, too - and I miss it when I don’t have it as a set of top-layer keys. I do use the F-row from time to time, but not often enough for me to mind it being on a function layer. For the occasional key-combo / shortcut not represented on the top layer, I just program in a macro. (FN+ESC = CTRL+ALT+DEL, for example)

I still use 60% on my home or work computer sometimes, and I do appreciate the small size and aesthetic simplicity, but I do often find myself missing that nav cluster - I have a 9-key macro pad I use alongside the 60% at work. At home, I appreciate that little bit of extra width on a 65%, because there I most often have the keyboard on my lap on a couch - at least for now. The NK65EE is perfect for that with it’s wider flat bottom, steeper angle, and decent weight. I prefer the KBD67L at work for its portability and lower profile.

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I guess this is common: The missing backtick/tilde key. I do coding and use a lot of backticks and tildes, so I just mapped the Esc key to KC_GESC.

I never had a 60% because I rely on the arrow keys so much. Even if I already turn my WASD into arrows through a capslock-triggered layer my brain always goes for the right hand with the arrow keys.

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I completely understand you. For me (and I think for you too), giving up the arrow keys does not compensate for the space gain from 65% to 60%.

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I have the opposite problem, I’ve been using 60%s or hhkb layouts for so long that I have trouble using an nk65 that I picked up recently. Actually thinking about remapping the arrow keys to media keys or something since my brain just cant make the switch to using them.

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I actually owned and still in some GB for 65% and TKLs.

But recently I have gotten my hands on an HHKB Pro 2 (2018 model with USB Mini). Gotta say, I love the 60% layouts now…I love how compact it is and not having move my hands too much to access the arrow keys and the control key. Plus…split backspace is really neat!

I think I am a 60% convert now…so I am kinda sad that I missed quite a few good 60%s like the Kei R2…oh well, but this year has a lot of cool 60%s coming along so I am quite excited!

But…
I still love TKLs for the way it sit on the desk - just feels impressive.

I am starting to find the 65% layout abit odd looking but they will still have a place in my heart…:stuck_out_tongue:

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I went from a 100% to a 60% around a year ago and it took a while to really get used to. 2 months maybe? I still keep the manual next to me as a reference to some of the layered keys.

Like others have mentioned, the biggest downside to a 60% is the lack of arrow keys.

Personally, my ideal layout would be a 68% like the Ikki68.

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100->87->75->65->60->65->60 HHKB, the end.

Funny thing, I own almost all the range in sizes now just for the looks and being fond of the boards, but all are mapped on the 60% cluster and I mostly use that on all.

To answer the thread question, I slowly missed the keys on each increment until I adapted. 60% required 3 attempts until I settled to it because of the missing arrow keys, but after using an HHKB and mapping a custom layout, I can’t really find it efficient anymore to reach for the separate arrows.

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I have tried to switching from TKL to 65% and the HHKB 60%, but ultimately decided that it is just not for me. I develop in Visual Studio, and I am very much married to my function row for stepping in and out of methods. I know that if I tried I could make it work, but I don’t really feel the need to. That said, I do love the form factor of those smaller boards, and I have a healthy respect for those who are able program on them efficiently.

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The switch took me maybe a week or so. My hands are so used to the HHKB layout and function layer that I get annoyed when a keyboard isn’t setup with them.

I have some full 60% boards, but I honestly don’t know what to do with the two extra keys in the bottom row. Tried a TKL and 65% again and find myself thinking that the extra keys just bug me now.

60% WKL and HHKB layouts are pretty much all I like using and appeal the most to me aesthetically.

I primarily use VS code with VIM bindings and full Visual Studio when I need to. I like having my f keys hidden behind the function layer because I never accidentally tap them.

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I related to a lot of what @gavingoh, @AdrianMan, and @TheNamesTy45 have said. HHKB layout and function layer gives me everything I need, and it’s now my favorite layout. I wouldn’t really enjoy using a 60% without the split backspace and split right shift.

Adaptation was quick, probably because I started using 60%'s with a blank HHKB. It’s like jumping in on the deep end of the pool.

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another one here, went from full size to 60%, numpad was useless and hardly used it since the keyboard had the number row, all those keys above the arrow keys that say anything other than delete and F keys are relics from yesteryear that are not useful on modern computers as far as I’m concerned, and arrow keys are fine on a function layer imo.

My first 60% was hhkb, was up and running within a few days with almost no issues, although over time I’ve found I prefer a full size right shift since that’s the one I use.

Agree with the people above, I can appreciate a TKL because it just looks good on the desk and feels so spacious. 60% and TKL are pretty much the only form factors I’ll buy anymore, 65% is like 60% but ugly with random keys on the right, 75% is silly because why would I ever want F keys and they always look way too busy, full size is too big to be ergonomic and has two sets of numbers for some reason, and smaller than 60% is just too much work to remember the layers for me

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Going from 100% to TKL was effortless. Numbers might be easier to input on a num block but I don’t really miss it. The space and mouse ergonomic gains are totally worth it.

60%… basically what @WayToBlue said. I like the form factor and I really tried to make it work for the job, but not having physical function and nav keys simply impairs productivity too much. For home use where natural language typing dominates, having less used keys on a layer, on / around the home row, works well enough.

I’m still curious whether layering actually works better on an ortho 40%.

As for 65% and 75% I’m with @dwarflemur. They just look wonky in my eyes.

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To people for whom layered arrows work great, I wonder how well gestures like shift-ctrl-left, shift-home, shift-ctrl-end work for you. I use those a lot; the split between left hand for selection and movement modifier, and right hand for the actual movement, feels highly usable due to its logical modularity.

Needing one more key (Fn) to access the movements seems to break my coodination capacity. I know it’s possible to combine modifier keys, but that doesn’t work well enough for me, I’m guessing because of how frequently I change the “chord”, almost on a per keystroke basis, depending on the word / row, intentions that jump between “mark this”, “not that”, “move the line without highlight”, etc.

I use them all the time when I don’t have access to VIM keybindings. That part took the longest to get used to in the transition. Now I feel weird when not pressing function with my pinky when executing those chords.

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what are those for? I just tried and they don’t seem to do anything on my computer

On windows and Linux that’s

highlight/unhighlight one word left. Mac equivalent is shift option left

Highlight/unhighlight to start of line. Mac equivalent shift command left

Highlight to end of document. Mac equivalent of shift command down

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Exactly. So the system is:

  • Shift for highlight/unhighlight
  • Ctrl to increase the movement.
    I.e. arrows move wordwise instead of by glyph,
    and Home / End refer to the file or text field, instead of the current row.

Alt’s function is less universal, the one that I use all the time in VS is “Alt-Up/Down to transpose the entire line(s)” without the need to first highlight with glyph-accuracy.