Doffs Hat to readers
So, I get asked maybe 5 times a week how I use my 40s. Mostly by people interested in downsizing, occasionally it’ll crop up from a ‘40s bad hurr durr no one could work on that, they’re for show’ thread, I’ve said this before many many times (and most of this is from a comment I made elsewhere on here) but I thought I’d post so I can just link people when asked!
40% is a calculated exercise in loss for me (I have some 20 or so staggered 40% keyboards), for me it is 100% not about trying to squeeze every key I occasionally use into layers, and conversely about deciding what I can live without. Now what that is depends person to person, it’s inherently use case specific. I myself am a software developer, mostly front end (I use a text editor rather than an ide) and on MacOS for work.
That combination has basically allowed me to cut down to pretty much one layer. Layer 2 contains the punctuation that won’t fit and that’s basically it. I don’t miss the f keys and don’t program them (even on 60 thanks to my os), I don’t use the nav block so it ain’t there.
Now as I said. This is personal. My development style allows for this, most don’t, but it’s about finding what you can live without, not finding some ingenious method of conveniently squeezing 108 keys onto 40. Anyone thinking about doing that I’d honestly advise against 40%.
But to speak to the advantages, 40% allows me to hit every key I need without ever leaving the home row. I have zero lateral or horizontal movement while typing (or at least I would if I could type, either way my wrist movement is heavily reduced). For me, that’s huge. I type quicker and more comfortably, with less fatigue (I type a lot, I’m at my desk 10 hours a day and work from home so even when not developing there’s a huge amount of text based Comms).
Here’s my current sick and twisted layout (I change them around quite a bit, but when I do I flash all my 40’s, otherwise hella confusing):
But as I say - this is not a ‘This is the best layout, use it’ kind of deal. This is what works for me, my workflow and my use case. To use 40% you need to figure out how best you can use 40%. There’s no magic bullet, and to be frank, I would fully expect 50% of people would never be able to adapt simply due to the fact that their workflow demands too much from the layout.