Keyboard layout subtleties


After trying many different layouts, although ansi and qwerty only, I think the most beneficial change for comfort and efficiency is the split backspace and the split right shift.

With these two subtle changes one can stay almost completely glued to the home row and still be able to access arrows, i use the hhkb fn layer as my default, and I know others use wasd as arrows. These changes improved my typing experience by helping alleviate a persistent pain in my right shoulder from years of living behind the screen. I also never realized how far i moved my hand to backspace on a traditional 2u key…

Give it a shot, but also share things that have made an impact on your typing habits using layouts or programming/layers to help your daily productivity.


I agree with you 100% on the split backspace being a much more ergonomic positioning. I never really thought it would make that much of a difference until I built my Nightfox with one. That simple change makes the board so much more comfortable to use, to the point that I will probably be incorporating a split backspace layout on all my future builds that allow for it!


Even with a split backspace it feels really far away to me. Personally I really love the backspace location on my minivan, immediately to the right of P.

As far as other layout tweaks, using capslock as fn and moving towards SpaceFn have been really fantastic for me.

Also handy is having a locking layer somewhere for mouse keys.


I’ve been trying to use hhkb arrows for over a year and it still doesn’t feel as nice as using caps for fn plus IJKL for arrows to me. I wish I could have both!

hhkb arrows are nice for 1 handed work when you don’t want to bring both hands to the keyboard

IJKL is nice when you are not using the mouse much (mostly when I’m prototyping in html/css)

Of course IJKL relies on using the caps lock as a function key and not the ever popular control key.

This strugggle has led me to prefer 65% layouts. This way I get split backspace for easy reach of delete plus using caps lock as control. I just miss my function row sometimes. Not often, but sometimes.

Hoping to pick up the Ion 75% for the ultimate layout


This is also my preferred layout, I find it sooo much nicer to type on


I have a split spacebar (along with a split backspace to accommodate the ~/` key) built on a dz60 pcb. The right half of the spacebar is the old way and the left half of the spacebar is a backspace. Once you get used to it, it becomes instinctive.


I agree the split backspace (with the backspace in the place of | ) is ideal. I also like CTRL at the CAPS key. HHKB layout all the way! I also use a trackball for alleviating wrist/arm pain. After 25 years of using a trackball, still no wrist issues!


I will chime in and say that split backspace is the most impactful layout change and a bit unexpected from my pov.

I tried a split spacebar for a little while and it seemed like it could be useful.

I also have the issue with ijkl arrow cluster if you have your right hand glued to the mouse in certain situations (ex. design programs like photoshop or illustrator where your right hand might be on the mouse and you can only use your left hand for shortcuts).


I’m normally a TKL user, but I’ve been trying to get used to the 65% layout. The smaller right shift makes me accidentally hit the up arrow at times, and I sometimes have issues typing ?, :, ". I also don’t find myself using the arrow keys that much since I’m used to the arrow cluster at wasd using a function layer (habit from using a Poker II for 2 years). But I do think the 65% will be very beneficial once I get used to it and fix my bad habit of using right shift+index finger for certain symbols


From an ergonomic point of view, I think that Row 3 Control is the best layout change you can make. Lest we forget it used to be that way;

R3 control feels far nicer than stretching your hands all the way into the bottom left/right corners.


Have to agree - can’t remember the last board I had that didn’t have CTRL mapped to the caps key…


I normally mash LCTRL with the pad of my hand. With this method, I can hit all the shortcuts with the usual fingers on my left hand and feel no discomfort. I’m too used to R3 capslock, and I have to use it a surprising amount of time in my daily work.

Hitting Fn with my right pinky is starting to get tiresome though. I should really get on that split spacebar 60% build I’ve been thinking about for a while … My left thumb would finally have a purpose at my keyboard! :laughing:


Has anyone tried using shift on a split spacebar? Seems like getting both thumbs in on the typing action could have some benefits as well as freeing up room by getting rid of the standard shifts.


I did, my split-spacebars are: space, fn, right-shift
my left thumb will hit space and fn, and my right thumb will hit right-shift