Keyboard Programming Use Cases, Tips, & Ideas

Simple ideas often provide the biggest productivity return. So far I’ve discovered that simple mappings that help me stay on the home row are those that provide the most value.

I’m hoping to get the ball rolling with some ideas to help others and hopefully inspire a resource of mapping ideas. Here’s some ideas from a split keyboard user.

Navigate to one of 4 Linux workspaces.
hold right space + 1, 2, 3, or 4

Traverse browser tabs.
hold right space + u to move to tab left (think up) or d to move to tab right (think down).

Open new terminal (baked into DNA now).
hold right space + t

Media volume up/down.
hold left space + f2 decrease, f3 to increase.

Open GUI menu.
hold right space + m

What do you use every day to help your workflow?


I put control where caps lock usually is or command when I’m using my mac for work. I’ve found that any kind of wild key combos are more effort than they’re worth for me and I’ll never remember them.

These are fancy. Adopting HHKB layout has been like the most advanced thing I’ve ever done in my life lol

edit: and Dvorak, but many would argue that is a mistake

Ditto on that. Control instead of Caps is great. Can I add to that? Control on hold, Escape on tap. As a Trello user, this has been awesome!

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Yes! As a heavy vim user, Control on hold, Escape on tap, is huge as well.

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If I’m remembering correctly, @dc_in_sf suggested this one, and it has been indispensable for me: on Windows, mod-tap the Alt keys to do Ctrl-Gui-Left, Ctrl-Gui-Right for one key desktop switching. Put those Alt keys to work!

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Big fan of Vim…live in it every day. Another benefit for a split space bar and one that I use constantly is…

hold right space + h, j, k, l for arrow keys. Not having to look down to find arrow keys is helpful. My board doesn’t have them anyway.

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Interesting. Can’t touch type Alt keys unfortunately…have to look every time.

@jmdaly when I first started using Vim I began using jj to escape to normal mode. Give it a shot you might like it. Even with Escape under a remapped Caps key, jj to Normal mode is hardwired now.

A keyboard mapping I just started using is left space t in place of CTRL+SHFT+T to split a bash terminal.

I’ve definitely heard of people using jj to escape to normal mode, but haven’t tried it myself. Maybe I’ll give it a shot!

Another thing I like is making use of QMK’s Leader key. Coming from vim, the idea of a leader key is really comfortable and useful. I use tmux a lot, and one of my most heavily used QMK leader bindings is:

<QMK leader> l produces <CTRL-B> followed by l, which switches windows in tmux. I use it all the time.

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I expected to get a lot of use from the leader key functionality but I’m not there yet. The KC_LEAD has to be dedicated right? Don’t you loose use of that key to type a colon? If that’s the case, how do you type a colon?

Ahh, sorry, the colon wasn’t what I use as a leader key, I was just using the colon to note the leader mapping below that paragraph.

You’re right, KC_LEAD has to be dedicated. I have it set up on the key immediately to the right of the right space bar. (And I happen to use Space as my leader in vim, so the two leader keys end up right besdie each other, which is handy!)

Gotchya. Yeah my Vim leader is also space (right space). Right space hold is FunctionRight. And tap right is space. Left space hold is FunctionLeft. And left space tap is backspace.

I have 1.25u keys on the outside of each space/backspace key that I’m trying to get used to. Just hand wired this board and still trying to keep things simple and avoid control+alt etc.