Slim 55% Layout

Started with a Planck layout and ended up a weird hybrid between 40% and 65%.

UPDATE: I uploaded KLE layout file to my keyboard Github repo.


Sorry. This was just a sketch. I’m not likely to do a GB or go on a 3 month long “you owe us” guilt-trip hike on impulse anytime soon.


Funnily I was thinking about a very similar layout a week ago. I though started with a 60% layout and wanted only four rows like 40%, but with all columns of a 60% and dedicated cursor keys. The latter caused the design to gain that additional column typical for 65% keyboards.

So here are my designs on this topic:

Most similar to your design, just without dedicated Raise and Lower keys around the spacebar but instead a standard 6.25 spacebar:

The same again, just with dedicated Lower and Raise keys and split space:

Having seen Zambumon’s Tokyo66 on the Nautilus Nightmares page, I couldn’t stop thinking how an arrow up key (and the according keys below) between /? and the right Shift key:

But actually that arrow keys position works nicer with a HHKB style setup as the right arrow key is on the edge of the key space, so I also made a HHKB style design without that additional key column:

And as a variant, here’s also a 1u right Shift plus an additional 1u key, e.g. a function key like the HHKB, because 2u Shift key caps are hard to find:

I do not intend to do a GB or similar either, but I intend to publish anything I needed for building one for my own needs as Open Source. Actually I already have a local git repository with all I did so far (clicking around on :-), but I haven’t found a nice name yet (not even sure if that’s 50% or 55% :-), so I haven’t created a project on GitHub for it yet.


Neat. I did not place spend much time considering keycap size availability like you have. Slim 55 is I think promising but should be considered WIP.

My initial design focus was familiarity, ensuring keys are where touch typist expect them to be. So my space bar was a compromise between need for more and familiar sized R4 keys and where thumbs usually rest. I did consider moving arrow keys before RShift but didn’t think it’d work for users like who tend to change keyboard multiple times a day.

As to why I have both Lower and Raise when there are enough keys to alleviate the need for upper layer, I use Raise as Shift+Lower. So 1 = Lower+Q and ! = Shift+Lower+Q or Raise+Q. IMO having both LOWER and RAISE layers is too much cognitive load for coding use.

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Well, one of the initial idea was to make it GMK Paperwork compatible as I like that keycap set a lot.

But then I noticed that GMK Paperwork misses most keys for those additional two or three columns compared to a 40%. At least the HHKB variant with 1u right Shift could be outfitted with GMK Paperwork if use the dark and keys instead of [{ and ]} and the second (dark) '" key instead of \| or so.

Yes, that’s definitely one of my goals, too: being able to not having to think too much when having to type ', /, - or =.

Valid point. I’m not yet fully used to split space yet either, occasionally hitting the wrong space, because I mostly hit space with the left thumb, but occasionally also with the right thumb.

I though think this can be solved with a “tap for space, hold for modifier” QMX configuration.

I agree. All my 40% keyboards are configured with ideas similar to yours, but still actually using two layers to make the function keys more accessible:

  • Fn1+Esc = ~, Fn1+Q = 1
  • Fn2+Esc = F1, Fn2+Q = F2
  • Fn1+A = !, Fn2+A = ! (i.e. Fn<x> as Shift+Fn is equivalent on both layers)

Since I have more keys per row on the 55%, I do not need to use Fn2+Esc for F1, but can use Fn2+Q, which IMHO makes it much more easier to remember and use. (I though wonder, how easy I can then switch between 55% and 40% keyboards. :slight_smile: )

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