a desk with a keyboard, mouse, and other office supplies. The keyboard is white and has a modern design. The mouse is black and has a sleek design. There is a small cactus plant in a pot on the desk. There are books and a laptop on the desk as well. The background consists of a window with blinds and a desk chair.

Any way to practice a layout using a regular nonprogrammable keyboard?

I want to jump into the world of ortho keyboards and start trying to learn a more ergonomic key layout. I happen to have a small foldable bluetooth keyboard that is around a 40% size, is regular QWERTY layout but only has 60 keys so there’s a Fn later that puts some of the symbols, all the F keys and media scroll keys on a different layer. I’m kind of used to using it after 6 years and realized “Hey, I can do a layered setup maybe!”

So I’m thinking I want to build a Corne 36 key with some sort of trackpad/thumbstick setup for precision mousing as I also need that level of control from time to time. My dream setup would be anything incorporating dual thumbsticks from a game controller as I actually use my X-Box D-pad to control presentations when I teach.

I have a true multi OS environment where I’m using NixOS, MacOS, and Windows 11 in a VM all the time. I also use tiling window environments (i3 & Hyprland in Linux; Yabai in MacOS) so having continual access to Super and Hyper is a big deal.

I’m thinking about starting with the default Miryoku setup with Coleman DH and see about modding on top as time goes on. Is there some way to change a regular keyboard to get some practice in while I source parts and build the board itself?

5 responses
  1. I want to jump into the world of ortho keyboards and start trying to learn a more ergonomic key layout. I happen to have a…

  2. Look up the spacefn concept. I used this before I even heard of programmable mechanical keyboards. I used a tool called touchcursor.

  3. I am on a 42 corne, still dont want to give up the keys on the end 🙂

    As others have said, kmonad will allow you do get a lot of functionality out of your current kb but it won’t really emulate the corne very well as the ergonomics and using the thumb cluster is not easy to emulate well physically and its a big part of it.

    I don’t think miryoku would suit me well so I have my own but one layer I do use often is for the tiling window manager. If I hold the middle right thumb then the homerow keys become gui+1-9 for changing virtual desktops, the bottom row is gui+shift+1-9 for moving windows to other desktops and the left thumb cluster is next/prev windows and move focus to other screen.

    I also have homerow mods which mean asdf are a,s,d,f on tap and gui, alt, ctrl and shift. They are mirrored on the right hand with jkl;

    With homerow mods I hold down either the a or ; for gui and press the other keys drirect for other tiling wm functions like move window to other screen, gui+enter for new terminal etc.

    For your presentations you could always make a dedicated layer and as you dont use it frequently, dont assign it to a valuable key, you could do something like a 3 key combo to make the layer stick and a single key to jump out of it. Then you can add as many navigation/presentation features as you need.

  4. Yes monkeytype.com can do this under the “layout emulator” setting. There’s lots to pick from. Pairs well with the “keymap” setting.

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