Ergonomic Keyboard Mods

 

The Angle Mod

The "Angle Mod" is an ergonomic mod which makes it possible to adopt a more comfortable typing posture by introducing a degree of symmetry on a standard, staggered keyboard. The left-hand keys on the bottom row are moved one space to the left, but you should type these keys with the conventional finger, i.e. Z=pinky, X=ring, C=middle. It works best on an ISO keyboard but is possible on ANSI keyboards too with an adjustment.


The Angle Mod (shown right) is more comfortable then the traditional technique (shown left). Keys of the same colour should be typed with the same finger.

Try it for yourself: put your left-hand fingers in the home position (over A S D F on a Qwerty keyboard). Then, from that position, try typing the letter C first with your index finger, then with your middle finger. You should find is it much easier and more comfortable with the index finger. Despite being almost universally taught, the traditional technique is significantly inferior, requiring the fingers to twist in an awkward way.

One possible solution to this is to simply use the "wrong" fingers, i.e. Z=ring, X=middle, C=index. For some layouts this may be an acceptable solution, but it should be noted that most modern layouts, including Colemak, are designed assuming the conventional finger assignment.

An additional benefit of the Angle Mod is it makes the Qwerty B key, arguably the worst positioned key on the keyboard, much easier to reach.

Resources

Implementations:
DreymaR's Big Bag of Tricks for Windows and Linux.

The Angle Mod is a prerequisite for the Colemak DH Mods.

Examples

Some example layouts for different keyboard types are shown below. Home keys are highlighted with a red box. The finger that should be used is indicated by the background colour of the key.

1. ISO Keyboard:


The Angle Mod on an Qwerty ISO keyboard.


The Angle Mod on an Colemak ISO keyboard.

2. ANSI Keyboard:


The Angle Mod on an Colemak ANSI keyboard. Due to the lack of an extra key to the right of the left shift key, we relocate the rare Z key.


The Angle Mod on an Colemak ANSI keyboard with alternative home position. In order to keep the correct Z position, a new column is introduced to the left-hand side.


The Angle Mod on an Colemak ANSI keyboard with alternative Z placement. Because Z has displaced shift, we need a new way to access Shift, and so here we are using the Left Alt key. See modifiers for more info on this topic.