Emacs Keyboard Design 19: Emacs on Every Desk

An emotional flood of pragmatism and market demand is forcing me to struggle to keep my head above water on this one which answers a simpler question:

  1. How to get Emacs and an Emacs suitable keyboard into the hands of every computer user everywhere?
  2. High quality, low cost, flexible, and familiar.


  • Thoughts and changes from 18
    • Switch with staggered querty. It might be painful to switch. Pain ain’t a great motivator in this scenario. Goal is to learn and use Emacs, not suffer inflammation.
      • Personal experience on staggered qwerty has convinced me that pain will come to switch to a grid layout. Don’t want to try. Don’t want others to try. Don’t want pain to be a reason to avoid an Emacs keyboard.
    • Keyboard needs to be black and white, everything else is too distracting
    • Only used HID Spec for keys
      • Don’t write a HID spec to do more, not now
  • Build
    • Start with ANSI 104
      • Make it easy to see what keys need to stay, or not
    • Row 6, the F keys don’t need any spacing
      • By the time you reach that far, it is hard reach, so linear is fine
    • Add F13-F24
      • They are in the spec, use them!
    • Add F13-F24
    • Handle every key to the right of Enter
      • Keep PrtSc, Insert, Home, delete, end, pgup, pgdn, arrow keys
      • Delete ScrollLock, Pause/Break, NumLock
    • Add a Fn key
      • Put arrows on jkil
    • Placed a cluster for inser/delete, and navigation, print screen
    • Modifiers
      • Make them agnostic, use the real names
      • Only need 1 key width
      • Don’t need 6 width for spacebar
      • Modifers go out from common to uncommon so
        • left to right: C, M, s, H, A, G
        • On both sides
        • Emacs modifiers are more important to put then near space bar
        • OS modifiers are still an easy reach
  • Thoughts
    • Easily use all Emacs and OS modifiers in familiar positions
    • Rest of layout is undisturbed
    • More F keys
      • Grid like because it is already a reach
    • Fn key is knew, an simple
    • Felt like the spacebar was too small so
      • Moved Alt up by Shift, this resulted in
        • Manual Meh key
    • Remember to keep C-A-D available on Win

Addendum: <2016-04-22 Fri 14:40>

Added legends on f and j.

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