Feedback on best way to activate Shift modifier!


There are several ways to activate the Shift modifier.

Classical ones :

  1. 2 shifts on the 2 thumbs (classic layout of keyboardio model 01)
  • pros : generic and simple
  • cons : less quick to tap on homerow or OneShot plugin (must hold the shift)?
  1. 2 shifts like classical keyboard
  • cons : just to mention it, not ergonomic or productive at all

Non-classical ones :
3) 2 shifts on the homerow when it is hold with QuKeys (I’m testing it as I like to have a maximum of stuff on the homerow)

  • pros : generic, everything on the homerow, so quick
  • pros : easy to tap ctrl+shift+alt if you use Qukeys for all modifiers
  • cons : do not exactly the same stuff if keys is on the left or right, notably if you have to tap several capital letters situated on left then right
  1. 1 shift on thumb with OneShot plugin
  • pros : generic, you do exactly the same stuff if you want to activate shift, just a tap before the target key, can be very very quick and fast to learn
  • cons : difficult to do ctrl+shift+alt if you have only one or if you use QuKeys for ctrl alt
  1. Long press (>200ms) on key does the shift with AutoShift plugin
  • pros : no need to tap a key in addition
  • cons : not sure at 100% it can work with QuKeys (not tested), if someone tested it, I’m interested
  • cons : do not think it works or really useable with ctrl+alt, so must be used with another generic solution
  1. Use a key to automatic shift after a space for instance with keyleader plugin.
  • pros : you do not tap shift, just a different key for space
  • cons : do not think it works with ctrl+alt or any time you need to use capital not after space, must be used with another generic solution

I’m really interested to have some feedbacks if you use one of non-classical option compared to the standard one or the other non-classical ones.
Do not hesitate if you use another non-classical solution.

Thanks in advance

I’ve been using 1 shift on thumb for a few years now (first on my ErgoDox, then on the Model01), with all other modifiers on the thumbs too - all OneShot. It takes some getting used to, and if you try to hold them, that will be awkward - don’t do that. You can chain oneshots, so Ctrl+Alt+Shift is perfectly possible without holding any of them: just press them in whatever order.

If I do need to hold, I usually double-tap to make it sticky, instead of holding. There are some very, very rare cases where I hold a oneshot key (usually shift), but that happens once in a blue moon.

For me, this has been working incredibly well. I’ve played with having at least one modifier on the home row, but couldn’t get used to it, and ended up mistyping a lot. I’ve tried long press, but that slowed me down a lot. So I’m sticking with one of each modifier on the thumbs for the foreseeable future.

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AutoShift is mainly intended as an accessibility option for people who can’t (or at least find it difficult to) hold two keys at the same time.

That said, it could sort of work with Ctrl+Alt if you hold those keys first, then hold down the shifted key. For instance, in most web browsers, you can do Ctrl+Shift+T to reopen your last-closed tab; with AutoShift, you could accomplish the same thing by holding Ctrl, then holding T (default 500ms). However, you’ll also wind up with one fresh blank tab, because AutoShift works by sending the key on keyToggledOn, then sends a backspace and a shifted version of that same key if it’s been held for the specified time.

(I initially tried having it send the keypress on keyToggledOff, but it was pretty disorienting and actually led to lost keystrokes if you’re a fast typist [>100wpm].)

I haven’t tested it with Qukeys, but I’ll try it tomorrow. It might work if you play with the timeouts, but I’m pretty sure you’d once again wind up with a (single) extra keystroke.

Finally, it won’t work for tasks such as highlighting text (shift+arrow) because it’s hard-coded to ignore the arrow keys, among a few others. Even if you took out this feature, text highlighting still wouldn’t work, because AutoShift effectively disables key repeat (this is why arrow keys are ignored in the first place).

It’s possible to emulate AutoShift on an individual key with Qukeys, by setting the primary value to Key_A and the alternate value to LSHIFT(Key_A).

All right, I just tested AutoShift with Qukeys, and as expected, they do not play nicely together.

I use the left thumb cluster for all modifier keys with One.Shot activated on them. Any chords for modifiers that aren’t next to each other (therefore easily pressed with my thumb together) are programmed as macros on my function layer. Has worked really well for me over the last year.


@algernon Thank you very much for your feedback, it is really interesting, I didn’t really that OneShot can be useful not only for Shift. I think I will let a try to have all modifiers as sticky and also only once. Is it possible to share what are your keys exactly on your 2 thumbs? Do you mix your modifiers on the 2 thumbs or try to have all on left or right for instance with all modifiers in order to type with roll easily (remove notably the backspace replaced by shift for instance)? Someone try to use fn key as shift (like the right one)?

@merlin your comment on how to emulate AutoShift with QuKeys does not work when you want to have for instance Key_A when tapped, LSHIFT(Key_A) when tapped long (like > 200ms) and the same key as Ctrl when hold, isn’t it or I missed something?

@tiltowaitt Thank you for your feedback on AutoShift and your tests with QuKeys

@TreTuna Thanks for your feedback, can you share you layout on your thumb keys please ? Do you mix your modifiers on the 2 thumbs or try to have all on left or right for instance with all modifiers in order to type with roll easily (remove notably the backspace replaced by shift for instance)?

@alexandre.j.navarro while I’ve made a few minor adjustments since, this is still mostly my layout. All the modifier keys are the same. Layout for Mac user

Function layer ASDF and ZXCV are all my modifier chord hotkeys.

That’s correct; Qukeys can’t both emulate AutoShift and be used for a different alternate value (e.g. a modifier). I do feel that it is at least logically possible to make the two plugins both work on the same key, by giving Qukeys a very long hold timeout, but it would be very difficult to make it work.

For anyone who wants to use AutoShift for reasons of chording difficulty, but also wants to use Qukeys for other modifiers, I would like to suggest trying out Qukeys with two sets of four modifiers on the home row, one on each hand. I use shift, ctrl, alt, gui on my index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers, and find that the only combination that is even slightly awkward to hold is ctrl + gui. In addition, it’s also pretty easy to assign alternate hold values to other keys that are combinations of modifiers, so any modifier combo can be held by holding just a single key within one of the home row, while typing the modified key with the other hand.

The other way to work around chording discomfort, of course, is OneShot, which can be used in combination with Qukeys (a Qukeys alternate key can be a OneShot key, and that will work).

Yup! My whole sketch is open source too:

Control and Shift are on the left hand thumb arc, Alt is on the right one. Backspace is between control and shift, space and enter on the right side by each other, just before Alt.

I tried, but while the palm keys are lovely, I found it to be a bit annoying to use them so very often as I use shift. But this is just my particular use case, someone may very well find it amazing.