Initial Dvorak Layout

What should the Model 01’s Dvorak layout look like?

As a food for thought, I tried my hands on a Dvorak layout, which is as close to the conventional Dvorak layout as possible, and has most other symbols and keys at the same position as the QWERTY layout. I’m not convinced it would be a convenient layout, to be honest, but as I said - food for thought.

I used KLE, and came up with this layout, which looks something like this:

It looks a bit messy, because I put on the other layers too.


Here’s the version I’d started to throw together. Note that I don’t type Dvorak:

It looks pretty similar except on the far right. (Also I’ve swapped LED + Program buttons, which is a relatively recent change we made to the QWERTY layout. The upper leftmost key is hardwired to the lines on the ATMega which lets us read it from the bootloader, so that physical key is the one you need to hold down to flash the firmware. There’s no reason you can’t have it do something else when typing though)

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Oh, and here’s the row / column labeling we’re using on the electronics. It might be helpful for referring to specific key locations:

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Do you have any easy templates for generating those layouts?

I think I’d prefer to keep the rows the same for / and -, so put them on R1C15 and R2C15 respectively. I’m torn between moving = down to R3C15, vs putting it on a chorded modifier key of R1C15.

I think it’d be good to put ‘{[’ on R0C15, and ‘]}’ on R0C0, like how Kinesis does it. Or maybe R0C6 / R0C9.

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Also, I’d be more than happy to come over to Oakland and spend an hour or so typing on one, to get a hands-on feel for a good layout.

@plinskey - Click on the link in Kaia’s post to get to the Keyboard Layout Editor tool with our layout already set up. You’ll need to be able to log into github to save your own versions.

Once we’ve got units from the PVT run in hand, we’ll host some sort of a meetup for folks who want to try out the new physical layout.

I’ve never had to do anything like this and it was tougher than I thought. Nice work! But, I have one suggestion and that is to swap the (+=) key with the (_-) key.

Have a great day,


Hi all thanks for setting this up. I’m a long term Dvorak user currently have TEK mapped to Dvorak. Just looknig at the layout why do we need two crtl and cmd keys but only one alt key. I use Linux so Cmd wont make sense to me.

We’ve actually got one Cmd (Maps to Super in Linux by default) and one Alt, but do have a pair of Control keys, mostly because Control is, in our experience, more frequently chorded on Linux and MacOS. They are, of course, fully remappable and this is what 'we’re here to talk about :wink:


Hi. I’ve been using the Dvorak layout on Android for about a year for curiosity’s sake. Haven’t actually used it on a physical keyboard (yet!), but I’m at the level where I could touch-type given some physical keys to aim for.

One thing I’ve found myself wishing for on there, with only 10 columns by 3 rows, is a way to move Q/Z even further out of the way to make punctuation easier to get to. A Model 01 isn’t as cramped so it’s not as big of a concern here, but I was almost tempted to have them in the top corners…

OTOH, after seeing the images here I’m changing my mind and just going with it. I prefer the second one slightly over the first: that top-right key will be a bit hard to reach with a pinky from the home row and it seems logical to keep +/- both accessible. I’d agree with putting hyphen on the home row too, can imagine using that more often.

I second the swap (+=) key with the (-) key, if you just chamge layout on your laptop to dvorak (-) is at the home row After S. I would also swap num to the bottom right because its easier to reach up than type lower keys. IMHO

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FWIW, Those top corner keys are not easy to reach. We put them there for a bit of symmetry and to give folks who just cant retrain their fingers away from Escape and Backspace being there a bit of an escape valve.

cool, I thought the ‘butterfly’ key will be bound to Super??

Up to now, we haven’t bound Butterfly, Any or Rec to anything. (Though we hope to get Record support completed in relatively short order.

We’ve been planning to leave the Butterfly and Any keys free to encourage user customization.

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This may be sacrilegious, but how about one of the Fn keys being Enter?

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Just another point I’d like to add is that DVORAK was designed for speed and to reduce finger movement. It would be good to do testing on the physical keyboard to ensure that those qualities apply to the new layout.


It’s definitely doable, though we designed them to be chorded. (It might make sense to map them to Shift.)

Actually, that would work well. One Shift, one Enter.

In general, I’ve found that being able to chord Shift with the alternate hand from the key you’re shifting results in a much, much more comfortable typing experience.

We hadn’t really considered putting Enter on a palm key. What’s attractive about that layout to you?