Share your Model 01 typing experience and typing practice tools!

Hello all you lovely people,

I’ve been seeing a few of our community sharing and discussing their first Model01 typing experiences on our IRC channel. What caught my attention in particular is that people seemed to have trouble with certain keys. Which exact keys seemed to differ from person to person.

I’ve been playing with the idea of creating some software tool (be it a page in Chrysalis, a web app or otherwise) that provides an interactive, systematic introduction to typing on the Model01 and helps the user develop their skills step by step.

While this is just an idea so far - core functionality of Chrysalis needs to be finished first - I would like pose the following questions to our community:

  1. What are your experiences typing on the Model01 so far? Are there any mistakes you’ve been making regularly? What’s difficult? What’s easy or easier than you expected?

  2. What tools have you used in the past to practise typing (on the Model01 and/or otherwise)? What did and didn’t you like about them? What would you like to see in new typing practice application? What do you consider helpful typing exercises?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!



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There another thread on this subject with some good recommendations: Getting used to the Model 01

As for my experience thus far… I just got my Model 01 Saturday and have not yet start typing on it yet. Been busy with firmware changes.

  1. Writing prose is ok, but gaming (PUBG) is killing me. I use a kinesis at work and a type matrix 2030 at home, so tab and esc are hard for me to get used to. I frequently hit page down still instead of using the shift under my thumbs. Surprisingly, fn + hjkl as arrow keys is really easy. I’m also digging fn + m and , to raise and lower the volume…

  2. I’ve only tried As far as tools, I probably won’t use any typing tutors. My writing is bursty, I make config changes, type in commands, compare things; I’m not streaming code or prose out of my brain in quick succession.

  1. My use for the keyboard is prose. Not counting random forum posts, I’ve done 22k words in the past week on my Model 01. The two most common mistakes for me are hitting Enter when I want H (and vice versa) and somehow double-striking Space. The latter is infrequent enough that I don’t think it’s key chatter, but rather a mistake on my part. Prior to this keyboard, I was typing almost exclusively on linear switches, and I may still be adjusting.
  2. My favorite typing practice tool is What I like about it is that you aren’t practicing words so much as you are practicing digraphs and trigraphs, and the site keeps ridiculously detailed statistics on your progress for individual letters. Using it, I was able to break 100 wpm after only a day of owning the Keyboardio (I dropped down to 60 wpm upon switching to this keyboard, versus my norm of 120 wpm).

One thing I’d really like to see in a typing tutor is a mode geared toward programming (C-style syntax) and terminal use. While I enjoy doing both of those things, I do them far less often than prose, and as a result, I’ve never managed to become terribly proficient or comfortable doing them on an ergo keyboard. The Keyboardio has a standard alphanumeric layout, but brackets, pipe, etc. are all in new places.


I have one issue that still plagues me, and that’s hitting tab by accident. Strangely, I only have this problem on the left hand…

I gave up QWERTY twenty years ago, so even though I am a vi nerd, hjkl are no longer intuitive. Couple that with having to shift my hand one position to the left to use them properly, I found it easier to rearrange the arrows as an inverted t.


Thanks for pointing out the other thread. Very helpful :).

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That’s interesting. I never shift my hand to use hjkl, but do use them all the time. I changed things in software so when I hold down caps lock on my standard keyboard, I get vi keys everywhere. I agree that the inverted T is superior in that it allows for easy diagonal movement, but I’ve never felt the need to use that during a normal day. On the other hand, maybe I’d use it if my keys were mapped differently.

Which keys do you actually use as arrow keys now? If you could either tell me the equivalent keys in QWERTY and/or post your keymap, that would be awesome :).

I use QWERTY ijkl as the inverted t on the right hand. I also changed the mouse keys to use the mirror esdf on the left.

My fork is here: . The file you are interested in is layout-abg-function-inverted-t.h


I just want to say that after having typed on the M01 for a few days, now I have more trouble typing on a regular keyboard than I have on the M01.


I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the pinky position and successfully typing a “c”. I almost always end up with a ‘v’, mostly do to the keys being in rows.

Beyond that I have found I sometimes hit the ‘tab’ button instead of the ‘g’.

I am still getting used to the key modifier positions and haven’t found a good tool to help increase my proficiency, although I haven’t done a ton of digging.

I’m in a similar boat when it comes to vi keys no longer being intuitive thanks to no longer using QWERTY. Personally, I find an inverted T at ESDF to be superior to any other option I’ve seen (IJKL would be equivalent). WASD is popular thanks to FPS games, but it requires a hand shift and is thus inferior. Despite this, I’ve only seen one manufacturer use ESDF (I forget which it was—maybe KBP?).

@bengus28 Let us know if you find anything. I too have looked for such a tool that would let me practice using chorded key sequences/shortcuts with feedback, but never found one. Years ago, on a rainy day, I pounded out a quick little app when I was trying to learn a new alternate keyboard (and break my bad habit of using same-side modifiers). It’s nothing fancy by any means. (I’m a back-end enterprise programmer and not a UI guy.) I mostly just wanted something to show me I was hitting the correct modifier without looking down a the keyboard. There are labels for all the modifiers that indicate when a modifier is pressed and held. It then echos what the last thing sent to the app was, whether just a letter or a chorded combination.

I just used it to practice shortcuts off the top of my head. I had hopes of one day adding a feature so a file would hold a set of shortcuts you wanted to practice and then it would prompt you to enter that shortcut. But I never got around to it.

If you can’t find anything else/better, I can look at putting this out on Git for people to use. It should run on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

What’d be really cool is something like the practice app that Palm used to have for graffiti - characters (or shortcuts, in this case) fell from the sky, and disappeared when you entered them correctly. If they hit the ground, you lost a “life”. It started with just letters, but you could also focus on numbers, or symbols, etc.

Best I’ve found is just start using it. After using mine this weekend, I’ve moved all of the thumb keys around - my current thumb arcs are:

  • Left hand: Backspace, Shift, Alt, Ctrl
  • Right hand: Ctrl, Cmd, Shift, Space

That puts space/backspace where they’re easiest for me to reach, and gives me the option of “thumb-between-two-mods” to chord most of the 2-mod combos with a single thumb. I haven’t messed with OneShots yet, since I was focussed first on being able to flash at all on Win7.

Edit to add: I really like the LED effect that follows where you’ve typed, it helps me see what I was hitting accidentally, especially for palm & mod keys where it’s not immediately obvious what key was actually pressed.


Hmm… I never thought of using that effect that way. Thanks for the tip!


What’d be really cool is something like the practice app that Palm used to have for graffiti - characters (or shortcuts, in this case) fell from the sky, and disappeared when you entered them correctly. If they hit the ground, you lost a “life”. It started with just letters, but you could also focus on numbers, or symbols, etc.

Back in the… 80’s when I first learned to type, we had a DOS program that worked almost exactly like that. Started with single letters and would start adding in digraphs after a while, building up to full words and getting faster and faster. It was great. Pretty sure it had a super generic name like “typing tutor”.

I’m reminded of the “game” that was designed for training on MessagEase (the software keyboard I use on Android), too. It wasn’t brilliant, but it did get the job done.

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I love the design of the keys themselves. As a touch typist I definitely hate the rounded keys because I remapped them to be my spacebar at both ends and then on the left I have my backspace next to the spacebar and on the right side I have my enter. The layout as designed may be perfect for a programmer - not so much for a general typist. I’ve learned to work around the function button, but if I could turn that into a spacebar, that would be awesome and then have smaller keys as the function button, maybe where the shift keys are now.

My palm keys are space and backspace because I am mostly writing prose. I swapped function to the thimb keys. I also duplicated backspace on the butterfly key, and made pageup/pagedown into uparrow/downarrow because I do a lot more line by line editing.

Would you like me to share the relevant parts of my config?


Yes, please. I would definitely like to try that. Thank you so much. I tried to do it, but then got busy and quit while I was ahead.

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