Too few thumbkeys on Model01

I have been a full time model01 user for a long time, and though I have settled in with the main layout (and my switch to colemak), I still have regular trouble reaching and remembering various keyboard shortcut variations.

I have been having this problem for a long time, but I never really thought deeply about it.

But now I just realized what causes it!

On MacOS the applications I use, use all combinations of shift, ctrl, alt and cmd for shortcuts.
But since the model01 only has four thumb keys and I use one for space/backspace, that leaves only three.

So to make up for that I have shift and cmd on both, but only alt on the left and ctrl on the right.
To make things even worse I also need AltGr for typing international letters, so actually I need both left and right alt. I tried to solve that by making the butterfly key into left alt. But it doesn’t really work that well.

So I can see that my layout is not really optimal as it is, as I am constantly having problems, but I don’t know how to solve it.

Suggestions are welcome.

I think my feedback to @jesse is that I wish the Model100 has five thumb keys. Maybe the the two thumb keys, nearer the center of the keyboard could be three slightly smaller keys?

3 Likes

I had similar problems at first then I made esc and butterfly left and right alts, and the thumb clusters are ctrl bksp cmd shift - shift ctrl space cmd. Esc went up just outside 1.

Hi, Lasse. I changed my thumb clusters around so that they read (left to right):

LCtrl, Bksp, Shift, LAlt — RAlt (=AltGr), Return, Space, RCtrl

This matches (more or less) my custom Kinesis layout that my muscle memory still thinks in. I found that Shift was too far away from the home thumb position on Model01 to be comfortable given its heavy usage, and having AltGr on the thumb is more comfortable for AltGr+Shift combos. Thumb-enter is also more comfortable than the centre-column finger stretch, and I don’t miss the second shift key, ever. Rare uses of Lshift+Rshift as a hotkey can be handled by burying Rshift in the function layer where it’s safer because you can’t hit it by accident.

I then treat Butterfly as a thumb key, and set it to be LSuper (=LCommand). Yes, left super even though it’s on the RHS of the keyboard - some linux software exists that doesn’t recognise RSuper. I don’t find the lack of a second Command key particularly onerous, but you may find swapping Command and Ctrl to be a more comfortable experience on Mac. (I prefer to keep two control keys because I use RCtrl as Compose under Linux, but never got around to configuring that on MacOS as it needs third party software)

With shift and alt beside each other on the left thumb, it is reasonably comfortable to hold them together or separately. You should then be able to hold right-control or command with the other thumb and still be able to reach any finger key comfortably. I use Adobe CS quite heavily on Mac, and find that combos using both ctrl and command are rare - emojis and screenlock are the only ones I can think of offhand , and they don’t need shift or alt so you can use LCtrl for them.

YMMV of course. Four modifiers into two thumbs doesn’t go! :slight_smile:

2 Likes