Best computer keyboard layouts for English and Programming

31 December 2017

As the year draws to a close, I've rolled the results of many hours of work over the last few months to live....

You may now see for yourself how your favourite layout does compared to over 360 others... metrics available for finger-based tests using Patrick's Keyboard Layout Analyzer (two scoring models) as well as assorted word-based metrics.

These additions also required several changes to the per-layout details available via the Letter Layout DB, and also linked directly from the various results pages.

We have also averaged the results from all the tests to produce "Best overall" lists, based on Rank in all the tests, and Average Percentage score.

Follow the links on the Best Layouts page. Enjoy. :-)

Angle Mod Home Block words

15 December 2017

Following a request on Geekhack, have added some analysis of how many words can be typed on the Angle Mod HomeBlock words.

More typing lessons

10 December 2017

Added some common/tricky word lessons, and some extra practice, to the typing lessons on the Letter Layout pages.

Added Fraser Street analysis

10 December 2017

Added the Fraser Street analysis to the Letter Layout pages.

"Fraser Street" is a specially-crafted piece of text that is typed almost entirely on the left hand in QWERTY layout.
It was designed to show how Dvorak layout had better hand alternation. Thanks to Shai Coleman for the idea.

Also made some changes to how the one-handed layouts are scored, I think there was a bug or two in the analyis. My changes seem to have made a difference, but not sure why... :-)
Anyway the resulting letters are now more accurate, which means the word counts should be more accurate too.

Word-based metrics for comparing keyboard layouts

6 December 2017

Added some word-based metrics to the Best Layouts page.

This is a way of comparing layouts based on how many words you can type on different subsets of keys:

Internet Letter Layout DB - major update

27 November 2017

Implemented some major updates to the Internet Letter Layout DB

New feature:

With such a big update, I may have missed a few things... please report any issues. I expect to prettify the graphs a bit more as I get more familiar with generating graphs.

Internet Letter Layout DB - standardised names

20 November 2017

Updated the Internet Letter Layout DB, which involved a lot of renaming to get to a standardised format which I hope will be permanent.
Also added links to download the Keyboard Layout Analyzer .json, as well as the Keyboard Layout Editor .json, if it exists (only Matrix layouts done at the moment.)

Internet Letter Layout DB

12 November 2017

Added the first version of the Internet Letter Layout DB, a reasonably comprehensive collection of logical (as opposed to physical) letter layouts for keyboards, in the various different form factors used in current version of Keyboard Layout Analyzer.

The X-Bows Keyboard

28 October 2017

The upcoming X-Bows keyboard, currently in pre-production. You can find details on the X-Bows site and more details and options on the X-Bows Kickstarter page.

Click image for larger view. X-Bows keyboard

The X-Bow features Gateron switches (your choice of action, from the usual red/black/blue/brown options), and a much more human-friendly key layout.

The keys are programmable, and if you're into backlighting, they've got you covered too.

An optional magnetically-coupled numpad is also available.

Homerow browser

17 September 2017

Added a basic homerow explorer to allow comparison and finding of keyboards based on their home row keys.

30% Singularity

6 June 2017

Added the 30% Singularity layout
Click image to go to its page.

30% Singularity

Mockups with Gorton-similar fonts added

1 June 2017

Added some mockups and a font comparison table to the Design page on Building a Custom Keyboard.
Basically these are the best matches I can find for Signature Plastic's Gorton Modified font.

Introducting Seelpy 1

17 May 2017

The thoroughly unorthodox Seelpy 1 has arrived, it needs a whole page to show it, you can read all the juicy details here.

Best keyboard layouts for English speakers, May 2017

17 May 2017

The following table lists the best scoring layouts as of today, as determined by Den's scoring on Patrick's Keyboard Layout Analyzer (KLA). This is a representative sample curated from all the layouts that we test.

The well known layouts are included, as well as the best of the rest, and some from the bottom end as well.

There are four scores for each layout:

The tests are as detailed on the keyboard tests page. You can find the various layouts on our fork of Den's fork of Patrick's KLA. Select the layout from the dropdown on the bottom right on that page.

Note: lower scores are better, we are measuring effort and lower effort is better.

1Seelpy 1 ErgolinearErgo112.584.4108.9152.2
2X6.4H ErgolinearErgo115.394.2113.4145
3X6 ErgolinearErgo117.4102.1113.6139.4
4Vu Keys Ergolinear 1Ergo119.297.3113.9150.9
5QGMLWY Ergolinear 1Ergo123.6104118.3151.9
6SorenK Ergolinear 1Ergo123.7106.1116.4149.7
7BEAKL 4 Mod Ian AltGr3ANSI124.2104.6118.3152.7
8Maltron ErgolinearErgo124.6100.2129157.3
9MTGap TS Ergolinear 2Ergo124.8107.8122.1149
10RSTHD ErgoLinear 2Ergo125.199.8124.8160.2
11Colmak TS Ergolinear 2Ergo125.8104.3119.5157
12Ian X4 ANSI128.4103.5114.6166
13Arensito ErgolinearErgo128.8114.7119150.6
14Nawfal ErgolinearErgo129.7113.4121.4154.3
15Dvorak ErgolinearErgo131.3115.6128.4153.7
16BEAKL5 ErgoLinearErgo131.6113.9126.4157.2
17schizoKBD-shifted ANSI133105.4120.8174.1
18Plum ErgolinearErgo138122.8131.9160.5
19Arensito ANSI138.1121.2127.1163.9
20Arensito Kinesis Ergo138.5115.2132.3172.3
21BEAKL Opted 1Ergo146.5105.6131.5206.6
22Ergodox MTGAP TSErgo153.4108.7141.4218.1
23-+T+- HT02a Ergo154.494.5137.2241.4
24Ian M2 tweakANSI156.2105.5139.3230.3
25Ergodox Colemak TSErgo156.8106.7141.1229.8
26MK-Type V2.Staggerfix ANSI158.1109138.4230.8
27Ian R2 pANSI159.4105.9136.3238.9
28Maltron 90 ErgodoxErgo167102.8180.9252.8
29Kinesis Svorak-r Ergo167.4119.1156.2237
30AOEYK ANSI172.6116.2179.5249.2
31Kinesis Colemak Ergo174.3110.8183.4260.4
32Right Pinky's FriendANSI182.3123.4198.7260.3
33Ergodox Norman Ergo187125.6190.8271.4
34Ian S2 ANSI189.8115.7203.8289.4
35Vu Keys ANSI191.2111.4199.8299.9
36Dvorak StandardANSI191.5128.6211.1274.2
37Aus der Neo-Welt ANSI191.9119.7186.6293.3
38Halmak 2.2ANSI192120.2202.6289
39SorenK ANSI192.3120.1199.2291
40MTGAP ANSI192.5120.7206.3288.9
41Klausler ANSI193.9117.4207.4297
42QGMLWY ANSI195.1118.3202.6300
43Colemak ANSI195.5118.6200.9300.9
44Burroughs BowerANSI195.5121.9200.8296.5
45Balance Twelve ANSI195.7116.5188.8307
46QFMLWY ANSI195.8120.5203298.6
57Acemak 1 ANSI195.9119.4201.5300.9
48Capewell-Dvorak ANSI196.4123.8212293.7
49HIEAMTSRN ANSI196.5118.5204.4302.9
50TypeHacK Layout ANSI196.6123.7203.2296.3
51Seruxie ANSI196.9122.5202.8298.9
52Tarmak 4 (ETRO)ANSI198.7123.9203.5301.5
53BLOU ANSI199.3125.5209.4299.4
54Workman ANSI200125.9206.1301.4
55Asset ANSI200.3126.3205.1301.9
56Neo 2 (v1)ANSI200.8127.2210300.8
57Capewell ANSI201127.5205.4301.9
58Minimak 12-keyANSI202.8130.1207.6302.5
59Norman ANSI202.8130207.9302.7
60Kinesis Qwerty Ergo204159.9207.2264.3
61Tallus ANSI206.2121.7185.3328.1
62BvoFRak EN V0.5ANSI223.1114.7185.3382
63QWERTY ANSI224.9167.1224.6305
64Dvorak ProgrammerANSI229128.8196.6375.4
65Colemak ProgrammerANSI239.4119.2202.6414.4
65TNWMLC (Worst CarpalX)ANSI243.7197.3238.7309.2
66Workman ProgrammersANSI244.2126.3210.1415.3
67QWERTY ProgrammerANSI266.2167.9230.2410.5

More (includes pics of layouts).

Upgrades to the KLA environment

17 May 2017

Added a whole bunch of new tests and layouts to the KLA test environment. So the scores in the table below will differ slightly from the scores in the table above.
I also fixed a few of the non-ASCII characters in some of the tests, removed most of my development layouts, and resorted the layout order.

New tests

New layouts

Read more on the Keyboard tests page, and explore the layouts in the KLA test environment.

So what's the best keyboard layout?

28 April 2017

The following table lists the best scoring layouts as of today, as determined by Den's scoring on Patrick's Keyboard Layout Analyzer (KLA). This is a representative sample curated from all the layouts that we test.

The well known layouts are included, as well as the best of the rest, and some from the bottom end as well. Given that known good layouts score well, and known bad ones score badly, the testing methodology looks sane. Congrats to Den and Patrick for their work.

There are four scores for each layout:

The tests are as detailed on the keyboard tests page. You can find the various layouts on our fork of Den's fork of Patrick's KLA. Select the layout from the dropdown on the bottom right on that page.

Note: lower scores are better, we are measuring effort and lower effort is better.

1X6.4H ErgolinearErgo116.291.1113.4148
2X6 ErgolinearErgo11798113.7141.5
3BEAKL 4 Mod Ian AltGr 3ANSI123.7100.5118.3156.8
4MTGap TS ErgoLinear 2Ergo124.8104.2122.1151.2
5Maltron ErgolinearErgo126.398.4129160.3
6RSTHD ErgoLinear 2Ergo126.497.2124.8162.9
7Colemak TS ErgoLinear 2Ergo126.7101.3119.5160.1
8Arensito ErgolinearErgo127.7110.8119151.1
9Nawfal ErgolinearErgo129.5109.4121.4156.6
10Dvorak ErgolinearErgo130.6111128.4155.5
11BEAKL5 ErgoLinearErgo131.4109.1126.4160.4
12schizoKBD-shifted ANSI133.9101.4120.8181.8
13Plum ErgolinearErgo137.1118.4131.9161.8
14Arensito ANSI137.4117.2127.1167.7
15Arensito Kinesis Ergo139.7111.3132.3177.1
16Ergodox MTGAP ThumbshiftErgo159.2105.1141.4231.2
17Ian M3 ANSI159.8101.6140.5244.2
18-+T+- HT02a Ergo162.591.8137.2257.2
19Ergodox Colemak ThumbshiftErgo163.4104.1141.1243.3
20Ian R2 pANSI163.8101.8136.3255.9
21Kinesis Advantage Svorak-r Ergo172.2114.8156.2247.8
22Maltron 90 ErgodoxErgo175.5101.3180.9265.9
23AOEYK ANSI177.8112.2179.5265.7
24Kinesis Advantage Colemak Ergo182.5108.5183.4274.1
25Right Pinky's FriendANSI187.2119.2198.7275.4
26Ergodox Norman Ergo194.9122.3190.8286
27Ergodox QWERTY ThumbshiftErgo197.8152.2172.6261.4
28Dvorak Simplified (ie Standard)ANSI198.9124.2211.1295.8
29Aus der Neo-Welt ANSI199.3116.2186.6315.1
30Ian S2 ANSI199.4112203.8315.9
31Halmak 1ANSI199.9116.2202.9311.8
32dangvu ANSI200.3109.1199.2323.5
33Vu Keys ANSI200.3109199.8323.6
34MTGAP ANSI200.8117.2206.3311.9
35SorenK ANSI200.9117.1199.2314.4
36Balance Twelve ANSI202.9112.9188.8328.6
37QGMLWY ANSI203.7115.4202.6323
38Burroughs Bower (typewriter)ANSI203.8118.8200.8319.3
39Colemak ANSI204.2115.9200.9324.1
40Klausler ANSI204.3114.5207.4324.5
41Seruxie ANSI205.7119.2202.8323.1
42HIEAMTSRN ANSI205.9114.5204.4329.5
43DreymaR ANSI206.4122.1208.3319.4
44Kinesis Advantage Qwerty Ergo207.5154.4207.2273.4
45Workman ANSI207.6121.5206.1324.1
46BLOU ANSI208.1121.5209.4324.4
47Capewell ANSI210.4123.8205.4328.7
48Yak ANSI210.5126.3206.4325.1
49Minimak 12-keyANSI210.5126.7207.6324.5
50EAton ANSI210.6116204.2340
51Norman ANSI210.8126.7207.9325.1
52Ergodox QWERTY Ergo213.3157.4207.1284.3
53QWERTY ANSI229.8161.3224.6323.7
54XPeRT ANSI233.1159.3226.7334.5
55BvoFRak EN V0.5ANSI234.7111.7185.3415.4
56Dvorak ProgrammerANSI238.3124.5196.6404.4
57TNWMLC (Worst CarpalX)ANSI247.1191238.7325.2
58Colemak ProgrammerANSI251.9116.6202.6449.3
59Workman ProgrammersANSI255.7122.1210.1449.8
60QWERTY ProgrammerANSI274.3162.3230.2438.6

More (includes pics of layouts).


15 April 2017

Added new Tools section with some useful links (more to come), as well as the beginnings of my guide to building a custom mechanical keyboard from scratch.
That's also still a work in progress but I need to start now so I can document the next steps...

Added new swiping layouts

2 April 2017

Added four new swiping/one-finger layouts to the Swiping layouts comparison page. These were designed by other people.
The layouts are Chubron, Opti Improved, Fitaly, and Metropolis.

See swiping layouts comparisons.

Atari 800

27 March 2017

Added the Atari 800.
Atari 800

Anonymous mockup, fingercoded

20 March 2017

Added a mockup by Anonymous, fingercoded.
Anonymous mockup

Atreus, fingercoded

19 March 2017

Added the Atreus layout, fingercoded.
Atreus Fingercoded

Z8 Swiping layout

19 March 2017

Added the Z8 swiping layout. Definitely done with this for today. It's better than about twice as good as QWERTY, according to the limited metrics used to measure.
So the question is, is this the best English swiping layout in the world? Let me know :-)
Z8 Swiping layout
See comparisons against other popular layouts.

Z7 Swiping layout

19 March 2017

Added the Z7 swiping layout. Think that's about as far as I'm going with this for now :-)
Z7 Swiping layout
See comparisons against other popular layouts.

Z6 Swiping layout

19 March 2017

Added the Z6 swiping layout.
Z6 Swiping layout
See comparisons against other popular layouts.


16 March 2017

Added Planck fingercoded.
Planck fingercoded

Matrix Colmak

16 March 2017

Added Matrix Colmak, from a design by Jack Humbert.
Matrix Colmak

Switch tester

15 March 2017

Added a proposal for a switch tester layout.
Key switch tester

Taylor Peterson, Fingercoded

15 March 2017

Added the Taylor Peterson modified Dvorak Fingercoded layout.
Taylor Peterson Fingercoded

ANSI 104 QWERTY, Fingercoded

15 March 2017

Added the ANSI 104 QWERTY Fingercoded layout.
ANSI 104 QWERTY Fingercoded
Also switching to a new colour scheme for these layouts, based on selected Material Design colours.

JD40, Fingercoded

13 March 2017

Added KLE file for JD40 Fingercoded.
JD40 Fingercoded

Huge updates to Best Layouts

5 March 2017

Have uploaded a lot of changes to the Best Layouts section. The main thrust is still on the Den Scoring sections.

I have added various new tests, as well as some (rather radical) new layouts, which produce good results.
In particular, the X6.3H ErgoLinear is best at English:
X6.3H ErgoLinear keyboard layout

While the X6.1H ErgoLinear is best overall:
X6.1H ErgoLinear keyboard layout

Click images above for larger view. They are radical because of where the h is... on AltGr. In spite of needing both thumbs to press it, the layout still gets the best scores.

Revised proposal for a swiping layout

22 February 2017

Ian Z2 swiping keyboard layout

A revision to the layout below ... I found the four-way swipes a bit fiddly so reverted to something more conventional.

Also tweaked the punctuation and added the missing asterisk. The other three main currency symbols (£ ¥ €) are on the Sym page.

Guess this will be Ian Z2.

Here's the layout:

"title":"Ian Z2a",



A proposal for a swiping layout

21 February 2017

Ian Z1 swiping keyboard layout

Above is a work in progress at a design for a swiping layout for cellphones. Click the image for a larger view. I modified a supplied layout in the app (Qwerty + arrows layout).
I had been using Swiftkey for ages, but their change in ownership and business model bothered me, so I went surfabout for a replacement. After trying various things including Kii (new version 2 beta) and Ai Keyboard, I eventually discovered Multiling O Keyboard.

This keyboard is very configurable (both in terms of look-and-feel and letter layout), and supports swiping. If you have the inclination to tweak, then it's a good choice for you.
So I spent some time trying different layouts etc and eventually arrived at the above layout. I'm still getting used to it because my head is still hard-wired for QWERTY, and struggle to find letters sometimes. Also the swipe algorithm is very different to how Swiftkey works so I need to deal with that too.

Anyway the layout has the following improvements over QWERTY for common English letter compinations:
  • ious
  • ion
  • ian
  • if
  • of
  • on
  • ou
  • oi
  • un
  • no
  • an
  • ant
  • ai
  • oa
  • ay
  • out
  • the
  • there
  • wh
  • where
  • when
  • her
  • he
  • she
  • nt
  • not
  • to / ot
  • nth
  • st
  • sh
  • ch
  • gh
  • ght
  • th
  • ng
  • ang
  • ing
  • ong
  • gn
  • wh
  • ck
  • ly
  • tly
  • ny
  • ct
  • er / re
  • der
  • ed / de
  • es / se
  • me
  • ce
  • uni
and probably some others :-)

Currently the dev name is Ian Z1 but I guess it may end up being called Panther.

Here's the layout:

"title":"Ian Z1",
"[4D:02468][4D: [Home][Copy][End][Paste]][4D: [Left][Up][Right][Down]][4D:



Mito Canvas keycaps

30 January 2017

Mito Canvas

This is one of the options for the Mito Canvas keycap set sold via MassDrop.
I found the modifier keys very interesting, given that they create them all using a few basic elements (arrow heads, bars, circle, cross and bullets).
Click the image for a larger view.

Archive 2016

16 May 2017

Archive 2016