Dec 16, 2016

Physical Keyboard Layouts Explained In Detail

I thought it would be exceptionally helpful to have a post discussing keyboard layouts, showing what "standard physical layouts" are, and showing what keys differ for many popular alternative layout keyboards. I am not pointing out correct legend placement with these pictures, with programmable boards that would just be a nightmare. It should also be mentioned that I am basing this guide on sculpted profiles (SA, DCS, Cherry, Alps, etc) and NOT uniform profiles like DSA or XDA.
Here is the standard keyboard layout (ANSI and ISO). I have color coded the graphic in this way:
  1. 60% - Light Blue
  2. TKL/80% - Green
  3. TK/Fullsize/100% - Yellow
  4. ISO - Dark Blue (Keys that differ from standard ANSI)
So, with this system any keyboard that is covered by light blue/green/yellow caps alone SHOULD be covered by a standard 104 keycap set (like Ducky, Tai Hao, etc). Keep in mind a few more boards can be covered by these sets, just not with the correct profile for each key.
At the end of this article will be a Download section where I will link all of the Raw data so you can import any of these layouts into Keyboard-Layout-Editor.com for further inquisition of any layout. You will be able to see the exact keys sizes through doing this as well.

There are many different ISO layouts in terms of legends that I won't even go down that rabbit hole, but this is simply a representation of the physical layout of the keyboard. Obviously the number row keys can EASILY be replaced with the ANSI keys, as this isn't a physical layout difference, but often requested keys, same for ALT and ALTGR.
Now, for my examples I will be marking keys in RED that are non-standard sizes. I will also take key rows into consideration for this discussion. (See WhiteFox Vanilla example below for more info). Keys that may be included in other standard kits will be colored accordingly.
Let me use the WhiteFox Vanilla layout as an example:
Because the WhiteFox Vanilla is a 65% keyboard, it utilizes arrow keys and an extra navigation column added to a standard 60% layout. The blue keys are all standard size keys, where the green keys are all found on TKL's. The red keys are all non-standard keys not found on any stock layout/keyboard. Notice the PgUp/PgDn keys are red, even though they are on all TKL/TK keyboards. This is because on a standard keyboard they are Row 1 and Row 2 keys respectively. On the WhiteFox they would need to be Row 3 and Row 4 to be the correct profile.
Keep in mind designers don't generally split up keysets by 60%/TK/TKL anymore, but this example is more to give you an idea of what to look for in other child deals/kits when buying or designing keysets. Designers can use this to easily see what keys cover multiple boards and could be grouped together to be the most cost effective, and as a consumer you can easily determine what child deals/kits will be needed to give you full and proper coverage of your board, if it is even possible.
Due to the fact that keyboard layouts seem to come out almost daily, I will be maintaining this thread and a thread on KeyChatter.com with these layouts, adding them as they come. It will probably take me a few days to get all layouts right now up and correct any errors I may make (starting at layouts for hours can make it very easy to overlook things!) Also keep in mind many keyboards that come as a kit can be build with various layouts, but if you are doing a build I expect you will know what you need cap wise ;)
If you have suggestions/keyboards to add/fixes/etc just leave a comment here for me or PM me under the same name on GeekHack/Deskthority/Reddit or at andy@keychatter.com

40% Keyboards

JD40 (below):
JD45 w/ Blockers (below):
JD45 w/o Blockers (below):
MiniVan (below):
Minorca (below):
Planck (below):
Vortex Core (Below):



60% Keyboards

HHKB (below):
Filco Minila (below):
Mistel Barocco (below):

Preonic (below):

  • There are a few extra 1u keys available in a standard layout that could be used to fill in a few extra side keys with the correct profile, though they may have alpha legends when acting as a modifier, and I decided to mark keys red for this reason. A proper support kit for the preonic would include modifiers for many of the side keys


65% Keyboards

WhiteFox Vanilla/TADA68 (below):
WhiteFox Aria (below):
WhiteFox TrueFox (below):
WhiteFox ISO (below):
Z70 (below):
Leopold FC660C/FC660M (below):
Varmilo VA68M/Magicforce68 (below):
RAMA M65-A (below):


75% Keyboards

Duck Octagon/MK84/Keycool 84/Various (below):



TKL/80% Keyboards

Winkeyless (below):



Fullsize Keyboards/Numpad Boards

RS96 w/o arrows (below):
  • Note: The PgDn key can easily be filled by a standard Scroll Lock key to fill the space with a correct profile cap
RS96 w/arrow keys (below):
Leopold FC980M (below):
Leopold FC980C [TOPRE] (below):
Cherry G80-1813/Dolch Pac (below):



Various/Split Keyboards/Misc.

**MORE to be added soon**
ErgoDox/ErgoDox Infinity (and ErgoDox Clones)

Atreus




Downloads/Raw Data

https://gist.github.com/livingspeedbump

To further inspect any layout and by loading it into Keyboard-Layout-Editor.com simply download the .zip file with the .json file from my github, and navigate to the "</> Raw data" tab on KLE and click on the green "Upload JSON" file in the lower right hand corner.
You can then select the "Properties" tab and click any key to see the height or width of a particular key.

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chat77
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Excellent guide! However, I have a keyboard similar to the 75% Duck Octagon/ MK84 layout, but it's got a smaller (I think) 5.5 spacebar and the right Alt/ FN/ Ctrl keys are the same size as the left ones. Would any keycap configs/ sets fit this weird Noppoo Choc Mini 84s? Cheers :)
I wrote some basic software to automatically fit keycap sets to particular layouts (for my keyboards). It includes a schema to represent keycap sets and layouts, and some example inputs.
https://bitbucket.org/blais/keycaps
blais
That's cool but there's no readme. It'd be great if you could do that. also add X*Y ortho layouts. (eg, the XD75 i'm about to build)
Just stumbled on this. What a resource. One thing I noticed. My MagiceForce 68 has a slightly different order of keys to the right of the spacebar. Mine goes FN ALT CTRL, where in the image it goes Alt Menu Ctrl.
Alpha279
Yeah, some of the legends may still not be correct, but this is more of a guide to help with physical layouts, so if the keys are the same size and on the same row I probably didn't bother to change it! Def something I will be working through slowly though eventually
livingspeedbump
It certainly simplifies trying to figure out what keysets you need to outfit a given keyboard. I kept looking for magic force keycaps and came up empty, but this tells me which 'standard' sets I could get, with some left over pieces apparently :D Thanks for the effort you've put into this.
Giving a shout out to those of us still using stock caps on a RaceII.
What about ergodox vs the Kinesis Advantage? Are they identical/compatible?
I'm late to the party, but wouldn't it be useful, if this article is mainly aimed at designers, to point that the differences between ANSI and ISO go a bit farther than just the 4 dark blue keys depicted here ?
I'm not talking about the number row, since it's a lot of pain, as you noticed.
The problem lies with the letter caps, more specifically AZERTY, QWERTZ and whatnot.
I'll take AZERTY as an example: the main differences with QWERTY are obviously A, Z, Q, W and M, but you can't swap them around since they are from rows of different profiles...

You might not want to mark all the possibilities in dark blue, as it might be confusing, but maybe it's worth pointing out somewhere ?
Unbelievably helpful. Thanks for your hard work!
Any updates for Split designs like an ergodox?
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On the ErgoDox, the 6, Y, H, and N keys are currently marked as red. I believe they should be blue since they're all 1u in the normal position for the profile.
bitranch
good catch, uploaded the wrong pic. fixed, thanks!
**EDITED**

Updated Leopold 980 series to reflect both M/C variants (yes, they are actually different!). Designers should pay attention to the M variant as Topre custom sets still are not easily made just yet.
livingspeedbump
Update the FC660 models too :) 660C uses 6u + 1.25 mods.
Vira
will do!
I want this keycaps with triump mod on my Vintage Cherry G80-1000 ISO-DE
check

Base Kit
+ Triump Numpad
+ Triump Winkeyless
+ Triump Mods
+ International Kit
Am I missing something?
SerhatAbaci
The new high profile Matt30 caps?

Looks like you have everything you need in your list!
livingspeedbump
Ah Yeah
I got also a reply in the main thread
Already in with TWO kits, my wallet bleeds

cheers mate! awesome work
The HHKB caps lock key should probably say control and possibly be red. Or at least have a warning or something?
byarmis
This is only physical layouts, key sizes, the other keys I didn't do. I'll do it one day but it would take ages to do all of the legends.