Dec 16, 201661948 views

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

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60% Keyboards HHKB (below):
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Filco Minila (below):
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Mistel Barocco (below):

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Preonic (below):

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  • 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):
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WhiteFox Aria (below):
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WhiteFox TrueFox (below):
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WhiteFox ISO (below):
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Z70 (below):
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Leopold FC660C/FC660M (below):
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Varmilo VA68M/Magicforce68 (below):
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RAMA M65-A (below):
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75% Keyboards Duck Octagon/MK84/Keycool 84/Various (below):
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TKL/80% Keyboards Winkeyless (below):
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Fullsize Keyboards/Numpad Boards RS96 w/o arrows (below):
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  • 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):
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Leopold FC980M (below):
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Leopold FC980C [TOPRE] (below):
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Cherry G80-1813/Dolch Pac (below):
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Various/Split Keyboards/Misc. **MORE to be added soon**
ErgoDox/ErgoDox Infinity (and ErgoDox Clones)
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Atreus

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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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CSCoder4ever, Kevin Hou, and 174 others
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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 :)
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Otsegoflesh
I know this is 22 week old comment, but I have the same keyboard as you so I can help you out. Basically, it's a 75% keyboard, but you'll need a 5.5u space bar and 1.75u right shift just to fill the board.
Then you'll need an R1 Del, R1 Home, R2 Page Up, R3 Page Down, R4 End key if you want to match profiles.
The hardest key to get of those would be the 5.5u space bar. The only kits that I have seen that have 5.5u space bars were XDA Godspeed and XDA Canvas off the top of my head, but I would assume XDA kits would have the 5.5u space bar. I've seen a lot of sets not support 5.5u space bars, so it really limits your choices.
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.
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Vira
will do!
I want this keycaps with triump mod on my Vintage Cherry G80-1000 ISO-DE check
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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.
You deserve a medal.
Thank you so much!
Thank you for making this!
Holy cow. Lots of good info in here.
Missed this when you posted it - thanks so much for it! That's a lot of time invested in poking at KLE.
Thank you. This is very informative article :)
Would it be possible to add the k70 layout here? I know its kind of a mainstream gimmick gaming keyboard but it still should probably have a place, what with the weird bottom row. I think its 1.5 1 1.25 6.5 1.25 1 1 1.5
Edit: This page confirms it. http://www.maxkeyboard.com/mechanical-keycap-layout-and-size-chart.html
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Well, there isn't any other keyboards with a non standard bottom row unless it's a non standard keyboard layout. Corsair and Razer are the only striving and still alive keyboard producers with a non standard bottom row at the moment. There are other keyboards/gaming keyboards out there with a non standard bottom row like Logitech but theirs and others out there are long gone dead, and those owners would of likely moved on by now to something else.
I'm pretty sure LSB will adjust the post if needed, I guess he could add a bit of info in about it for anyone that's still unsure.
So what do I need to order in addition to the base kit for this to work on a K65? I just lucked into one and the keycap set is delicous.
This is a very helpful post, thank you. On the Leopold 980M/C though, the spacebar is shown as 6u but everywhere else I've seen it listed 6.25u. Would you be able to confirm this? I'm just looking at ordering MiTo Canvas and want to know whether to get the Odd Bars or Space Bars kit. Thanks again.
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FC980M/C is 1.25, 1, 1.25, 6.25, 1, 1, 1.25 bottom row. The Cherry G80-1813 also has a mislabeled spacebar. It's bottom row is 1.5, 1.5, 7, 1.5, 1.5. Both run 1.75u Rshift and 1u num 0.
solarin006
The C and the M are actually different, and I need to fix that asap! Thanks
This page is so helpful. I wish there was a way to save posts like this for future refrence for when i need to get a new board.
tahoerider
It can be easily found/searched for on my site KeyChatter.com as well.
MD is working on a search system for threads though, so hopefully you can search for it here soon too!
Fixed 1800 layout, made 1u + - keys red instead of yellow.
Wonderful resource! Thanks. One typo edit. Model: RS96 w/o arrows (below):
Note: The PgUp key can ... should probably be PgDn key. It's the red one.
bruceb
thanks, fixed!
Very informative. Thanks!
If anyone needs precision molds CNCd for key shapes we cut medical and aerospace and can machine anything you need. Reach out.
I think you should mention the different layouts in full sized keyboards as well. Personally, I love this page... http://www.maxkeyboard.com/mechanical-keycap-layout-and-size-chart.html
As someone with a non-standard 6.0U spacebar layout, I'm envious of people who can use Tai-Hao sets out of the box. (Similar to the Max Nighthawk.) I'd love to see Massdrop carry The Dasher set for those of us with that style of keys.
king.shabadoo
SP doesn't make 6u keys sadly. The designer also has full control over what is/isnt included in custom sets, not MD actually.
And yeah, that is a great page. But many people don't include any keys in sets to cater to gaming boards, so for the sake of making this page load (without too many pics) I've decided to keep it more "enthusiast" based as far as layouts go.
I think Whitefox ISO right shift key should be in red, not blue.
Fenshin
indeed, fixed!
great job mate, thank you very much gonna help a lot of ppl! (y)
Where is Corsair Strafe? It came with "special" bottom row. Lol
About the text "SHOULD be covered by a standard 104 keycaps set (like Ducky, Tai - Hao, etc)", ISO/Nordic Ducky (to Shine and Ducky One) keycaps sets are 109 and ANSI Ducky (to Shine and Ducky One) keycaps sets are 108. I have some ISO/Nordic (109) Ducky Shine 2/3 and some ANSI (108) Ducky Shine 3/4/Ducky One k - boards. On my Ducky One RGB YOTG I have the Tai - Hao Miami set (104), so I'm missin 4 caps.
EDIT: About the ISO (Nordic) layout: it is terrible layout, you can almost not find any good lookin ISO/Nordic keycaps sets, you can use a ISO/UK set on a ISO/Nordic k - board but you don't get this 3 swedish letters Ö, Ä and Å in the ISO/UK keycaps sets. I have the Jukebox SA in ANSI and in ISO/Nordic layouts + some Ducky 109 ISO/Nordic keycaps sets, the rest of my keycaps sets are ANSI.


Ducky One RGB YOTG with Tai - Hao Miami (104) set.
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Old bad picture of my ANSI Ducky One RGB YOTG with Jukebox SA and on my ISO/Nordic Ducky Shine 3.
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Wow. Thank you for such an informative post that's so digestible. The colors for sure helped me immediately gauge the differences in each layout.
Kizoveen
Glad it could help! I know it'll even help me quickly gauge what I have covered, it's not hard to look at a set as you are designing it and overlook a key or two!