carpalx - keyboard layout optimizer - save your carpals

Carpalx optimizes keyboard layouts to create ones that require less effort and significantly reduced carpal strain!

Download keyboard layouts, or run the code yourself to explore new layouts.

X11 layouts are available! Patches to include Carpalx layouts in xkeyboard-config and kbd have been submitted by Perry Thompson. Meanwhile, many thanks to Sven Hallberg for providing X11 configuration for Carpalx layouts. Richard Gomes contributed an archive of these files for KDE/Gnome users.

Love your coworkers? Switch them to QWKRFY layout or a fully optimized QGMLWY layout.

Hate your coworkers? Switch them to TNWMLC layout. It's the only keyboard layout that has its own fashion line.

Have ideas? Tell me.

25/may/18 — The BBC article Why we can't give up this off way of typing by Tim McDonald discusses the history and persistence of QWERTY and my Carpalx work.

16/aug/16 — Ergonomic Keyboard Layout Designed for the Filipino Language at AHFE2016 derives layout for Filipino language using Carpalx

18/apr/16 — Carpalx layouts soon to appear in freedesktop (package xkeyboard-config) and kbd. Thanks to Perry Thompson.

9/sep/14 — A new layout—De Correspondent—for the Dutch language in collaboration with De Correspondent.

16/may/14 — Added evaluation of the Norman layout. This layout modifies 14/26 keys and has statistics similar to Colemak. Detailed statistics are available.

12/feb/14 — Added evaluation of the abKey layout. Its alphabetic layout makes no attempt at ergonomics. Detailed statistics are available.

About Carpalx

Customize Your Keyboard to Reduce Typing Effort

Carpalx is an application that simulates a variety of keyboard layouts to find one that minimizes the effort of typing. The position of any set of keys can be remapped to help lower the impact on joints and wrists. Carpalx can also be used to calculate the typing effort of any keyboard layout and to profile finger and hand usage for a layout.

Effort is lowered by maximizing desirable layout characteristics, such as those that lead to hand-alternation and use of home-row keys. During the layout search, undesirable layout characteristics, such as those that favour low-strength fingers, are avoided. Effort is calculated by considering adjacent 3-letter groups (triads) - this permits penalizing difficult-to-type triads such as ypo, ppi, or ppl while rewarding triads such as dha, fie and sot. The effort model is flexibly parametrized and its complexity can be tuned down; for example, you can calculate effort by considering each key independently. For more details about effort, see Carpalx - Typing Effort.

Triads like "dha", "fie" and "sot" may be easy to type on QWERTY, but harder to type on other layouts. An optimal layout for typing English text does not require that what is easy on QWERTY is easy on the new layout. Frequently typed text, however, must be easier to type than on QWERTY in order for a new layout to be beneficial.

Carpalx can use any text as training input and effort minimization is specific to this text. If a sufficiently representative corpus is used, then the resulting layout can be generalized to other texts of a similar nature. The English training corpus for carpalx is a concatenation of several English books from Project Gutenberg.

keyboards for programmers

The truly dedicated may consider feeding their code into carpalx. By passing in reams of Perl, Ruby or C code, for example, you can maximize two of the three qualities of a programmer.

keyboards for the disabled

If you have misplaced or lost the use of one or more fingers, or even a hand, you may be interested in carpalx layouts which remap unreachable keys, while lowering total effort of typing.

worst keyboard layout

The worst keyboard layout can be deployed as a harmless office prank or as a disciplinary action. Instead of minimizing effort, I asked carpalx to find the keyboard layout which made typing the most difficult.

It burns! It burns!