carpalx - keyboard layout optimizer - save your carpals

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

Have ideas? Tell me.

the best layout

Partially optimized QWKRFY and fully optimized QGMLWY layouts are the last word in easier typing.

the worst layout

A fully anti-optimized TNWMLC layout is a joke and a nightmare to type. It's also the only keyboard layout that has its own fashion line.

download and explore

Download keyboard layouts, or run the code yourself to explore new layouts. Carpalx is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.


Download and install the layouts.

6 Aug 20 — The search for the world’s best keyboard layout by Paul Guerin

4 May 20 — An interview with Bloomberg's Arianne Cohen Splurge on a Better Keyboard, It's Worth It.

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.



Perl 5.005 or greater (tested with 5.8.x) is required and the following CPAN modules

  • GD compiled with True Type font support
  • Config::General
  • Digest::MD5
  • File::Basename
  • Math::VecStat
  • Pod::Usage
  • Set::IntSpan

If you're on Linux, Mac OS X or any other *NIX, perl is likely already installed. If you're on Windows, get Strawberry Perl.

download carpalx

Carpalx is a sandbox layout creator—it's entirely command-line driven (there is no interface). The distribution includes the training corpus files, word lists, scripts and configuration files. First, check the requirements to make sure you can run the code. If you just want to use the layouts, download carpalx-msklc them from the next section.

file version size date
carpalx-0.12.tgz 0.12 27,821,268 Thu Oct 8 15:33:58 2015
carpalx-0.11.tgz 0.11 16,422,359 Fri Aug 14 20:06:36 2009
carpalx-0.10.tgz 0.10 16,814,729 Tue Jan 15 14:57:51 2008

carpalx keyboard layouts

Installation files for each layout are available for Windows 10 (see instructions below). Layouts (.klc) can also be used directly with PKL. These layouts include only standard character and punctuation keys—international symbols are not included.

file version size date 0.11 2,231,542 Tue Aug 25 12:59:41 2020 0.10 2,274,292 Sun Jul 26 15:09:25 2020

installing layouts on Windows 10

Thanks to Paul Guerin for suggesting fixes to the layouts, providing these instructions and creating the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator executables. Refer to his blog Install an additional keyboard layout on Microsoft Windows 10 for details, summarized below.

1. Download and unzip the latest version of carpalx-msklc.

2. Run the setup.exe setup executable from a layout directory (e.g. qgmlwy/setup.exe).

3. Now setup the ability to choose and switch between QWERTY and your new layout. Go to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Language > Advanced settings. In the Switching Input Methods category, enable Use the desktop language bar when available.

4. Logout then login. There is no need to reboot.

5. On startup you'll see the Input Method icon in the task bar. This can be set to instead show the Input Method icon in the top-right corner of the desktop where you'll be able to easily switch to either layout with the mouse. Now you can switch at any time to the layout that you want.

creating your own installation executables on Windows 10

1. Download and install the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. This tool will work with Windows 10.

2. From the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator select File > Load Source File (e.g. qgmlwy\qgmlwy.klc).

3. Choose Project > Build DLL And Setup Package. The setup executable and DLL will now be created.

carpalx X11 keyboard layouts

The X11 project already features QGMLWB and QGMLWY.

If you'd like to install other layouts, refer to Paul Guerin's blog Install an additional keyboard layout on X11 for instructions.

Many thanks to Sven Hallberg for originally providing X11 configuration files for Carpalx layouts to be used with setxkbmap. He describes installation in his blog.

Richard Gomes contributed an archive that bundles Sven's files, along with examples for KDE/Gnome.


Patches to include Carpalx layouts in xkeyboard-config and kbd have been submitted by Perry Thompson.