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.

layouts

Download and install the layouts.

25 Oct 21 — Added vertical and horizontal alphabetic layouts to the layouts analysis.

19 Mar 21 — Added BEAKL 15, Hieamtsr, Colemak Mod-DH and Mtgap 2.0 layouts to the layouts analysis.

15 Mar 21 — Added the Engram layout by Arno Klein to the layouts analysis.

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.

TNWMLC - Worst Keyboard Layout

This is typing hell.

Most Difficult Layout

Using knowledge for evil is sometimes a lot more fun than using it for good. By having a model of typing effort, we can ask the question "What layout has the largest effort?".

I applied the effort minimization simulation to QWERTY, but this time asked carpalx to maximize typing effort. In other words, find the layout which is hardest to use. The result is the finger-breaking TNWMLC, which increases effort by almost 90% over QWERTY.

Figure 1. The canonical QWERTY layout.
Figure 2. If carpalx is subverted to maximize typing effort - the result is the worst layout TNWMLC.

TNWMLC spawns Brazilian Fashion Line

In a collaboration that brings keyboard layout design and fashion together — what a combination! — Brazilian designer Julia Valle used the carpalx worst layout (TNWMLC) as a design element in her Winter 2011 line.

The work was shown in a show in Rio de Janeiro. Julia accented the clothes with beautiful necklaces made out of parts of an 1956 Smith Corona typewriter.

This project is nearly an cosmic alignment of eclectic interests. Keyboard layout research is subverted to generate the most difficult English layout, which is then transformed into beautiful clothing design. This cross-pollination of ideas has particular meaning to me, since I once dabbled in fashion photography.

TNWMLC - typing effort

The effort of TNWMLC is nearly 2x that of QWERTY. A huge penalty increase of 180% is seen - look at that finger-based penalty increase of 200%!

model keyboard total effortrel% effort contributionsrel%
base penalties path
mod_01 qwerty 3.000

1.00033.3
1.00033.3
R0.408
F0.408
1.00033.3

tnwmlc 5.610 (+87.0)

1.44025.7 (+44.0)
2.80450.0 (+180.4)
R0.749 (+83.6)
F1.230 (+201.5)
1.36724.4 (+36.7)

TNWMLC - detailed statistics

Stroke statistics for TNWMLC are frightening, even when compared to the already suboptimal QWERTY. Hand asymetry is 51% - the left hand is absolutely hammered ... just look at those left hand stroke runs! For ~70% of key strokes, the left hand is used for two or more successive key strokes. The bottom row is used 45% of all strokes and the home row is used only 13% of the time. The pinky is used 34% of the time and the middle finger is extremely underused (9%).

carpalx effort optimization keyboard name statistics effort
rowh rowb hand asym finger freq cumulative run distribution mod_01
none QWERTY standard
QWERTYUIOP[]\
ASDFGHJKL;'
ZXCVBNM,./
0.34 0.15 0.15 0.10
0.21
0.27
0.42
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
rhl 0.42 0.69 0.83 0.91 0.95 0.97 0.99 0.99 1
rhr 0.61 0.83 0.94 0.98 0.99 1 1 1 1
rh 0.51 0.76 0.88 0.94 0.97 0.98 0.99 1 1
rrt 0.55 0.78 0.91 0.96 0.98 0.99 1 1 1
rrh 0.68 0.91 0.97 0.99 1 1 1 1 1
rrb 0.94 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
rr 0.68 0.88 0.95 0.98 0.99 1 1 1 1
rf 0.89 0.99 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
rj 0.68 0.83 0.94 0.96 0.99 0.99 1 1 1
3.000
1.00033.3%
1.00033.3%
1.00033.3%
maximized effort tnwmlc
TNWMLCBPRH[]\
SGXJFKQZV;'
EADIOYU,./
0.13 0.45 0.51 0.34
0.24
0.09
0.34
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
rhl 0.29 0.47 0.60 0.70 0.78 0.84 0.88 0.91 0.94
rhr 0.82 0.97 0.99 1 1 1 1 1 1
rh 0.56 0.72 0.80 0.85 0.89 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.97
rrt 0.65 0.92 0.99 1 1 1 1 1 1
rrh 0.90 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
rrb 0.74 0.93 0.98 0.99 1 1 1 1 1
rr 0.73 0.94 0.98 1 1 1 1 1 1
rf 0.82 0.96 0.99 1 1 1 1 1 1
rj 0.63 0.68 0.83 0.85 0.91 0.93 0.96 0.96 0.98
5.610
1.44025.7%
2.80450.0%
1.36724.4%

The uses of TNWMLC are limited, and include practical jokes and alertness drills. TNWMLC may also figure prominently in the manager's Employee Disciplinary Action Toolbox.

TNWMLC - word difficulty

Using the typing effort model described in Carpalx - Typing Effort, I ranked 6-12 character words by their corresponding effort (effort is normalized to word length) using a dictionary of 480,000 words (/usr/share/dict/words, Red Hat 4 Enterprise). Below is a table that shows sets of words representing effort percentiles.

TNWMLC ENGLISH Word Efforts
average effort percentile wordeffort
10.5 hardest teetee11.5 teeter11.2 aeetes10.9 ateeter10.8 teetan10.8 thetes10.7 teethe10.7 teeters10.6 teethes10.5 tetter10.4 rehete10.4 teether10.4 teetery10.4 settees10.3 hetter10.3 testees10.2 teeterer10.2 meeteetse10.2 sheeter10.1 teethy10.1 teethed10.1 tether10.1 retest10.1 hetero10.1 teethers10.1
6.4 90% anastomosis6.4 apehood6.4 apparentness6.4 cherie6.4 fresser6.4 hushed6.4 pegeen6.4 rostella6.4 rottock6.4 shahidi6.4 tabulates6.4
5.9 80% angeronalia5.9 antigo5.9 clementi5.9 crampette5.9 hadendoa5.9 hexereis5.9 imparters5.9 lunulites5.9 matuta5.9 outthrobs5.9 unwheel5.9
5.6 70% aeriform5.6 antilipase5.6 catamarca5.6 echolalic5.6 milanion5.6 predread5.6 subcarinate5.6 toryweed5.6 turbinotome5.6 unspitted5.6 whaleries5.6
5.4 60% aparai5.4 blendes5.4 cionocranian5.4 comptonite5.4 myrrhed5.4 preprinted5.4 questrist5.4 richart5.4 semiflint5.4 unchannelled5.4 uncoloredly5.4
5.1 50% bunglesome5.1 cyperus5.1 flouting5.1 grunewald5.1 huppert5.1 ischiocerite5.1 miltier5.1 phyciodes5.1 recompact5.1 semimucous5.1 unfingered5.1
4.9 40% bombasts4.9 carcassonne4.9 engoue4.9 grewitz4.9 hypobasis4.9 microanalyst4.9 participancy4.9 prologs4.9 signwriter4.9 sladen4.9 stroking4.9
4.7 30% allosaur4.7 darwinism4.7 disdeceive4.7 footballer4.7 garrons4.7 hailproof4.7 invertible4.7 maiocco4.7 oofbird4.7 sapremic4.7 simdars4.7
4.5 20% apophyllous4.5 bookboard4.5 dialogged4.5 drinkability4.5 foraker4.5 guachipilin4.5 myersville4.5 orchialgia4.5 passback4.5 procaccia4.5 underwarmth4.5
4.1 10% bedbug4.1 carking4.1 culmed4.1 jurassic4.1 knocking4.1 lollygagged4.1 mordvin4.1 piercingly4.1 subnormal4.1 subrailway4.1 vicaire4.1
1.4 easiest jazzed1.0 jizzen1.1 zizzle1.1 gizzen1.2 kizzie1.2 kizzee1.2 jazzes1.2 fizzed1.2 fuzzed1.3 jazzer1.3 quizzee1.4 fizzle1.4 quizzed1.4 fuzzle1.4 guzzle1.4 fizzes1.4 gozzan1.4 fuzzes1.5 dizzen1.5 wizzen1.5 fizzer1.5 zigzag1.5 sizzle1.5 lizzie1.5 quizzes1.6 fezzed1.6