Ergodox Keyboard

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Ergodox Keyboard

Ergodox is a open source do-it-yourself keyboard. You buy the kit, and assemble yourself. The kit is over $230, and pre-assembled ergodox is about $300, as of 2017-03-07.

ErgoDox is designed by Dominic Beauchamp. Original idea by Nestor A. Diaz. The idea is heavily borrowed from Kinesis Contoured Keyboard, which is borrowed from Maltron Keyboard .

ergodox keyboard 2015 JvwKmR9
ergodox keyboard. [image source. photo by tricheboars ]

Total key count: 76.

ergodox ez keyboard 14304-s800
ErgoDox EZ [image source reddit by RuntimeErr0r]
ergodox 20191117 m8y6r-s1601x756
ErgoDox EZ, with custom keycaps of elvish alphabet tengwar [photo by pundrak 20191117]
ergodox infinity keyboard 25150
Infinity ErgoDox, with custom keycaps of elvish alphabet tengwar [image source reddit, by MassdropAlex]

Number of Keys Compared to Standard Keyboard

The ergodox has 4 extra keys. But it doesn't have the 12 function keys.

Here's ergodox keys rearranged close to PC keyboard as much as possible. The symbol ๐Ÿ”ธ represent extra key.

 โŽ‹   1 2 3 4 5 -       = 6 7 8 9 0   โŒซ
 โ‡ฅ   q w e r t [       ` y u i o p   \
 โ‡ช   a s d f g ]       ' h j k l ;   โŽ
 โ‡ง   z x c v b           n m , . /   โ‡ง
 โŽˆ   โ– โŽ‡ ๐Ÿ”ธ ๐Ÿ”ธ           โฃ โŽ‡ โ– โ–ค   โŽˆ
             โค’ โค“       โ†‘ โ†“
           โ‡Ÿ โ‡ž โŽ€       โŒฆ โ† โ†’
               ๐Ÿ”ธ     ๐Ÿ”ธ
 `   1 2 3 4 5   6 7 8 9 0   - = โŒซ     โŽ€ โค’ โ‡ž
 โ‡ฅ   q w e r t   y u i o p   [ ] \     โŒฆ โค“ โ‡Ÿ
 โ‡ช   a s d f g   h j k l ;   ' โŽ
 โ‡ง   z x c v b   n m , . /   โ‡ง             โ†‘
 โŽˆ โ– โŽ‡       โฃ     โŽ‡ โ– โ–ค โŽˆ           โ† โ†“ โ†’

[see Unicode: Keyboard Symbols โŒ˜ โ†ต โŒซ]

Superb Physical Layout Design

Ergodox fixed many flaws of the traditional keyboard. [see Keyboard Design Flaws]

Programable Keys, Powerful Firmware

The ergodox has one of the most powerful firmware.

For example, it lets you remap keys, or create layers (such as Dead Key, Compose Key ), and you can also program key macros. See:

Programable Key User Interface

Ergodox does not have a easy-to-use software to reprogram the keys as in gaming keyboard.

Most ergodox vendors provide a web-based user interface to configure keys. It works like this:

  1. Visit a keyboard config web page, it shows a keyboard diagram, then you click or drag around keys to create a custom layout
  2. Download the layout you created.
  3. Download a firmware updater.
  4. Run the firmware updater you just downloaded to upgrade firmware to use the new layout.
ergodox infinity configurator 2017 03 07
Infinity ErgoDox configurator, as of 2017-03-07.

Bad Points

ergodox has 1 major problem. Thumb keys are hard to reach for smaller hands.

โ€ข No physical function keys F1 to F12. To press a function key, you have hold another key to activate a layer. This is not convenient.

[see Why Function Keys F1 to F12 Are Useful]

โ€ข 2-piece design, so you have a wire connecting them. That's a bit unwieldy. Harder to carry around, prone to tug damage. You have to adjust each piece's position everytime the keyboard is pushed.

Do It Yourself!

You spend some $250 for it, then you have to spend half a day to carefully assemble it, including soldering.

Pre-assembled ones costs about $300. At that price point, there are many other keyboards to chose from.

Where to Buy?


If you use emacs, I recommend:

See also: