Techne (Emacs Friendly Keyboard): Operations Keys

The most important keys on any keyboard for an Emacs user are the Operation Keys (I made up that term). Without them Emacs would be useless. For Techne (the new name for my Emacs keyboard project) I decided to use symbols instead of letters for them.

The operations cluster is on both the left and right side of the keyboard. Yes, that is a full twenty keys just to make life happier in Emacs! I love keyboards so dedicating twenty keys to a critical task is perfect for me. These sections live on a eight row by sixteen column layout so there is plenty of room. It’s bottom left corner is position (1,1) (Row, Column) increasing as you go up and to the right (ala Cartesian coordinates). In the table I wrote the key name and then the symbol. The picture only includes the symbol.

Legend: C# (column number)

Row Four Five Six Seven Eight
Two Hyper ⬖ Super ⬙ Meta ⬗ Control ⬘ Space ⭕
One Alt ⎇ GUI ⃟ Ultra ◆ Shift ⇧ Enter ⎆


Ultra is: C-m-S-H. Emacs can handle that including the Shift modifier along with it. In case you haven’t encountered it yet, here is how to get all of the Emacs modifiers on a modern USB keyboard.

My symbol choices started with Sun’s meta symbol. After playing around with that, reading Xah’s page on Unicode input symbols, searching for and comparing symbols with PopChar and playing around with a ton of combinations I ended up here. It is nice because it settles on the diamond theme.

2 thoughts on “Techne (Emacs Friendly Keyboard): Operations Keys”

  1. Nice! Personally, a keyboard that was x% bigger than standard, but made my life (3-10)x% is a no-brainer trade.

    1. Hi Travis. My keyboard won’t be a model for saving space. However you can get all the modifiers that you want and keep the keyboard small if you leverage the microcontroller and its firmware. QMK for example lets you differentiate between holding and pressing a key. Straight away can take all of your “strike once keys” like caps lock, escape, space, enter, return and repurpose them “when held”. Once you go down the track of customizing your firmware, the options are surprising in the sam way that Emacs is surprising at times.

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