My main keyboard is a Moonlander, a column-staggered split mechanical keyboard. It doesn’t take long for fingers to get used to the adjusted key positions and thus forget (or certainly slow down) typing on a regular keyboard. With this in mind I have a Keyboardio Atreus as a more portable solution when I know I’m going to do a reasonable amount of typing away from my desk.
Recently I started using a Surface Go as an iPad replacement so I needed to set up the Atreus to work on both Macs and PCs, I thought I’d document my layout here.
The Atreus only has 44 keys but it doens’t lack any needed symbols, up until now I ran the Atreus with three layers:
- Layer 0: Alphas and a few frequently used symbols like full stop and comma
- Layer 1: Numbers, all other symbols
- Layer 2: F keys (I hardly ever use these)
It turns out that there are only some very slight modifiications to my keymap between Mac and Windows layout, just a switch around of the Command/Win and CTRL keys, so I’ve duplicated the first two layers:
- Layer 3: Alphas and common symbols for PC
- Layer 4: Numbers, all other symbols for PC
I duplicated both of these layers because layer 3 needs to be able to shift to the number layer, this number layer has one key difference: the Mac number layer has a Shift to layer3 whilst the PC number layer hasa Shift to Layer 0. This is so I can set the keyboard to either Mac or Windows on the initial connection of the keyboard.
The Keyboard Layers
Layer 0: Main Alphas Mac Layer
Both the Mac and PC alpha layers have the modifier keys positioned along the bottom row with a preferene for the more frequently used ones in places easier to hit with thumbs. The semi-colon is on the bottom right edge, this gets used a lot when writing CSS, I tend to press it with my palm.
On the right side bottom row, second key in from the left labelled Shift/Enter is a multi-use key, tapping it is gives me an enter but holding it down it becomes a shift.
The Win key shown on the left side is actually the Mac Command key. The key on the right side, bottom row, third in from the left is the shift to layer 1 function key, holding down this key allows me to use the symbols on layer 1.
Layer 1: Symbols Mac Layer
Along with most of the symbols this layer contains the arrow keys. I’ve kept the calculator symbols of +, *, = near the number pad, also I’ve added a : this is to make it easier to type in times. Not visible on the screengrab because the software won’t preview localisations are:
- £ = left side, third row, first key
- # = right side, third row, first key
Tapping the Lock to #2 takes me to the F key layer. The Move to #3 key takes me to the PC alpha layer.
Layer 3: PC Alpha Layer
This layer is almost identical to Layer 0 except the CTRL and Win have been swapped over. Muscle memory is strong and years of Command whatever is hard to give up so it makes sense to move the CTRL key to a place similar to where the CMD key is on the Mac layer.
Layer 4: Symbols PC Layer
Finally, the PC Symbol layer is a duplicate of the Mac version but instead it has a link back to the main Mac alpha layer.
I replicate the basics of this layout on my larger Moonlander, the thumb clusters are slightly different but everything else is much the same. I use the extra keys as shortcuts and duplicates of Shift and Alt on the left half for easier access whilst using my mouse.