The Woodpecker Makery's ZeLDA Layout for Planck Keyboards
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The Woodpecker Makery's ZeLDA Layout for Planck Keyboards

The ZeLDA (Zero-Look-Down Access) Layout is a minimalist approach to keyboarding. The philsophy is that you should never have to reach farther than one adjacent key. It's still a QWERTY, but seriously improved.

See the 2017 Open Source Bridge session and slides for more details.

It is built completely on open source, leveraging the QMK Firmware Toolkit.

Compared to a traditional keyboard, ZeLDA offers the following improvements:

  • minimal reaching for any key for more comfort
  • unstaggered grid layout (avoid twisted hands)
  • a conservative spacebar: seven thumb-reachable keys! (vs 3)
  • high quality keys -- it's mechanical!
  • tiny desktop footprint
  • symmetry (all modifiers are on both hands)
  • 2-keys-for-1-finger modifier combos (with proper caps)
  • easy chording
  • trivial "sixth finger" palming

keymap diagram

See the Getting Started Guide for more details.


  1. Get yourself a Planck (or use something like QWERKey with xmodmap/xcape)

  2. Install the QMK prerequisites.

  3. git clone QMK.

  4. cd qmk_firmware/keyboards/planck/keymaps/ and clone this repo

  5. Build/upload with sudo make CONSOLE_ENABLE=yes debug_enable=true dfu

  6. Tweak keymap.c to your heart's content

  7. Use to enable parens on thumbs

Use with TWMs

A sample i3config file has been provided as a starting point for configuring i3. Its mappings correspond to the diagram.

More Features

  • Full 104-key functionality rolled into 45 keys
  • Custom switches of your choosing
  • Two-key-per-finger combos
  • Redundant mappings
  • Lazy mappings for right-hand only work (left-hand rest)
  • Dual-mode keys: hold or tap
  • Mnemonics for symbol keys
  • More symbols not needing Shift or other modifier
  • Symmetric, comfortable modifiers: Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Super
  • All four modifiers neatly organized on pinkies
  • Tiny spacebar for more thumb keys
  • Ortholinear to remove crazy staggered and twisted hands
  • Smarter one-hand numpad
    • 789 numpad on top
    • OR, 123 on top for easier reach of higher frequency keys (Benford's Law)
    • opposite of Lower key
    • numlock
  • Friendly to Tiling Window Managers (TWM)
  • Easy transition to/from qwerty
  • "Palm" keys: combinable (you should make them tall and soft)
  • Everything scrunched for easy reaching (Ergo!)
  • Everything programmable; instructions for uploading custom mappings
  • Four default key map modes built in (cycle through with hotkey combo)
  • Intuitive layers
  • Key combo shortcuts optimized for web browsers and programming editors
  • Cheat sheet on back (future)
  • Standard Cherry style replaceable keys
  • Anki picture-cards for memorizing finger combos (future)



Copyright © 2017 Woodpecker Makery (WPM) LLC

Distributed under GPLv2/v3, same as QMK Firmware.