3l - A better modifier based keyboard layout
Three Layout, more commonly called
3l, is an alternative keyboard
layout designed for efficently typing not only English, but also computer
3l is modifier based, so many of the keys which would normally
be accesed on the top row (with numbers on QWERTY) can be accessed on the main
part of the keyboard.
To give you an idea on how much this layout can improve your typing efficency, compare typing distance of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four to other common layouts:
|Neo 2.0||6.3 miles|
|Antibracket (which this keyboard layout was based on)||6.3 miles|
|WULY (my old layout)||5.6 miles|
Typing distance is not the only factor that
3l optimizes for.
increase hand alternation, reduce bottom-to-top row jumps, decrease
lateral motion, and also strives to be easy to learn.
docs directory for more images of the layout.
Testing the layout without installation
On Linux using X, you can run
linux/xmodmap/test_layout.sh from the base of
this repository to temporarily set your keyboard layout. To undo this, you can
either figure out how to type
setxkbmap us (or whatever layout you were
using before), or it will return back to normal next time you log out and back
On Windows, compile and run the provided AHK script. Your keyboard layout will
return to normal when the script exits (in system tray) or you press both
Alt keys at the same time.
linux/xkb/symbols/3l file in your system's
, then either:
setxkbmap 3lto set the layout temporarily.
Or, to set
3las the default keyboard layout for your system, add a section to your X11 configuration:
$ cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-keyboard.conf Section "InputClass" Identifier "system-keyboard" MatchIsKeyboard "on" Option "XkbLayout" "3l" EndSection
localectlutility that you may optionally use to maintain this configuration file.
There may also be a package for
3l in your distribution. There is at least a
package in the Arch Linux AUR available under threelayout.
To create a console mapping from the
xkb symbols file, you can use the
|||This is typically something like |
- Install Karabiner Elements
- Copy the
macosx/karabiner.jsonfile to the
- Select the
3lprofile from Karabiner Elements.
|||Get off your hipster butt. This can be used to refer to "OS X" and "macOS" as well.|
Place the AHK script in your "Startup" folder.
There are a number of modifications that can be preformed to the layout.
Currently, these are only supported on systems with
xmodmap (Sorry Windows
and Mac OS X users).
To apply a mod, run
xmodmap ~/path/to/git/repo/linux/xmodmap/mod-XXX at
XXX is the name of the mod you wish to apply.
Users are encouraged to submit the mods they find useful in a pull request.
This mod gives you an
Insert key on QWERTY's Whack/Pipe key (above enter).
Useful on some notebooks which do not have an
Insert key, but also
convenient on desktop keyboards.
Many Chromebook computers have a
Super_L key that acts as a "search" key in
Chrome OS where the Caps Lock key should be. As such, when using alternative
layouts that makes good use of this key, the good use is lost. This mod makes
Super_L act as
Tab for these systems.
This section lists people who have learned to type on
3l. Users who learn
to type at least 15 WPM (that's what it takes to get past the initial learning
3l can be added to this list. This list is included here so
you can query typists to see what they like and dislike about the layout before
you dedicate time to learning, or so you can reach out for learning tips.
- Jack Rosenthal (Me, who created
3lin the Fall of 2015)
- Josh Hoffer (who learned
3lin the Spring of 2017)
- Sumner Evans (who learned
3lin the Spring of 2017)
- Robert Zampino (who learned
3lin the Spring of 2018)
If you learn the layout, feel free to submit a PR with your name added.