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This little program was developed as a proof of concept. The idea was to achieve the following goals:

  • creating the PNGs for your layout of the ergodox firmware (download it here or my simple fork here) can be very complicated and for now is a manual process. The program should make it possible to create an overview PNG very easy
  • all c-files building the keymap look more or less the same. It should be able to parse those files or at least the "interesting" parts of it to be able to create a good overview image
  • it should also parse macro info. As I see it now, there are not many different macros in use out there. Most of them are either just typing text (or a combination of keys/modifiers), create a different behaviour on long pressing the key vs. typing it, or toggle a certain layer.
  • maybe, if possible, it should make you able to create your own layouts. If the display is valid, it should be not a big deal, to also save the layout file.

Of course this will all only be possible to a certain extent. The parsing of the C-File will only work, if the file will stay in a certain structure. And if that structure changes somehow in future, this program also needs to adapt.

And: Even if there is some kind of Macro support possible, it will never be the same as coding it yourself. Although it might be possible to have that done also in the ErgodoxLayoutGenerator, this will still be limited in functionality.

running it

Prerequisites: have a proper jdk or jre (Java Version) installed. This works best with the official oracle JDK, but openjdk also work. You need to install the jfx support for openjdk in oder to get it to run. On ubuntu for example you need to run apt-get install openjfx

If java is installed and available, you can download a release from this github page (see under releases) and execute the jar by eithter clicking on it or - if you want to use the commandline - run it with java -jar ergodoxlayoutgenerator-1.0RC2.jar

compiling it

just clone the whole project onto your local drive and then run mvn install in the directory. The prerequisites are the same as for running it, but in this case you'd need to have a JDK installed, a JRE would not be working, as it does not inculde a compiler.

In addition to that you need to have maven installed.


The documentation is available at

In short:

  • when opening the ELG, it will show an empty layout
  • you should set the QMK-Sourcedir in order to be able to compile your layout. You should also store your layout at the proper directory within the qmk-sources. Otherwise, the compile will not work
  • use open to choose a layout from the existing ones in the QMK-Directory. You need to choose the directory, all layout files are named keymap.c
  • the reopen button would read in the layout you opened last or saved last
  • save will save your layout. Again, you need to chosse a directory! If you want to create a new layout, create a new directory with the name for your layout in the qmk source. If you set the sourcedir properly, the dialog will start in the right place
  • savePng will store a documenting PNG of your layout. Showing all layers an macros. Kind of a "Cheat sheet"
  • compile - this will compile your layout. Be careful that you saved before that! If compilation is successful, you will be asked if you want to move the resulting .hex file to the "proper" location - which is beside the keymap.c file
  • create will create a new empty layout

Caveat Be careful: there are not any "security" questions asked. Meaning, if you hit the create button, you will lose everything that is not saved! No questions asked yet!

Klicking on a key representation with the right mousebutton will bring up a menu where you can assign different actions to the corresponding key.

  • Assign key - just a simple keypress
  • Assign Layertoggle - pressing the key will switch to a different layer, typing it again will switch back
  • Assign Layertoggle / Type - when holding the key, switch to a layer, when typing or tapping it just a normal key
  • Assign Macro

With Macros you can significantly improve things you can do with your keyboard. But of course, the ELG cannot do everything you could do by programming c-code, but it does solve some very common features with these macro types:

  • type macro: will type a series of keys when the key this macro is assigned to is pressed.
  • long press type macro: when you hold the key there will be a different set of actions then when typing. Just be careful: you need to release the keys during hold at the end of the type action list!
  • hold key makro: well, do something when holding the key, and when releasing it again
  • custom macro: here you could actually add c-code
  • layergoggle macro: toggle between layers. this type also supports: holding key, switch to the layer as long the key is held, tapping the key, just toggle the layer
  • layertoggle type macro: when the key is tapped, a normal macro is executed, when the key is held, a layer switch takes place

You might ask, why are there some macros exactly copying the standard features, like LT()? Thing is, that LT does not work good with combinations of keys. For example, you want to switch to a layer, if the key is held, but want it to type SHIFT-1 (for !) when typed. This will not work without the macro.

Also in the documentation there are FN-Keys mentioned which are not yet supported. This functionality can easily be created using macros (at least I do not know of something that isn't). Hence I used only macros for implementing those features, no need for having both in the ELG. Although it makes reading in some keymaps hard or impossible.


Use this code at your own risk! If the resulting keymap.c does not work as expected or is - what I think is not possible, but anyway - harm your device, the author of this tool is not responsible.

This tool was not heavily tested on different environments, if you find any bugs, please consider posting them on the project page on github.


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