Here I write about programming and UI design Subscribe. You now have a superpower. The last thing to reconfigure is yourself. Congratulations: you just learned a new habit! This is what I did: I scripted CapsLock+IJKL to act as cursor keys system-wide. If you’re curious, learning new keyboard or an alternative layout takes about the same amount of time and effort. Not only are cursor keys far away, you end up needing them a lot. Still worth it. Cursor control keys are buttons on a computer keyboard that move the cursor. Old typing habits will get in your way. In any context. So, on computers cursor keys are put far away from the center. Instead, after you’ve initially learned some way to achieve something, your default behavior becomes to always go with it. Improvement requires conscious effort. Unfortunately, getting out of local optima is not a question of repetition or “getting better with time”. So on a modern keyboard cursors keys belong in the center, not the letters. Create a file ijkl in your home directory: Open Startup Applications Preferences and put the following in the “Command”: I wish it was all you need to do. How lucky are we to have it? For Windows I had success using AutoHotKey (free) with this config: The recepie below was contributed by the reader. But to get there, you have to move your palm, which is quite effortful. Go write something awesome! Especially the one with an uncommon layout. If you like what I do and want to get early access to my articles (along with other benefits), you should support me on Patreon. You can also combine it with modifiers (Shift/Cmd/Alt/Ctrl). After that, one more step is required. Especially the one with an uncommon layout. The best way to trick yourself into learning a new habit is to burn the bridges. Enable it: From now on when you hold Caps Lock and press any of IJKL it’ll move your cursor as if you’d press arrow keys. The mouse itself is fine, it’s just too far away what makes it inconvenient. Even if the new way is better. Be prepared: at first, it will feel ridiculous because you won’t be able to do very basic things like moving cursor one symbol left or right. So we want the benefits of having cursor keys at the center of the keyboard, we want it to work system-wide (versus being limited to a single app), and we definitely don’t want to buy a new keyboard for that. However, the arrow keys are four keys that have arrow markings on them, but are exclusively used for cursor movement in … In case you’ve ever heard that programmers are not happy with using the mouse—it’s the same reason actually. But on modern computers you also need to move the cursor around. Cursor keys were those from 5 to 8, and keyboard labelling included left-, down-, up-, and right-arrow labels printed directly above in a colour matching wording on the relevant shift key. Typewriter didn’t have a cursor, so there were no buttons for it nor was there a good place saved for them. If the old habit is not an option, you’ll be forced to learn a new one instead. I have not tried it and can’t confirm if it works. But it’s not that far, is it? The first thing you need to know: people don’t automatically pick up better habits. Distance matters. That makes modern keyboards best optimized for typing too. Import my config by clicking on this link (it’s the official way to install complex modfications): Side note: if you plan to use Caps as Ctrl, use this link instead. How lucky are we to have it? But you needed to develop new habit first to really appreciate and feel it. With your hands in the default position every letter and punctuation are easy to access. Even if you type million times a day you’ll still do it the old way, leading to no change. Talk about dedication. You’ll need to focus on things that you now get for granted. In some software for these machines (eg. This is called local optima. This is what I did: I scripted CapsLock+IJKLto act as cursor keys system-wide. So we want the benefits of having cursor keys at the center of the keyboard, we want it to work system-wide (versus being limited to a single app), and we definitely don’t want to buy a new keyboard for that. My estimate is that typing/cursor movements are at 30%/70% ratio, at least if you work with text (programming, writing, etc). A perfect keyboard would look something like this: There’s actually a precedent to support my claim: a text editor called Vim. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just how we humans work. It doesn’t mean it’s not there. I also create open-source stuff: Fira Code, AnyBar, DataScript and Rum. At this moment you might try to use the old way just to see how ridiculously inconvenient it was. Have you ever wondered if default keyboard layout is optimal for today’s tasks? If you already know how to do something, and new way comes to your attention, you won’t automatically switch. 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