# Re: xkb options

```* Celejar <celejar@gmail.com> [070427 10:07]:
>
> Thanks for the suggestions. One reason I was looking for programs is to
> get precise instructions for which fingers to use for the different
> keys. [Even the programs are lacking; the flagship FLOSS program seems
> to be gtypist, which has at least one lesson which throws capital
> letters at you before explaining (if it ever does) which fingers to use
> to hit shift. I suppose I should just google for some online
> documentation that explains the actual techniques and then practice
> using software, or just simply by typing as you suggest.

Hi, Celejar.

Your question is quite proper; a teacher should not assume the student
to know these things.  Besides, some (see below) are counter-intuitive.

In the following explanation, all references are to the key cap labels
in the QWERTY layout.

Note that the F and J keys on the QWERTY layout have tiny bumps.  The
bumps enable you to find the "home" position (see below) without
looking at the keyboard.

The index finger of the left hand should rest on F, and the index
finger of the right hand should rest on J, and the other fingers of
each hand should rest on the remaining keys in the same row.  This is
the home position.

It may or may not be obvious, but, in general, each finger needs to
strike four keys:

-> the key in the numeric row
-> the key in the row above the home position
-> the key in the home position
-> the key in the row below the home position

Note that -- contrary to intuition -- on both the left side and the
right side of the keyboard the columns are inclined in the same
direction: from upper left to lower right.  Thus, the little finger on
the left hand is used for the keys 1, q, a, z, and the little finger
on the right hand is used for the keys 0, p, :, ?.  This is very
strange; one should expect the columns on each side of the keyboard to
slope in opposite directions, but no one seems to complain, or even to
have noticed the asymmetry.

However, the index finger of each hand must be used also for one of
the center columns (for the left hand: 5, t, g, b; for the right hand:
6, y, h, n) and thus needs to strike eight keys.

Use the little finger for the following keys:

shift
control
caps lock
tab
return or enter
backslash
tilde
escape
delete or backspace

Use the thumbs to press the space bar.

For normal typing, keep your fingers in a natural curved position
(like the piano teacher recommends) and in light contact with the keys
on the home row, and with your index fingers on the F and J keys (the
keys with the bumps).

When typing a string of numerals, move both hands to the numeric row,
with the right index finger on 5 and the left index finger on 7.

For a string of capital letters, use the caps lock key.  For isolated
capital letters on the right side of the keyboard, hold the shift key
with the little finger of the left hand, and for isolated capital
letters on the left side of the keyboard, hold the shift key with the
little finger of the right hand.

If your little finger is a bit too short, you may have difficulty
striking the 1 key and the + key.  In this case, you may find it more
natural to use the ring finger on each hand for these keys.  The same
is true for the escape and delete keys.  Try it both ways and use the
finger which is most natural and comfortable for you.

In XEmacs I use the ALT-q combination very frequently, so I typically
have XKB swap the Window\$ and ALT key, and then I press the ALT key
with the thumb, and q with the index finger.  For such special
situations, find an arrangement which is natural for your own hand.

Regards,

RLH

```