Custom Kinesis Advantage 2 keyboard configuration for Workman Dead layout

This is my configuration of the Workman Dead layout for the amazing Kinesis Advantage 2 keyboard.

If you don't get this keyboard for the ergonomics, definitely get it for its hugely powerful built-in key layout and macro configuration. It's the best you'll find anywhere.

Big shout-out to Ricky at Kinesis tech support, who promptly replied to my (numerous and newbie) emailed questions with in-depth answers and examples. He helped me figure out a broad strategy for using Advantage 2 configurability to implement Workman Dead.

Entire configuration and writing this post took about 7 hours.

I've implemented a slight modification on the "canonical" Workman Dead layout. The main differences are:

  1. I moved the dead+option keys to the left side of the keyboard.
  2. I added missing multi-key combinations to the dead+option key set.
  3. Pressing ⌥ (option) does not enter the numeric keypad state. I'll get around to configuring this eventually and post an update.

Advantage 2 layout

I made the following image with this awesome tool:

Key legends
Top-left: normal action
Center: dead mode action
Bottom-right: dead + shift action

Advantage 2 v-drive layout configuration file

Details on Advantage 2 v-drive, key mapping, macro mapping, and layout file syntax here.

I wrote most of the layout configuration by hand, directly editing the v-drive layout file. When I ran into problems, I switched from editing the layout file to using the keyboard to generate changes to the layout file. Then I would examine the layout file directly in a text editor to see the syntax generated. That, for example, is how I figured out that the location code for the upper enter key in keypad mode is kpentry1 not kpentry.

Instead of directly creating a file on the v-drive that contains the following configuration, you should follow the user manual instruction to use the keyboard to create the file as a "hotkey layout". Then you can open up the v-drive and paste the configuration into the file. Note that the user manual contains additional instructions about "conditioning" files when copying and pasting. It didn't apply to me so I merely glanced over it. But it may be relevant to you.

This is my w_qwerty.txt v-drive layout file:


****** Workman ******


******* Dead mode ******

* Dead mode toggle


* Dead keys







* Space key outputs comma in dead mode


****** Dead shift ******

* Right shift is the same as left shift in dead mode