Emacs Ergonomics: Dont Punish Your Finger Tips
A collection of keybinding changes I have arrived at over time to protect my fingers.Note that I have now used Emacs for more than 33 years, and some of these changes may well have helped me much earlier; on the other hand, I likely didn't notice these issues because my hands then were not the same as what they are now.
See earlier articles on this topic for context:
So to summarize, my Emacs uses:
- CapsLock as Control.
- Using XCape, quickly releasing Control emits C-e — the eEmacspeak prefix-key.
2. Next, Some Finger Tips
Note: I'm not a trained ergonomist; the following are observations based on my experience and may not apply to everyone; I suspect the size of one's hands, the width of the keyboard etc., all matter. For the last 3+ years, I've exclusively used a laptop keyboard, in my case a Lenovo.
- I now find that replacing key-chords by a sequence of non-chords makes my hands happier. The trick is to replace a chord by no more than 2 keys.
- Since Caps lock (left pinky) is my Control key, C-s is not as nice as C-l; notice that the former requires chording with two fingres of the same hand, whereas the lattre spreads the work among both hands on an English qwerty keyboard.
- One work-around for the above might be to have RET emit Control if held down, but I haven't done that (yet).
- On the left-hand, chords that require extending or scrunching one's fingres when hitting a chord are more painful. Thus, C-z and C-x are more painful to hit than C-d. Emacs hardly uses C-z and C-c; but unfortunately, C-x is an important prefix key in stock Emacs.
3. Now For The Finger Tips
- I have left-shift and right-shift emit C-s and C-r using XCape.
- I bound C-l to ctl-x-map (still experimental). This remapping fails to take effect in places like Dired and Gnus.
- I additionallly bound find-file to C-; o.
- A long time ago, I discovered M-m (back-to-indentation) and I never hit C-a to move to the start of the line.
- When I remap things, I never take away the original Emacs bindings; I only provide alternatives.
- I use C-,, C-., C-;, and C-' as prefix keys. Downside: these only work under X, but the time where I only ran Emacs in a terminal are long gone.
See my Emacs Startup File for the setup.
There's likely a lot more to be discovered in this context; time will reveal all!
Date: 2023-09-01 Fri 00:00
Created: 2023-09-02 Sat 19:28