40% Keyboard Programming on Vortex Core

peterdenham profile image Peter Denham Originally published at denham.ie on ・1 min read

(this is a WIP)

I recently started using a 40% keyboard (vortex core) as my daily driver for the $dayjob . It's a nice compact board, but the default layout isn't very effecient for programming, specially common symbols used in development are tucked behind weird key combinations.

I took some inspiration from the planck and another users reddit post. Another reddit user created a better MPC than the official version for remapping keys on the core, which was super handy for iterating and testing several layouts.

Some of my design decisions

  • Enter on left space bar, as the home row is one key short of a 60 keyboard and missing the apostrophes was constantly tripping me up
  • Swapped Fn1 and Fn physical keys. Red Fn1 is a little easier to hit for the common programming symbols layer. Blue Fn key layer is for navigation and media keys. I kept the mapping to the printed keys so they're a littler earier to learn

vortex core


  • Macros are great for reducing all the shift-key operations from 3 to 2 key combos. There is a limit of 20 macros per layer, which limits your options.
  • Key combinations sometimes mis-fire. I found you need to hit the modifier key f
  • Windows required to use the MPC web interface the first tim



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