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Staggered VS Ortholinear keyboard, what are the differences?

Let’s Learn The Difference Between Staggered & Ortholinear Keyboard Layouts

While reading about keyboards, you probably stumbled upon the terms staggered & ortholinear keyboards. These are two layout with different methods of aligning the keys.

Staggered keyboard layout is the common layout we use every day. It has the keys diagonally aligned. If you looked at your keyboard, you will see the O key positioned slightly to the left of the L key below it, and so on.

On the other hand, ortholinear keyboards have keys straightly aligned, where the keys make a uniform grid.

Here are two full-sized keyboards. One is ortholinear, and the other is staggered:-

And here are 60% keyboard with both layouts:-



40% keyboards is another keyboard form factor ☇ that would benefit from being ortholinear, since you may need to compensate for the lack of the arrow & numpad keys by making a layer with those keys:-

Few Advantages To The Ortholinear Layout

There are two main advantages to ortholinear layout I know of. One is the ability to have more keys in less space. That allows for more compact keyboards. In the 60% example above, the ortholinear keyboard had 64 keys. While the staggered one had 61.

Another advantage is when you map some keys to compensate for the lack of the numpad or arrow keys, the keys would be perfectly aligned & easier to use.

Some say ortholinear keyboards are more ergonomic, but I can’t say that for sure.

And Finally

The best way to know whether you would like an ortholinear keyboard is to try one out. There’s a chance you won’t go back to staggered keyboards after that. Although it’s not wrong to stay with staggered keyboards if you feel comfortable with them. They are too common & can be found everywhere.

I hope my article explained the difference between ortholinear & staggered keyboard, and see you again in another article.

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1 thought on “Staggered VS Ortholinear keyboard, what are the differences?”

  1. Too bad there are any affordable and “normal” ortholinear keyboard on the market. Most ortholinear makers inject very radical design and set the price over $200 usd. I just want a mechanical keyboard, ortholinear on vertical alignment but otherwise just like a ordinary keyboard.

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