HiPhish wrote on 02/13/2018 05:36 PM:

Personally I try to use the home-row keys as much as possible, contorting my wrist to reach ESC or the arrow keys, or stretching to reach the F-keys is awful. My only problem is when the fingers on my left hand start hurting from pressing Shift or CTRL (which I have mapped to Caps Lock) too often.

You point out something important that I neglected to mention when I suggested trying Esc in Emacs, mapping F keys, etc.: probably you don't want to stretch your hands or contort your wrists to hit these keys, since that defeats much of the purpose.  Suggestions to accompany trying Esc, F keys, etc.:

* Consider, rather than stretching/contorting hands/wrists to reach keys away from the old mechanical typewriter touch-typing home row, trying to involve movement of your arm, while keeping your wrists mostly inline with your forearm.  It sounds funny, but the actual movement is small, and you can learn to return to a known neutral position instantly.  If a grandiose analogy would help, consider the subtle, graceful, whole-body economy of movement of an Aikido master, only sitting on your butt and typing like a nerd. :)   (This is how I learned to type as a young kid, and I still type copious code and emails this way, all day, without any problem at all.  I can't say whether trying to type this way would help or hurt other people.  There's all sorts of physiological and habit differences between people, and some things one just has to try, if they want to find out.)

* Consider, rather than using a 104-key keyboard that spreads out the keys more, trying laptop keyboard layouts, even for non-laptop desktop use.  My own favorite layout designs are from old IBM ThinkPad laptops, which designs Lenovo has been breaking incrementally in recent years, but you can still find used USB desktop ones with the approximate layout and key action, and also find fairly-modern i7 ThinkPad laptops with decent IBM-ish layout keyboards.  (Personally, my favorite keyboard was around the ThinkPad T42, before IBM added too many lower-row keys, to squeeze in the Win95-mandated keys.  I can't use those anymore, so I stockpile original decade-old T60 keyboard parts, and swap them into certain more modern Lenovo ThinkPads from when Lenovo had started sacrificing build quality but was still part-compatible. Er, I swap retro keyboards like an engineer nerd, not like a hipster. :)

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