The Atreus Layout

The Atreus’ layout puts all the keys in columns aligned to your fingers, so you never need to stretch or twist to reach a key. The keys are the same size as on a regular desktop keyboard, but they're laid out in a much more compact way that matches how your hands work. Everything you need is easy to reach. (Since the keyboard is so compact, your mouse or trackball is closer, too.) 

All the keys are in columns right under your fingers


Rather than being arranged in rows like a typewriter, the Atreus' keys are arranged in columns, with each column just right for the finger that hits it. Each half of the keyboard is angled inward at 10 degrees, to help keep your arms and shoulders in a more neutral posture.

A traditional keyboard has 104 keys. A compact laptop keyboard typically weighs in at 78 keys. The Keyboardio Atreus manages to fit all the same functionality into just 44 keys. We do this by assigning keys to different "layers". 

The standard Atreus layout packs a full keyboard into just 44 keys.


The default layer is where you'll find your letters and most of your standard punctuation. 

The Default layer


Tap or hold the Fun key and your Atreus will shift to the Fun (Function) layer, where you'll find numbers, arrow keys, and the rest of your symbols. 

The Fun layer


From there, press the Upper key to get to the Upper layer, where you'll find media keys, F keys, and other similar stuff. 

The Upper layer

Learning to type on any new keyboard layout takes patience and practice. If you've never typed on a split keyboard before, it can be quite an adjustment, but one we think is really worth it. Your hands and wrists will thank you.

Similarly, learning to type on a keyboard with multiple layers can be a bit of an adjustment. At first, it may sound a little bit exotic, but it's something most folks can adjust to relatively quickly. After all, the symbols above the numbers on a "regular" keyboard are just a layer you access with the Shift key. 

The standard Atreus layout has been refined over the past few years and is a great option if you're just getting started with split, columnar keyboards.

Of course, one of the great things about having a customizable keyboard is that you can customize it. If the layout the Atreus ships with isn't right for you, it's easy to change it to match where your fingers think the keys should be.

The easiest way to change the Atreus' layout is using our point and click configuration tool— no programming required. It runs on anything that supports Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or another Chromium-based browser. You can find it online at

Chrysalis, the free graphical configuration tool for the Atreus

Once you've customized your layout, you can rearrange the keycaps to match—all of the keycaps are the same shape. Additionally, the laminated layout card that comes with your keyboard is blank on one side, so you can fill it in with a whiteboard marker as you learn your custom layout