How to Program Kinesis Keyboard

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page shows you how to program the keys for the Kinesis Advantage2 Keyboard.

Kinesis Advantage2 QWERTY 2021 5mtQm
Kinesis Advantage2 QWERTY layout
Kinesis Advantage2 dvorak 2021 6hKtV
Kinesis Advantage2 qwerty/dvorak duel label
Kinesis Advantage2 function keys 2021-01-04 z4Bj6
Kinesis Advantage2 function keys

Key Summary

progm+F3
Switch to QWERTY layout.
progm+F4
Switch to Dvorak layout. (All models of Kinesis Advantage2 have both Qwerty and Dvorak layout builtin.)
progm+F5
Switch to Mac mode.
Kinesis Advantage2 mac 2021 KxDss
progm+F6
Switch to PC mode.
Kinesis Advantage2 pc 2021 G3Vd6
progm+F7
Switch to Microsoft Windows mode.
Kinesis Advantage2 win 2021 Z8NCV
progm+F8
Toggle key sounds. (When turning on, the scroll-lock light will flash 4 times. When turning off, it'll flash 2 times.)
progm+Shift+F8
Toggle special key on/off beep. (When turning on, the scroll-lock light will flash 4 times. When turning off, it'll flash 2 times.) When CapsLock is turn on, there's 2 beeps sound. When it's off, 1 beep. Similarly for Keypad, Num Lock, Scroll Lock.
progm+F12
Start/stop remap key.
progm+F11
Start/stop recording key macro.
progm+status
Paste text of current keyboard status. You must be in a text editor. For example, Microsoft Notepad, Mac TextEdit, etc. Sample output:
Model> Advantage2
Firmware> 1.0.516.us (2MB), 07/22/2019
Active layout file> d_dvorak.txt
Thumb keys mode> none
Macro play speed> off=0, slow=1, normal=3, fast=9> 9
Status report play speed> off=0, slow=1, normal=3, fast=4> 3
Keyclick status> on
Toggle tone status> on
Stored macros> 1
Keys remapped> 13
Power user mode> on
progm+F10
Toggle disable macro. (capslock LED will flash 4 times if disabling, 2 times if enabling.)
progm+Ctrl+F9
Hard Reset. It restore all defaults, and put current layout to QWERTY. Keep holding until LED stops flashing. Keyboard needs to be plugged in.
progm+Shift+F9
Soft Reset. Remove user's keymapping and macro definition of current active layout.
progm+Shift+Escape
Toggle Power User Mode. (All 4 LEDs flash 4 times on activation, 2 times on deactivation.) Note: if you have remapped Shift or Escape keys, you should press the remapped key.
progm+F1
Open or close the V-drive. (capslock LED will flash 4 times if opening, 2 times if closing.). Must be in power user mode first.
progm+a
Switch to or reload the variant “a” of the current active layout (“a_qwerty.txt” or “a_dvorak.txt”.).
progm+b
Switch to or reload the variant “b” of the current active layout.
progm+c
Switch to or reload the variant “c” of the current active layout.
progm+Pause+1
Set key macro playback speed to speed 1 (slowest).
progm+Pause+2
Set key macro playback speed to speed 2.
progm+Pause+3
Set key macro playback speed to speed 3.
progm+Pause+4
Set key macro playback speed to speed 4.
progm+Pause+5
Set key macro playback speed to speed 5.
progm+Pause+6
Set key macro playback speed to speed 6.
progm+Pause+7
Set key macro playback speed to speed 7.
progm+Pause+8
Set key macro playback speed to speed 8.
progm+Pause+9
Set key macro playback speed to speed 9 (fastest).

Remap Key

Suppose you want to make CapsLock do Ctrl.

  1. Hold progm then press F12. Release both.
  2. Press Ctrl, release, press CapsLock, release.
  3. Press progm again to stop.

Done. Now, pressing CapsLock will send Ctrl signal.

Do this to remap any key.

When you remap a key, key are based on their default meanings. So, you won't get into a confusing situation of recursive remaps. To make a key back to default, you can simply start remap and press that key twice.

Record Key Macro

Suppose you want to make F2 do Ctrl+c (copy).

  1. Hold progm then press F11. Release both. (numlock LED will flash fast continuously.)
  2. Press F2, release. (numlock LED will now flash slowly.)
  3. Press Ctrl+c.
  4. Press progm again to stop.

Done. Now, pressing F2 will do Copy.

The triggering key can be a key chord. For example, you can make Ctrl+k do , so that when holding control, right hand keys can become arrow keys.

Erase One Key Macro

  1. Hold progm then press F11. Release both. (numlock LED will flash fast continuously.)
  2. Press the key or key combination that you want to erase. (numlock LED will now flash slowly.)
  3. Press progm again to stop.

Set Global Key Macro Playback Speed

Power User Mode

progm+Shift+Escape
Toggle Power User Mode. (All 4 LEDs flash 4 times on activation, 2 times on deactivation.) Note: if you have remapped Shift or Escape keys, you should press the remapped key.
You need to be in Power User Mode to create a layout or mount the flash memory storage.

Create a Layout

steps to create a layout:

  1. Enter Power User Mode by pressing progm+Shift+Escape. (note: if you have remapped the Escape key or Shift key , you should press those keys.) (All 4 LEDs flash 4 times on activation, 2 times on deactivation.)
  2. Press progm+F2, then all LED lights will keep flashing.
  3. Press a letter key (for example, press x). LED lights will now stop flashing. This means, you have created a layout labeled “x”
  4. Done.

The newly created layout is a copy of the layout that was active at the time you created it. It includes all key remap and macro at the time. If you want to start fresh, do a Soft Reset first 【progm+Shift+F9】.

Press progm+status and you'll see the line “Current keyboard config file> x_dvorak.txt”.

Now, you can continue to create key remap or macro. They will be saved as part of the current layout.

Switch to a User Layout

progm+a to switch and reload the variant “a” of the current active layout (“a_qwerty.txt” or “a_dvorak.txt”.). Similarly for progm+b, progm+c, progm+d, etc. But you need to create it first.

When you switch to a layout, it will reload the corresponding config file stored in memory.

Open Flash Drive

Kinesis Advantage2 drive 2021-01-04 D8vHK
Kinesis Advantage2 virtual drive on macOS
  1. Enter Power User Mode by pressing progm+Shift+Escape. (note: if you have remapped the Escape key or Shift key , you should press those keys.) (All 4 LEDs flash 4 times on activation, 2 times on deactivation.)
  2. press progm+F1 to Open or close the V-drive. (capslock LED will flash 4 times if opening, 2 times if closing.).

Now, goto your OS's file viewer, and you can see the drive icon. (You might need to wait a few seconds before it shows up. On my linux box, I wait 4 seconds for my OS to automatically popup a window showing the mounted drive.) The drive is named “KINESIS KB”. or “ADVANTAGE2

by default, there are these directories:

In the directory named “active”, you can open a layout file and edit it or email to friend.

The files “dvorak.txt” and “qwerty.txt” are the default. If you haven't created any key remap or macro, they are empty files.

If you have created layouts, you will see file named like these:

or

They are the layouts you created.

Edit Layout Config File

You can edit a layout config file directly and have keyboard reload it.

Just open the file in a text editor.

To reload the layout, just close the v-drive, by pressing progm+F1.

For example, here's my “d_dvorak.txt” file:

[1]>[8]
[2]>[7]
[7]>[2]
[8]>[1]
[tab]>[\]
[caps]>[home]
[rwin]>[escape]
[rctrl]>[tab]
[\]>[hyphen]
[home]>[rwin]
[end]>[`]
[scroll]>[vol-]
[pause]>[vol+]
{hyphen}>{speed5}{-lalt}{tab}{+lalt}

Here is the diagram of it:

Xah Kinesis Layout d14 2021-05-20 KTFhN
Xah Kinesis Layout D14. See Kinesis/Ergodox Layout for Xah Fly Keys

switch to last app

Make End switch to last app.

Mac:

{end}>{speed5}{-lwin}{tab}{+lwin}

Microsoft Windows:

{end}>{speed5}{-lalt}{tab}{+lalt}

Shift Embedded Numberpad

Make End as shift for the embedded numberpad.

[end]>[kpshift]
[kp-end]>[kpshift]

Make the Number Row Do Symbols

{1}>{-lshift}{1}{+lshift}
{2}>{-lshift}{2}{+lshift}
{3}>{-lshift}{3}{+lshift}
{4}>{-lshift}{4}{+lshift}
{5}>{-lshift}{5}{+lshift}
{6}>{-lshift}{6}{+lshift}
{7}>{-lshift}{7}{+lshift}
{8}>{-lshift}{8}{+lshift}
{9}>{-lshift}{9}{+lshift}
{0}>{-lshift}{0}{+lshift}

Key syntax

For the key syntax, best is to record a macro or remap keys. Then, when you open the layout file, you can see the key syntax used.

Letter keys are capitalized.

Number keys is itself.

Most punctuation keys is itself.

Except

Modifier keys:

More special keys:

Arrow keys:

Extra function keys not on keyboard:

Keypad keys:

Multimedia keys:

Kinesis special keys:

Kinesis Advantage2 Manual

Thanks to

see also Kinesis Keyboard Layouts

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