My mission is to make your keyboard a lot more comfortable and powerful, even if you don't have an expensive programmable board. To this end, I use the Colemak layout with several ergonomic mods and additions that I and others have created over the years, on different OS platforms. These "tricks" are what this Big Bag is about.

If you're new to this, there may be a lot of unfamiliar terms and concepts! You may not be sure whether your board or OS layout is ISO or ANSI, row-staggered or ortho – or something else. And what on earth are dead keys, ergo mods or Extend layers?! Relax and take a deep breath please, because it's all here. I hope you find what you're looking for and then a lot more useful stuff!

If something is too obscure or hard, look up the community on the Colemak Forum and Discord. We're a right helpful lot! The BigBag is my go-to reply to many questions on the Discord and elsewhere, to the extent that a meme was created in my honor. Be warned...!


Excuse me sir – do you have a moment to talk about the Big Bag?

Created by Poltergeist at the Colemak Discord, 2020-09-29


Colemak is a great keyboard layout that I and many others use daily with great enthusiasm. It may – and in all likelihood, it will! – make you a faster typist, although you can get very fast with other layouts too. More importantly, it makes typing a lot more comfortable and optimal, and your fingers will thank you for the rest of your life for choosing it!

   (b ̄◇ ̄)b

Since I started using using Colemak in early 2007 I've been fiddling with it, trying out ideas from the Colemak forum and adding some of my own. Colemak per se is to me only the letter block mappings. I've always ended up with that mostly intact and it has stood the test of time: Even though the Colemak-DH mod has a lot of traction these days, it's still just a minor adjustment to vanilla Colemak and I consider them the same basic layout at heart. If you look at the ergonomic mods described here you'll see that I'm somewhat flexible about geometry – but in reality that's about the physical keyboard design and a better hand position. The layout itself stays essentially the same.

And so, voila, here it is! Have a look inside the Big Bag and see what you'll find!

DreymaR  ~  ( のvの) c[_]


Welcome to the BigBag web pages!

Inside this Big Bag there's a lot you can do in addition to learning Colemak! Some of it doesn't even require Colemak. So, this is a little beginner's introduction to the wonders of layout modding: What are your main options, and what's good to begin with?

If any of this interests you right away, click the menus or submenus to explore the depths of the Big Bag!


I use my own edition of Farkas Máté's excellent Portable Keyboard Layout – EPKL – to implement the Big Bag for Windows. For Linux, I've hacked up a bunch of modifications to the X.Org XKB files. Then I got me a USB-2-USB "QUICKIE" converter and implemented much of my tricks for that too; they should work for most programmable controllers. I'm pretty proud of it all, I must say!

To see platform-specific implementation info, select a platform icon from the menu above or from the purple lines/boxes themselves. Try it on the one below!

An advantage with my implementation is that in most cases you can pick and choose most of the enhancements as modules:

Freedom of choice through modularity is an ideal in the DreymaR world, as it is in Linux.

Unicomp SpaceSaver Buckling Spring

My Unicomp SpaceSaver Buckling Spring (IBM Model M ISO type) keyboard with "American/Ninja" caps, splendidly sporting the Colemak-CAWS layout.



  • Get the Big Bag implementations (Win/EPKL, Linux/XKB, Controllers/TMK) up and going as GitHub repositories.
  • Present the Big Bag more hypertextually on GitHub web pages with a address (still Work-In-Progress).
  • Updated Rulemak and Bulmak to 2016 versions (ru/by/ua, bg/rs/mk – although only found in ru and bg so far):
    East Slavic (Russian/Church/Belarus/Ukraina?) & South Slavic (Bulgarian/ISO-9/Serbia(Cyrillic)/Macedonia?)
  • Tarmak layouts for Curl-DH modders. The changes are minor, but should be easily accessible for the newcomer.
  • Training topic: Alternative fingering. Tricks like sliding in for the NK/KN bigram are useful for the somewhat advanced typist.
  • Transition from DHk (the 2017 standard) to DHm (SteveP's original DH mod) as the Colemak-DH standard.


  • Dead keys with currency on AltGr+4, Greek on AltGr+5, tech/math stuff on AltGr+= and IPA++ on AltGr+Shift+numbers(?) [done in EPKL]
  • A total of 4 Extend layers: Basic/nav/edit, NumPad++, Coding/etc, Hotstrings – or whatever you like! [done in EPKL]
  • Modifier keys for 4 Extend layers. For instance, Caps+{--, RShift, RAlt, RShift+RAlt}. Holding down Caps maintains the layer state. [done in EPKL]
  • Fix the Hebrew phonetic Colemak ("Hebmak") variant, once we agree on how!.
  • Also an Arabic phonetic Colemak variant, building on the same principles as the Hebrew one.
  • Develop and test a Vietnamese Colemak (with icedryst and whoever's interested).
  • More locale layers: epo (Esperanto), …? (Any suggestions, or comments on the existing ones?)
  • "Tap dance sequences", using dead keys and/or combines to release strings and things without having to hold modifier chords.
  • Further Compose/sequencing, dual-mode key and other layer/triggering developments.


The old Big Bag topic is still around at the Colemak Forum, but it's outdated by now. This site should pretty much contain all the important bits and the proverbial kitchen sink, but if you're missing anything old it may still be found by a stroll around the Forum Colemakum.

Best of luck with Colemak and its many marvelous mods!    ♪~╰(*°▽°*)╯~♪
If you do get stuck, here's a little light entertainment to hopefully Shift your mo(o)d.

Typealong Clackity said:
Colemak's connected to the ... Curl* mod,
The Curl mod's connected to the ... Angle mod,
The Wide mod's connected to the ... shoulder bones,
And Extend's just wonderful!
*: DH

Escape Control