What is an Ortholinear Keyboard: In-Depth {Guide}

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Are you using a Standard Mechanical keyboard that has a standard key alignment means keys are not aligned uniformly like in straight rows and columns?

I hope you didn’t observe that on your keyboard, right!

Well, nobody doesn’t notice except professional keyboard enthusiasts.

How sounds if I tell you there is a keyboard on the market which keys are aligned perfectly in the straight rows and columns.

The keyboard I’m talking about is the ‘Ortholinear Keyboard’.

Ortholinear Keyboard is tremendously popular among the keyboard lovers like many other idiosyncratic keyboards such as Winkeyless Keyboard, Vintage keyboards, Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK), and Low-Profile mechanical keyboards.

If you are seeking to grab the complete details about the Ortholinear keyboard, why it is popular, and why do people love to use it? You landed exactly on the right place.

Let’s get dive into the details to explore Ortholinear Keyboard!

What is an Ortholinear Keyboard?

ortholinear keyboard-1

The Ortholinear keyboard is a computer keyboard in which the keys are uniformly aligned with the straight rows and columns and have square grid edges for each key mounted on the keyboard.

The keys are aligned in a straight line with the next key so the keyboard looks in a linear form along with a perfect structured manner.

The Ortholinear terminology for the keyboard comes from the Greek word ‘Ortho’ which means Straight and another word ‘Linear’ means arranged in a linear line, that’s how the Ortholinear Keyboard got its name.

Generally, standard keyboards have staggered layouts but this Ortho keyboard has non-staggered keys which means the keys are mounted sturdier and well stable on the PCB.

The keyboard edges with its border are very minimalistic, for some keyboards, it is border-less which makes the Ortholinnear keyboard very compact and occupies very less space compared to conventional keyboards.

They are mostly available in 40% or 60% keyboard layout means without a function keys row.

Here is a brief overview of the Best Ortholinear keyboard I have shorted for you, For in-depth details kindly scroll down this page.

Best Ortholinear Keyboards

Best For Segments

1. Planck

Best 40% Ortholinear Layout 

2. Planck EZ

Best MIT Ortholinear Layout

3. Preonic

Best 60% Ortholinear Layout

4. Moonlander

Best Split Ortholinear Layout

Ortholinear Keyboard Layout: Grid vs MIT

In the Ortholinear keyboard, there are two layout options available: Grid and MIT

Take a look at how these two layouts differ from each other as well as how it impacts your typing efficiency.

ortholinear keyboard-Grid vs MIT Layout

Grid Layout

The 40% Ortholinear keyboard with a grid layout has the same sized spacebar which is very similar to other keys.

The spacebar laid only on a single key instead of two. In terms of appearance, the grid layout enhances the keyboard’s appearance as all the keys on the keyboards look very identical and more structured. 

There are 48 keys in the 40% Ortholinear grid layout keyboard which has a structure of 4×12 manner which simply means it has 4 rows and each row has 12 keys so the entire keyboard contains 48 keys.

In most cases, people tend to press the Spacebar key with a single hand (It may be left or right based on users’ typing habits) so professionals always recommended Grid Layout for Ortholinear keyboards as it has only a single spacebar.

For a beginner using both Grid and MIT layouts may create some difficulties at initial but gradually after some time users get used to them.

MIT Layout

The significant difference between Grid and MIT layout is the space bar key.

MIT Layout has 2 dedicated spacebar keys, the middle 2 keys are combined to make a simple spacebar key.

The Ortholinear MIT Layout keyboard contains 47 keys which are aligned in 3×12 form and a single row has 11 keys next to them.

I don’t understand the concept behind making the MIT Layout because people won’t likely to use space bars with both hand thumbs during typing. Most People are more comfortable using a space bar either with the right hand or left hand.

That’s the reason Grid Layout is always recommended by keyboard professionals when purchasing an Ortholinear keyboard.

In the end, it completely comes down to a user-preferences, so purchase what you are comfortable at. I’ve just put the facts. 

Why Choose an Ortholinear Keyboard?

ortholinear keyboard-2

The question always arises in the user’s mind Why Choose an Ortholinear Keyboard?

Ortholinear keyboards have a uniform alignment of keys in a straight row and column which help the user fetch out the desired key more frequently and efficiently.

The borderless design of the keyboard along with the edgeless frame removes unnecessary space giving it a more compact structure.

The distance between the keys is short which is designed to help users reach faster while typing on the keys.

Well it is true or not or maybe it is fake self-proclamation by the promoters we never know but one thing is certain, there are lots of different keyboard layouts but the best would be the one which perfectly suits to your hands. 

Although you don’t have to compromise with the quality and performance of the Ortholinear Keyboard as it is top-notch on all the benchmarks.

If you feel comfortable typing on this keyboard, you should definitely get the  Ortholinear keyboard for your desk.

Reasons To Switch To An Ortholinear Keyboard (PROS)

There are certain reasons people prefer the Ortholinear keyboard that’s why it is popular among keyboard lovers.

Some users love its uniform layout whereas some users like its minimal border design but don’t worry we will discuss below all the positive sides of the Ortholinear Keyboard.

Here are all the reasons to switch to the Ortho keyboard: 

Reduced Fatigue

If you have the habit of working constantly on the computer system and typing a lot, an Ortholinear keyboard can be a great alternative for your current keyboard replacement.

As this keyboard has a non-staggered uniform layout in which keys are aligned on the grid form able to provide comfortability during typing.

The short distance between the keys allow fast reaching on the keys specially for random keypress as well as its straight line of rows offers a better wrist position.

This all helps a user to type perpetually on the keyboard without causing any wrist or finger strain.

A Fun Typing Experience

Ortholinear Keyboards are always fun to type on for the users due to their idiosyncratic design module which can’t be found in conventional keyboards.

A Keyboard enthusiast like me started to feel boring when using a standard keyboard for a long period of time and they required something different typing experience.

For that reason, Ortholinear Keyboard can be a prominent option to replace your current keyboard as you will feel a fun typing experience.

This comes out to be very challenging at the initial level, but it is also true a keyboard enthusiast loves to accept challenges.

Better customization and a variety of color combinations attract typists toward Ortholinear keyboards.

Extremely Compact Design

ortholinear keyboard-3-in pocket holder

Being a 40% keyboard layout and addition to a border-less and uniform grid layout is well enough to provide an extremely compact design which you would love for sure.

If you compare this keyboard with a standard mechanical keyboard you will clearly notice the difference in the occupied dimension.

Being a short and compact keyboard, there are some unique advantages such as you can port this keyboard with your backpack easily along with it requiring very less space in your workspace which gives a neat desk.

Another benefit of a short keyboard is you need to spend less money to completely customize it as it has comparatively fewer keys than some other keyboards. 

In the end, building a customized keyboard becomes less expensive which is really a broad upside for a user. 

Comfort and Ergonomics

This is very subjective as some users feel more comfortable while typing on Ortholinear Keyboard however there are some users who feel unnatural during typing.

In my opinion, Ortho Keyboard may create some challenges at initial for a beginner due to the very different layout but gradually it will become adaptable to typing and catching the pace.

I would suggest you try out this keyboard if it is available in your nearby store so it will become convenient for you to make your decision.

Popular online platforms also offer 7 days return policy for electronic products so if it is not suited to you, returning them is the best idea to save your hard-earned money.

Ortholinear Keyboard Disadvantages

Ortholinear keyboards are definitely a good option for people who love to do experiments with keyboards.

It is not the keyboard for everyone especially who are coming from the standard layout keyboard.

So let’s discuss some downsides of the Ortholinear Keyboards, which you may face in practical applications when using them:

Hard to use

Ortholinear Keyboards are known to offer very compactly and tiny keyboards in which the keys can be reached frequently as well as can make your desk neat.

But this positive aspect becomes a downside for some users because it is required very much time to get used to it with the keyboard which lacks an Fn row, arrow keys, and Numpad.

This can certainly vanish with time as long as you used it the typing pace will definitely be improved drastically and take to your typing speed to the next level.

After all, this significant factor needs to keep in the user’s mind before buying that’s the reason I had to consider this factor in the downside aspects.

Limited Options to Buy

For Standard Layout, there are many no. of keyboards out there in the keyboard industry so users have lots of options to opt for a Standard keyboard with different switches and keycaps.

But with the Ortholinear keyboard, there are very limited varieties a user can choose.

The Grid and MIS layout are the two layouts that have very similarities except for the Space bar keys.

The Ortholinear keyboards kits are also not available easily on the market so if you want to make a custom Ortholinear grid keyboard you may encounter disappointments.

Considering these above reasons we can say that this type of keyboard has limited availability, For achieving its grand success, manufacturers have to focus on increasing the custom accessories for Ortholinear keyboards.

Expensive Price Point

Expensive price is the most dominating reason for any users like me for whom spending a large amount on a keyboard can be head-scratching.

The price for an Ortholinear keyboard is above $200 which is really huge considering all the features and functionalities.

For some users, $200 for an Ortho keyboard can be acceptable and doesn’t give you an expensive feel so it completely depends on the user’s perspective on how much he is ready to spend for a keyboard.

This downside I should leave for the keyboard lovers to decide whether it looks expensive or not.

The Best Ortholinear Keyboards: Top 3 Picks

After discussing all the essential features along with the pros and cons of Ortholinear Keyboards and finally decided to buy this keyboard.

Now it’s time to take a glance at the best Ortholinear Keyboards out there on the market.

This list has so versatile means every keyboard is equipped with different and unique features.

1. Planck

ortholinear keyboard-Planck

Manufactured by DROP and designed by Jack Humbert, the OLKB Planck keyboard is the most popular Ortholinear keyboard on the market as of now.

OLKB Planck has drawn a benchmark line for the Ortholinear manufacturer and community as this keyboard is built with absolute perfection.

OLKB Planck is equipped with 47 or 48 keys on the board with a 40% layout. 

All the components such as (PCB, plate, and case) associated with the Planck keyboard are sold separately by the manufacturer so you need to assemble this keyboard with your hand.

If you find any difficulties while setting up you can watch the video about the Planck keyboard embedded just below this section.

Being a popular Ortholinear keyboard, OLKB has a large keyboard community that is always there on Reddit, and Geekhack to help you if you have any queries regarding its products.

The best thing about this OLKB Planck keyboard I personally like is offering components in a vast range of colors which you can install and mix-match according to your preferences.

The keyboard supports Hot-swappable functionality so you don’t need to be concerned about soldering and desoldering headache.

Take a look at brief Specifications of the OLKB Planck keyboard:

  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 3.2 x 1.3 in (23.4 x 8.1 x 3.3 cm)
  • Weight (assembled): 18 oz (510 g)
  • Manufactured By: DROP
  • Designed By: Jack Humbert (OLKB)
  • Anodized aluminum case
  • Kaihua Switches (Hot-Swappable)
  • Steel Plate

Source: Keyurious


Bestseller No. 1

ortholinear keyboard-Planck-amazon

2. Planck EZ

ortholinear keyboard-Planck EZ-black

The Planck EZ keyboard comes with a very compact and prebuilt design means you don’t need to assemble this keyboard like OLKB Planck.

This Ortholinear Keyboard from ErgoDox can change your typing habit and give fast and accurate clicks with its magnificent mechanical switches Cherry Mx and Kailh.

In terms of performance and accuracy, both Cherry and Kailh switches are absolutely the best switches for a mechanical keyboard.

It offers 8 Cherry Mx switch variants and 5 Kailh switch variants, so users can pick any switch based on their preferences.

Planck EZ comes with only a 47 keys setup, it doesn’t have a 48 keys layout. The middle aligned large space bar is enough to handle frequent keypresses.

The Planck EZ comes with Oryx software which allows lots of customization in switches to have dual functions, RGB lighting customizations, mouse control as well as changing the functions with easy to access module.

Here are the highlighting specifications of the Planck EZ Ortholinear Keyboard:

  • 8 Cherry Mx Switch Varieties and 5 Kailh Switch Varieties.
  • Dual-function Keys
  • USB Type C and Type A
  • Mouse Control
  • Programmable RGB LED under every switch
  • Two Year Warranty

Source: Ben Vallack


Bestseller No. 1

ortholinear keyboard-Planck EZ-ergodox
  • ✅Fits in your pocket
  • ✅8 Cherry MXSwitch Varieties
  • ✅5 KailhSwitch Varieties
  • ✅Programmable RGB LED

3. Preonic

ortholinear keyboard-Preonic new v6

Again another beast keyboard from OLKB, The Preonic is the best option for people who’re seeking for larger keyboard in the Ortholinear Keyboard category.

I’m calling it larger because the Preonic keyboard comes in a 60% layout which is quite different compared to the other Ortholinear keyboards discussed above which have a 40% layout.

This Preonic keyboard has almost similar functionalities and features to Planck Keyboard, so you can take all the benefits of the Planck keyboard in the Preonic model but with slightly a larger size.

Similar to Planck, the Preonic keyboard needs to assemble by yourself at home as all the components are sold separately on the official website of OLKB.

Preonic keyboards have some unique features which are missing in the Planck model, like preinstalled RGB light, integrated dual channel, and Footprint for additional functionalities.

Highlighting Specifications of the Preonic Keyboard:

  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 4.1 x 0.9 in (23.1 x 10.4 x 2.3 cm)
  • Manufactured By: DROP
  • Designed By: Jack Humbert (OLKB)
  • Anodized aluminum case
  • PBT Premium Keycaps
  • ARM STM32 processor
  • Rubber Feet
  • Kaihua Switches (Hot-Swappable)
  • Stainless Steel top plate

Source: Andrew


Bestseller No. 1

ortholinear keyboard-Preonic-amazon

Should You Switch To An Ortholinear Keyboard?

Look  Ortholinear keyboard is not what every user prefers to buy due to its complex and non-staggered layout compared to standard keyboards.

Ortholinear keyboards have dedicated audiences who are keyboard professionals, and enthusiasts who love to try different layouts as experimentation.

I would not recommend this keyboard for casual typists, office purposes, freshers, and people who are using standard keyboards from the beginning because they will feel very awkward typing on Ortho keyboards.

But if the Ortholinear keyboard’s layout and features attract you and sound appealing to you, you should definitely switch to the new Ortholinear keyboard.

If its layout looks confusing and head-scratching, sticking with your standard keyboard is a better decision for you.


It’s time to conclude this article on Ortholinear keyboards.

I have tried to cover almost everything about the Ortholinear keyboards, if something that I missed and you want me to put in this article, It will be a pleasure to read your comments.

In keyboard evolution, Ortholinear Keyboard is certainly designed with some unique concepts, different layouts, excellent features, and very magnificent border-less design.

In terms of overall performance, Ortholinear Keyboards outperforms in every technical benchmark, their premium switches, and keycaps, broad customization through open source software, and mouse control features are executed exceptionally well.

Non-staggered Grid and MIS layout definitely a huge challenge in front of beginners and standard layout users.

In the end, If you are planning to buy, I recommend you to buy the Ortholinear Keyboard from our top picks as they are the best on the market as of now.

I hope this post was helpful to you.

Thanks for reading.


Ortholinear Keyboard FAQs

Are Ortholinear keyboards actually better?

Ortholinear keyboards are specially designed to achieve a very compact layout and tiny structure that's why it is easier to reach on keys, Grid layout separate keys even better, shorter keys distance and easy to portable feature make this keyboard better and more efficient.

Are Ortholinear keyboards more comfortable?

The user who has good experience using Ortholinear keyboards may feel more comfortable on this keyboard but the casual and regular typists who have good hand command in standard keyboard may feel strange, awkward, and uncomfortable at initial on the Ortholinear keyboard due to its complex design layout.

Are Ortholinear Keyboards best for mobile applications?

Yes, Considering their 40% layout, tiny profile, and USB supports, the Ortholinear keyboard is an easy fit in a pocket and can be ported anywhere with you which makes this keyboard an excellent option for using with mobile.

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