Keyboard with trackball. How to work with it

Keyboard with trackball. How to work with it

In this article I want to talk about how to work with a keyboard that has a trackball.

Usually, keyboards that are developed by enthusiasts run on open source firmware. If the keyboard works from a wire, then most often it is a QMK. If the keyboard works via bluetooth, then most often it is ZMK

At the moment, ZMK does not support different sensors very well, so trackball keyboards are most often the leading ones at the moment.

VIA or VIAL support can also be added. Both are something like a frontend for QMK. If you download and open this app and then connect your keyboard, you will immediately see your keyboard layout there. There you can change this layout, turn on or off the backlight, test the functionality of the buttons.

If you are an experienced IT technician, then QMK does not cause problems. You will be able to configure and compile your own firmware. But if there are no skills, then VIA will be a great advantage.


I have already written many articles and made several videos about such keyboards, why they are needed and how layers work. Therefore, I will not repeat that there are such layers.

I’ll only touch on the trackball layer here.

The trackball itself always works. That is, you can rotate the ball itself at any time. But we need to do more than just move the cursor. Sometimes you need to click the mouse buttons. To do this, we need to go to the layer with the mouse.

By default, the mouse layer is on the left half of the keyboard on the Z button. If we look at the VIA, we can see that the Z button now has LT(3, KC_Z). In QMK, this means approximately the following – when pressed once, we will have the Z button pressed, but when pressed, the keyboard will go to layer 3.

It turns out that if we press and hold the Z button, we will enter the layer. And the buttons on the thumb cluster will become mouse keys. There are mouse buttons on both the left and right halves. In my opinion, it is more convenient to move the trackball with the right hand, and to press the mouse buttons with the left.

Similarly, if you hold Z and press V at the same time, we will enter a mode called Sniper Mode. In this mode, we increase the sensitivity of the trackball and the cursor starts to move more slowly. This is necessary if you want to hit the cursor more clearly.

If you hold Z and press X, you will enter the scrolling mode. In this mode, the cursor will no longer move when the trackball moves. But scrolling in all directions will appear. By the way, this is a very convenient mode, and it is very convenient to scroll anything in all directions with the ball.

Trackball sensitivity

You can change the sensitivity of the trackball and the sensitivity of the trackball in sniper mode. To do this, while Z is pressed, you can press R or T (or Y, U). Well, of course, all these keys can be moved to any place convenient for you.


VIA has a backlit section.

Here you can turn off the backlight completely. Choose a mode when the backlight will be lit in one color (and choose this color), choose dynamic modes. And choose the brightness of the backlight itself.

This keyboard is publicly available. You can assemble it yourself. Well, can you buy it from me, this is my hobby and in my free time I collect them, write about them and sell them in the tg channel ergosplits.

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