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There's an easy fix for part of the problem: bind shift-space to underscore. Yes, you still require shift, but IMO it's the stretch not the shift that makes typing an underscore jarring.

     xmodmap -e 'keycode 65 = space underscore'

Unless you use Emacs (as the author seems to), in which case you have S-Space bound to starting/ending selection. But in general yes, one can rebind underscore to something that doesn't require pressing Shift.

That's C-SPC.

Yeah, you're right. I wrote without checking, I have this command in muscle memory.


"the stretch"?

Properly typing an underscore should utilize two hands and shouldn't require a stretch at all.

It moves your pinky, your smallest and least mobile finger, to move up two rows, which requires a typical person to completely flatten that finger. Either that, or you end shifting your whole hand. Which means that you end up moving your hand a lot while typing because the underscore may easily be the most common keyboard character encountered in some programs.

Obviously everyone has different shaped hands - but for me, the pinky doesn't need to be entirely flat to reach the underscore. I also don't have to shift my whole wrist.

Either way, reaching the + key on QWERTY-102 is objectively more difficult than the underscore [uses the pinky, is farther away than the underscore from homerow], and also requires a shift-modifier. I use + far more than _ while I'm coding. (And I'm currently writing most of my code in Go, so I use _ quite a bit since it's a blank identifier.)

Maybe I just have big hands, but it honestly doesn't impede my typing at all to add an underscore to the text.

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