Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm a programmer and use vim for all my software. I use the hjkl keys to avoid moving from the home row. Is it efficient/inefficient using the number pad on the keyboard? My thoughts are probably that it's inefficient because you need to move your hand?

Many thanks.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by thorsten müller, gnat, Bryan Oakley, Blrfl, Walter Nov 29 '12 at 12:40

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

My thoughts are that it doesn't matter, since you most likely move your hand thousands of times during your work for any amount of different reasons. I know of no programmer who types that fast that it would make a difference. Maybe when writing documentation but even that is not likely. –  thorsten müller Nov 29 '12 at 9:24
This is too localized: On french keyboards, accessing digits without numpad involves pressing the shift key. In that context, numpad is more efficient. –  mouviciel Nov 29 '12 at 10:00
@mouvisiel: Do you program in the French keyboard? Serious question. I know that the Germans that I have spoken with program in QWERTY, and even some Brits prefer to program with a US layout (@ key position, among others). –  dotancohen Nov 29 '12 at 10:51
@dotancohen: most of us do, yes. It makes accessing special characters easier (é, è, ...) which is needed if you have to type any kind of documentation or textual content. –  Niphra Nov 29 '12 at 11:02
I see, thanks. I usually comment the code in English and switch to the native language only for documentation, which is no big deal to switch keyboard layouts for (in KDE, anyway). I will look into the French keyboard for making the symbols more accessible, I use those far more frequently than the digits. Thanks. –  dotancohen Nov 29 '12 at 11:04

1 Answer 1

If typing digits occupies a significant portion of your code creation time, something else is very wrong. It is almost always a bad idea to have many numeric literals in code; instead they should be single-declaration constants, user-settable options, injected or imported data, etc. Typing rows of numbers really should be an issue for data entry clerks only, and not for programmers.

That said, if you do have something that requires columns of digits to be input, the numpad might save time, but one way or the other I don't think it merits long reflection - the difference will simply be too small to matter much.

share|improve this answer
That's a good point but fortunately it's not a problem I have :). –  ale Nov 29 '12 at 9:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.