UI Request: arrow keys on virtual keyboard!

Here’s something I hate about editing text on all mobile device platforms (that I know of): When you just wrote a paragraph, but you need to fix a typo right in the middle of the text blob. How do you do it? On iOS, you hold your finger down on the text field and drag the cursor to the desired edit point. OH, but the cursor “sticks” to word boundaries and it’s impossible to get it exactly in the right place on the first few tries! If you just want to edit a letter in the middle of word, it’s very difficult to drag the cursor exactly to that point. And of course when you life your finger off the screen, the sensor interprets a tiny bit of movement and the cursor sneaks one more character to the right – frustrating!

Luckily, the solution exists, and has been delivered on keyboards for LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF YEARS! (not literally) --> ARROW KEYS

Purism devs: if you add four arrow keys on the virtual keyboard on the Librem 5, you’ll improve UI over all your competitors by a huge margin.



Good idea. Also useful for running desktop applications that weren’t designed for mobile.

Also, I just want to point out, in case you don’t know, that on iOS (at least on an iPad) you can also move the text cursor by doing a two-fingered drag across the keyboard (it works like a trackpad). I find that a bit more accurate than the method you described.

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There’s a plan for a full keyboard: https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/squeekboard/issues/126

Adding arrows should be entirely possible already by adding a file in your home directory to override one of the layouts. See Using non-latin language on Librem 5 for general instructions.


I’d love to see a little cursor nub like the thinkpads have in the center (could be used to implement a form of arrow keys even). IIRC windows phone had one. Pretty sure it only acted as a directional control though, not for a cursor.

At least Android would let you download alternate keyboards. Alas mine is so small I often hit the left arrow when I want a space, which really scrambles things if I don’t catch it. (I also excel at hitting ‘v’ or the period when I want the space bar.)

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Also, while we’re at it:

The Tab key is the single most important key on a Linux terminal! Would be great to have that functionality on the phone.


ios actually has this down quite well these days. You just long press anywhere on the keyboard and it changes the whole thing to its own sort of trackpad. You can then move your finger around and it moves the curser around. It works really well.

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I’m writing here the feedback that I post in the git page aswell.

I think every language will need it’s own terminal layout, for example if you want to do a ‘cd /home/user/Music/’ in Spanish will be ‘cd /home/user/Música/’ and it will be impossible to reach without the especial characters.
For what I use the terminal in Android it’s enough with arrows and ‘Ctrl’ keys I don’t do any ‘complicated’ job without a physical keyboard.
It would be ideal if the keyboard somehow adapted by it’s own the layout for each purpose.

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That’s what the Tab key is for. :slight_smile:


I use Hacker’s Keyboard on Android, and suggest a layout similar to that one.

Edit: Specifically, the full 5-row layout it has, without wording suggestions:


I’m going to give that keyboard a try on my present Android (I was using multi-ling before; it too has the arrow keys).