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In order for VIA to configure a keyboard, it requires a definition of the keyboard - the physical layout of keys, any layout options, and other configurable elements like rotary encoders (knobs), lighting, etc.

These things are defined in a "keyboard definition" - a file in JSON format that is stored in the VIA Github repository and hosted by the VIA website for VIA to download and use when that keyboard is connected.

People adding VIA support to their keyboards can add their keyboard definition to the Github repository by creating a pull request here:

Here is a great video by Joe Scotto giving an overview of the process:

Keyboard Definition

Keyboard definitions are in JSON format. Valid properties are described below.


  "name": "Macropad",

The name property denotes the name of the keyboard being defined.

Vendor & Product ID

  "vendorId": "0x5241",
"productId": "0x1234",

The productId property corresponds to the usb product id. This combined with the vendorId is what is used by VIA to identify the keyboard when it is plugged in.


  "matrix": {"rows": 1, "cols": 6},

The matrix property defines how many rows and columns the PCB's switch matrix uses. This must match the MATRIX_ROWS and MATRIX_COLS symbols in the QMK firmware.


  "layouts": {
"keymap": [
[{"c": "#505557", "t": "#d9d7d7", "a": 7}, "0,0", "0,1", "0,2"],
["0,3", "0,4", "0,5"]

The keymap property corresponds to the KLE json exported by KLE and has the switch row, col defined in the top-left legends and optionally the group number, option number defined in the bottom-right legends. The KLE can support up to 3 different colored keys which is used to identify the alpha, modifier and accent keys which VIA will automatically apply a theme to.

  "layouts": {
"labels": [
"Split Backspace",
"ISO Enter",
"Split Left Shift",
"Split Right Shift",
["Bottom Row", "ANSI", "7U", "HHKB", "WKL"]

The labels property is an optional array of string or string[] and defines the labels for the layout controls.

The order of the labels is important as the implicit index is used to map to the group number e.g. Split Backspace corresponds to layout option #0, ISO corresponds to layout option #1, etc.

If an item in the labels array is a string, it is presented as a toggle button, the off state maps to layout option choice #0 (the default), the on state maps to layout option choice #1.

If an item in the labels array is a string[], it maps to a select control with the first item in the array being used as the label for the control and the following items being used as labels of layout option choices #0, #1, #2, etc. In the example above, the Bottom Row is the label, ANSI maps to layout option choice #0, 7U maps to layout option choice #1, etc.

Documentation explaining how layout options work is here.

The menus element is used to define more menus in VIA. It can contain one or more of the following built-in UI definitions:

  • "qmk_backlight"
  • "qmk_rgblight"
  • "qmk_backlight_rgblight"
  • "qmk_rgb_matrix"
  • "qmk_audio"

and/or a definition of custom UI, i.e. explicitly defining all the UI controls required.

For example, a definition enabling the built-in UI for QMK RGB Matrix could be done like so:

"menus": ["qmk_rgb_matrix" ]

or alternatively defined explicitly using custom UI definitions, like so:

"menus": [
"label": "Lighting",
"content": [
"label": "Backlight",
"content": [
"label": "Brightness",
"type": "range",
"options": [0, 255],
"content": ["id_qmk_rgb_matrix_brightness", 3, 1]

The complete documentation for custom UI is here.

If the firmware is using the stock implementation of a feature, i.e. it is enabled in the info.json or the and not customized, then using one of the built-in UI definitions is all that is needed.

The built-in UI definitions are defined the same way as custom UI definitions (i.e. JSON format) and for reference are located here: They can be used as examples to create custom UI definitions.


If the definition is for a keyboard that uses QMK lighting, you can optionally enable the lighting keycodes.

  "keycodes": ["qmk_lighting"],
"menus": ["qmk_rgblight"],