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Hold-Tap Behavior


Hold-tap is the basis for other behaviors such as layer-tap and mod-tap.

Simply put, the hold-tap key will output the 'hold' behavior if it's held for a while, and output the 'tap' behavior when it's tapped quickly.


The graph below shows how the hold-tap decides between a 'tap' and a 'hold'.

Simple behavior

By default, the hold-tap is configured to also select the 'hold' functionality if another key is tapped while it's active:

Hold preferred behavior

We call this the 'hold-preferred' flavor of hold-taps. While this flavor may work very well for a ctrl/escape key, it's not very well suited for home-row mods or layer-taps. That's why there are two more flavors to choose from: 'tap-preferred' and 'balanced'.


  • The 'hold-preferred' flavor triggers the hold behavior when the tapping-term-ms has expired or another key is pressed.
  • The 'balanced' flavor will trigger the hold behavior when the tapping-term-ms has expired or another key is pressed and released.
  • The 'tap-preferred' flavor triggers the hold behavior when the tapping-term-ms has expired. It triggers the tap behavior when another key is pressed.

When the hold-tap key is released and the hold behavior has not been triggered, the tap behavior will trigger.

Hold-tap comparison

Basic usage#

For basic usage, please see mod-tap and layer-tap pages.

Advanced Configuration#


Defines how long a key must be pressed to trigger Hold behavior.


If you press a tapped hold-tap again within quick_tap_ms milliseconds, it will always trigger the tap behavior. This is useful for things like a backspace, where a quick tap+hold holds backspace pressed. Set this to a negative value to disable. The default is -1 (disabled).

In QMK, unlike ZMK, this functionality is enabled by default, and you turn it off using TAPPING_FORCE_HOLD.


If retro tap is enabled, the tap behavior is triggered when releasing the hold-tap key if no other key was pressed in the meantime.

For example, if you press &mt LEFT_SHIFT A and then release it without pressing another key, it will output a.

&mt {

Home row mods#

This example configures a hold-tap that works well for homerow mods:

#include <behaviors.dtsi>
#include <dt-bindings/zmk/keys.h>
/ {
behaviors {
hm: homerow_mods {
compatible = "zmk,behavior-hold-tap";
label = "HOMEROW_MODS";
#binding-cells = <2>;
tapping-term-ms = <150>;
quick_tap_ms = <0>;
flavor = "tap-preferred";
bindings = <&kp>, <&kp>;
keymap {
compatible = "zmk,keymap";
default_layer {
bindings = <
&hm LCTRL A &hm LGUI S &hm LALT D &hm LSHIFT F

If this config does not work for you, try the flavor "balanced" with a medium tapping-term-ms such as 200ms.

Comparison to QMK#

The hold-preferred flavor works similar to the HOLD_ON_OTHER_KEY_PRESS setting in QMK. The 'balanced' flavor is similar to the PERMISSIVE_HOLD setting, and the tap-preferred flavor is similar to IGNORE_MOD_TAP_INTERRUPT.