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PR checklists

This is a non-exhaustive checklist of what the QMK Collaborators will be checking when reviewing submitted PRs.

If there are any inconsistencies with these recommendations, you're best off creating an issue against this document, or getting in touch with a QMK Collaborator on Discord.

Requirements for all PRs

  • PR should be submitted using a non-master branch on the source repository
    • this does not mean you target a different branch for your PR, rather that you're not working out of your own master branch
    • if submitter does use their own master branch, they'll be given a link to the "how to git" page after merging -- (end of this document will contain the contents of the message)
    • Note, frequently merging upstream with your branch is not needed and is discouraged. Valid reason for updating your branch may be resolving merge conflicts and pulling in new changes relevant to your PR.
  • PRs should contain the smallest amount of modifications required for a single change to the codebase
    • multiple keyboards at the same time is not acceptable
    • the smaller the PR, the higher likelihood of a quicker review, higher likelihood of quicker merge, and less chance of conflicts
  • newly-added directories and filenames must be lowercase
    • the lowercase requirement may be relaxed if upstream sources originally had uppercase characters (e.g. LUFA, ChibiOS, or imported files from other repositories etc.)
    • if there is valid justification (i.e. consistency with existing core files etc.) this can be relaxed
      • a board designer naming their keyboard with uppercase letters is not enough justification
  • valid license headers on all *.c and *.h source files
    • GPL2/GPL3 recommended for consistency
    • an example GPL2+ license header may be copied (and author modified) from the bottom of this document
    • other licenses are permitted, however they must be GPL-compatible and must allow for redistribution. Using a different license will almost certainly delay a PR getting merged
    • missing license headers will prevent PR merge due to ambiguity with license compatibility
      • simple assignment-only files should not need a license header - where additional logic is used in an *.mk file a license header may be appropriate
  • QMK Codebase "best practices" followed
    • this is not an exhaustive list, and will likely get amended as time goes by
    • #pragma once instead of #ifndef include guards in header files
    • no "old-school" or other low-level GPIO/I2C/SPI functions may be used -- must use QMK abstractions unless justifiable (and laziness is not valid justification)
    • timing abstractions should be followed too:
      • wait_ms() instead of _delay_ms() (remove #include <util/delay.h> too)
      • timer_read() and timer_read32() etc. -- see timer.h for the timing APIs
    • if you think a new abstraction is useful, you're encouraged to:
      • prototype it in your own keyboard until it's feature-complete
      • discuss it with QMK Collaborators on Discord
      • refactor it as a separate core change
      • remove your specific copy in your board
  • fix all merge conflicts before opening the PR (in case you need help or advice, reach out to QMK Collaborators on Discord)
    • PR submitters will need to keep up-to-date with their base branch, resolving conflicts along the way

Keymap PRs


Note that personal keymap submissions will no longer be accepted. This section applies to manufacturer-supported keymaps. Please see this issue for more information.

  • PRs for vendor specific keymaps will be permitted. The naming convention for these should be default_${vendor}, via_${vendor} i.e. via_clueboard.
    • vendor specific keymaps do not necessarily need to be "vanilla" and can be more richly featured than default or via stock keymaps.
  • #include QMK_KEYBOARD_H preferred to including specific board files
  • prefer layer enums to #defines
  • custom keycode enums must have first entry = QK_USER
  • some care with spacing (e.g., alignment on commas or first char of keycodes) makes for a much nicer-looking keymap. Spaces are preferred to tabs

Keyboard PRs

Closed PRs (for inspiration, previous sets of review comments will help you eliminate ping-pong of your own reviews):

  • keyboard moves within the repository must go through the develop branch instead of master, so as to ensure compatibility for users
    • data/mappings/keyboard_aliases.hjson must be updated to reflect the move, so users with pre-created configurator keymap.json files continue to detect the correct keyboard
  • keyboard updates and refactors (eg. to data driven) must go through develop to reduce master -> develop merge conflicts
  • PR submissions from a kbfirmware export (or equivalent) will not be accepted unless converted to new QMK standards -- try qmk import-kbfirmware first
  • info.json
    • With the move to data driven keyboard configuration, we encourage contributors to utilise as many features as possible of the info.json schema.
    • the mandatory elements for a minimally complete info.json at present are:
      • valid URL
      • valid maintainer
      • valid USB VID/PID and device version
      • displays correctly in Configurator (press Ctrl+Shift+I to preview local file, turn on fast input to verify ordering)
      • layout definitions must include matrix positions, so that LAYOUT macros can be generated at build time
        • should use standard definitions if applicable
        • use the Community Layout macro names where they apply (preferred above LAYOUT/LAYOUT_all)
        • If the keyboard only has a single electrical/switch layout:
          • use LAYOUT as your macro name, unless a community layout already exists
        • If the keyboard has multiple electrical/switch layouts:
          • include a LAYOUT_all which specifies all possible layout positions in the electrical matrix
          • use alternate layout names for all other possible layouts, preferring community layout names if an equivalent is available (e.g. LAYOUT_tkl_ansi, LAYOUT_ortho_4x4 etc.)
      • Microcontroller and bootloader
      • Diode Direction (if not using direct pins)
    • the following are required to be configured in info.json if necessary
      • Direct pin configuration
      • Backlight Configuration (where applicable)
      • Split keyboard configuration (where applicable)
      • Encoder Configuration
      • Bootmagic Configuration
      • LED Indicator Configuration
      • RGB Light Configuration
      • RGB Matrix Configuration
    • Run qmk format-json on this file before submitting your PR. Be sure to append the -i flag to directly modify the file, or paste the outputted code into the file.
    • must follow the template
    • flash command is present, and has :flash at end
    • valid hardware availability link (unless handwired) -- private groupbuys are okay, but one-off prototypes will be questioned. If open-source, a link to files should be provided.
    • clear instructions on how to reset the board into bootloader mode
    • a picture about the keyboard and preferably about the PCB, too
    • modified # Enable Bluetooth with the Adafruit EZ-Key HID -> # Enable Bluetooth
    • no (-/+size) comments related to enabling features
    • remove the list of alternate bootloaders if one has been specified
    • no re-definitions of the default MCU parameters if same value, when compared to the equivalent MCU in
    • no "keymap only" features enabled
  • keyboard config.h
    • no #define DESCRIPTION
    • no Magic Key Options, MIDI Options or HD44780 configuration
    • user preference configurable #defines should not be placed at the keyboard level
    • default values should not be redefined, such as DEBOUNCE, RGB related settings, etc.
      • feature specific documentation contains most default values
      • grep or alternative tool can be used to search for default values in core directories (e.g. grep -r "define DEBOUNCE" quantum)
    • no copy/pasted comment blocks explaining a feature and/or its caveats -- this is what the docs are for
      • Force NKRO to be enabled ... toggled again during a power-up
      • commented-out unused defines, such as RGB effects
    • no #include "config_common.h
    • no #define MATRIX_ROWS/COLS, unless necessary (e.g. a keyboard with a custom matrix)
    • bare minimum required code for a board to boot into QMK should be present
      • initialisation code for the matrix and critical devices
      • mirroring existing functionality of a commercial board (like custom keycodes and special animations etc.) should be handled through non-default keymaps
    • Vial-related files or changes will not be accepted, as they are not used by QMK firmware (no Vial-specific core code has been submitted or merged)
  • <keyboard>.c
    • empty xxxx_xxxx_kb(), xxxx_xxxx_user(), or other weak-defined default implemented functions removed
    • commented-out functions removed too
    • matrix_init_board() etc. migrated to keyboard_pre_init_kb(), see: keyboard_pre_init*
    • prefer CUSTOM_MATRIX = lite if custom matrix used, allows for standard debounce, see custom matrix 'lite'
    • prefer LED indicator Configuration Options to custom led_update_*() implementations where possible
    • hardware that's enabled at the keyboard level and requires configuration such as OLED displays or encoders should have basic functionality implemented here
  • <keyboard>.h
    • #include "quantum.h" appears at the top
    • LAYOUT macros are no longer accepted and should instead be moved to info.json
  • keymap config.h
    • no duplication of or config.h from keyboard
  • keymaps/default/keymap.c
    • QMKBEST/QMKURL example macros removed
    • if using MO(1) and MO(2) keycodes together to access a third layer, the Tri Layer feature should be used, rather than manually implementing this using layer_on/off() and update_tri_layer() functions in the keymap's process_record_user().
  • default (and via) keymaps should be "pristine"
    • bare minimum to be used as a "clean slate" for another user to develop their own user-specific keymap
    • what does pristine mean? no custom keycodes. no advanced features like tap dance or macros. basic mod taps and home row mods would be acceptable where their use is necessary
    • standard layouts preferred in these keymaps, if possible
    • should use encoder map feature, rather than encoder_update_user()
    • default keymap should not enable VIA -- the VIA integration documentation requires a keymap called via
  • submitters can add an example (or bells-and-whistles) keymap showcasing capabilities in the same PR but it shouldn't be embedded in the 'default' keymap
  • submitters can also have a "manufacturer-matching" keymap that mirrors existing functionality of the commercial product, if porting an existing board
  • Do not include VIA json files in the PR. These do not belong in the QMK repository as they are not used by QMK firmware -- they belong in the VIA Keyboard Repo
  • Do not include KLE json files in the PR. These have no use within QMK.
  • Do not include source files from another keyboard or vendors keyboard folder. Including core files is fine.
    • For instance, only wilba_tech boards shall include keyboards/wilba_tech/wt_main.c and keyboards/wilba_tech/wt_rgb_backlight.c. But including drivers/sensors/pmw3360.c is absolutely fine for any and all boards that require it.
    • Code that needs to be used by multiple boards is a candidate for core code changes, and should be separated out.

Wireless-capable boards:

  • Given license abuse from vendors, QMK does not accept any vendor PRs for wireless- or Bluetooth-capable keyboards without wireless and/or Bluetooth code
    • Historically, vendors have done this in bad faith in order to attain downstream VIA compatibility with no intention of releasing wireless sources
    • QMK's license, the GPL2+, requires full source disclosure for any distributed binary -- including full sources for any keyboard shipped by vendors containing QMK and/or firmware-side VIA code
    • If a vendor's wireless-capable keyboard PR submission is lacking wireless capability, then the PR will be left on-hold and unmergeable until wireless bindings are provided
    • If a vendor's wireless-capable keyboard is merged into QMK before it's known that the board is wireless, then all existing and future PRs from the same vendor will be put on hold until wireless bindings for the offending keyboard are provided

Also, specific to ChibiOS:

  • strong preference to using existing ChibiOS board definitions.
    • a lot of the time, an equivalent Nucleo board can be used with a different flash size or slightly different model in the same family
      • example: For an STM32L082KZ, given the similarity to an STM32L073RZ, you can use BOARD = ST_NUCLEO64_L073RZ in
    • QMK is migrating to not having custom board definitions if at all possible, due to the ongoing maintenance burden when upgrading ChibiOS
  • New board definitions must not be embedded in a keyboard PR
    • See Core PRs below for the procedure for adding a new board to QMK
  • if a board definition is unavoidable, board.c must have a standard __early_init() (as per normal ChibiOS board defs) and an empty boardInit():
    • see Arm/ChibiOS early initialization
    • __early_init() should be replaced by either early_hardware_init_pre() or early_hardware_init_post() as appropriate
    • boardInit() should be migrated to board_init()

Core PRs

  • all core PRs must now target develop branch, which will subsequently be merged back to master on the breaking changes timeline
  • as indicated above, the smallest set of changes to core components should be included in each PR
    • PRs containing multiple areas of change will be asked to be split up and raised separately
    • keyboard and keymap changes should only be included if they affect base keyboard builds, or the default-like default, via, default_???? keymaps etc.
      • keymap modifications for anything other than the default-like keymaps should not be included in the initial PR in order to simplify the review process
      • the core PR submitter should submit a followup PR affecting other keymaps after initial PR merge
      • large-scale refactoring or consolidation PRs that affect other keymaps (such as renaming keycodes) should always be raised separately
  • any new boards adding support for new hardware now requires a corresponding test board under keyboards/handwired/onekey
    • for new MCUs, a new "child" keyboard should be added that targets your newly-added MCU, so that builds can be verified
    • for new hardware support such as display panels, core-side matrix implementations, or other peripherals, an associated keymap should be provided
    • if an existing keymap exists that can leverage this functionality this may not be required (e.g. a new RGB driver chip, supported by the rgb keymap) -- consult with the QMK Collaborators on Discord to determine if there is sufficient overlap already
  • any features adding _kb/_user callbacks must return a bool, to allow for user override of keyboard-level callbacks.
  • where relevant, unit tests are strongly recommended -- they boost the confidence level that changes behave correctly
    • critical areas of the code -- such as the keycode handling pipeline -- will almost certainly require unit tests accompanying them to ensure current and future correctness
    • you should not be surprised if a QMK collaborator requests unit tests to be included in your PR if it's critical functionality
  • other requirements are at the discretion of QMK collaborators
    • core is a lot more subjective given the breadth of posted changes


For when people use their own master branch, post this after merge:

For future reference, we recommend against committing to your `master` branch as you've done here, because pull requests from modified `master` branches can make it more difficult to keep your QMK fork updated. It is highly recommended for QMK development – regardless of what is being done or where – to keep your master updated, but **NEVER** commit to it. Instead, do all your changes in a branch (branches are basically free in Git) and issue PRs from your branches when you're developing.

There are instructions on how to keep your fork updated here:

[**Best Practices: Your Fork's Master: Update Often, Commit Never**](newbs_git_using_your_master_branch)

[Fixing Your Branch](newbs_git_resynchronize_a_branch) will walk you through fixing up your `master` branch moving forward. If you need any help with this just ask.

Thanks for contributing!

Review Process

In general, we want to see two (or more) approvals that are meaningful (e.g. that have inspected code) before a PR will be considered for merge. These reviews are not limited to collaborators -- any community member willing to put in the time is welcomed (and encouraged). The only difference is that your checkmark won't be green, and that's fine!

Additionally, PR reviews are something that is done in our free time. We are not paid nor compensated for the time we spend reviewing, as it is a labor of love. As such, this means that it can take time for us to get to your Pull Request. Things like family, or life can get in the way of us getting to PRs, and burnout is a serious concern. The QMK firmware repository averages 200 PRs opened and 200 PRs merged every month, so please have patience.

Example GPLv2 Header

/* Copyright 2024 Your Name (@yourgithub)
 * This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
 * it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
 * the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or
 * (at your option) any later version.
 * This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
 * but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
 * GNU General Public License for more details.
 * You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
 * along with this program.  If not, see <>.

Or, optionally, using SPDX identifier instead:

// Copyright 2024 Your Name (@yourgithub)
// SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0-or-later