Demystifying Keycap Profiles: A Guide to CYL, SA, DCS, and More ✍️

Hey there, keyboard people! I'm here to share some insights into the world of keycap profiles. Keycap profiles might seem like a small detail, but they can have a big impact on your typing experience and the overall aesthetics of your beloved keyboard. In this article, we're going to delve into the popular keycap profiles like CYL, SA, DCS, Cherry, and others, giving you the lowdown on what sets them apart and why it matters.


Understanding Keycap Profiles

Deciphering Keycap Profiles
First things first, let's get a grasp of what keycap profiles are all about. Think of a keycap profile as the unique shape and structure of the keys on your keyboard. Different profiles can dramatically influence the look, feel, and sound of your keyboard.

Keycap Type Height Keycap Shape Row Shape
SA High profile Angled and concave Sculpted
OEM Medium profile Angled Sculpted
Cherry (CYL) Medium profile Angled Sculpted
XDA Low profile Concave Uniform
DCS Medium Angled Sculted
  • Angled: Angled tops (front to back, or vice versa) designed for reach, comfort, and ergonomics.
  • Concave: Fingertip-sized indents in the top. Spherical keycaps have a sphere-shaped indent and were popular until the 1980s when they gave way to cylindrical keycaps that sport a cylinder-shaped indent.
  • Rounded: Convex tops, often used for artisan keycaps.
  • Flat: Straight tops, often seen on chiclet-shaped keycaps.

Cherry Profile

The Iconic Cherry Profile
Cherry profile is a household name in the mechanical keyboard world. These keycaps are known for their low-profile design and slight curvature. When you're typing on a keyboard with Cherry profile keycaps, you'll notice the keys are relatively flat. Cherry profile is a fantastic choice if you prefer a minimalistic, modern look for your keyboard. I've often recommended Cherry profile keycaps to customers seeking a clean and sleek aesthetic. As of 2023, GMK has changed the common known "cherry profile" to "CYL Profile" in order to distinguish from their new creation the MTNU profile.


SA Profile

Reaching New Heights with SA Profile
SA profile keycaps stand out with their tall, sculpted design. If you're into a more classic or retro look for your keyboard, SA profile might be the way to go. When you type on SA keycaps, you'll experience a distinctive feel, and some say it adds a typewriter feel to the typing experience. It's no surprise that I've had customers who were drawn to the SA profile for its vintage charm and unique tactile feedback, but others that despise it. 

DCS Profile

Balancing Act with DCS Profile
The DCS profile strikes a balance between height and comfort. These keycaps are versatile and compatible with various keyboard layouts. The DCS profile offers a comfortable typing experience and is a popular choice among those who appreciate classic aesthetics. When I first encountered DCS profile keycaps, I was impressed by their mix of aesthetic appeal and ergonomic considerations, making them a practical choice for many customers. However, this profile manufactured by Signature Plastics is rarer to find in the keycap market. 

Choosing the Right Keycap Profile

Finding Your Perfect Fit
Now that you've had a taste of the keycap profiles, how do you choose the right one for your custom keyboard? It boils down to your personal preferences, typing style, and the overall look you desire. Try out different profiles if you have the chance; it's like test-driving a car to see what suits you best. I often tell my customers that the keycap profile is a vital aspect of keyboard customization, and experimenting is the best way to find your perfect fit.

Expressing Your Style
Beyond keycap profiles, there are endless opportunities for further customization. Artisan keycaps, novelties, and themed keycap sets let you express your unique style. Don't be afraid to dive deep into the world of customization. Your keyboard can become a canvas for self-expression, and I've seen customers transform their keyboards into true works of art.



In the world of high-end keyboards, keycap profiles are a defining feature. Understanding the differences between profiles allows you to make informed choices that align with your preferences. Whether you opt for the classic charm of SA profile, the sleek minimalism of Cherry (CYL), the balance of DCS, your keyboard becomes a reflection of your personality and typing style.

If you ever have questions or need guidance on keycap profiles or customization, feel free to reach out. I'm here to support your journey into the world of high-end keyboards. Remember, there's a vibrant community out there ready to help you on your path to keyboard customization. Enjoy the adventure!