Arranging your work area – Keyboard and pointing device

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Keyboard and pointing device

Place your keyboard, mouse, and other input devices so that you can use them with your body in a relaxed, comfortable position. In this way, you do not have to reach or shrug your shoulders while working.

Positioning the keyboard
Position the keyboard directly in front of you to avoid twisting your neck and torso. This makes it possible to type with your shoulders relaxed and your upper arms hanging comfortably.

Adjusting the keyboard height and slope
Your elbow height should be near the height of your keyboard's home row (refer to Shoulders and Elbows section). Adjust your keyboard slope so that your forearms, wrists, and hands are in their neutral comfort zone. Some find it most comfortable to set the keyboard slope to the lowest (most flat) position, and to position their elbows slightly above the height of home row.

Aligning the mouse and keyboard
When using a mouse or detached trackball, position the device immediately to the right or left of your keyboard and close to the keyboard's front edge. Avoid positioning the device too far from the side of the keyboard or towards the keyboard's back edge, since these positions may cause you to markedly bend your wrists out to the sides or reach too far (refer to Pointing Style section).

You may also find it comfortable to position your mouse between your body and the keyboard's front edge-in this case, your desk needs to be deep enough to position your monitor and keyboard back so your forearms are fully supported on the work surface (refer to Supporting Your Forearms section).

Right
Position your pointing device immediately to the side of your keyboard and close to the keyboard's front edge.

Wrong!
Do not position your keyboard and pointing device at different levels and distances.

Using a keyboard tray comfortably
If you use a keyboard tray, make sure it is wide enough to accommodate your pointing device, such as a mouse or trackball. Otherwise, you will probably place the mouse on your desktop, higher and farther away than the keyboard. This will lead you to stretch forward repeatedly, and uncomfortably, to reach the mouse.

Tips

Switch hands
To give your pointing hand a break, you can periodically control your mouse or trackball with the opposite hand (using the device's software to switch the button assignments).

Listen to your body
Let your body be your guide when you place your keyboard and pointing device. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and your forearms, wrists, and hands should be in their neutral comfort zone.