There are a number of ailments that can come from using your keyboard incorrectly-from short-term issues like sore wrists to long-term problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. These ailments can take years to develop, and once present, can be difficult or even impossible to reverse. That’s why it’s so important – even if you’re not currently feeling pain-to position and use your keyboard properly to avoid future problems.

If you don’t currently use an adjustable keyboard / mouse tray, consider attaching one to your surface.

This allows a much wider range of adjustment, and helps you maintain a proper ergonomic setup. Choose a system that is height adjustable, lets you tilt the keyboard away from you slightly for better posture (negative tilt), and allows you to use the mouse with your upper arms relaxed and as close to the body as possible.

Make sure the height of your keyboard allows you to keep an “open angle” with your arms.

In the proper position, the keyboard should be placed just above the level of your lap. This is lower than most people normally place their keyboard, but lets your arms tilt downward while using the keyboard, leaving your elbows at a comfortable “open” angle. (If you don’t have an adjustable keyboard tray, you may need to accomplish this by adjusting your chair height.

If your keyboard is lower than the desk surface, tilt the back edge of the keyboard slightly down (known as “negative keyboard tilt”).

Using a slightly negative keyboard tilt will help you keep your wrists in the proper (neutral) position. Try to avoid positive keyboard tilt (i.e., where the top row of keys is noticeably higher than the bottom row of keys). Also, make sure that if there are “legs” attached to the bottom front of your keyboard, they are left un-extended.

If you use a keyboard tray, make sure there’s enough room for your mouse.

Your mouse should be close to your keyboard so that you don’t have to reach far to grasp it.

If you have a broad chest, consider a “split” keyboard.

Split keyboards divide the keyboard into two halves, each of which points slightly outwards. The outward angle lets your wrists and forearms point inward without requiring your elbows to come in as far, better conforming to the contours of your body. Conversely, thinner people may find a traditional “straight” keyboard more comfortable.

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