Two top tips for typists

Well, more accurately, for computer users, but I liked the title for alliterative reasons….

If I had to summarise the advice I most frequently give to those who have some upper limb discomfort and who work at a computer, it would be:

  1. Learn to touch type. It’s fairly obvious, but those who can’t touch type have to look at the keyboard when typing. This obviously places a strain on their neck, and – to make it more comfortable to see the keyboard – those who can’t touch type tend to push the keyboard further away from them and rest their forearms on the desk surface. This fixes the upper back, shoulder, upper arm and forearm position, and this, combined with looking down at the keyboard, can strain the neck, upper back and upper limbs. Learning to touch type is not a difficult skill, but does require a little time and commitment. It should probably take about 20 hours to learn, and there are plenty of software courses available to help you do that.
  2. Use a short keyboard. A wide range of short keyboards are available (and we can advise on what might be most suitable). Short keyboards are also sometimes called “mini” keyboards, but I find this slightly misleading, as what I am recommending has keys the same size as a standard keyboard – the only difference is that short keyboards do not have the number pad on the right hand side. Usually the number pad is a feature that you didn’t ask for and you may well not use, so all it does is force the mouse to be further away from you (and take up some of your precious desk space).

Of course, this advice may not be relevant in all situations or for everyone, but in my view, these two changes would help a lot of people work more comfortably with a keyboard.