Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

How to properly position your keyboard and mouse

Reduce fatigue and strain on your neck, shoulders, hands and arms

The only time most of us want to have a mouse close to our bodies is when we're at our desk jobs.

Ergonomics, which is mainly about putting everything in its right place, explains just how close, as well as where it should sit relative to the keyboard. The right desktop set-up will help reduce fatigue and strain on your neck, shoulders, hands and arms. Here’s how to do it.


If you have trays for your keyboard and mouse, adjust them so your

  • elbows are at right angles or slightly greater
  • forearms and hands form straight lines from the elbow to the keyboard
  • wrists are elevated and in a neutral (straight) position
  • fingers curve over the top of the keyboard

If your keyboard and mouse rest on top of your desk, raise or lower your chair so your shoulders remain relaxed and elbows are at right angles (or slightly greater). If, after these adjustments, your feet no longer rest flat on the floor, use a foot rest.


Move your keyboard and mouse so your

  • keyboard is close enough to your body to allow you to relax your shoulders, upper arms and forearms
  • elbows hang close to your body
  • mouse is directly beside the keyboard on the same level

If you can, try to periodically switch the mouse to your other hand, to give hands a rest. To switch the primary and secondary buttons on your mouse, go to the Start menu, select Control Panel and choose Mouse. Switching buttons is the first option in the Buttons tab.

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