A Guide on Proper Keyboard Hand Placement
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A Guide on Proper Keyboard Hand Placement

|Sep 25, 2022

One secondary factor that defines comfort and wellness in the workplace is the typing posture. We often give enough attention to the right screen placement and the most comfortable viewing angle to minimize eye strain but do we care enough about keyboard hand placement?

And just because you don't feel a hint of pain after weird keyboard hand positions don't mean you are in for long-term keyboard strain problems. Microtraumas that occur daily when working are often negligible but build up over the years; they can lead to serious health problems and physical impurities. A common issue with wrong keyboard placement is repetitive strain injury. This injury is due to unhealthy repetitive movements practiced over the years and can lead to elbow, upper arm, wrist, and even shoulder problems.

Though cure is often rest, physiotherapy, or exercise, you might need surgery to be performed in severe cases. Hence considering the modern and advanced types of keyboards and the emphasis on following the ideal keyboard finger placement chart, we will cover the basics of keyboard hand placement for ergonomic working. Here is how to follow ideal keyboard placement. Let's read on!

Many things impact your hand placement on the keyboard. Everything combined, from your chair to desk height, keyboard type to sitting angle, can align your body for a strain-free experience. Here are some tips for maintaining an ideal keyboard hand placement.

Keyboard Chart

The keyboard typing finger placement charts you find online aren't just there to improve your typing speed or skills, but they also ensure your hand placement and finger action when working on a keyboard is healthy and how it should be. Practicing your keyboard use with a keyboard placement chart helps you subconsciously follow a proper typing pattern and minimize any postures that lead to injuries.

Keyboard Chart

Proper hand and finger positioning on the keyboard is essential for typing efficiency and reducing the risk of strain or injury. Here’s a comprehensive table to guide you on how to position your hands and fingers correctly on the keyboard:

FingerHome Row KeyMovementExample Keys
Left PinkyAMoves up to Q, down to ZQ, A, Z, Shift, Tab, Caps Lock
Left RingSMoves up to W, down to XW, S, X
Left MiddleDMoves up to E, down to CE, D, C
Left IndexFMoves up to R and T, down to V and BR, T, F, G, V, B
Left ThumbSpacebarGenerally stays on the spacebarSpacebar
Right Pinky; (semicolon)Moves up to P, down to /P, ;, /, Shift, Enter, Backspace
Right RingLMoves up to O, down to . (period)O, L, .
Right MiddleKMoves up to I, down to , (comma)I, K, ,
Right IndexJMoves up to U and Y, down to M and NU, Y, J, H, M, N
Right ThumbSpacebarGenerally stays on the spacebarSpacebar

1. Home Row Position

Left Hand: Place your pinky on A, ring finger on S, middle finger on D, index finger on F, and thumb on the spacebar.

Right Hand: Place your pinky on ; (semicolon), ring finger on L, middle finger on K, index finger on J, and thumb on the spacebar.

2. Finger Movements:

Left Hand:

  • Pinky: Moves to Q, Z, Shift, Tab, Caps Lock, and numbers (1, 2).
  • Ring Finger: Moves to W and X.
  • Middle Finger: Moves to E and C.
  • Index Finger: Moves to R, T, V, B, G, H.

Right Hand:

  • Pinky: Moves to P, /, Shift, Enter, Backspace, and numbers (9, 0).
  • Ring Finger: Moves to O and . (period).
  • Middle Finger: Moves to I and , (comma).
  • Index Finger: Moves to U, Y, M, N, H.

3. Thumbs

Both thumbs rest on the spacebar and can be used to press it.

Ergonomic Tips for Typing Posture

1. Typing Posture

The first thing to remember when using a keyboard is to activate the ergonomic typing posture consciously. The ideal posture is when the keyboard falls below your elbow height when seated comfortably. Aim to avoid raising your wrists excessively. Maintain a straight wrist, fingers bent over the keys, and thumbs dangling close to the spacebar.

Your wrists ought to be parallel to and hovering above the keyboard. Make sure when your hands land on the keyboards, the wrists are straight but not planted on the desk surface. This plantation of wrists on desk surfaces is very common, and we often find the natural surface as our support. But the unfortunate angle between the wrists and the rest of the hand is the reason behind the built-up strain in the wrist muscles and joints.

Ergonomic Typing Posture - keyboard hand placement

2. Avoid Keyboard with Legs

Most traditional keyboards have legs at the back that support the keyboard and tilt it upward. While this makes it simpler to access the back keys, it is bad for your ergonomics because it forces your wrists to always be extended upward. A positive tilt is only harmless when your seat's backrest is sufficiently lowered. A flat or negatively inclined keyboard is more ergonomically sound while seated upright or slightly reclined.

3. The Right Keyboard

Just like an ergonomic chair out there that prevents you from slouching, shrugging, or practicing any uncomfortable positions, there is also the right keyboard that helps improve your typing posture. These keyboards are ergonomic and essentially designed to prevent wrist strain and injuries.

The most common types of ergonomic keyboards include the ergonomic quiet mechanical keyboard or simple split mechanical keyboard, which helps wrist placement properly, but the separation also helps with the ideal shoulder openness.

Another is an ergonomic programming keyboard designed for long hours of use for coders and programmers. These keyboards have sensitive keys with quick response times and an ergonomic tilt for ideal wrist placement.

The Right Keyboard

4. Maintain A Good Sitting Posture

The position of your hands and fingers while you are sitting influences typing. As a result, it's important to sit correctly as well. The proper sitting position also improves your respiratory system. On the other hand, bad posture compresses your thoracic region, which limits how wide your diaphragm can open. Low oxygen intake and decreased energy levels are the results.

5. Desk Exercises

No matter how comfortable or ergonomic your desk, chair, or work furniture is, it is highly recommended to get up from your desk every few minutes and stretch your body. Desk stretches, or desk exercises, are highly useful for office workers as they minimize sitting hours. They ensure the muscles are not under stress for a prolonged time, and each part of the body experiences movements several times throughout the day.

6. Keyboard Accessories

Office accessories are highly helpful in increasing comfort and efficiency. Many office accessories make routine work much more pleasant and easy. For ideal keyboard use, look for a desk with a keyboard tray. This ensures your keyboard is under the desk surface, so your shoulders are not raised when typing. Moreover, this also provides a clutter-free desk; hence all your essentials will be organized and provide an uninterrupted workflow.

Moreover, for people who unfortunately already suffer from long-term keyboard use and related injuries, a carpal tunnel keyboard is a modified and medically approved version for basic keyboards.

Keyboard Accessories

7. Legs and Feet

The leg placement when you are working or sitting in a chair is important as it impacts the angle that your lower body, back, spine, and waist form with the work desk; hence a wrong angle can make the pain travel up and lead to serious issues. Keep your feet flat on the ground and sit up straight when typing. Do not extend your legs forward or tuck them under you.

8. Arm Placement

Arms adjust the height of your keyboard and chair such that your elbows form a 90-degree angle and are close to your sides. Your arms ought to be relaxed and dangling. To maintain a proper arm's length, if your shoulders are stooped toward your ears, adjust the height of your chair or keyboard.

Arm Placement

9. Head

Keep your eyes glued to the keys while you type. Work on your touch typing if you find yourself glancing back and forth between the copy and the screen while typing a copy of a document. If necessary, move the copy so you can read it without needing to stoop over too far.

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