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A User’s Guide to Proper Typing Posture

When you’re a kid, your body seems impervious to pain. Think of a child who can easily do a split without having intentionally stretched in her life. It’s hard not to miss those days before sore feet, neck cricks, and back pain set in.

For adults, very few don’t know what those pains feel like. According to one survey, 8 in 10 adults report suffering back pain, and for those who work desk jobs, more than half report the same.

Though you might expect manual labor to be more taxing on your body, for some people, extensive sitting and keyboard work can be even more damaging–especially if you have poor typing posture.

That said, spending a significant amount of time behind a computer is not an automatic precursor to back pain or wrist strain. A lot of it comes down to your posture at the computer.

Typing posture might not be the most exciting topic out there, but it’s one that can make a significant difference in your comfort and quality of life. Especially as we spend more and more time behind computers.

Proper sitting posture at the keyboard even increases your typing speed and accuracy. If you’re a teacher or parent reading this, know that teaching your kids the proper posture early on could save them a lifetime of pain. Let’s find out what proper typing posture looks like!

What is proper typing posture?

If you have poor posture, the great news is that good sitting posture can be achieved easily, prevent a lot of strain on your body, and help you improve your typing speed and accuracy.

Feet and Legs

Make sure you sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground. Avoid tucking your legs beneath you or extending them forward.

Arms

Adjust your chair and keyboard height so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and your arms are close to your sides. Your arms should be hanging in a relaxed posture. If your shoulders are hunched toward your ears, raise your chair height or lower your keyboard to maintain an optimal arm’s length.

Wrists and Hands

Maintain a neutral wrist position; try not to arch your wrists up too high. Keep wrists straight and fingers curved over the keys, with thumbs hanging near the spacebar. Your wrists should be floating above and parallel to the keyboard. Avoid the temptation to settle your wrists onto the wrist pad; that’s for breaks between typing, not when you’re actually pounding the keys. Even then, rest the palms of your hands on it–not your wrists.

Head

Keep your eyes focused on the words you are typing. If you’re typing a copy of a document, and you find yourself turning your head back and forth from copy to screen, work on improving your touch typing skills. Adjust the position of the copy so you can see it without tilting your head excessively.

Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) are various conditions caused by repetitive motions that place too much stress on a joint. Many RSIs are related to computer usage. In children, RSIs are often the result of heavy computer or video game use, texting, playing musical instruments, or certain sports.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one type of repetitive stress injury (RSI). Symptoms can include wrist pain, tingling, and numbness of the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is not always caused by typing itself, but by repetitive motions that can inflame the nerve in the forearm.

If you are experiencing pain or signs of injury that are related to keyboard use, try setting up a keyboard tray, a keyboard pad, or an alternative curved keyboard. Make sure you check the position of your chair and the height of desks, keyboards, and monitors to make sure your body is aligned properly.

Quick Tips: Workstation Ergonomics

When it comes to ergonomics and typing, it’s important to choose equipment and furniture that offers the right support and encourages proper body alignment. Well-designed furniture, combined with correct typing posture, can prevent fatigue, discomfort, and the development of RSIs.

If your desk setup is all wrong, you won’t be able to comply with the recommended typing posture. It’s worth a little extra time and money to make sure your workstation is as comfortable and efficient as possible.

Chair

Start by choosing an office chair that has a height adjustment and support for your lower back. If it has armrests, make sure they don’t impede your ability to let your arms hang relaxed at your sides while you’re typing.

Desk

Next, consider keyboard height. Placing a keyboard on top of a desk often makes it too high up for proper typing position. Consider a desk with an adjustable keyboard tray. If your desk doesn’t have one, you can often purchase and install one as an add-on.

Monitor

Adjust the keyboard tilt to what feels comfortable for touch typing. Many people prefer a keyboard that’s tilted slightly (by extending the legs on the top, back of the keyboard).

The screen should be at a height so when you’re looking straight ahead, the top of the screen is approximately level with your eyes. If it’s too low, raise it up by propping it on a book or two.

Keyboard & Mouse

You want your mouse and keyboard to be as close together as possible, with the alphanumeric part of the keyboard centered on your desk. Your hands should be level with your elbows (or slightly lower) and your hands and forearms should form a straight line. Avoid bending your wrist sharply upwards or downwards to type. Try swapping out your mouse with a trackball for extra comfort.

Normal keyboards have function keys that are placed on the side or top of the keyboard in rows or columns. An ergonomic keyboard is often designed with function keys that are arranged in a circular format. Look for a curved or split design for hands and wrists, which will help your palms turn slightly toward each other in a more natural, pronated position.

Last, but not least—

Take Regular Breaks

It is recommended to take a 5-minute break after every 30 minutes of continuous activity. Stand up, stretch. In fact, if you grab a glass of water on your break, you get bonus healthy points for keeping yourself hydrated as well.

We know that not all of these adjustments we’ve recommended can apply to the “one size fits all” workstations found in most schools and offices, but a few quick and easy changes can help ensure that you and/or your students are comfortable as they type.

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25 thoughts on “A User’s Guide to Proper Typing Posture

  1. Thanks for the 9-tips to keep safe and comfortable at the keyboard. Workplace ergonomics is a “must” in order to be productive.

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  4. When you’re a kid, your body seems impervious to pain.

    I have a niece, who without having intentionally stretched in her life can easily slip into the splits.

    As she does it, she smiles up at the adults around her, with no idea how much pain they would be in if they attempted the same feat.

    It’s hard not to miss those days. Before I knew about sore feet, neck cricks, and back pain.

    For adults, very few don’t know what those pains feel like. According to one survey, 8 in 10 adults report suffering back pain, and for those who work desk jobs more than half report the same.

    Though you might expect manual labor to be more trying on your body, in fact for some, extensive sitting and keyboard work can be even more damaging.

    That said, spending a significant amount of time behind a computer is not an automatic precursor to back pain. A lot of it comes down to your posture at the computer.

    I’ll admit, typing posture might not be the most exciting topic out there, but it’s one that can make a significant difference in your comfort and quality of life. Especially as we spend more and more time behind computers.

    And as an added bonus, proper posture at the keyboard also increases your typing speed and accuracy!

    If you’re a teacher or parent reading this, know that by teaching your kids the proper posture early on could save them a lifetime of pain.

    Safe typing posture

    Good keyboarding posture is just a few steps away. Follow these five checkpoints to achieve an efficient and healthy setup:

    Feet and Legs
    Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Avoid tucking your legs them beneath you or extending them forward.

    Arms
    Adjust your chair and keyboard height so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and your arms are close to your sides. Your arms should be hanging in a relaxed posture. If your shoulders are hunched toward your ears, raise your chair height or lower your keyboard.

    Wrists and Hands
    Keep wrists straight and fingers curved over the keys, with thumbs hanging near the spacebar. Your wrists should be floating above and parallel to the keyboard. Avoid the temptation to settle your wrists onto the wrist pad; that’s for breaks between typing, not when you’re actually pounding the keys. Even then, rest the palms of your hands on it, not your wrists.

    Head
    Keep your eyes focused on the copy you are typing. If you find yourself turning your head back and forth from copy to screen, work on improving your touch typing skills. Adjust the position of the copy so you can see it without tilting your head excessively.

    correct typing posture

    Workstation ergonomics

    If your desk setup is all wrong, you won’t be able to comply with the recommended typing posture. If you spend a lot of time at your desk, it’s worth a little extra time and money to make it as comfortable and efficient as possible.

    Chair
    Start by choosing a chair that has a height adjustment and support for your lower back. If it has armrests, make sure they don’t impede your ability to let your arms hang relaxed at your sides while you’re typing.

    Desk
    Next, consider keyboard height. Placing a keyboard on top of a desk often makes it too high up for proper typing position. Consider a desk with adjustable keyboard tray. If your desk doesn’t have one, you can often purchase and install one as an add-on.

    Monitor
    Adjust the keyboard tilt to what feels comfortable for touch typing. Many people prefer a keyboard that’s tilted slightly (by extending the legs on the top, back of the keyboard).

    The screen should be at a height so when you’re looking straight ahead, the top of the screen is approximately level with your eyes. If it’s too low, raise it up by propping it on a book or two.

    Keyboard & Mouse
    You want your mouse and keyboard to be as close together as possible, with the alphanumeric part of the keyboard centered on your desk. Your hands should be level with your elbows (or slightly lower) and your hands and forearms should form a straight line. Avoid bending your wrist sharply upwards or downwards to type.

    Last, but not least—

    Take Regular Breaks
    It is also very important to take regular breaks. It is recommended to take a 5-minute break after every 30 minutes of continuous activity. Stand up, stretch. In fact, if you grab a glass of water on your break, you get bonus healthy points for keeping yourself hydrated as well.

    We know that not all of these adjustments we’ve recommended can apply to the “one size fits all” workstations found in most schools and offices, but a few quick and easy changes can help ensure that you and/or your students are comfortable as they type.

    Your typing speed and accuracy will improve, and your back will thank you.

  5. Ideas for a small desk? It’s not the most comfortable to type at and frankly I probably could’ve chosen a better spot in the room.

  6. Nice tips for everyone who uses computer and who wants to be efficient at work.
    Keep it up. Typing.com
    Regards,
    Dr.H.M.Arun Kumar PhD
    Researcher in computer injury prevention techniques and
    World Record Holder

  7. Thanks for the help and it really helped me really much to be in a safety position and I would like for you to leave another game so we people can play another game so we could have fun and thank you very much.

    😉

  8. As more and more people spend their hours on a desk job, such tips are extremely important. You have enumerated several tips regarding posture as well as furniture. I am sure many employees have altered their working habits to stay healthy. Hope bosses in organisations also take ergonomics seriously and provide proper furniture.

  9. I am an educator. I am going to use some of your tips on my classroom website.

    Also, thank you for publishing the comments above. They illustrate the need for people to type correctly. Can you write more about proofreading and writing conventions?

  10. That were good suggestion for typing………It was really helpful to me………..I adore these article……😇😇😉👌👌👌

  11. That were good suggestion for typing………It was really helpful to me………..I adore these article……😇😇😉👌👌👌

  12. Nice tips for who work in front of the computer. Here are you exposed some secret tips for me. After a long time sitting on a chair, it is the risk for lower backbone.

  13. Most people have ignored ergonomics completely in the last decade. Now, things are changing and people are understanding the importance of ergonomics. You have shared the different aspects about posture that may count. Thank you for sharing this post and enlightening the readers. This will inspire more people to concentrate on ergonomics.

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