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An Overview: Keyboards & Accessories

Buying a keyboard tray isn't that hard, but there are a few things you may not have considered - like whether you want an integrated mouse tray, or whether you want it to slide under your desk or to swivel to one side to save space. Take just a few minutes to read through our comprehensive buyer's guide (or print it out to take shopping), and you'll end up with a keyboard tray that fits your desk, your budget, and your needs.



There are a variety of ways for a keyboard tray to attach to your desk - with levers, screws, or other devices - so first make sure that the tray will fit your underneath your workstation and that you'll have adequate leg clearance to sit comfortably. (If you need to sit further from your desk, you can also consider a lap-held keyboard platform). Some models are specially built to attach properly to well-known desk types, so check to see that the type you buy fits your desk or can easily adjust to fit it. You'll also want to make sure that the tray leaves enough room for your legs after it's installed; people often forget that adding an under-desk tray lessens the amount of available leg room under their workstation. Learn the tray's measurements, and then make sure you'll still be comfortable once it's installed.

Make sure the tray's big enough for your keyboard. Some keyboards are built with integrated wrist wrests or extra keys - and may not fit on a smaller keyboard tray. Always check both the length and width of your keyboard before purchasing a tray.

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Consider an integrated mouse tray. Trays that offer integrated mouse support are ergonomically superior, since they keep you from over-extending your arm - but they also take up more room lengthwise. If you've got the space, they're worth buying. (If you decide to buy a separate mouse platform, the best solution is a tray that sits over the numeric keypad on the right side of your keyboard. The next best option is a mousepad that's attached close to the side of the keyboard tray, and that allows you to tilt it down slightly to get a more neutral wrist angle. Using just a lowered flat surface next to the keyboard isn't recommended, as it can increase your wrist extension - which puts strain on the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The worst situation is having a keyboard tray, and leaning to reach a mouse that's placed on top of your desk - avoid it!) Some keyboard trays can also slide under your desk to save space. This is a nice feature if you also use the desk for writing, and need to sometimes move in closer to your papers.

Many keyboard trays are adjustable - some tilt, others swivel, while still others can be raised or lowered. If more than one person will be using a keyboard (or if you need greater flexibility at your workstation), you may want to purchase a tray that's adjustable in one or more directions. Look especially for a tray that offers adjustable keyboard tilt. The ideal position for a keyboard is pointing just slightly downward and away - this is known as "negative keyboard tilt", and it's a good idea to find a tray that offers it. Avoid keyboard trays that:

A) Bounce when you type

B) Aren't height adjustable

C) Have a soft, rounded wrist rest

D) Have the mouse on exactly the same level base as the keyboard. And remember once you've chosen and installed your keyboard tray not to put it in a positive slope (sloping upwards).

With these suggestions in mind, finding the right keyboard tray should be a snap.

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