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An Overview: Keyboards & Accessories

Choosing a mouse seems easy - you just need something to move the cursor around the screen, right? Well, some mice can do more - like performing tasks you used to do using the keyboard. And did you know that there are smaller mice for smaller hands? Read on to learn about all the neat features they're building into mice these days - and to figure out which mouse is best for you.

Size and Contour



People often don't realize that mice may come in different sizes. Companies commonly produce smaller mice as accessories for notebook users, who are constrained to small desks or tray tables - but these also work nicely for users with smaller hands. When purchasing your mouse, make sure it fits comfortably in your hand. (There are even miniature-sized mice for kids; for more information about children and ergonomics, visit's Kids Site)

Try to avoid mice with a "contoured" or asymmetrical grip; recent studies have shown that symmetrical mice are a better choice. Mice with a slightly wider base may help improve your grip on the mouse and your comfort while using it.

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Consider a mouse with multiple buttons. These let the mouse perform certain keystrokes, lessening the amount you have to do by hand (and lessening the risk of a Repetitive Stress Injuries). If you surf the web or edit long documents, you may want to try a mouse with a scroll wheel. Scrolling with a wheel instead of the entire mouse can help reduce repetitive arm motions and their resulting discomfort (but beware-this may lead to discomfort in your fingers!).

Another new technology to be aware of is the optical mouse. These mice use optical sensors to determine your mouse position. Since there's no ball, it can't get dirty and can't make it more difficult to move your mouse.

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Remember, there are alternatives to the traditional mouse. If you're experiencing shoulder pain, using a trackball may help. Trackballs let you move the cursor while keeping your arm in a fixed position, thus minimizing arm motion. There are even foot-operated mice, which use pedals to control the position of the cursor on screen. If you're experiencing pain you think might be related to mouse use, consult a physician immediately.

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