When you’re used to a traditional keyboard, an ergonomic keyboard can look quite different to what you’re familiar with! The option to adjust the horizontal and vertical position of the typing surface complements your body shape and typing style which a flat keyboard just can’t do. Typing comfortably not only reduces pain and injury but it can make you work more efficiently, too.
It’s easy to adjust your split keyboard to fit your body. Keep reading to find out how an ergonomic keyboard supports your upper body and how to adjust your ergonomic keyboard to the correct position.
Why does the horizontal angle of your keyboard matter?
With a traditional flat profile keyboard, most often the width of the typing area does not match the width of your shoulders. To compensate, you rotate your hands outward at the wrist while typing, causing ulnar deviation. Over time, this leads to soreness and stiffness in the hand muscles and joints, potentially leading to a long-term injury, like Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI).
Our ergonomic keyboard is designed with a split in the center, joined together by a locking joint. It allows you to pivot each half of the keyboard to an angle that feels comfortable. You can combat the tendency to rotate the hands outward by positioning the keyboard at an angle. Pulling apart the two halves rotate the angle of the typing surface to mimic the relaxed position of your hands and help keep them straight.
How to split the keyboard correctly
To measure the keyboard angle that’s best for you, start by placing your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing the floor. This shows you how far apart to pull your keyboard halves.
Release the lever on your keyboard by pulling it out, which then unlocks the joints. Pull your keyboard apart from the edge closest to you with your hands until it’s the correct distance apart. Hold it in place with one hand and push the lever back into place to lock it.
Why does the vertical angle of your keyboard matter?
Angling the keyboard horizontally is a great start! Now you need to think about its vertical position for maximum comfort.
If you’re used to using a flat keyboard, the chances are that you’re rotating your hands at an unnatural angle to type. It’s called pronation. To keep your hands in a flat position against the keyboard’s surface, you roll your hands inward so that your left hand moves slightly clockwise and your right hand counter-clockwise. Over time, this strains the hands and wrists and leads to injury and discomfort.
Your hands naturally have a slight angle outward at the wrists and your ergonomic keyboard can adjust at a vertical angle to help support them and mimic their most relaxed state.
How to tent the keyboard to fit your posture
As before, start with your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing down. This time, gently rotate your hands outward from your wrist, as if turning your palms to the sky. You’ll experience a moment where the tension in your wrists releases and feel more relaxed. This indicates the most comfortable angle for typing!
With this in mind, you can now adjust your keyboard by pulling the lever out to unlock the ball joint.
Pull the keyboard up in the middle so each half lifts and creates a ‘tent’ shape. Lift it until it matches the angle of your hands, taking care to keep the same horizontal angle as before. Carefully push the lever back in to lock the keyboard in position.
Your keyboard is now ready to use!
Extra tips for adjusting your keyboard
Now that your keyboard is angled to fit your body, it may take some getting used to! The chances are that you’ve used a flat profile keyboard for years, so it may feel a little strange to begin with.
However, it only takes a little while to get used to using your new keyboard and it’s encouraging to feel how relaxed your hands and arms feel with the new setup.
If you are really struggling to get used to your new keyboard, you might find it helpful to adjust the angle gradually. Start with a slight incline and build up to its final position over a week or so. This may help you get used to using it faster.
Check your posture
To ensure you’re typing to support your whole body, you’ll need to check your typing posture after adjusting your keyboard.
When typing, keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Your forearms should be parallel with the desktop. If you’re bent too much, lower the height of your desk or raise your chair. If you’re stretching to reach your keyboard, then lower your chair or raise your desk.
Take regular breaks
Even with an ergonomic keyboard, take plenty of regular breaks away from your desk to stretch your hands, arms, shoulders, and back. Even stepping away and taking a short walk every now and then can help!
A generic flat keyboard can cause injury and discomfort in your wrists, hands, and shoulders. Splaying your split keyboard can help reduce ulnar deviation and keep hands straight while typing.
Tenting your split keyboard vertically can alleviate pronation in your wrists, which is when your hands rotate inward unnaturally.
Follow the simple steps we’ve provided to adjust your keyboard to your specific body shape for optimal comfort and productivity. Although it’ll take a little getting used to, you can adjust gradually if you find it easier!
Finally, make sure you’re keeping your elbows and arms bent at the correct angle to minimize strain on your upper body and always take regular breaks away from typing.
Check out our collection of ergonomic keyboards here!