5 ways to make your keyboard
easier to use
For most people, the keyboard is the main way to enter information into
and control their computer. But are you controlling your keyboard, or
is your keyboard controlling you?
If you make typing mistakes
or find your keyboard a bit uncomfortable, it’s not hard to correct
those problems. Here’s how to quickly and easily change your keyboard
settings and comfort options.
1. Get to know your keyboardEven
if you’ve been using a PC for a long time, there may be features on
your keyboard you don’t know about. Take a moment to get to know your
keyboard so you can be more efficient when you're working.
2. Change keyboard settingsOnce you’ve gotten more familiar with your keyboard, there are a few settings you can change to help you work more smoothly.
You can alter:
- How long you need to press a key before the keyboard character starts repeating.
- The speed at which keyboard characters repeat, which helps you to avoid typing errors.
- The rate at which the mouse pointer blinks, which can help its visibility.
Here's how to change keyboard settings in Windows Vista
or in Windows XP
3. Take shortcuts
Even if you're a whiz with the mouse for Windows 7, Windows Vista or
Windows XP, keyboard shortcuts are typically a more efficient way to
work. They're called shortcuts because they reduce multiple clicks into
one quick press of keys, like hitting a chord on a piano.
Getting to know a few keyboard shortcuts for the things you do all the
time, like saving or closing files, can make using your PC much easier
Here are just a few popular keyboard shortcuts that work for both versions of Windows:
To do this
Windows logo key
Open the Start menu
Switch between open programs or windows
Save the current file or document (works in most programs)
Copy the selected item
Undo an action
Windows logo key
Display Windows Help and Support
Cancel the current task
Open a menu of commands related to a selection in a program. Equivalent to right-clicking the selection.
For more, see the detailed list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows Vista
, or Windows XP
. Note: shortcuts for Windows 7
are the same as those listed for Windows Vista.
4. Make it easier to press multiple keysDo
you find it difficult to press multiple keys at once? For example, if
pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL is an acrobatic feat, you can set up Sticky Keys.
With Sticky Keys you can hit one key at a time in a keyboard shortcut.
You can even set it to make a noise so you know it's working.
You can set up Sticky Keys in Windows 7
, Windows Vista
or Windows XP
(Hint: Press your “SHIFT” key 5 times in a row, then click on the link,
to get going with Sticky Keys in Windows 7 or Windows Vista.)
5. Find a comfortable keyboardIt
might also be time for you to evaluate the ergonomics of your desktop.
Microsoft offers a full line of Natural and Comfort Curve ergonomic
keyboards to ensure you're comfortable when you're working on your
computer. Having the right keyboard can really make a difference!Tips for using your keyboard properly
a new keyboard isn’t in your future, be sure to use your current
keyboard properly to avoid soreness or injury to your wrists, hands,
and arms. This is particularly important if you use your computer for
long periods of time.
Curious about how to create a more
ergonomic work space for yourself? Check out these tips to help you
work more comfortably and reduce your risk of painful injuries or
Here are some general tips to help you avoid problems:
- Place your keyboard at elbow level, with your upper arms relaxed at your sides.
Center your keyboard in front of you. If your keyboard has a numeric
keypad, you can use the spacebar as the centering point.
- While typing, use a light touch and keep your wrists straight.
- When you're not typing, relax your arms and hands.
- Take short breaks every 15 to 20 minutes.
Type with your hands and wrists floating above the keyboard, so that
you can use your whole arm to reach for distant keys instead of
stretching your fingers.
- Avoid resting your palms or
wrists on any type of surface while typing. If your keyboard has a palm
rest, use it only during breaks from typing.