What is a Keyboard Tray?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A keyboard tray is a keyboard accessory which is designed to hold a keyboard in a particular location and angle. Keyboard trays are often used to improve the ergonomic set up at a workstation, ensuring that a keyboard is positioned properly for use, and they are also utilized to save space. Many office supply stores carry keyboard trays, and it is also possible to purchase them from companies which specialize in ergonomic products.

A keyboard.
A keyboard.

Classically, a keyboard tray fits under a desk, both to improve ergonomics, and to save space. By placing a keyboard tray under a desk, the user can ensure that his or her arms are positioned optimally. Ideally, the elbows should be at the sides, and the forearms should be parallel to the ground, with no unusual twisting or torsion of the wrists to reach the keyboard or mouse.

Under-desk keyboard trays are typically mounted on sliders so that the keyboard can be pulled out, and they are classically adjustable, so that the user can achieve the best angle. It is also possible to find keyboard trays which swivel or fold out of the way, compacting when the keyboard is not in use.

Some keyboard trays just accommodate a keyboard, while others also have a space for a mouse. Trackball mice tend to be ideal for use with a keyboard tray, since the mouse itself remains fixed in place while the trackball is moved, requiring less space. It is also possible to find separate mouse platforms which can be used with a keyboard tray.

Without a keyboard tray, a keyboard can take up a lot of room on the desk. It may also contribute to the development of poor posture and bad working habits, as a desk is often too high for a seated user to get the right angle. Prolonged use of a badly-positioned keyboard can lead to injuries to the wrists, hands, and arms.

When purchasing and installing a keyboard tray, there are some important considerations. Ideally, the tray should be tested before use, to confirm that it does not move, rattle, or flex with usage. The attachment method is also a concern, since bolts and screws may damage a desk. Some desks come with built-in keyboard trays, which can be a convenient arrangement, but if a tray is not built in, it is important to find one which will not impede legroom, and to remember that drawers and cabinets in the desk may require clearance.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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