Laptop Ergonomics: Tips You Need To Know

Laptop computers allow you to take computing wherever you go. However, certain ergonomic features are compromised for the sake of portability. Smaller keyboard spacing, reduced screen size, limited screen positioning and finger driven pointing devices usually require people to assume awkward positions.  Modifications can be made to create a proper laptop setup.  Here’s what you need to know:

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The relation of the keyboard to the monitor on a laptop is fixed.  Viewing laptop monitors placed on a work surface requires users to lean forward and bend their neck downward to view the screen.  Prolonged bent postures can cause serious neck, shoulder and back problems.  Proper ergonomic monitor set-up positions the top of the monitor level with the user’s forehead for upright head and postures.

  • Sit up straight and look straight ahead.  Using an angle adjustable laptop stand will allow you to position your monitor height at eye level according to your height and/or individual visual needs.


Laptop keyboards are often compact with odd placement of some keys and cramped spacing of others.  To prevent hand, wrist and elbow pain – do not use the small keyboard for prolonged periods.

  • Use an external keyboard.  Standard-size keyboards provide the appropriate space needed for relaxed comfortable hand postures.  You can easily plug a standard keyboard into the USB port of your laptop at the office, home, or your hotel.

Pointer Devices

Laptops typically have a touch pad or dot. These devices are adequate for quick computer reference but are not comfortable for long periods of time.   Wrist, hand and finger related stress injuries can result from prolonged laptop pointer device use.

  • Use an external mouse.  Any standard sized mouse will give you more hand movement and freedom to control your pointing device. Relaxed hand positions will reduce cramping on your wrists, hands and fingers.

If you would like additional information regarding your laptop setup or discomfort issues you may be experiencing. CESSI’s ergonomic consultants can recommend the appropriate solutions for you.  Please give us a call at 1-800-289-3746 or email us at

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CESSI Ergonomics, Ergonomic Products & Services, Atlanta, GA