Using a Keyboard Tray with a Limited Depth Desk

Using a Keyboard Tray with a Limited Depth Desk

Posted by Human Solution on Jan 30th 2015

No matter what kind of desk you have, a keyboard tray is a crucial accessory to completing your ergonomic set-up. The ergonomic benefits are clear, from reduced strain in the shoulders and arms to less tension and a decreased risk of repetitive strain injuries in your fingers. However, not all desks are created equal. If your desk has fewer than 21" of clearance, you may have difficulty attaching a keyboard tray to your desk. But why is that? And what options do you have to work around this issue? We get questions like this all the time, and the answer is quite simple!

To take a step back, a standard keyboard tray has three components. First, there is the platform, where you put your keyboard and mouse (some keyboard trays may have a separate platform for the keyboard and mouse, while others have one platform for both). Then, there is the mechanism, or "arm", which attaches to the platform. The arm is what gives your keyboard tray its adjustability to move up and down, as well as swivel 360 degrees. The arm connects to your desk through the third component: the track. The track is a long, thin rail with holes for you to screw it into the underside of your desktop. There's a slot for the arm to attach to the track, and then slide forward and back.

This is where the issue comes in. Most keyboard trays come standard with a 21" or 22" track (although, it is important to note that some keyboard trays may have different track lengths; it is important to check the specs on the page, or call us if you need help). This is because that's the length required for the keyboard tray to go all the way underneath the desk when not using it. However, some people may have desks that are not 22" deep. Others may be using desks that have some kind of crossbar or obstruction that blocks the 22" track.

So does this mean that, if you do not have the required depth, you're doomed to a sad, keyboard tray-less existence? Not at all! Instead, you can just use a shorter track! UPLIFT keyboard trays, like the Large and Switch, ship with two tracks, a standard 21" track and a shorter, 11" one. Humanscale keyboard trays like the 900 let you pick out the track length, meaning you can get one that matches the depth of your desk. The only drawback to using a shorter track is that your keyboard tray will not stow all the way underneath the desk when not using it. However, this is purely an organizational/aesthetic function. You will still get all the ergonomic benefits of using a keyboard tray. Plus, if you get an UPLIFT or Humanscale keyboard tray, the arm can swivel 360 degrees, meaning if your desk is wide enough, you can use this swivel function to hide the tray under the desk when you're not using it.

For more extreme cases, where even an 11" track won't fit, there are still options. One of our bloggers suggests running the track from left to right, and goes into the advantages and drawbacks of that method in this blog post. And, if you have any questions, our keyboard tray experts are standing by to help! No matter what kind of desk you have, good ergonomics is within reach with a brand-new keyboard tray!

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