RSI management – reducing the strain of using a PC

In addition to using RSI software and taking regular rest periods from work during the day, and replacing mouse clicks with hotkeys, there are a number of other actions you can take, that are suggested to reduce the impact from using a PC all day. RSI management suggestions include:

  • Sit up straight, don’t slouch. Pay particular attention to the ergonomics of using a PC when setting up your work environment.  This takes into account the height of your chair, desk and monitor, and your own body position and geometry relative to these.
  • Changing from a mouse to a trackball can help. A Kensington Expert Mouse PRO is an excellent choice (we don’t receive payments from manufacturers). a trackball can help with RSI prevention when coupled with hotkey usage
  • Change your mouse pointer speed to the maximum speed setting.
  • Change from a cheap flat keyboard to an ergonomic keyboard. e.g. Microsoft ergonomic keyboard.
  • Type with a neutral wrist position.
  • Learn and use the built in Windows shortcuts and the shortcuts for the main applications you use (see above).
  • If you are constantly changing between windows (e.g. between MS-Word and a browser), consider using 2 monitors, with your main 2 applications on different monitors. Much less Alt-tabbing.
  • If you are constantly resizing windows, scrolling to different parts of a Windows, consider getting a bigger monitor.
  • If you are using a laptop, try using it on a desk with a full sized keyboard, trackball (or mouse) and monitor as this setup can be adjusted to be more ergonomic.
  • Be healthier. Eat well and exercise.

This website does not provide medical advice and if you have any pain while using your PC, you should go and see a doctor or relevant health professional.

Windows shortcuts

A great way to lessen strain from overuse of your mouse and keyboard is to reduce the number of keystrokes and the number of mouse movements and clicks used to perform a task. The use of shortcuts also helps get your job done faster. This can help with RSI management. Windows includes quite a lot of shortcuts. Some of the most useful ones are:

Press this key To do this
Alt+Tab
Switch between open items
Ctrl+C
Copy the selected item
Ctrl+V
Paste the selected item
Ctrl+X
Cut the selected item
Ctrl+Z
Undo an action
Ctrl+Y
Redo an action
Ctrl+Right Arrow
Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word
Ctrl+Left Arrow
Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word
Shift with any arrow key
Select more than one item in a window or on the desktop, or select text within a document
Ctrl+Shift with an arrow key
Select a block of text
Double left mouse click
Select a block of text
F1
Display Help
F3
Search for a file or folder
Ctrl+Esc
Open the Start menu
From here you can type in the software or filename you are looking for.
Windows-key+E
Open the File Explorer
Windows-key+R
Open the “Run” window

If you extensively use specific software, you should think about the functions you use most and check for a shortcut.

Autocomplete

Many applications keep a history of previous keywords you have used. When typing, the application can suggest a previous keyword. If the one you want is displayed, just stop typing the word and press enter and this will normally auto complete the word. For example, this can be used in the address bar of most browsers. This can reduce the amount of typing and help with RSI management.

Back pain, neck pain, wrist RSI? Learn more about RSI software.