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ealthy Computing Tips

Healthy Computing: Keystrokes

© Erik Peper PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Healthy Computing Tips by Erik Peper PhD. View all columns in series
Do you feel increasing discomfort from mousing as the day passes? Do your shoulders ache and your hands feel cramped? Do you keep your hand poised over the mouse in anticipation of the next move, finger ready to jump at your command? When doing repetitive motions that require concentration we often set into play a pattern of get set, go in which we increase muscle tension and hold our breath. Allow relaxed rhythmic breathing and dissipate muscle tension when you replace mouse movements with KEYSTROKES.


Observe how you hold tension in your arm by keeping your index finger ready to click at the first opportunity. Instead, drop your hand to your lap, breathe and use some common keystrokes to substitute for mouse commands. Implement some of the following (PC Windows users):

  • Use arrow keys (up, down, left and right) and/or page up or page down to control cursor movement.
  • When filling in forms, use the Tab key to move from box to box; use Ctrl and Tab to move backward from box to box.
  • Use [Ctrl S] to save a document.
  • Use [Ctrl P] to print a document.
  • Use [Ctrl N] to open a new document.
  • Use Alt plus the 1st letter of the pop-down menu (such as F for File) to access the sub-menu items. Then, press the letter of the sub-menu item to perform the function.
  • Use [Alt F4] to exit an application.
  • When shutting down the computer press the Windows key then, U Enter
Get to know the common sub-menu items you frequently use and make a list of the keystrokes that can be used instead of the mouse.

Regardless, make sure that you take micro-breaks every 60 seconds (1 to 2 seconds), take meso-breaks every 10-15 minutes and large movement breaks every hour.

Copyright 2003 Erik Peper, Ph.D. and Katherine Hughes Gibney
Permission to copy and distribute Healthy Computing Email Tips for personal use is granted. Distribution or copying of Healthy Computing Email Tips for commercial purposes is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holders

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About The Author
Erik Peper, Ph.D. is an international authority on biofeedback and self-regulation. He is Professor and Co-Director of the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies, Department of Health Education, at San Francisco State University. He is President of the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe (2005) and past President of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.......more
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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.