To Wrist-Rest or Not to Wrist-Rest

I just got my Macbook Pro with Retina Display and I am practicing typing on it. I notice it has a generous lower pad that I can rest my wrists on. Is this a good alternative to the traditional typing method of having the wrists hovering over the keyboard? With advancing age, I notice a little tremor and unsteadiness with my hands. But when I anchor my wrists on the pad, I feel like my mobility is hampered and can’t reach the keys quite easily.

BTW, I notice this irritating phenomenon of me typing away and all of a sudden it is a different window or screen in front of me. Apparently, my hands may have brushed against the track pad, causing the window to scroll sideways or awaken a background window. Sometimes the cursor also jumps somewhere else so I keep typing and when I look up I am in a different application! Very frustrating. Is there a way to lock up the damn screen and cursor so they don’t go off galloping into another screen?


Moved to the “And Now For That Latte” forum, which is for general discussion - the “Feedback” forum is for feedback specific to Scrivener. Thanks!

Go to the System Preferences — I open it from the Apple menu on the menu bar at far left — choose the Trackpad pane and go through the different tabs, setting things the way you need.

I have an (non-)essentiial tremor and so have disabled: “Tap to click” and “Three finger drag”; “Smart zoom” and “Zoom in or out” and “Rotate”; and “App Exposé” and “Launchpad" as I don’t use them.

“Secondary click” is set to two fingers, “Look up” is tap with three fingers; “Scroll direction” is natural; “Swipe between pages”, “Swipe between full-screen apps”, “Notification centre”, “Mission control” and “Show desktop” I have left with the defaults … the only one I use fairly regularly is “Mission control”; “Swipe between pages” I use occasionally; “Notification centre” I uae by accident.

Set it all to what suits you best.

I would say try the wrist-rest, and see if it agrees with you. I find that if I use it much, the edge of the MacBook starts pressing into the underside of my wrists, which hurts, as does the increased angle of my wrists. I do much better if I keep my wrists fairly straight, and in line with my forearms.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has a nice page on computer ergonomics, with illustrations of ideal working positions: … tions.html

I also run through their checklist occasionally if I find I’m having pain in my wrists, fingers, shoulders, etc. … klist.html

If you’re sitting in one place, get this one

(Microsoft keyboard 4000)

One of the best purchases I made this year. I had wrist pain after typing for the longest time and it disappeared within a week after getting this thing.

They also made a new one that looks very sexy.

(Microsoft Sculpt keyboard)

And you’ve both missed the point of the OP’s question. He was not asking about acquiring a wrist-rest, or a new keyboard, but whether it would be better to rest his wrists on the area of his MBP between the keyboard and the edge of the computer, or whether it was better to type without resting his wrists.

I think opinion is probably in favour of resting the wrists, so, as he is new to OS-X, I posted hints about how to configure the trackpad interface to reduce the problems he was having with inadvertently touching the trackpad while resting his wrists.

Mr X

If you find wrist-rests are the way to go, I suggest getting two made for mousing, rather than the long ones made for keyboards. That way, you can lay them to either side of the track pad.

As for preventing inadvertent mouse clicks… Disabling the “tap to click” feature as described up-thread is a good idea. There’s a setting in the System Preferences->Trackpad area to disable the trackpad while typing, but it’s mostly for people doing rapid entry, rather than typing and thinking and typing some more. If you get an external mouse or trackpad, you can have the OS disable the built-in one while the other is connected, but that reduces the locations where you can use the “lap”-top.

I would advise resting the wrist all the time. After 40 years on computers I have found that it also leads to far less shoulder, arm or wrist problems from repetitive strain. You will adapt to reaching the difficult keys after a short time. Be patient is also my advice.

I’d second the recommendation for the curved MS keyboard. (And if I’m recommending an MS product, that should tell you something.) My hands will ache if I type on a mac keyboard or a laptop keyboard for too long. With the MS one, I can type all day (with breaks) and my hands are fine.

Not to open an operating system pissing match, but MS does make good peripherals. I’ve had two of their natural ergonomic keyboards, and they’ve lasted me at least 8 years. (I like to whack on keys, so I’m rough on them. I used to go through a cheap keyboard a semester during grad school.) I’ve dumped coffee on mine, the cat sits on it, and God only knows what I’ve got between the keys.

Well worth the $50 or so.

I use a MacBook Pro. I rest my wrists on the case because for me its comfortable. Resting your wrists in the end is a personal preference. If it is comfortable give it a try. If it starts to cause discomfort stop.

You can go and set up your preferences for your trackpad like X suggested if you want.

Myself what I do is rather old school and simple.

I use a dish towel folded. I lay it across the bottom half of my MacBook Pro and this does two things. One it gives me a little padding as I rest my wrists and two it keeps me from accidentally brushing the trackpad. But I only do this when I plan to do lengthy typing. Everyday use the towel is folded up and set to the side. I also have a wireless mouse so I use that when the towel is down.

And since the purpose of a laptop is mobility it keeps me from having to lug around an external keyboard.

I’m not sure I agree that this is necessarily true anymore. Often the point of a laptop is that you don’t need it permanently wired in and can therefore reclaim your desk for other things, or simply lock it away for security and neatness.

But that’s just an aside.

I don’t see how this is off-topic, and my reply still stands. If you’re sitting in one place, you’re better off getting a full keyboard, and preferably an ergonomic one if you’re doing a lot of typing. Especially since the keyboards on Apple laptops suck. Hell, their desktop keyboards suck also.


This POS is the best example of form over function. Horrible in every way imaginable, yet people buy it because it looks pretty.

Yes, and repetitive stress injuries suck worse. It took me years to rehabilitate one in my shoulder.

That’s a matter of opinion. I have a MacBook Pro and the keyboard is one of the best I’ve had. I love the backlit keys, it is responsive and easy on the fingers. Because it is good, I bought the wireless keyboard for when I type at my desk. Same feel, same layout, and hence same finger-memory - only down side is that it is not backlit (although, since I am at my desk when using it, that’s not normally a problem). The size of the wireless keyboard was another factor. Because it only has the same keys as my laptop, it takes up much less space than other keyboards I have owned (both wired and wireless) and means that my mouse will also fit on my keyboard tray. This one aspect fixed a longstanding pain in my shoulder caused by the height of my desk being too high for comfortable typing and mousing (my keyboard tray is built-in and about 15cm lower - perfect height). The fact that my Apple wireless keyboard also looks good is a nice added benefit, but was definitely not the reason I bought it.

It’s OK to not like particular hardware. However, this is your personal experience and does not apply to everyone else. No need to discredit other people’s preferences just because they are different than yours.

I would recommend an Apple keyboard in a heartbeat.

The original post was about resting wrists on the leading surface of a MacBook Pro: I often do this, increasing to almost always when using my Mac on my lap. However, when I use my external keyboard, I almost never rest my wrists on anything.

I’m trying to cut myself down on responding to things and having opinions, especially on the interweb.

So I have a response to add re Apple keyboards, but in the interest of my current personal initiative, I’ll not be sharing it.

I’m sayin’ nuffink! :neutral_face:

My mother nags that wrist-resting is unprofessional and bad for you, but she learnt to type on a typewriter, which has a different angle, height and key-strike mechanism to a laptop computer, so I beg to differ. I work primarily with my laptop on my knee, which (after arranging my legs in a comfortable but orthopaedically ill-advised manner!) gives it a slight upward incline, and I rest my wrists on the bits next to the trackpad. My laptop is a MacBook Pro, and it has sharp edges that would cut your flesh to ribbons, so I use these to cushion the wrist rest (and also to avoid prolonged skin contact with the metal casing): … rist-rests

Keyboards and mice are for losers and scruffy nerf herders.

Now the only real input device preferred by all the pros is one of these.

Typing on this bugger is a breeze. No need to remember up up down down left right B A start. No need to lean left while triggering your top most should muscle and your right eyebrow to synchronize in order to pick a menu item.

Nope. This funk schwa utilitarian input device is tried tested and true. So ditch those pesky keyboards with all those buttons and those mice with all those buttons and wheels and roll with the pros.

Having worked my way through loads of keyboards over the years I eventually moved over the Apple and with them came the aluminium keyboard. This keyboard has alleviated every bit of discomfort I ever experienced. It also ended all experience of shoulder, elbow and wrist issues. The shallowness of the keyboard means that no wrist support is needed. And normal hands can find all keys. Of course when we get old many of us get arthritis etc and problems arise. But it is important imho to avoid typing with the wrist off the base except for passing moments.
My son (21) feel for the Mac keyboard too but because of studies he had to use a PC. He has since bought one of these very shallow boards and ives it too.
Just my 2¢.

Just an addendum:
As regards mouse use. I prefer a mouse and always use one with a laptop where possible. I just wanted to add that I discovered over the years that when using the mouse, it is hugely important to keep the heel of the hand on the desk and to so so with a slight tension pulling from the shoulder. It then also eliminates sore shoulder problems.

The travel is too short, the click-moment is too soft, and the keys are flat (the recesses help our fingers orient, but I guess they don’t look pretty enough to keep them). No thanks. Lenovo is miles ahead over everything else with their laptop keyboards at the moment. Try one out and you’ll see, I guarantee it.

Logitech makes an external laptop-style keyboard that types properly, and has a backlight. Check it out: … board-k740

If you have RSI symptoms like that, you should really try an ergonomic keyboard. No matter how shallow the key travel is, you’re still putting your hands in an awkward position.

Reminds me of this:

If they put this out for real, I’m willing to bet there would still be people lining up for it :laughing: