These instructions apply to the vast majority of adjustable keyboard tray systems available. This guide will help provide some information that is useful to know when attempting to install an articulating keyboard tray, or when thinking about buying one and how it will work with your computer workstation, desk or other work surface. Most systems will come with the following items: 1) a keyboard platform (sold in a wide variety of shapes and sizes), 2) a mechanism or “arm” that attaches the keyboard platform to the desk (multiple models are usually available to accommodate almost all computer setups), and 3) a mounting track (usually metal/steel) that attaches the arm to the underside of the work surface (sold in various sizes). Depending on how versatile the system you choose to purchase is, and how you configure it, there may also be other items included in the system like a palm rest (sometimes called a wrist rest), a separate mouse platform (usually attaches to keyboard platform), cable managers (plastic guides to hold the wires for the keyboard and mouse) and other miscellaneous pieces.
Before you even buy a keyboard tray system you need to take some measurements of your desk to make sure you have enough room to install it. The real important measurement is for the steel mounting track. The average size of mounting tracks is approximately 22 inches long and 5 to 6 inches wide. It needs to be screwed flush to the underside of your work surface so you need at least this amount of flat unobstructed space. Mounting the track is the hardest part of installing an adjustable keyboard tray system but it really isn’t that difficult if you use a power screwdriver. The screws used are around 1 inch long so your desk needs to be at least 1.5 inches thick. If you don’t have 22 inches of space smaller tracks are usually available, but the system won’t fully retract under your desk when not in use with tracks shorter than 22 inches. The other obvious thing you need to check before buying a system is that your desk is made of a material that can accept screws (preferably wood). If you use your computer on a work surface made of things like plastic or glass you won’t really be able to install a standard system and you’ll need to find a custom solution which can be a pain. Contact us and let us know if you’re in this kind of situation and we may be able to help.
After your mounting track is installed you can start piecing together the keyboard platform and arm (adjustment mechanism). These two parts are usually connected with four screws. Don’t be alarmed if the mechanism looks like it’s broken or defective in this stage because they are designed to only function properly once fully installed, which in this case is after you connect the arm to the mounting track. Attaching the keyboard tray and arm to the track is usually just a matter of sliding it into place, which is easier to do with two people so ask for help before attempting to install it if you can. Once the three main parts are connected (the keyboard platform, arm and track) you may need to install a few stoppers (usually rubber or plastic) to prevent the system from falling off the track. At this point you can also attach the wrist rest and mouse platform (if any) to the keyboard tray and test the movement of the complete system.
That’s really all there is to installing an ergonomic keyboard tray system. These guidelines will be most accurate for systems manufactured by Humanscale, Intellaspace and WorkRite, but they apply to many other models as well including the budget systems we feature. Always remember that each individual product may vary slightly in the specs and dimensions of its parts, but these are readily available before you make a purchase so you can be sure you’re getting the right system for your specific application.