Scrolling

Question: Does anyone have any tips on a good ergonomic way of scrolling down? I don’t have a mouse with an automatic scroll as on the whole I find it better to use Maltron keyboard with a trackball inset but it means I am stuck with scrolling down manually which is a real pain. Perhaps my keyboard will do something I don’t know about. Any tips gratefully received.

Answer 1: In most applications you can scroll up and down with the cursor keys. Sometimes you need to click to the top / bottom of the screen first. If that doesn’t work for you, try ‘page up’ / ‘page down’.

Answer 2: Download something called MouseTool from www.mousetool.com. Put shortcut to mousetool.exe on your desktop. Now, when you double-click the icon, a symbol like a mouse should appear on your taskbar (at bottom of your screen, on right-hand side). Right-click on it to start using Mousetool. Rightclick on the icon on taskbar again and left click on Stop Mousetool to stop it. Whenever you pause the cursor, the left button will click. To stop it clicking where you don’t want, slide cursor off the edge of the screen. When you get the vertical scrolling bar on right side of screen, move the cursor by sliding your mouse until cursor arrow is just underneath the grey block. Screen should now scroll downwards (or upwards if you do it  in reverse).

Answer 3: In Microsoft products, PgUp and PgDn scroll u/d 1 screen at a time. In some applications putting Ctrl first can move in bigger increments of l/r a screen. Look up ‘short cut keys’ in most help systems for definitive lists.

Answer 4: I hate to throw some bad light on what is all correct information but please just bear in mind that using the cursor keys can cause just as much of a problem as using a mouse/trackball, etc. Especially when scrolling as opposed to jumping around text, which is when the short cut Ctrl key (etc) come in very handy. I often have to do an awful lot of scrolling/moving around text and whilst I do indeed use the cursor keys and shortcut commands as much as I can, and find that this helps stop the shoulder and neck pain, I still get wrist, hand and arm pain quite quickly for exactly the same reason as I can with a trackball – because my wrist is horribly bent upwards and fixed in position for long periods of time, my fingers are fixed in tense positions, etc. Sometimes, in fact, more so because the cursor key positioning on some keyboards is closer to the body or otherwise necessitates a non relaxed hand.

It’s a case of the lesser of various evils for me – bent wrist or reaching out and wrecking shoulder. I often try to alternate: a bit of the inbuilt trackball, a bit of cursor, etc. I also try to lean back in my chair if doing a lot of scrolling because that way my wrist/arm/hand angle is straighter. So in terms of the original question of a better “ergonomic” way of scrolling, I guess the answer is that there are several options but that as with all computer use you have to watch out for the same usual suspects of strained muscles, bent wrists, extended necks, over reached arms and all the rest of that jazz… I suppose the real answer is to try not to do it (I mean continuous scrolling), or at least not for long periods of time at once. This, when dealing with lots of text or constant surfing/net use/reading, is not always easy… I just try to remember to take my little paw off the keys at every opportunity (the pain normally reminds me fairly quickly these days anyway!).

Answer 5: The reason for RSI occurring in the first instance is through performing a task for long periods of time in a restricted position and posture. Using the keys needn’t be with the same hand or finger, despite them being on the right of the qwerty keys. The action of using the left hand from time to time can relieve what may otherwise be a fixed position.

Answer 6: I have a great mouse with a small wheel placed between the two buttons which allows me to scroll down/up pages by turning it. If I need to scroll down/up for a while I depress the wheel and get a small icon and then by moving my mouse alone I can scroll in whichever direction I want – this also goes for Word documents, Excel spreadsheets. I’ve found it has reduced a lot of the pain in my hand and wrist and together with a mouse pad with a small gel wrist cushion I’m better now than I have been in a long time.

Answer 7: Hi, I just wanted to let you know that my RSI started from using the same mouse you have described. Please be careful. I will never use that type of mouse ever again. I now use a pen mouse and think it is so much better as you press the tip down to click.

Answer 8: I had the same experience as you. My RSI got much worse when I switched to this type of mouse.

Answer 9: I am due to go back to work in a few weeks after several months on the sick and my physio wants to ensure my workstation has everything I need before I go back. She has given me a magazine article with several products that claim to help minimize RSI. Having searched through them all, one seems to fit the bill. The website is www.cirque.com and the product is a Cruise Cat. It’s a touchpad that you can use with your finger. All scrolling can be done by just dragging your finger across the pad and you can customize it so that it recognizes written commands, e.g. write ‘x’ with your finger and it will close your application.

Another product in the article is a Wacom Graphire. It’s a graphics tablet with both a mouse and a pen. I know that many people with RSI find trouble holding a pen at times, so this option may not be suitable for you. (www.wacom.eu/)

Answer 10: I’ve got a Cirque Smart Cat which has the scroll functionality and the programmable buttons. I think the ease of scrolling is one of the best things about it! I used to get problems from using the mouse to scroll and from using the keyboard.

Answer 11: IMO, the keyboard can be lethal if you already are having problems in upper limbs. I try to use as few keystrokes as possible but it’s difficult when even resting my hand on a cursor key gives me nasty pain in the back of the hand. I vary positions a lot, get creative with which side of the finger is doing the work, eg using outer edge of pinkie or forefinger knuckle… also, holding a pen with nice non slip tip in my fist and holding it vertically over the key, once in a while.

Answer 12: Spacebar works as “page down” in Outlook Express — thanks for the tip. Good of Microsoft and other software manufacturers to make all these information so straightforward and widely-known. Not. Speaking of which, on ViaVoice there is a “what can I say?” feature which brings up a list of relevant commands for the application you’re working on. Wouldn’t it be handy if all applications had a feature whereby you could press a function key, say, “Ctrl+K”, and a box would spring up showing what keyboard shortcuts were available at that moment?

Answer 13: The question of keyboard shortcuts is not unique. Those without sight cannot use a mouse, and hence keyboard shortcuts are of prime importance. One of the major suppliers of access technology for the blind is now in close allegiance with Microsoft. Various applications do have application specific shortcut keys, and it is important that these are not confused with the operating system keys.


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