I recently got rid of my standard keyboard in favor of something that would make me faster. Research and testing consumed me for nearly a week so I figured I’d do an Excel Keyboard Review based on my findings.
When using Excel, I generally like having my right hand on the mouse, and rarely use the number pad on the right side of the keyboard. So it makes sense for me, on the right hand side of the keyboard, to do away with the number pad and lay out the remaining useful keys (the navigation cluster) more efficiently than the standard layout which has lots of extra space. This would allow me to have a smaller keyboard and position my mouse in the liberated desktop space. Doing this puts my right hand (while on the mouse) closer to the keyboard, which enables faster switching between mouse and keyboard when necessary. If you use your hands differently you may have a different perspective on the keyboards I review below.
The Excel Keyboard I Dumped
Below is the keyboard I had — the Microsoft Wireless Comfort Keyboard 5000. The curved layout and the wrist pad are ergonomic pluses, and did have the very useful Menu key which effectively allows you to right click on the mouse by typing a key (which is useful when your right hand is on the keyboard to, e.g., use the navigation keys). But the right side layout was a big negative. As noted above, I can do without the number pad. And while the navigation keys are useful, they could be arrayed more efficiently. Finally, the numerous keys on the top row were useless to me (though they didn’t create any usability issues). Basically, the keyboard felt bulky and forced me to position it semi-diagonally (rising from the left to the right) so I could make some room for my mouse. So I decided to dump it.